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age and MBA

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age and MBA [#permalink] New post 26 Sep 2006, 13:01
Hi,

I'm almost 40, female, with 10+ years in IT (programming), and a decent record of community service/artistic involvement. Not the best time to get an MBA, I know. But I need to switch career for two reasons:
1. My programming career ended due to an injury.
2. I'm very mathematical and would love to get involved in finance work.

I'm interested mostly in UCLA, USC, UCI, and Pepperdine because I want to stay local after graduation. Could you tell me -
1. which schools offer better job prospects locally upon graduation?
2. which are more receptive to older applicants?
3. my chance to get into each of them given my background and age (BS in Economics/Computer Science, both Cum Laude; GPA = 3.7; Phi Beta Kappa).
4. chance to get in full-time MBA vs. Evening MBA.

Also since I'm a career changer, do you recommend full-time instead of EMBA? I understand the challenge I'll face during admission (trust me, i'm dreading to write those essays...), but if full-time is the best option, I'll try my best to get my foot in the door.

Thanks!
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Re: age and MBA [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2006, 12:04
justme123 wrote:
Hi,

I'm almost 40, female, with 10+ years in IT (programming), and a decent record of community service/artistic involvement. Not the best time to get an MBA, I know. But I need to switch career for two reasons:
1. My programming career ended due to an injury.
2. I'm very mathematical and would love to get involved in finance work.

I'm interested mostly in UCLA, USC, UCI, and Pepperdine because I want to stay local after graduation. Could you tell me -
1. which schools offer better job prospects locally upon graduation?
2. which are more receptive to older applicants?
3. my chance to get into each of them given my background and age (BS in Economics/Computer Science, both Cum Laude; GPA = 3.7; Phi Beta Kappa).
4. chance to get in full-time MBA vs. Evening MBA.

Also since I'm a career changer, do you recommend full-time instead of EMBA? I understand the challenge I'll face during admission (trust me, i'm dreading to write those essays...), but if full-time is the best option, I'll try my best to get my foot in the door.

Thanks!


justme123,

People in their 40s do get admitted to top B-schools. Their Why MBA stories have to be pretty strong. Of the 2 reasons you stated your first reason sounds more promising then the second, in that it is a specific event, while the second reason is just a "starting-off point" for a career interest, not a really compelling reason for a career choice. So I recommend digging deeper, talking to people in the finance field to identify some specific, concrete reasons.

I have brilliantly deduced that you reside in Southern California. All four of those schools will help you land jobs in that market. Based on quality and reputation, UCLA will help you more than USC, USC more than UCI, and UCI more than Pepperdine -- as a rule of thumb.

None of these schools appears to be unusally welcoming to older applicants. The school with the oldest middle 80% is Pepperdine (23-34), but its average age is 26, while USC, UCLA, and UCI all have average ages of 28.

Your odds of admission will generally be better at part-time and E-MBA programs. While your age would seem to make an E-MBA a natural for you, the fact that you are trying to make a career change and I assume will not be sponsored by an employer makes the part-time MBA the more accessible option. Finally, however, at 40 you don't have time to waste, so the extended duration of the part-time MBA might not be what you need.

Assuming you have no red flags, have strong leadership stories you can tell, nail down the goals statement, and you get a GMAT in the 680-700 range you have a decent chance at USC and a good chance at UCI. UCLA may not be doable but worth trying as a longshot. Pepperdine should not be a problem.

Good luck,
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 [#permalink] New post 28 Sep 2006, 18:32
Hi Paul,

Thank you for your prompt response. If you don't mind, I would like to ask you a few more questions.

I think there might be a couple of red flags: There was a little less than 2 years of unemployment gap as a result of my injury and personal crisis (I did keep myself busy though). Ever since, I've held mostly contract work while taking classes. Another red flag could be I took longer to finish my undergraduate degrees because of my involvement in the family business. Are these issues addressable?

My leadership is limited to my non-profit involvement (i.e. a strong rec. from my volunteer supervisor), but not much at work. Unfortunately, the other recommendation (also strong) will come from a math professor in a top 20 university, not a work supervisor as I don't really have one at my current job. I don't know. Maybe MBA is an unwise choice given what I am lacking?

Since you mentioned using the first reason (i.e. injury), I was wondering how I can position myself without sounding overly pathetic, self-pitying or self-justifying? To elaborate on the second reason (i.e. finance), I've always wanted to get involved in community development, where much of the non-profit and private work intersect, and eventually start a non-profit doing finance work (rather not disclose the details here). By saying that, I hope I'm not mistakenly making a stronger case for MPP rather than MBA.

