Difficult for "older" students to into top MBA programs?

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by micbain, Mar 20, 2011.

  1. micbain

    micbain Senior member

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    As the title states. By "older" I mean late 20's early 30's. I'm currently 28 and I'm starting to look into pursuing the MBA. I did an undergrad in business (strong gpa) and currently have 6 years of work experience (4 years big 4 audit, 2 years big 4 corporate finance advisory). Aiming for 2013 to enter a program. My hope is that my experience + a top tier MBA would allow me to move into IB. At the very least, it would accelerate my career at my current employer.

    From what I've read, it seems like the top end schools are trending towards younger applicants. Will my age ding me? Are there any schools which I'd have a better chance at (all things such as GMAT being equal)?

    Looking forward to thoughts.
     
  2. nahneun

    nahneun Uncle Nephew

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    I honestly don't think your college GPA matters if you've been in the work force for that long, especially if you have been working for the big 4. Also, I hear having more experience is generally a plus for MBA programs, so I don't see why your age would detract you as a candidate. I think it'd actually reinforce your chances of getting into a program.
     
  3. Lord-Barrington

    Lord-Barrington Senior member

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    As the title states. By "older" I mean late 20's early 30's. I'm currently 28 and I'm starting to look into pursuing the MBA. I did an undergrad in business (strong gpa) and currently have 6 years of work experience (4 years big 4 audit, 2 years big 4 corporate finance advisory). Aiming for 2013 to enter a program. My hope is that my experience + a top tier MBA would allow me to move into IB. At the very least, it would accelerate my career at my current employer. From what I've read, it seems like the top end schools are trending towards younger applicants. Will my age ding me? Are there any schools which I'd have a better chance at (all things such as GMAT being equal)? Looking forward to thoughts.
    As I understand it, not at all. The average age for MBA applicants is around 28-29 at most top school and that average is brought way down by young IB and MC analysts. You will meet many, many people in B-School who are in their early and even mid-thirties. The only places that clearly favor younger applicants are Havard and Stanford. To give you an idea of this, many companies that recruit MBAs from top schools for leadership programs in industry won't accept applicants with less than 6 years of WE. They aren't expecting to recruit 27 year old MBAs, nor do they want to.
     
  4. HRoi

    HRoi Senior member

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    That's awesome work experience for a pre-MBA. If you can slay the GMAT you will be made of gold, I think. Btw, my experience is that a current employer won't value the MBA as much as a new one.
     
  5. JayJay

    JayJay Senior member

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    Residential programs are trending towards younger apps because they need more apps. The number of apps has been trending downwards in recent years. Late 20s is still the preferred age for students though.
     
  6. kxk

    kxk Well-Known Member

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    Btw, my experience is that a current employer won't value the MBA as much as a new one.

    A current employer will often foot the bill for the MBA, though, which might make up for a lower post-MBA salary
     
  7. kxk

    kxk Well-Known Member

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    As the title states. By "older" I mean late 20's early 30's. I'm currently 28 and I'm starting to look into pursuing the MBA. I did an undergrad in business (strong gpa) and currently have 6 years of work experience (4 years big 4 audit, 2 years big 4 corporate finance advisory). Aiming for 2013 to enter a program. My hope is that my experience + a top tier MBA would allow me to move into IB. At the very least, it would accelerate my career at my current employer.

    From what I've read, it seems like the top end schools are trending towards younger applicants. Will my age ding me? Are there any schools which I'd have a better chance at (all things such as GMAT being equal)?


    I'm actually in the same boat as you. Same age, and if I enter, it will probably be in 2014. Ironically, I'll be working in a post-MBA role starting this fall, which, I've heard, might actually work against me.

    I do wonder, though, whether IBs will be ok with associates who start in their "early to mid 30s".
     
  8. alliswell

    alliswell Senior member

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    Can you get the job you want w/o b-school? Otherwise think smaller finance school (e.g. NYU), as you're getting to be a little old for bulge bracket IB, where the number one skill is being able to work 22 hours a day for long stretches. Not saying you cna't do that, but that's the first thing your team will think.
     
  9. micbain

    micbain Senior member

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    I do wonder, though, whether IBs will be ok with associates who start in their "early to mid 30s".

    Can you get the job you want w/o b-school? Otherwise think smaller finance school (e.g. NYU), as you're getting to be a little old for bulge bracket IB, where the number one skill is being able to work 22 hours a day for long stretches. Not saying you cna't do that, but that's the first thing your team will think.

