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# Age

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Manager
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06 Oct 2010, 18:25
to clarify, wharton's median WE is 4 years, not the average. the median doesn't really tell you much by itself, but combined with the % of class with 3 or less years of WE (which is 26%), you can assume that at least half the class has 4 years or less of WE. i'm not sure how that compares to other schools, though.

at the end of the day, people are going to apply wherever they want (as they should), regardless of how old they are. you shouldnt try to game the system by looking at odds or statistics. just apply to whatever school you feel a strong connection to, and make sure that you highlight this strong connection in your essays.

that's a good point.

although the median actually is a type of average.
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06 Oct 2010, 18:46
Age in itself is not a criteria for rejection even at H/S. However, if you are 31-32, the onus is on you to explain what you bring to the table. As we all know that a large number of exceptionally qualified 25-26 year old apply to top schools. So if someone is say 31, they needs to articulate what they have done for those extra 5-6 years. There are 2 generic scenarios:

1. A guy at 31 figured out his career a little late and is hence essentially at about the same level of career progression now as a 25-26 year old bright kid. Therefore he loses out to them.

or

2. A guy at 31 has had an exceptional career progression and was perhaps an ideal candidate for top MBA when he was 25-26. However, his career progression now has taken him to a point in his career where a full time MBA becomes irrelevant.

That's why we see successful 31-32 year old students at top schools generally have a phd, a medical degree,have spent time in the military or have unconventional career paths (NGO, self-employed). These people are successful because they have perfectly valid reasons for applying late in their careers. On the other hand, there are enough 25-26 year old conventional applicants - investment bankers, consultants and IT professionals - who are at the ideal time to apply. Therefore, a 31-32 year old in this pool will lose out because of (1) or (2)

Essentially, it comes down to your accomplishment/career progression since you completed undergrad (Its important to note that HBS talks about years since graduation and not about age which is not necessarily the same thing). Most top business schools feel that 3-5 years out of undergrad is sufficient for most people to be ready for an MBA degree. However, if you apply later in your career, they expect you to have a compelling reason. It seems fair to me.
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06 Oct 2010, 19:01
Jeanette wrote:
although the median actually is a type of average.

Minor quibble, but median isn't a type of average, although median and average (or mean) are both types of summary statistics.
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06 Oct 2010, 19:17
brainhurt wrote:
Jeanette wrote:
although the median actually is a type of average.

Minor quibble, but median isn't a type of average, although median and average (or mean) are both types of summary statistics.

Well, I'll grant colloquially average=mean, and I really hate to make much out of such a silly point -- as I used average pretty loosely in my first post and wasn't some sort of deliberately pedantic use of average -- but I do think median is a type of average:

http://stats.oecd.org/glossary/detail.asp?ID=3601

But I'm not an actuary, and I daresay you deal with stats far more than I do!
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06 Oct 2010, 20:01
let me tell you what business school is about: making contacts, learning (some) new stuff, getting a job, and drinking.

now, let me tell you what it's not about: pissing contests.
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06 Oct 2010, 21:26
tru dat.
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07 Oct 2010, 10:01
I would not like to offend those 25-26 aged - there is not my intention, but what would bring to the table a guy with 2-3 years of experience?
It is very often people begin their careers at the bottom of the corporate ladder, doing "monkey stuff" like drafting presentations, making financial models or auditing of receivables and sales cycle, with rare exceptions. It is uncommon at this stage of career to take decisions, manage teams and engagements.
I don't want to say that those who are older (27-30) are better, they just have been exposed more to a managerial role and made some managerial decisions decisions, they have a larger outlook, they manage.

just my 2 cents.
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Last edited by PTK on 07 Oct 2010, 13:13, edited 2 times in total.
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07 Oct 2010, 10:27
Expert's post
Here's some interesting advice on applying as an older applicant:

http://www.accepted.com/mba/older.aspx
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Bryant Michaels

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07 Oct 2010, 11:37
First, an apology: I shouldn't have gotten personal about this. I didn't really think that bryant was fishing for clients, but it just seemed like such a comment so out of the mainstream, that I thought it needed to be questioned. Still, my comment wasn't remotely called for.

That said, I agree fewer older students apply for an MBA. No question.

But I guess the question is whether that accounts for it all. If Columbia has a median and mean age of 28, and Harvard 26 (guessing here), does that mean the applicant pool for one is skewed older than the other? Other intervening factors are possible, of course: Columbia might prefer industries that feed MBAs at an older age than Harvard, for example.

And I agree that it is unlikely Harvard or anywhere else explicitly makes an age determination. But given the realities of the achievement standard... sort of a "the more you do in the shortest period of time" kind of thing is that older people will have a harder time.
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07 Oct 2010, 13:32
bryantmichaels wrote:
Be careful not to confuse correlation and causation. Just because there is a correlation between a certain age bracket and admissions statistics does not mean that schools show preference for that age bracket. You would have to see the numbers for the total applicant pool. For example, if there are 10,000 26 year old applicants and 1,500 29 year old applicants, you might even find that there is a higher percentage of the older applicant pool gets in. There's no way to draw any intelligent conclusion from the available statistics but you may possibly guess that there are more 26 year old matriculants because there are more 26 year old applicants. I still stick by my "age is irrelevant" stance for several reasons. First and foremost, it is illegal to make an admissions decision based on age, so if anyone feels they were denied admission solely because they were older, you can have a great lawsuit. Schools aren't even allowed to ask your age in an interview. B-schools are looking for smart, driven people who can add value to the classroom, do well, and then get a job quickly after graduation. If someone older gets denied, it's not their age, but rather what they are bringing to the table, and what they have accomplished in their time (as I said before). Schools are going to be much more critical of an older applicant and what they have achieved (or not) than they are a younger applicant, but again, this is not an age bias, but rather an achievement bias, which is legit. In response to the inference that I am trying to "fish" for clients on this forum, I can only tell you that I have been a consultant for four years and have never had a client that came from these forums. Believe it or not, I like to help folks get their questions answered. Just sayin...no need to bash consultants!

