Average Age to Apply to Business School

techBizman's picture
Rank: Chimp | banana points 13

I am 29 years old. I was talking to my 27 yr old friend who will probably be attending Haas next year about business school. I told him I planned to apply to business school at 31 or 32 and he told me it would be hard for me to get in because of my older age.

We both come from some kind of engineering background(me-software, him-biomedical). I was thinking of doing entrepreneurship in business school. I will only be applying to the top 20 because I'm not looking to graduate with six figure debt and make 120k/yr.

Will it really be harder for me to get in to the likes of Anderson, Sloan, or Kellogg if I'm in my early 30s? Thanks.

When is it Too Late To Apply for MBA?

The average age of top business school candidates is 27 - 28 according to the site Poets and Quants. Our users shared their thoughts and experiences applying to business schools after the age of 30 below.

Some users shared that it will be more difficult for those that apply to MBA schools post 30.

mbavsmfin:

Not a deal breaker but it will be quite tough once you're 30+ unless you have a compelling reason for getting an MBA now, come from a non-traditional cool background, and can demonstrate SIGNIFICANT professional accomplishments. The bar is a lot higher since you're older, and they expect to see more from you. I personally think the age discrimination at top b-schools is quite unfair, but that's the trend, and it is what it is.

BeachBum:

Age will be a red flag, but not a deal breaker. At the end of the day it's all about your "why MBA story" and your ability to be a cultural/professional fit at a particular school. To be very blunt, you have a very slim chance at HBS or Stanford, due to their habit of trending young. Outside of those two schools your age won't prohibit you for getting admitted, but you need to have all the right stats and bring diversity (intellect, experience, skills, perspective, etc.).

However, some users explained that there is not an issue applying after 30 as long as you have a good story.

User @Recap detailed that this isn't as much of an ageism problem in Europe.

Recap:

Here in Europe Business Schools, candidates do tend to be slightly older than in the US. I know a few people who went into B-School at 30+ with only four years work experience.

ReluctantMBA:

There are fewer 30+ business school students because there are fewer 30+ business school (full-time) applicants. I applied at 31 and matriculated at 32. I got into 3 top 5 schools, two of them with significant scholarships. Age is only a negative if you haven't done much in the additional years since undergrad or if you're too far along in your career (senior manager or director level role).

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Comments (121)

Mar 17, 2013

Not a deal breaker but it will be quite tough once you're 30+ unless you have a compelling reason for getting an MBA now, come from a non-traditional cool background, and can demonstrate SIGNIFICANT professional accomplishments. The bar is a lot higher since you're older, and they expect to see more from you. I personally think the age discrimination at top b-schools is quite unfair, but that's the trend, and it is what it is.

Mar 17, 2013

Are you looking to only apply in the US? Here in Europe Business Schools, candidates do tend to be slightly older than in the US. I know a few people who went into B-School at 30+ with only four years work experience.

Mar 17, 2013

yes, I'll only be applying to top 20 U.S. business schools.

Mar 17, 2013

There are fewer 30+ business school students because there are fewer 30+ business school (full-time) applicants. I don't know why you want to wait another 2 years to apply to school, but if you do it's not as much of an uphill climb as people will have you believe. I applied at 31 and matriculated at 32. I got into 3 top 5 schools, two of them with significant scholarships. Age is only a negative if you haven't done much in the additional years since undergrad or if you're too far along in your career (senior manager or director level role). If none of these are the case then I don't see it being a big deal or a flaw that needs to be overcome. Good luck!

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Mar 18, 2013

Age will be a red flag, but not a deal breaker. At the end of the day it's all about your "why MBA story" and your ability to be a cultural/professional fit at a particular school. To be very blunt, you have a very slim chance at HBS or Stanford, due to their habit of trending young. Outside of those two schools your age won't prohibit you for getting admitted, but you need to have all the right stats and bring diversity (intellect, experience, skills, perspective, etc.).

Check out the blog mbaover30 dot com for inspiration. By far the best blog on this subject.

FYI - I'm 30 and just got admitted to 5 out of the M7 schools + scholarships...so it is doable!

"Second place just means that you are the first loser." -Navy Seal maxim

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Mar 18, 2013

This isn't a personal attack, just curiosity--if one is 30/31 and hasn't established some decent level of seniority such that he/she is too far long in his/her career to justify business school, how is it then that one can merit entrance into an M7 business school? Late start in life? Odd background? Just seems counterintuitive to me.

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Mar 18, 2013
DCDepository:

This isn't a personal attack, just curiosity--if one is 30/31 and hasn't established some decent level of seniority such that he/she is too far long in his/her career to justify business school, how is it then that one can merit entrance into an M7 business school? Late start in life? Odd background? Just seems counterintuitive to me.

No personal attack taken. I don't understand how you can translate that because a 30-31 year old decides to return back to acquire an MBA, that he or she hasn't already established a decent level of seniority or industry success. That is a large assumption. The average age of student matriculating into most M7 schools outside of HBS and Stanford is 27. We are essentially talking about a 4 year difference.

To answer your question, the person, career choice, and industry have a lot to do with the decision of a 30+ candidate to return to school get his or her MBAs. From my personal observation, many of these older candidates have come from the military, family businesses, and entrepreneurship endeavors. However, I've met several high-achieving 30+ candidates with very established, fast-track F500 careers that have opted to go back to school to get their MBA because they just wanted a career pause to evaluate whether they truly wanted to continue down their current path for the remainder of their working life, or wanted to pivot into another industry. The MBA is a great opportunity to learn about alternate careers, seeing as recruiters from various industries come on campus to recruit, especially at M7 schools.

How do these old candidates merit entry in M7 schools?

