The average MBA student is twenty-eight years old, and still finding his place in the business world. However, the older - and sometimes much older - MBA students are not rare. The older MBA candidates may have decades of experience under hisher belt, but still looking for ways to give their career a boost.
Can one ever be too old to take on an MBA? Most admission directors will tell you that there are no age limits when considering applicants for an MBA program. However, the word is on the street that MBA admissions committees prefer under-thirty candidates. Luckily, "the word" is, most likely, wrong. What the admissions committees look for is the right "fit" in the program and the post-MBA employability of a candidate.
For an older MBA candidate, that means that he needs to demonstrate the value he'll bring into a classroom, and his employability after the graduation. Having work experience is actually a requirement for admission in many MBA programs, but having too much can pose a problem! There is no age discrimination at work here: an older candidate is simply more likely to have his career trajectory already set - sometimes seemingly set in stone - so pursuing an MBA might not be a good idea for him.
Many older MBA students can't simply abandon their jobs to study full-time, so they'll often opt for a part-time MBA program. Executive MBA programs might be a good fit for those with extensive professional experience in management. Mature students are also - while working toward their MBA - typically balancing other responsibilities: a family life,mortgage payments.
There are some distinct advantages when pursuing an MBA as a more mature student. Older MBA students are usually more serious and committed to studying than their younger counterparts. They can bring their rich experience and unique perspective to the class discussions and mentor the younger students.
Probably the most important advantage is having a clear sense of why you're going after an MBA in the first place, and what exactly you plan to do with it after the graduation. A mature MBA applicant should have a realistic view of his market and where he fits in, given his professional background, a stage he is in his life and career, and - yes - his age.
The admissions committee will want to know why you're applying for an MBA, and why now. Be sure that you have the right answers prepared.
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