Bryant - I had long suspected the fact that the #of older applications is lower is probably why we do not see lots of older people in Bschool. I am myself in that boat and reading your explanation makes sense, and sure I think until one applies one does not know, what might have been. Having said that here is my profile:

help-with-profile-evaluation-102302.html

I know that saying "i am at a plateau", "i need more challenges" is not enough to convince adcom. But with my experience and an MBA I do feel that I can do more. And I am trying to pen it down with realistic positions and such.. If I can ask, have you consulted with "older applicants" such as myself?
Thanks
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07 Oct 2010, 17:06
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Last edited by danahooshmand on 03 Dec 2013, 19:33, edited 1 time in total.
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07 Oct 2010, 17:14
what about Part Time programs? Is it possible for the school to say, "well we think the PT is better suited for you"?
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07 Oct 2010, 17:27
mainhoon wrote:
what about Part Time programs? Is it possible for the school to say, "well we think the PT is better suited for you"?

I forget who, but I remember reading last year a guy who was on the older side applying to Columbia (I think ED). He got a call from the admissions dean and she spent about 5 or 10 minutes trying to sell him on the EMBA program, which he had already decided against, and so he told her that. Eventually she said, "okay, well then congratulations and welcome to Columbia!"

I think whether or not they tell you that, as an older applicant, you want your application to scream "this is exactly what I need right now." I mean, that's probably good advice for everyone, but a 25-year-old doesn't need to implicitly explain why this type of MBA and not a PT or EMBA.
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08 Oct 2010, 05:28
Definitely if you want managerial or true leadership experience within a corporation you may have to be an older applicant (27-30ish).
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08 Oct 2010, 05:39
I think 25-26 is a bit young to apply. These youngsters will be 27-28 when they graduate from the MBA, and I don't really see them manage people who will be older than them. Even with a lot of charisma, the difference in age is still important.

I find that 28-30 is the best time to train future key executives.

Maybe MBA recruiters are concerned with the marriage thing that could happen around 30, so they prefer people a touch younger?
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08 Oct 2010, 08:04
I don't think they have a bias against older applicants as much as they have a bias against applicants who didn't know they wanted to go to business school the second they finished undergrad.
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08 Oct 2010, 08:36
I think 25-26 is a bit young to apply. These youngsters will be 27-28 when they graduate from the MBA, and I don't really see them manage people who will be older than them. Even with a lot of charisma, the difference in age is still important.

I find that 28-30 is the best time to train future key executives.

Maybe MBA recruiters are concerned with the marriage thing that could happen around 30, so they prefer people a touch younger?

At some point, you'll have to manage people who are older than you are. Whether you're 25, 28 or 39, you'll probably have people who are older and working for you.

Besides, it can be hard to tell in the workplace how old people are. I know 30+ people who look like they belong in college, and people have assumed I was in my late twenties since I started working at 22.

That said, Europe's business schools tend to value age and experience more, right?
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08 Oct 2010, 09:52
I was told by an European IB analyst III (among others), that age hierarchy must be preserved or they will be clashes in the company. So it would be very unlikely to hire someone older for a lower position and vice-versa.

But in the USA, from what I hear, people complete their studies sooner; therefore the 4-5 years work experience happens earlier, hence the younger applicants' average age?
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08 Oct 2010, 10:40
I was told by an European IB analyst III (among others), that age hierarchy must be preserved or they will be clashes in the company. So it would be very unlikely to hire someone older for a lower position and vice-versa.

But in the USA, from what I hear, people complete their studies sooner; therefore the 4-5 years work experience happens earlier, hence the younger applicants' average age?

Well, not really. In Europe, many undergrad degrees only take 3 years, whereas it's 4 years in the US. I mean, there are some weird people who decide their children need to go to college as a 15-year-old because their little Johnny is superspecial, but usually people get out at 22, 21 at the earliest.

Last edited by Jeanette on 10 Oct 2010, 08:36, edited 1 time in total.
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09 Oct 2010, 23:52
Interesting comments from all concerned. I'm 31 and will be 32 at matriculation; I started out thinking about PT programs but realized upon further investigation that FT will be a better fit for me. I've had 8 years of experience in journalism, and I've been a peon, the managing editor of two daily newspapers, and everything in between. I feel my experience will be a strength rather than a weakness (I hope to concentrate on marketing and/or media management). I've hired and managed people much younger than myself and have supervised people much older than myself. I've worked for a startup, a family-owned company and a paper that was owned by a Fortune 500 firm. Full-time seems like a better option for career changers. Hoping my experience, my essays and my GMAT are enough to get me through the door!
Re: Age   [#permalink] 09 Oct 2010, 23:52

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