1. They received entry the same way that mostly ever other student at M7 schools received entry: They are smart and accomplished people! They scored high on the GMAT and/or displayed great academics in school, stellar performance ratings on the job, and substantive leadership in the community.

2. Value Add: From an MBA program's perspective, having more seasoned/experienced students in an MBA class can be very beneficial. Being able to reference and bring into the classroom unique and tangible personal business experiences (due to their many years on the job) into the classroom helps cultivate a more enriching classroom environment and discussion. Their added value is especially vital to the learning curve of the over-represented, inexperienced, and extremely smart 24 year-old former consultant (LOL...I'm joking).

My background is in entrepreneurship and technology, with an initial stint in management consulting. I've spent the last 6 years founding and managing a small tech company. After realized that I prefer investing in companies more than I do operating them, I liquidated my stake in the company. I am now looking to transition into VC and am using an MBA to augment my financial chops and facilitate this career shift.

For the record, there should be nothing counter intuitive about M7 schools admitting proven and smart people into a business school program to study BUSINESS. That sounds pretty intuitive and logical to me.

"Second place just means that you are the first loser." -Navy Seal maxim

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Best Response
Mar 18, 2013
DCDepository:

This isn't a personal attack, just curiosity--if one is 30/31 and hasn't established some decent level of seniority such that he/she is too far long in his/her career to justify business school, how is it then that one can merit entrance into an M7 business school? Late start in life? Odd background? Just seems counterintuitive to me.

Respectfully, it seems that a LOT of people on this site aren't very unique, and really operate in a very narrow band of possibilities.

possible reasons for later entry into grad school (or even college):
1. multiple career changes
2. military
3. company relocation resulting in less desireable new living situation
4. industry dying (think: newspaper) or getting fired and wanting a career change
5. took time to do other things / odd background
6. change in personal life: I know a lady who decided to go to medical school after her kids all grew up and moved out. Very interesting story and she told me about it at my last annual physical.

Example: I have a cousin that worked very hard and saved every cent for a few years and then literally travelled the world. Not the standard bullshit you see on this site of getting drunk in Sao Paolo and then talking about experiencing the local flavor, spending two days in a hotel room in Japan and learning five phrases in another language, or any of that crap. They LIVED in other places for three to nine months at a time for six years. They speak several languages, have friends literally all over the world, and could entertain you for hours with stories of interesting things they did. Why? That's a long story. But at the age of thirty seven they decided they wanted to change lives, went to shool, get married, and that was that. Plenty of people in the program were younger, and knew what they wanted to do earlier in life. Some were older.

In my case, I didn't even work a corporate job until the age of 28: I'd worked in the restaurant business and was going to open my own place, and then one day I decided I hated the whole thing, finished one of my degrees, and got a job in downtown NYC. I didn't get the red carpet rolled out to me like the kids in formal recruiting, but did get a toehold from which to start building a career. On the other hand, I have a sibling that graduated college in 2.5 years and started their own company, bypassing the entire corporate gulag that so many uninspired entrepeneurs hide in LOL

I don't know about other reasons as well, but my own history and that of a lot of people I know are extremely varied for a whole huge swath of reasons...and everyone seems to be able to do what they put their mind to, regardless of age. The "unusual" background simply says to me that you went out on your own and did your own thing, and that alone is usually enough to turn a red flag into a huge positive.

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Mar 18, 2013

I think a better way to ask the question would be how many years of experience should I have before it is too late to apply for b-school. I am from an Asian country and we have to be conscripted into the army for 2 years. After graduation from a 4 year course for males, we typically would be 25. At 31, we would have 6 years of working experience. 6 years of experience seems to be the average working experience for MBA students in the top 20 US b-schools.

Mar 18, 2013
limlimlim:

I think a better way to ask the question would be how many years of experience should I have before it is too late to apply for b-school. I am from an Asian country and we have to be conscripted into the army for 2 years. After graduation from a 4 year course for males, we typically would be 25. At 31, we would have 6 years of working experience. 6 years of experience seems to be the average working experience for MBA students in the top 20 US b-schools.

This is a valid point. As a US Army veteran, it's one that I would certainly raise with a program should my age at matriculation ever be an issue...though, you would never actually know it.

The other part of the puzzle to figure out with top business schools is the post-MBA aspect. I think your actual age is less of an issue with the school except that it could impact your opportunities post-MBA and, face it, schools want/need to place students quickly.

Being 30+ years old and switching careers might be more of an issue with recruiters and that would raise the risk that you don't get placed. As was mentioned above, sometimes that age is mitigated by previous life experiences, but at the end of the day, people are going to be comparing the numbers on paper and 28 vs. 32 is going to stand out.

Consider that a lot of top business schools place a huge number of their classes into finance and consulting...two industries with some fairly rigid career paths. Honestly, I think 33 or 34 is really going to be the very upper limit for IB associate recruiting because I can't imagine too many banks are jumping to have 35 year old guys as junior level people. Clearly that isn't an absolute, but it illustrates how some recruiters would shy away from the older candidates.

One thing that would help mitigate the risk from the admissions committee's perspective might be the entrepreneurial aspect, but who knows just how much that matters to them?

OP, couple things to consider. You are getting to the point where an executive program might make sense... especially if you are really looking to run your own company. An executive program would allow you to keep working, making money and manage the risk of starting a business on the side...then allow you to jump ship when you feel the idea has some legs to stand on.

Lastly, if you still want to consider FT programs, think about how you will craft your essays and show the admissions committee that you aren't a risky bet. That might mean your short goals they always ask about don't revolve around starting a business but, instead, explain your continued career path with more responsibility and a larger leadership position. That is to say, you sort of need to tell them what they want to hear...even if it isn't entirely accurate. Example, for my short term goal essays, I only wrote about getting into IB...not because I want to be in IB over PE, but because a school might look at my app and think that my chances of getting into PE are very small and they don't want that risk. With IB, however, I can explain how I already have most of the skills required to operate in that environment, which makes it seem as though I have a better shot at getting an offer than the career switchers with no finance experience.

