Are you an older candidate who is thinking about applying to business school? Although most applicants are in their mid-upper 20s, if you are 30 years or older, pursuing an MBA degree can still be a very viable option for you.
However, before delving into the application process, make sure that you are able to answer the following questions; based on my experience, the most successful older candidates can very clearly convey what their future career goals are, why they need the MBA to accomplish their goals despite being older, and which MBA program is the right one for them.
What are your future career goals?
As an older applicant, you have already been following a certain career path for some time, so a natural question that arises is what you are planning to do in the future such that an MBA is required. If you are planning to stay in the same industry but feel that you need the MBA to progress in your career then you should explain why. If you are planning to pursue something different, then your motivating factors towards going down an alternate path need to be clear. Moreover, keep in mind that since you would be a more experienced professional versus other candidates applying, Admissions Committees would be expecting you to have gained more responsibility in your career over time.
Why do you need the MBA?
Given your longer career runway, there will be an assumption that you would have gained a strong toolbox of skills that you can continue to leverage throughout your professional endeavors. Therefore, you need to be able to convince the Admissions Committee why you need to gain additional skills from their MBA program. What will an MBA give you that you have not been able to gain thus far in your career? How will the MBA bolster and/or complement the skillset that you already have?
Which MBA program is the right one for you?
If you are between the ages of 30-35, then pursuing full-time MBA programs or even part-time MBA programs may still make a lot of sense. However, given that there are very few people in full-time MBA programs who are over the age of 35, it may be better for those who are 35+ to pursue either part-time or executive MBA programs. This can be determined on a case-by-case basis – the program that is the right fit typically comes down to individual goals and circumstances.
As an older candidate, the MBA degree is definitely not out of reach! Use the questions above as a framework as you think about the right programs for you and why you are pursuing the MBA at this later stage in your career.
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Ivy Groupe is a boutique MBA admissions consulting company founded by Shaifali Aggarwal, who received her MBA from Harvard Business School and undergraduate degree from Princeton University. Shaifali’s philosophy focuses on authenticity and storytelling to help clients craft compelling and differentiated applications that stand out. With this approach, Shaifali’s clients have gained admission to top-tier MBA programs such as Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, Tuck, and Yale, among others.