Jet pilot to MBA; Will extended yearly commitments make me too old?

USMCAV8R's picture
Rank: Chimp | 4

Greetings all. Just curious about some things.
I am currently a pilot in the Marine Corps; and playing the role of Pilot/Finance officer for my squadron.
I want to attend business school when my commitment is over, however because our commitments are so long I will be 34 when I apply and 35 when Fall arrives. Granted this will be in 2019/2020.
Will I be too old to apply for business school? I have a 3.8 undergrad GPA which I received in 2007. I have yet to take the GMAT. I want to attend business school full time since I will be attempting a career change.
Additionally, is there anything I can accomplish to help my chances at getting accepted to business school? I am considering getting a finance degree part time while I await my commitment to end. Because I will be a veteran I will be able to attend most schools free of charge, and I will be able to afford to take two years off of work.

Comments (11)

Feb 19, 2014

Don't listen to my advice.

If I were you, I'd get out of the military and get a civilian job somewhere and do a solid EMBA program (Columbia/Wharton).

Feb 19, 2014

First off, kudos for serving. Know a few friends in the Marines myself and they're great people.
You won't be too old for business school by any means. Plenty of older folks with special circumstances (yours is one) that go back when they're in their 30s. You'll probably have to temper expectations for job opportunities coming out, however. Not sure if an investment bank wants to hire a 38-year-old Associate to do grunt work. If you're looking to get into something more "corporate", I could see that working out.

Currently: future psychiatrist (med school =P)
Previously: investor relations (top consulting firm), M&A consulting (Big 4), M&A banking (MM)

Feb 20, 2014
chicandtoughness:

First off, kudos for serving. Know a few friends in the Marines myself and they're great people.

You won't be too old for business school by any means. Plenty of older folks with special circumstances (yours is one) that go back when they're in their 30s. You'll probably have to temper expectations for job opportunities coming out, however. Not sure if an investment bank wants to hire a 38-year-old Associate to do grunt work. If you're looking to get into something more "corporate", I could see that working out.

Important point here. Do you want to do IB post MBA?

@BGP: What about not being able to do IBD Associate hours in your mid 30's?

Feb 19, 2014

EMBA is the way to go! Goodluck and btw you still have nearly 30 years to work. Do not discount yourself from a great education.

Feb 20, 2014

Unfortunately, because of the location of our bases and work hours, I won't be able to get an EMBA while in the corps. Should I still wait till when my commitment is up (2020) to get an EMBA? If so why would that be better than getting a full time MBA?

Feb 20, 2014

100% disagree with the people recommending an EMBA. You will be in the oldest 10% of your class at business school, but there's a reason why every school has a decent number of people in their early-to-mid 30s. My slightly uneducated guess is that a decent number of the older crowd is military applicants, because often those are the types that a full-time MBA still makes sense for. If you've been working for 10+ years, it's a lot harder to justify a full-time degree over an EMBA/PMBA.

I think you will be a solid candidate. You should check out Poets and Quants and read Sandy's analysis of military applicants. He is sort of the ultimate layman as far as understanding military experience, but odds are that's what most Adcom members are, so can be helpful to see his perspective. He often said that they understand that certain things are more prestigious than others - e.g. SEALS, Special Ops, and (I think) fighter pilots.

There is a lot of other info out there for military applicants as well. Check out http://blog.militarytobusiness.com/ and even though you're a few years from applying, start planning your path now. Obivously, the GMAT will be huge and is even more important for military applicants (who again, don't have as understandable of a work experience as does someone from consulting). Find a couple other things to maximize your candidacy, and as another poster said, make sure your career goals make sense for someone that will be much older than the norm upon graduation.

Feb 20, 2014
BGP2587:

100% disagree with the people recommending an EMBA. You will be in the oldest 10% of your class at business school, but there's a reason why every school has a decent number of people in their early-to-mid 30s. My slightly uneducated guess is that a decent number of the older crowd is military applicants, because often those are the types that a full-time MBA still makes sense for. If you've been working for 10+ years, it's a lot harder to justify a full-time degree over an EMBA/PMBA.

I think you will be a solid candidate. You should check out Poets and Quants and read Sandy's analysis of military applicants. He is sort of the ultimate layman as far as understanding military experience, but odds are that's what most Adcom members are, so can be helpful to see his perspective. He often said that they understand that certain things are more prestigious than others - e.g. SEALS, Special Ops, and (I think) fighter pilots.

There is a lot of other info out there for military applicants as well. Check out http://blog.militarytobusiness.com/ and even though you're a few years from applying, start planning your path now. Obivously, the GMAT will be huge and is even more important for military applicants (who again, don't have as understandable of a work experience as does someone from consulting). Find a couple other things to maximize your candidacy, and as another poster said, make sure your career goals make sense for someone that will be much older than the norm upon graduation.

I was going to disagree too, but I definitely am not an authority on the subject. So I'll just second this response.

Feb 20, 2014

I'll second BGP based on my limited knowledge.

My recommendation is to start reaching out to military guys with an MBA in the field(s) you may want to go in to after Bschool. It's never to early to start building relationships and they can give you some great insight re: how to best position yourself for admission, schools to target, post military careers, stuff you can start doing now, etc.

There's a former military pilot that works in banking that who posts on the board somewhat regularly. I can't remember his user name, but try reaching out to him.

Also, thanks for your service.

Feb 20, 2014

Worked with older military candidates -- some in exactly the same position as you due to service requirements-- and all have had wonderful results. I LOVE these guys! And so do admissions officers; they know that pilot training can add to your commitment -- but that doesn't mean it's a lay-up. Do your homework, do your networking. Find the right fit. Talk around. If you need the name of a second-year who would be happy to talk you through it, PM me or email me, and I'll connect you

Betsy Massar
Come see me at my Q&A thread
http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/b-school-qa-... Ask away!

Feb 20, 2014

I think the poster's id is "formerhornetdriver" or something like that.

Feb 20, 2014
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