Regards

Mar 18, 2013

I'm 32 w/ 8 yrs work experience and just got into a top 10. I think many older candidates self select out of applying. Obviously you want to be in that 25-28 sweet spot, but again, 26-28 are usually MEDIAN ages. Plenty of older folks make it in (its prob tougher at a Harvard or Stanford, which continue to trend younger). I would say that once you're past 30 you REALLY need to think about why you want the MBA at that point (assuming that you've shown good career progression) and had better make sure that your "story" is compelling enough. Feel free to PM me if you need more details.

Mar 18, 2013

never. The day your mentality is too old is the day you ask such questions.
I would pursue whatever I want no matter I'm in my 40s or 80s.
They say No, It is not gonna work. Fine, go prove them wrong.

I'm just a humble clown. I juggle around just for a good laugh of yours.

Mar 18, 2013
LifeHedger:

never. The day your mentality is too old is the day you ask such questions.
I would pursue whatever I want no matter I'm in my 40s or 80s.
They say No, It is not gonna work. Fine, go prove them wrong.

While I like your thought process, it's a bit ambiguous to accurately apply to this situation. It's a legitimate question the OP is asking. Schools are a business and they function, in part, on rankings, which means they take the 'best' candidates, within reason. That means a while host of variables come into play, including age. They aren't going to take people they feel they can't place in a job, because it hurts their numbers. The pitch you get from each school is mostly marketing. Diversity and uniqueness, etc. is mostly bunk. You cater your essays to that crap, but that's about it. If the schools really appreciated interesting and diverse backgrounds more than accomplishments and potential future success, they would be filled with starving artists.

Bottom line is, if HBS says you can't come to HBS because of a factor you have no control over...in this case, age (because you're only going to get older)...there is no (legal) way to prove them wrong. That's the beauty of the silly essay questions. It's your opportunity to show the admissions committee that you aren't exactly what your resume reflects and convince them that you can bring something to the table.

Regards

Mar 18, 2013

I'm a 30-year-old guy who will be applying to a number of full-time MBA programs this coming cycle.

My three years of post-college work experience put me right in the meaty portion of the distribution for most schools -- I'm sure as hell hoping that adcoms weigh that more than they do my advanced age (since I'm significantly older than most students). I'm a personable guy with a reasonably interesting story (military, engineering, etc.), so here's to hoping that that counts for something these days. I'm not overly optimistic (since I'm really only focusing on top 15 schools), but I figure I might as well give it a shot.

(Adding insult to injury, there's a good chance that my girlfriend will apply to HBS and Stanford this fall, and I'd be pretty surprised if she didn't get into at least one of them. It should makes things pretty interesting.)

Mar 17, 2013
holla_back:

I'm a 30-year-old guy who will be applying to a number of full-time MBA programs this coming cycle.

My three years of post-college work experience put me right in the meaty portion of the distribution for most schools -- I'm sure as hell hoping that adcoms weigh that more than they do my advanced age (since I'm significantly older than most students). I'm a personable guy with a reasonably interesting story (military, engineering, etc.), so here's to hoping that that counts for something these days. I'm not overly optimistic (since I'm really only focusing on top 15 schools), but I figure I might as well give it a shot.

(Adding insult to injury, there's a good chance that my girlfriend will apply to HBS and Stanford this fall, and I'd be pretty surprised if she didn't get into at least one of them. It should makes things pretty interesting.)

You really aren't significantly older than most students. There might be a 2-3 year age difference between you and the average age. You will have classmates that are several years younger than the average and others who are several years older, even older than you. I'm 32 and I'm not the oldest person in my class.

Take your age out of the equation. It's really not relevant, especially since you only have 3 years of work experience. Schools don't look at your birthday and throw your app away if you were born in 1983 or earlier. Let your career accomplishments, GMAT, GPA, leadership, etc. determine where you should apply, not your birthday.

Mar 18, 2013
holla_back:

I'm a 30-year-old guy who will be applying to a number of full-time MBA programs this coming cycle.

My three years of post-college work experience put me right in the meaty portion of the distribution for most schools -- I'm sure as hell hoping that adcoms weigh that more than they do my advanced age (since I'm significantly older than most students). I'm a personable guy with a reasonably interesting story (military, engineering, etc.), so here's to hoping that that counts for something these days. I'm not overly optimistic (since I'm really only focusing on top 15 schools), but I figure I might as well give it a shot.

(Adding insult to injury, there's a good chance that my girlfriend will apply to HBS and Stanford this fall, and I'd be pretty surprised if she didn't get into at least one of them. It should makes things pretty interesting.)

I wouldn't be too worried about the age situation. Even at 30 you are only at the upper range of most of the medians and there are always outiers. I actually talked to a guy last night who is a 1st year at Kenan-Flagler and he said there is a 40 something year old in their class who was prior career military. Basically the guy retired as a Lt. Col. and decided he didn't want to go work as a government contractor in DC. Clearly that's an extreme case, but that may further emphasis the point that age isn't an absolute deal killer.

Also, for what it's worth, I read somewhere that HBS recently accepted someone with a 490 or something like that. I can't prove that's true, but it made me think about all the folks trying to justify to the admissions committee how their 680 shouldn't imply they aren't capable of being successful at such a great institution and then, somewhere on campus, is a legacy URM that strolled in with a 500-600 GMAT, lol.