    This is something I have considered and am concerned about. I'm currently working in a non-financial center city and would love the chance to work in a major financial center like new york but it appears as though an mba is the standard to have a shot at an associate position at bb.

    I'd apply to a position directly; however, I think one thing which works against me is the fact that I'm a Canadian who did his undergrad at a Canadian business school and have Canadian post grad credentials which they probably have never heard of (Chartered Accountant, and currently working on a Chartered Business Valuation designation...which is similar to the ASA in the US). I think this adds a level of uncertainty to me as a candidate and I also don't have the shine and prestige of a MBA.

    I've met ppl who've got my background get into BB, but they typically have a high end mba (harvard, chicago, NYU, etc).

    To be honest, I should be in b-school right now but ended up getting delayd for some personal reasons including having to go through reconstructive spine surgery and also the passing of a family member. I wasn't in the right mind frame to charge ahead.

    I really love my current job, and to be honest have no issues with landing a mid-marking CF job, or coming back to Canada and working with a Canadian bank. I'm willing to roll the dice a little bit and don't see the MBA as a gaurantee but as:

    - Increase my chances of BB, Mid-Market CF, or Buyside
    - Progression at current firm
    - Networking
    - Brush up skill sets/knowledge that've gotten rusty since undergrad
    - Personal satisfication
     
  10. micbain

    micbain Senior member

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    I'm actually in the same boat as you. Same age, and if I enter, it will probably be in 2014. Ironically, I'll be working in a post-MBA role starting this fall, which, I've heard, might actually work against me.

    I do wonder, though, whether IBs will be ok with associates who start in their "early to mid 30s".


    What type of Post-MBA role will you be working this fall?
     
  11. kxk

    kxk Well-Known Member

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    What type of Post-MBA role will you be working this fall?
    management consulting at one of the MBB. i fear that in addition to age, admissions committee might not feel that i "have much to gain" from MBA. and some people posit that the fact that i'll have significant pre-MBA salary may work against me, as well (as some rankings of MBAs take into account the % of salary growth, although i bet that one datapoint won't significantly affect anything)
     
  12. micbain

    micbain Senior member

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    management consulting at one of the MBB.
    i fear that in addition to age, admissions committee might not feel that i "have much to gain" from MBA. and some people posit that the fact that i'll have significant pre-MBA salary may work against me, as well (as some rankings of MBAs take into account the % of salary growth, although i bet that one datapoint won't significantly affect anything)


    I hope padding the admissions stats aren't a reason to keep you out! Maybe I'm wrong, but a MBA would be great to brush up on skill sets, or add new ones (outside of your undergrad major) which would benefit you even if you work at MBB.



    Thoughts from any "older" members who have gone through the MBA application/interview process?
     
  13. pebblegrain

    pebblegrain Senior member

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    If you start the whole process NOW, you will be fine. Every additional year you wait, however, does hurt your chances.

    The prime age for MBAs during school is around 28 entering, 30 when they leave. You will be about 1-2 years older than this but thats fine. really.

    applicants who are 33,34,35 absolutely do have harder time getting in.
     
  14. Jasemin

    Jasemin New Member

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    No, I am not agree with your statement, You can get success in MBA with your struggle so, you can do it... And I think all companies will definitely still hire if you are 40 or older... So, You should think so positively and go for it...
     
  15. godofcoffee

    godofcoffee Senior member

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    I hope padding the admissions stats aren't a reason to keep you out! Maybe I'm wrong, but a MBA would be great to brush up on skill sets, or add new ones (outside of your undergrad major) which would benefit you even if you work at MBB.



    Thoughts from any "older" members who have gone through the MBA application/interview process?


    I didn't end up applying to business school (and am pretty young), so this should be taken with a grain of salt. But I did go through the early steps of application, and I know a lot of business school students.

    a) Yeah, if you're looking at good American business schools, there are those that seem to really like older applicants (Kellogg, Tuck, Wharton and Sloan-ish) and those that seem to really like Goldman and Mckinsey alumni (Harvard and Stanford) and therefore have younger populations. As far as I know, good Canadian schools (e.g. Ivey) are closer to the former than the latter group. So you're definitely fine.

    b) A lot of people cynically refer to business school as the country club years, and I think this characterization is accurate - more so at the best business schools than the worst ones. At the very top, spending your time networking with future CEOs is a lot more important than actually learning. Some of my b-school friends have confessed that even though b-school is a great deal (signalling effects and connections), they learned practically nothing, and nobody cares much about grades. On the other hand, hanging out for 3 years and making bank afterward doesn't sound so bad to me.
     

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