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32 yr old former non-traditional undergrad seeking guidance

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32 yr old former non-traditional undergrad seeking guidance [#permalink] New post 04 May 2013, 23:56
Hi All,

I've just joined this forum and am very pleased to have come across it. I know this is a question that has been revisited a trillion or so times, but I've never seen it posed by someone in my particular situation so I'll be asking it again. I would like to attend a top 15 or so program and will be 33 years old in the fall of 2014 which is the time in which I hope to be entering business school. I took a sort of exploratory GMAT last month after a couple weeks of cramming and received a 700 Q40 V45. I went to a middle of the road state school (Ball State University) and graduated in 2010 as the "Outstanding Graduating Senior in Information Systems & Operations Management", majoring in Operations Management and minoring in Information Systems with a GPA of 3.91.

So, while my scores and GPA look decent enough, my age is of concern. I did not enter college full-time until I was 25, and graduated when I was 28. Prior to entering college, I was a production supervisor in a television components manufacturing facility for just over 4 years. When that business closed, I entered college in hopes of propelling myself to the next level, but the positions which I have obtained since graduation have not been challenging enough to hold my interest. I just recently finished a 6-month contract position as a Distribution Supervisor for Apple, one which I was lured into with the stated potential that it would go permanent. A couple of months into the contract it was brought to my attention that this particular branch was going to be outsourced! Prior to that, I worked for a company in the steel processing industry in which I alone created and implemented an ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System into 4 facilities across 3 states in a span of 7 months. Keep in mind, I had absolutely no experience in the field and essentially taught myself everything as no guidance existed in the quality department. I was only placed in the quality department to begin with due to scoring a 43 on the Wonderlic exam the company required all new employees to take.

I may be rambling a bit here, so allow me to refocus. I realize my age is a bit higher than what most of the top programs are looking for. However, I obtained 4+ years of supervisory/management experience before beginning my undergraduate coursework, and I did begin college around 7 years later than most. Since, I have gained some project management experience that I feel is quite valuable and applicable in the sorts of positions I would be seeking after business school. I know part of what admissions officials base age bias on is the fear that older candidates may have higher salary/position expectations and thus could be difficult to place (and possible negatively impact employment statistics), but this simply is not the case with me. I tend to consider myself, career-wise, right about where those 27-29 year old candidates likely are.

Finally, if you've been able to sift through this mess and believe you have an answer for the question that I'm about to pose, know that I would really appreciate insight. Does my age (33 in the fall of 2014), experience, and the somewhat disjointed path I have taken to arrive where I am make getting into a top 15 or so program unlikely? I'm considering taking the GMAT a second time to see if I can improve my 700 by 30 or so points to strengthen my profile. Schools like Tippie and Ohio State have shown some significant interest during my conversations with them, but I am looking more towards programs like Kellogg, Darden, Tuck, Tepper and the like. My heart is currently set on Kellogg, but it looks like the oldest student accepted into the current class is 31.

Please let me know what you think. As a sidenote, an EMBA does not really seem like an appropriate option for me as my experience does not really present me as that type of candidate, so suggestions of that nature will probably not be very helpful. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this if nothing else.
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Re: 32 yr old former non-traditional undergrad seeking guidance [#permalink] New post 05 May 2013, 00:26
Expert's post
Hey nimbuszero,

Thanks for reaching out to me. A word of advice - when asking a question - just ask it. :) Then go into the nuance of what you are asking it. They negates the need for you to say "if you've been able to sift through this mess" - it's a waste of time for you to write that and for me to read and respond to that. I am telling you this because if you write essays like this - rambling - they won't give you the time of day. Also, if you approach adcom officials at an event like this - they will (mentally) roll their eyes because you're wasting their time. But I trust you did not make this mistake ...

The answer to your question is that you are not too old to apply to Kellogg - but you need to apply this year or forever hold your peace.

The biggest point you need to broach is to explain "why now" is the right time. Mechanically, it's self-explanatory because you took quite a while to graduate. However, dig a bit deeper (of course) and explain the reasons behind why it took so long. You could explain this story in the optional, but it's best to explain this in a personal or professional essay if given the word count to do so (as well as the appropriate essay prompt of course). So do not try and explain why it took you so long to graduate in a leadership essay. Again hit the "Why MBA, WHY NOW?" questions with all guns a blazing. You really should have emphasize why now is the right time as opposed to being someone who may be trying to escape a poor career choice ...

To be honest with you, I would strongly consider the EMBA. Don't count yourself out at these programs - which is what I believe you are doing. At least talk to the EMBA reps. You would be surprised at how personable and candid these program reps tend to be. They will straight-up tell you to apply or not apply. Also, these programs are big money makers for the school, and around the country these programs are hurting for applicants. Throw your hat in the ring and see what they say.