Regards

Mar 18, 2013

Military gets a free pass. Everyone else needs to justify age, but if you have a good reason and are articulate it shouldn't be hard. This is what the "what do you wished we asked you" prompt is for.

Mar 18, 2013

IMD in Switzerland prefers more experienced candidates for its one year MBA. The average age is around 30 years old.

I actually have a manager who went there at 30 or 31 years old. He said the experience was really intense.

Mar 17, 2013

I think it's VERY difficult for a finance/consulting guy to get into a M7 at 30+. I'm sure it's been done, but i personally don't know any, and I know a lot of people at top programs. The ones who are 30+ are usually military, doctors, Phd's, tech, engineers, or some other very niche area.

Mar 18, 2013
mbavsmfin:

I think it's VERY difficult for a finance/consulting guy to get into a M7 at 30+. I'm sure it's been done, but i personally don't know any, and I know a lot of people at top programs. The ones who are 30+ are usually military, doctors, Phd's, tech, engineers, or some other very niche area.

Do you know any finance or consulting guys who've applied to top MBA programs while in their 30s?

Mar 17, 2013
holla_back:
mbavsmfin:

I think it's VERY difficult for a finance/consulting guy to get into a M7 at 30+. I'm sure it's been done, but i personally don't know any, and I know a lot of people at top programs. The ones who are 30+ are usually military, doctors, Phd's, tech, engineers, or some other very niche area.

Do you know any finance or consulting guys who've applied to top MBA programs while in their 30s?

Not consulting but i know finance guys who applied. 2 were traders at big hedge funds, a few others were research analysts at major long-short equity funds.

Mar 18, 2013

Sounds like you would be a good candidate for an Executive MBA program, assuming that there are top schools in your area that offer them; continue working and do it part time. You may miss out on the full range of the recruiting resources but you will still have the name behind you and have access to interviews you wouldn't normally have had access to.

Mar 18, 2013

Most of the 30+ tend to be internationals.

Mar 17, 2013

30+ students do not fit a specific profile. They come from all types of career backgrounds and countries. They have various career interests. There isn't a prototype to measure yourself against. In my class there are 30+ international students, domestic students, former consultants, former entrepreneurs, former corporate, former finance...you name it, they've done it. If you want to apply when you're 30 or 31, go for it and let the chips fall where they may.

Mar 18, 2013
ReluctantMBA:

30+ students do not fit a specific profile. They come from all types of career backgrounds and countries. They have various career interests. There isn't a prototype to measure yourself against. In my class there are 30+ international students, domestic students, former consultants, former entrepreneurs, former corporate, former finance...you name it, they've done it. If you want to apply when you're 30 or 31, go for it and let the chips fall where they may.

You're right. I would say it's probably significantly less common to see 30+ year old finance and consulting guys in a full time b-school program. Outside of that, which is a world most people here on WSO doesn't acknowledge the existence of, are corp finance, marketing, advertising, operations, engineering and various other industry folks that spent 5 or more years climbing the corporate ladder before deciding to apply.

Regards

Jun 24, 2013

Here a 29 year old who will try to apply with 31! But not only that, I will try to move into finance!

Feb 13, 2014

I am 30 years old and got into Stanford GSB, starting fall 2014. so it is possible to get in.

Feb 17, 2014

@ship, fantastic accomplishment!!!

@techBizman, the answer is yes, you can definitely get into top schools. As demonstrated by the many folks here, I'm also a 30 years old going to an M7 school in summer. (admitted by 2 M7 schools) I was rejected by HBS and GSB(twice) though, so the age thing might be more of an issue at those two schools if you don't have an amazing story to tell.

Also now I see one reason behind the admission team wanting more from the older applicants, are you going to feel comfortable hanging out with a bunch of people 5-6 years younger than you? Would you have a problem when you graduate and have the same job as your younger classmates? You do have different priorities when you are at different age group.

Just my two cents, good luck!

Feb 15, 2014

I am a 2nd year in a M7, also in my 30's. Up to 32/33 you can get into any top biz-school, with the exception of HBS and Stanford. If you look at HBS statistics, ONLY 1.7% of admitted students are 30 or over. If you take into account that within that group there are many of those over-hyped military applicants, then your chances are slim to none if you are a "civilian". Top ten schools that admit even guys in their late 30's, early 40's are Wharton and Tuck.

Feb 17, 2014

I think 29-30 is the average age for most MBA students. So I would say no, you are fine. Actually, of course you are fine. There is no such age as "too old" to go back to school and get your masters or any degree for that matter

Feb 17, 2014

You are absolutely fine. 29 is nowhere near too old, although Harvard typically prefers younger applicants (exceptions are military experience and phd students). Put together a solid application, make sure to highlight your professional growth and notable experiences, and you should be fine (speaking generally of course).

IBanker

Feb 17, 2014

If you are accepted to a top 10 school you'll be a bit older than the average student, but you're not too old. If you're going to b-school to transition careers, make sure you're smart about which school you go to or you can easily waste 2 years and $100K+ and not get sufficient return for your investment.

Here are some questions you should answer as you think about which schools to apply to:
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Feb 17, 2014

for H/S that is a slightly older probably by about 2 or 3 years. For all other schools thats about the average age.

KICKIN ASS AND TAKING NAMES

Feb 17, 2014

Out of curiousity (and ignorance), why are what is generally considered the two top MBA programs in the world (Harvard and Stanford) the ones most well known for taking the least "qualified" candidates. I personally know a 23-year-old admitted to HBS who is a good guy with great grades and a decent resume--for a 23-year-old. But compared to just the people I work with, his resume and life experiences pale in comparison.

I just don't understand how Harvard, for example, can maintain such a stellar reputation when it's admitting 23-year-old punk kids (I'm just 24, by the way, so I'm not trying to put anyone down). I work with 26- and 27-year-old guys who have stellar resumes and incredible life experiences who probably couldn't even sniff an on-campus interview. What's the explanation for this anyway?

