MBA over 30 – how many people actually apply?
We get asked this question often by students who’ve just turned the other side of 30. Will business schools consider me too old, and will I be disqualified as a result? Is it possible to do an MBA after 30?
A fair question – especially since the evidence available seems to support this theory. After all, how many students in business school are 30 and older? Very few.
But – if you put the number of people over 30 who enroll for MBA programs in the context of the number of people over 30 who actually apply to such programs, you will see that the numbers are not so bad after all. People over 30 have usually moved on to a different phase in life, and consequently, do not find the prospect of going back to school attractive. So very few apply to business school, and very few get in. Now, that’s not so bad, is it?
While this is a lot to cheer about, we would like to highlight that older applicants do face some challenges in their business school applications.
MBA over 30 – are your accomplishments in line with the extra years of experience you have?
Firstly, with more years of experience comes a greater expectation that you would have more accomplishments. So, if you plan to go back to school, definitely make sure that your resume contains more bragging points than would be expected of a 25 year old.
Are you looking for mid-senior roles or will you be happy starting over again?
Secondly, consider the more practical problem that business schools face. In order for their career placement statistics to look good, they need to be able to find you a job. Now, business schools are machines fine-tuned to find excellent jobs for people whoa re at junior levels of the hierarchy – entry level consultants, entry level bankers, etc. But someone over 30 typically looks at positions a bit more senior than that. It will be difficult, typically, for the business school to close the gap between your expectations of a mid-senior position and what they are able to offer. If you can make this easier for them – perhaps by admitting that you don’t mind starting from the beginning (and appear convincing when you say that), you will have it easier to get into business school.
So for all the MBA over 30 folks – there you have it – one positive, two negatives, and ways to circumvent those negatives. Do this, and you should find it easy to get in.