Finally, this year I helped a 30 yo get into Kellogg. In fact - he or she - might be 31 right now. I also worked with another applicant who is significantly older than 30 and who is now currently waitlisted. Stop overanalyzing it and give it a shot. Of course you should hedge your bets, but at least apply to one reach school - because if you do not apply, your chance of getting in is ZERO.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

nimbuszero wrote:
Hi All,

I've just joined this forum and am very pleased to have come across it. I know this is a question that has been revisited a trillion or so times, but I've never seen it posed by someone in my particular situation so I'll be asking it again. I would like to attend a top 15 or so program and will be 33 years old in the fall of 2014 which is the time in which I hope to be entering business school. I took a sort of exploratory GMAT last month after a couple weeks of cramming and received a 700 Q40 V45. I went to a middle of the road state school (Ball State University) and graduated in 2010 as the "Outstanding Graduating Senior in Information Systems & Operations Management", majoring in Operations Management and minoring in Information Systems with a GPA of 3.91.

So, while my scores and GPA look decent enough, my age is of concern. I did not enter college full-time until I was 25, and graduated when I was 28. Prior to entering college, I was a production supervisor in a television components manufacturing facility for just over 4 years. When that business closed, I entered college in hopes of propelling myself to the next level, but the positions which I have obtained since graduation have not been challenging enough to hold my interest. I just recently finished a 6-month contract position as a Distribution Supervisor for Apple, one which I was lured into with the stated potential that it would go permanent. A couple of months into the contract it was brought to my attention that this particular branch was going to be outsourced! Prior to that, I worked for a company in the steel processing industry in which I alone created and implemented an ISO 14001:2004 Environmental Management System into 4 facilities across 3 states in a span of 7 months. Keep in mind, I had absolutely no experience in the field and essentially taught myself everything as no guidance existed in the quality department. I was only placed in the quality department to begin with due to scoring a 43 on the Wonderlic exam the company required all new employees to take.

I may be rambling a bit here, so allow me to refocus. I realize my age is a bit higher than what most of the top programs are looking for. However, I obtained 4+ years of supervisory/management experience before beginning my undergraduate coursework, and I did begin college around 7 years later than most. Since, I have gained some project management experience that I feel is quite valuable and applicable in the sorts of positions I would be seeking after business school. I know part of what admissions officials base age bias on is the fear that older candidates may have higher salary/position expectations and thus could be difficult to place (and possible negatively impact employment statistics), but this simply is not the case with me. I tend to consider myself, career-wise, right about where those 27-29 year old candidates likely are.

Finally, if you've been able to sift through this mess and believe you have an answer for the question that I'm about to pose, know that I would really appreciate insight. Does my age (33 in the fall of 2014), experience, and the somewhat disjointed path I have taken to arrive where I am make getting into a top 15 or so program unlikely? I'm considering taking the GMAT a second time to see if I can improve my 700 by 30 or so points to strengthen my profile. Schools like Tippie and Ohio State have shown some significant interest during my conversations with them, but I am looking more towards programs like Kellogg, Darden, Tuck, Tepper and the like. My heart is currently set on Kellogg, but it looks like the oldest student accepted into the current class is 31.

Please let me know what you think. As a sidenote, an EMBA does not really seem like an appropriate option for me as my experience does not really present me as that type of candidate, so suggestions of that nature will probably not be very helpful. Thank you very much for taking the time to read this if nothing else.

_________________


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Re: 32 yr old former non-traditional undergrad seeking guidance [#permalink] New post 05 May 2013, 01:23
Thank you so very much for the quick and thoughtful response. I apologize for the format, I felt the need to over explain but rest assured, this is not the approach that I take when composing essays. I am definitely going to "hedge" as you've suggested by applying to the other programs I mentioned and likely Anderson as well. Thank you again!
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Re: 32 yr old former non-traditional undergrad seeking guidance [#permalink] New post 05 May 2013, 01:31
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Hey nimbuszero,

Thanks for reaching out to me again. No real need to apologize, but I appreciate you empathetic nature.
I went to UCLA Anderson and I do believe that you have the components of a competitive candidacy. If you would like to discuss your candidacy further during a complementary consultation, please email me at mba@amerasiaconsulting.com - ask to speak with me directly based on your "older"applicant background and this post.

Respectfully,
Paul Lanzillotti

nimbuszero wrote:
Thank you so very much for the quick and thoughtful response. I apologize for the format, I felt the need to over explain but rest assured, this is not the approach that I take when composing essays. I am definitely going to "hedge" as you've suggested by applying to the other programs I mentioned and likely Anderson as well. Thank you again!

_________________


Paul Lanzillotti | Founder| About | mba@amerasiaconsulting.com | 877.866.9251

Schedule a Consultation | Twitter | Blog

Download "How To Apply" Guides | INSEAD | Columbia | Harvard | Wharton

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