Feb 17, 2014

I know a number of people who just graduated from wharton in their 30's.

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Feb 17, 2014

This is an interesting thread. I too will be heading down this track soon (31 years old now).

Feb 17, 2014

i think it all depends largely on what field you want to do, with banking i think 32-34 is near the top end of the range but i may be wrong, if youre doing corp finance then itll be diff id imagine... at the mid 30s i think the EMBA becomes the more typical with experience and all

Feb 17, 2014

I would say graduating when your 33-34 is probably the cut off. I know the date seems kind of arbitrary, but I don't think that starting an MBA when your 30 is too late...your only 30! When you graduate at 33 or so, you can be a VP by 35, MD by the time by your early 40s and still have a career of as an MD for 10-20 years. I think that being in your mid or late 30s when your competing for the same positions as 25 years old is pushing it.

Feb 17, 2014

i would love to compete with 25 year olds....

Feb 17, 2014

roughly agree with Gekko. I feel 26-28 is the best age to start, but starting at 30 or 31 is easily doable.

Feb 17, 2014

35 is the general age most people consider too late. It depends on what you are going for though, and what you have accomplished thus far. There are plenty of MBA'ers in their 30s however so its not like you'll be competing with all 25 year olds.

Feb 17, 2014

There are plenty of people in my program who are 30-31...mid thirties starts to seem a tad strange.

Feb 17, 2014

26? wow... i didnt know shit at 26.... well i am 27 now and still dont know shit...

my biggest issue is what if you have a lot of things going on... i have many irons in the oven....

Feb 17, 2014

I'm there with ya Monty. I don't plan on starting mine until I'm 31.

Feb 17, 2014

This is actually discussed once before on this site with some interesting comments. http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/5-year-bsmba...
You probably wouldn't be able to place as an Associate right away, and even if you did, it might hurt you a bit because you couldn't place buy side and that's the whole point. An MBA is for building your network. Abandon that by sticking it into the tail end of your undergrad years and you're killing your opportunities.

Feb 17, 2014

I don't think it is necessarily a good idea. When you graduate from BS/MBA 5-year program, you won't be considered for associate positions, because they usually require previous work experience. And true value of MBA comes from networking with people from diverse backgrounds/experiences. However, if you just are just a senior at undergrad with no work experience, you definitely won't fit into the group.

Yes, it is very competitive and prestigious program and only 2~4 people get in each year, but your degree won't treat you the same as other MBA degrees. And you are blowing your chance of getting into HBS/GSB.

Interesting fact. Ken Moelis and his son graduated from that program. Ken started his career as an analyst at Drexel Burnham. I think his son is working at a HF or something.

Feb 17, 2014

If you can place an associate it's pretty baller, but that's not an easy thing to do. Making MD at an investment bank at 34ish is legendary.

Feb 17, 2014

VERY tough to get into. I think Moelis' son is working at goldman SSG. And of course, the legendary Jed Cairo managed to get a KKR associate gig coming out of that program. But that guy is a beast, arguably one of the most talented kids to come out of wharton undergrad in the last 20 years.

Feb 17, 2014

Just read his LinkedIn, woah.

Feb 17, 2014

My buddy started his MBA at Stanford at 33. He was one of the oldest there.

Feb 17, 2014
NavalMonkey:

My buddy started his MBA at Stanford at 33. He was one of the oldest there.

I'm assuming your buddy is ex-military.

HBS and Stanford are definitely gonna penalize those who have been out of college more than 5 years, unless you are ex-military or have an advanced degree (preferably Phd or MD).

I was curious to know about schools like Wharton or Booth, for non-military folks.

Feb 17, 2014

The most important component of your application is the essays and specifically how you address the why mba why here why now question. They need to see what you are going to get out of it/hoping to get out of it, and what you offer in return. Not many 35 year have a compelling reason for getting an mba, other than "because im getting too old", so if you were looking for a number id.say thats it (and it is the oldest person in my program that I am aware of, and he is from South America so possibly sponsored.

Feb 17, 2014

.

Feb 17, 2014

over 30 is a disadvantage and 35 becomes extremely tough. 26-28 at entrance (4-6 years experience) is sort of the "sweet spot", maybe a bit younger for H/S.

One of my older brothers did his MBA at Kellogg and started at 33 or so... he said he was one of the oldest guys there, but that he enjoyed it that way because it was fun to hang out with all the "youngins" again.

Feb 17, 2014

I visitied a few schools last fall and most students I met were 28-31.... I dont think I met anyone older then 31....

Feb 17, 2014

One word: INSEAD They won't barely look at the 27 you crowd; average age is somewhere in the early 30's. Otherwise, most schools don't care how old you are (just had a friend finish at UNC who said there were people in their 40s); you just need to have a story as to why you are doing a full-time rather than EMBA e.g. making a radical career change because you discovered something you are really passionate about. Being old will give more cred' to the story since you are probably more mature and self aware. Also, its probably more about number of years of experience rather than pure age (e.g. maybe you finished undergrad at 25 for some reason)

Mar 17, 2013

30-35 is harder but not at all prohibitive except at hbs/Stanford. You just need to give a compelling reason why you're pursuing an MBA at that age and demonstrate that you have something unique to bring to the table.

Feb 17, 2014
mbavsmfin:

30-35 is harder but not at all prohibitive except at hbs/Stanford. You just need to give a compelling reason why you're pursuing an MBA at that age and demonstrate that you have something unique to bring to the table.

You need to change your signature. It's embarrassing.

Feb 17, 2014

Haha, Brady answered his own question. Nice cover up though.

Feb 17, 2014

I remember look up the statistics for Stanford and Wharton and the median age was 28 or 29, I can't remember which one. I think before 30 is the sweet spot. Once you get into or past your early 30s, I think you need a viable reason, such as the military.

Also, as much stock as people put into the top schools, there's nothing wrong with looking at other schools and then work on networking your ass off. Most of the most successful people I know went to mediocre schools, were very active, hard-working, and involved.

Feb 17, 2014

Hi Brady. It's been some time since this post. Did you end up going for business school? Just curious as I know someone else that wants to do the same but he is hesitant about it at his age, he's 34.

Feb 17, 2014

29 is definitely not too old for grad school of any kind. Age is only a number. And, be real, if you had the opportunity to go to HBS, why would you ever turn it down? And no, top shops do not only consider HBS- both Stanford and Wharton are great b schools and let's not forget other top-tier places like Booth, Kellogg, Darden, etc.

Feb 17, 2014

On 3, I think what you've heard is correct. Post-MBA PE positions at top shops are highly competitive, and without prior PE experience you will likely have difficulty even getting interviews. I'm not sure about lateralling from a MM fund to a megafund -- my guess is that it would also be very challenging. If your ultimate goal is to work at a top PE firm, you should almost definitely work in PE before business school.

Feb 17, 2014

Considering I'm in London, where an MBA isn't really necessary and things are a little less structured, it may make sense to try to break into PE over here and then transfer to the US in a post-MBA position if possible.

Feb 17, 2014

wtf troll more than half of my class was 30+

Feb 17, 2014

Not old at all. I know someone who got into MIT Sloan at that age. I also know someone else who got into a couple other top 10 b-schools also at 31.

Is that your age Brady4MVP ? Or do you plan to reapply a few years down the line ?

As for admissions consultants, there are a couple on here who seem pretty good right ? Stacy Blackman and Alex.

Feb 17, 2014
Aviator:

Not old at all. I know someone who got into MIT Sloan at that age. I also know someone else who got into a couple other top 10 b-schools also at 31.

Is that your age Brady4MVP ? Or do you plan to reapply a few years down the line ?

As for admissions consultants, there are a couple on here who seem pretty good right ? Stacy Blackman and Alex.

I'm 30 now but will be 31 when I apply round 1 next year. I will be 32 when I start school.

I was originally against re-applying but when I visited a top 5 school recently I felt chills down my spine and felt alive. Heck, when I was at a bar this weekend all I could think about was b-school. So yeah, I have to give it one more shot.

Feb 17, 2014

who the F cares about age... if you want it, go for it.

Feb 17, 2014

There is no issue with your age , don't worry about that shit and apply

The dragon dozes off in the spirit which is its dwelling.

Feb 17, 2014

ill help ya out with your stuff once im done with mine :P can plot n scheme. i think columbia chicago and wharton (and tuck, kellogg too i believe? )actually like older vs harvard and stanford's preference for younger applicants... i think tuck and columbia both had 0 admits with no experience past year

Feb 17, 2014
shorttheworld:

ill help ya out with your stuff once im done with mine :P can plot n scheme. i think columbia chicago and wharton (and tuck, kellogg too i believe? )actually like older vs harvard and stanford's preference for younger applicants... i think tuck and columbia both had 0 admits with no experience past year

Thanks man. I appreciate it. I heard though that columbia HATES re-applicants. One source told me that he talked to a columbia admissions officer about re-applicants, and her phrase was, "one and done."

Also, I'm wondering if it's worth spending $10k to take accounting and microecon at booth. UChicago has a continuing studies program where you can take courses at booth. I'm hoping getting A's in those classes can offset a weaker GMAT quant score. But friends I've talked to said it's not worth it.

Feb 17, 2014

I think it will be an issue for H/S. W also is trending younger, but not as drastically, so I think you have a shot. The other schools are not as picky about age.
As for consultants, I would say Alex Chu and Sandy Kreisberg are the best, athough they differ a lot in their approaches. You all know Alex from his thread here. Sandy has a lot of experience with adcom bs and doesn't mince words when it comes to giving you feedback.

Feb 17, 2014

i think the brigham young online classes would be worth it to have the strong grades and theyre cheap, marriott is a good school and would show the academic ability for that ish despite your W/E in trading and whatnot since your other studies werent so financial :P

Feb 17, 2014

i've heard columbia is very 'fit' -- either you have what they want or you dont -- but given that if you sell yourself poorly to the school in your application or leave things out that you should triumph and reapply but DO show those things off, i think thats what matters.

Feb 17, 2014
shorttheworld:

i've heard columbia is very 'fit' -- either you have what they want or you dont -- but given that if you sell yourself poorly to the school in your application or leave things out that you should triumph and reapply but DO show those things off, i think thats what matters.

I took calculus and business statistics through UCLA's online extension program last year and got A's in both. Apparently that program is reasonably well-respected. No idea if adcom even cared about that. The friends I've talked to said that those courses don't help that much unless your gpa/GMAT is like below the 80% range.

Regarding columbia, how does one demonstrate "fit?" I heard that for columbia a campus visit is almost required in order to demonstrate sufficient interest.

Feb 17, 2014

no idea. i went to 4 classes visited with a student and went to two admissions events lol contrary to what everyone says i think its best to hump the lego f the school you wanna go to as much as you can -- go to all their events

Feb 17, 2014

31 y.o.=URM

bet you never thought you'd rape those bennies

Feb 17, 2014

At certain schools you have a much, much lower chance of admission. Schools like HBS will realistically only grant admission to a 30+ if you are ex-military, an MD / PhD, or some type of successful entrepreneur / athlete / other unique oddball profile. You will be competing against these candidates for admission slots, and unless you have something particularly notable on your resume it can be a challenge to gain admission.

I think the schools you mentioned are known as being friendly to older applicants, and (without knowing your profile) I would advise you add some backups to the list.

Saying that, there are plenty of MBA students who are in your age bracket, although you'd almost certainly be one of the older students to graduate at 34/35 years old. I was older, got lucky and ended up graduating near the top of my class.

The big issue is "will you be less attractive to employers in your prospective field?"

The answer is maybe. In certain fields where there is a rigid hierarchy - especially banking - you may find your resume is overlooked. Sounds silly but I can envision recruiters overlooking your age if you look young - they might not even think to ask. If on the other hand you are bald and obese or something, or look older than the boss, you may face steeper challenges as age will become an immediate focus. You should seriously consider if you will be able to realistically be able to achieve your goals.

When you write your essays for school, be careful when you articulate your goals because the school will ding you if they think you can't realistically achieve your goals. (Adcoms could think a 34 year old career switcher entering as an Associate in banking would be a low-probability event) . I'd tell them you have different ambitions than banking unless you have a background in finance (assuming you are career switcher).

edit: Just checked your profile looks like you have a background in finance so you would probably be okay. I say give it a shot, definitely not too old.

Feb 17, 2014
gamenumbers:

At certain schools you have a much, much lower chance of admission. Schools like HBS will realistically only grant admission to a 30+ if you are ex-military, an MD / PhD, or some type of successful entrepreneur / athlete / other unique oddball profile. You will be competing against these candidates for admission slots, and unless you have something particularly notable on your resume it can be a challenge to gain admission.

I think the schools you mentioned are known as being friendly to older applicants, and (without knowing your profile) I would advise you add some backups to the list.

Saying that, there are plenty of MBA students who are in your age bracket, although you'd almost certainly be one of the older students to graduate at 34/35 years old. I was older, got lucky and ended up graduating near the top of my class.

The big issue is "will you be less attractive to employers in your prospective field?"

The answer is maybe. In certain fields where there is a rigid hierarchy - especially banking - you may find your resume is overlooked. Sounds silly but I can envision recruiters overlooking your age if you look young - they might not even think to ask. If on the other hand you are bald and obese or something, or look older than the boss, you may face steeper challenges as age will become an immediate focus. You should seriously consider if you will be able to realistically be able to achieve your goals.

When you write your essays for school, be careful when you articulate your goals because the school will ding you if they think you can't realistically achieve your goals. (Adcoms could think a 34 year old career switcher entering as an Associate in banking would be a low-probability event) . I'd tell them you have different ambitions than banking unless you have a background in finance (assuming you are career switcher).

edit: Just checked your profile looks like you have a background in finance so you would probably be okay. I say give it a shot, definitely not too old.

I look young for my age. When I'm shaven, I can easily pass for 26-27, so that shouldn't be an issue.

Regarding career goals, I have no interest in banking or consulting. I want to transition into fundamental equity research at a long/short hedge fund or an IM firm.

A current first-year at booth actually read my essays for both wharton and booth. She thought my booth essays were too one-dimensional and lacked passion. She also said my powerpoint slide was a total disaster; it did not tell the adcom anything new or interesting about me. My wharton essays, on the other hand, were much stronger. I spent tons of time on it, so that wasn't too surprising. However, she felt that my long-term goal of working as a portfolio manager at a sovereign wealth fund in east asia might have rung a bit hollow given that I have never worked there before. She thought it might've come off as a ploy to appear unique.

Feb 17, 2014

are you a re-applicant from last year or from earlier?

Feb 17, 2014

Brady, when did you apply last ? That's important too.

Feb 17, 2014
Aviator:

Brady, when did you apply last ? That's important too.

Embarrasing to admit, but i applied twice before. First time was fall 2008 after the financial collapse and then round 2 last year.

Feb 17, 2014

no

Feb 17, 2014

mikerals, 28 isn't too old for H/S/W.

The average age of HBS students is 27. Granted that may be skewed by some outliers like kids from the 2+2 program and the older, non-traditional applicants (e.g. military special forces types).

The average work experience - hovering somewhere between 3.5 and 4 years - is going to affect how old you are when you apply, so if you spend an extra year or two in undergrad, and that may cause you to be a bit older when you hit the zone for sufficient amount of work experience.

In my humble opinion, the more work experience you accumulate/the older you are, the greater achievements you'll have to demonstrate to and admissions committee, and the more you'll have to justify why an MBA (if you have significantly more work experience).

Here's a link for an HBS class profile with historical data included as well: http://www.hbs.edu/mba/admissions/admission-requir...

    • 1
Feb 17, 2014

This was on Dee Leopold's blog, which i feel is much more informative than the 'average' age

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/PublishingImages/class-of-1...

Feb 17, 2014

Naw not at all. Most people graduate at 22. B schools want 3-5 years experience. That brings you to 27 years old for most applicants. So 28 should b fine

Feb 17, 2014

No, but having that sort of lack of understanding of statistics and deviations in their admittance pools might preclude you. Nah, Im playing you.

"...all truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident."

  • Schopenhauer
    • 1
Feb 17, 2014

not at all

Feb 17, 2014

Of course not, unless you have plans to retire at 50. It really depends why you want an MBA in the first place.

Feb 17, 2014

I don't think age matters that much here. If you're looking to upgrade your career into a more prestigious field/industry or land a gig at a brand name company, then getting an MBA from a widely recognized program will help. IMO, an MBA from a low profile school is nice, but doesn't help differentiate you from the rest of the pack.

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Feb 17, 2014

^^

I think Red is completely correct here-- getting an MBA from a top program will help you at age 40 even, but be careful getting an MBA from "South State Public University".

Feb 17, 2014

You would have to lay out your experience here at least in general terms. As a rather obvious example;

If you are a VP in banking with a clear line of sight to a director promote... You have no reason to move.

If you're stuck at say a corporate finance M&A group and continue to struggle to break into banking for one reason or another, then a top tier MBa will help.

As you know, and other posters here know, an MBA from a non-brand name is not going to help you much.

Feb 17, 2014

MBAs can help you bust through a career plateau. At the age of 30, you should have nearly 10 years experience which will help put you in the category of a "strong EMBA candidate" - a lot of which will give you a GMAT waiver in lieu of your working experience.

Feb 17, 2014
Nefarious-:

MBAs can help you bust through a career plateau. At the age of 30, you should have nearly 10 years experience which will help put you in the category of a "strong EMBA candidate" - a lot of which will give you a GMAT waiver in lieu of your working experience.

Nefarious, I disagree with this. 30 gives you 8 years of work experience, assuming you were gainfully employed--in the same industry. I think to do the EMBA you need to be encouraged at a particular company where you see them supporting you through the next few years. A fulltime MBA is fine. On one had you do feel a bit older than some of your immature classmates, but with recruiting, it actually helps (except with Banking where guys may give you crap about being an old associate). Other companies will be willing to do things to make you start out a bit 'better' than some of your classmates. Fulltime MBAs are FINE past 30. With the economy and people changing careers, employers know that it is very likely people career switch post 30. Also top EMBA programs still require GMAT--unless you were the MAN at your company

    • 1
Feb 17, 2014
Red Barchetta:

I don't think age matters that much here. If you're looking to upgrade your career into a more prestigious field/industry or land a gig at a brand name company, then getting an MBA from a widely recognized program will help. IMO, an MBA from a low profile school is nice, but doesn't help differentiate you from the rest of the pack.

This is probably truer outside of the corporate world. Seeing as how he tagged his post with f500 and corporate finance, not having an ivy MBA isn't going to hurt you.

Also, region needs to be taken into consideration. While there are schools that offer (what I like to refer to as) universal degrees (meaning they are revered everywhere) there are going to be schools that are revered in their region or state. If the guy lives in Atlanta, it would serve him well to explore MBA programs offered at GSU, GT and UGA as they are all viewed favorably and place well in the state/city (possibly even the southeast region). While an MBA from Emory would help him open more doors throughout the nation.

Feb 17, 2014

Personally,I am planning to take an MBA when I ll be 32.Depends from the situation,but imho definitely not a waste of time!

Feb 17, 2014

You know guys. you have help me a lot. I thought it was a waste of time, but you guys really have inspire me (even if you dont believe it).

Feb 17, 2014

Now my second question, GRE or GMAT? In case an university accept both.

Feb 17, 2014

GMAT

Feb 17, 2014

GMAT

Feb 17, 2014

red is on

Feb 17, 2014

Definitely not a waste.

Feb 17, 2014
marcus2012:

Personally,I am planning to take an MBA when I ll be 32.Depends from the situation,but imho definitely not a waste of time!

Not at all. Use your maturity to shine against some of your classmates, although, frankly, some of the younger guys will be sharper on other things... I think it's fine.

Mar 18, 2013

1. GMAT
2. eMBA is if you're going to stay in your industry. DO NOT get an eMBA to switch careers. You can get an eMBA and then network your butt off, but you can do that on your own anyway. Get a full time MBA to switch careers.
3. up to about 45, an MBA is useful. After that, you really have to explain what the hell you have done with your life until that point. But even then, I know a guy who retired from the military at 47, got his MBA, and now runs a small hedge fund. There are average parameters, but it really comes down to what you really want to do.

Feb 17, 2014

Not a waste. I would definitely try and get into a ranked school that has a strong career service center that will help you land a job after the second year.

Feb 17, 2014
femzilla:
Nefarious-:

MBAs can help you bust through a career plateau. At the age of 30, you should have nearly 10 years experience which will help put you in the category of a "strong EMBA candidate" - a lot of which will give you a GMAT waiver in lieu of your working experience.

Nefarious, I disagree with this. 30 gives you 8 years of work experience, assuming you were gainfully employed--in the same industry. I think to do the EMBA you need to be encouraged at a particular company where you see them supporting you through the next few years. A fulltime MBA is fine. On one had you do feel a bit older than some of your immature classmates, but with recruiting, it actually helps (except with Banking where guys may give you crap about being an old associate). Other companies will be willing to do things to make you start out a bit 'better' than some of your classmates. Fulltime MBAs are FINE past 30. With the economy and people changing careers, employers know that it is very likely people career switch post 30. Also top EMBA programs still require GMAT--unless you were the MAN at your company

I said nearly 10 years. 8 years is nearly 10 years.

Also, you need to keep in mind that not everyone is on the IB track. Work for two years and then leave for two years to do a full time MBA. This guy is clearly in his 30s and probably has a family to support - so why quit his job when he can continue to work and go to school part time, at night, on weekends, or even do distance learning from good schools as well.

One of the biggest problems with WSO is the hive mind mentality and the lack of knowledge of options outside of the typical iBanking path. I know a kid that got accepted into an EMBA program with only four years experience and no GMAT because his company sponsored him.

Each school has its own criteria - Purdue, for example, offers a distance learning EMBA that will waive the GMAT with five years working experience. Is this the typical "prestigious path" everyone on this board refers to? No, could it work for this guy and does it work for thousands of other people? Absolutely.

Personally, I don't see the advantage of leaving work (and money) to go back to school full time when your company will pay for a portion (or all of it) while you continue to collect a paycheck. The MBA is not a masters in rocket science - it is typically just a brush up on business and finance and an opportunity to network.

Feb 17, 2014
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