Thank you.
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 [#permalink] New post 02 Oct 2006, 18:55
justme123 wrote:
Hi Paul,

Thank you for your prompt response. If you don't mind, I would like to ask you a few more questions.

I think there might be a couple of red flags: There was a little less than 2 years of unemployment gap as a result of my injury and personal crisis (I did keep myself busy though). Ever since, I've held mostly contract work while taking classes. Another red flag could be I took longer to finish my undergraduate degrees because of my involvement in the family business. Are these issues addressable?

My leadership is limited to my non-profit involvement (i.e. a strong rec. from my volunteer supervisor), but not much at work. Unfortunately, the other recommendation (also strong) will come from a math professor in a top 20 university, not a work supervisor as I don't really have one at my current job. I don't know. Maybe MBA is an unwise choice given what I am lacking?

Since you mentioned using the first reason (i.e. injury), I was wondering how I can position myself without sounding overly pathetic, self-pitying or self-justifying? To elaborate on the second reason (i.e. finance), I've always wanted to get involved in community development, where much of the non-profit and private work intersect, and eventually start a non-profit doing finance work (rather not disclose the details here). By saying that, I hope I'm not mistakenly making a stronger case for MPP rather than MBA.

Thank you.


Justme123,

Forgive my tardiness in responding. Yes, your employment gap, age, and lack of leadership at work will all be "red flags" that will impact how high you can aim targeting B-schools. (I think the extra time to complete your undergrad is a non-issue.) All these issues are addressable and should be addressed in a positive, damage-controlling way in the essays.

I don't think that your red flags mean you should not consider the MBA if that's what you really want. Again, it just affects which schools you're likely to get into. Certainly the goal you describe is a perfectly valid reason for an MBA rather than a MPP and will be regarded as such by the adcoms.

You can avoid striking the wrong tone regarding your injury by simply describing it and your response (emotionally and otherwise) factually. A consultant like myself could help you gauge whether it's coming off well.

Assuming your GMAT is competitive, you could probably still apply to all the schools you mentioned, UCLA and USC as long shots. BTW, it's perfectly fine to contact these schools, tell them your credentials, and ask them what they think. See if they're encouraging or discouraging.

Good luck,
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 [#permalink] New post 05 Oct 2006, 18:51
Hi Paul,

Thanks again. After thinking extensively on this subject, I reasoned that a day-time MBA may not be ideal for me at this point; not only it's a huge investment (ITO time + money), but my incongruent profile (older, lack of leadership, etc) also indicate that i'm not well-prepared to fully take advantage of what the program has to offer. Most importanly, I'm not 100% sure whether MBA is for me as MBA courses are very general in nature, and I prefer a more technical approach to things. So I'm now leaning towards a master degree in either accounting or finance. I know neither of them provides as much "perceived" value as an MBA, but each is only a one-year program and it should help give me a leg-up to the business world. By the way, I'd be very interested in hearing your opinion on this. That said, I want to ask you about your essay and LOR-edit service - the cost, whether it's MBA-only, and your experience of handling non-MBA cases, etc. Please feel free to communicate with me offline. Thank you.
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 [#permalink] New post 07 Oct 2006, 13:27
justme123 wrote:
Hi Paul,

Thanks again. After thinking extensively on this subject, I reasoned that a day-time MBA may not be ideal for me at this point; not only it's a huge investment (ITO time + money), but my incongruent profile (older, lack of leadership, etc) also indicate that i'm not well-prepared to fully take advantage of what the program has to offer. Most importanly, I'm not 100% sure whether MBA is for me as MBA courses are very general in nature, and I prefer a more technical approach to things. So I'm now leaning towards a master degree in either accounting or finance. I know neither of them provides as much "perceived" value as an MBA, but each is only a one-year program and it should help give me a leg-up to the business world. By the way, I'd be very interested in hearing your opinion on this. That said, I want to ask you about your essay and LOR-edit service - the cost, whether it's MBA-only, and your experience of handling non-MBA cases, etc. Please feel free to communicate with me offline. Thank you.


justme123,

I'd be glad to discuss your situation with you offline. We work with applicants to graduate programs as well as professional programs, and though MBA applicants represent the bulk of our clients I have worked with people applying to MS Finance / Accounting programs before. Please email me at paulbodine@accepted.com so we can discuss this further.

Thanks,
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2006, 14:24
Hi Paul,

I emailed you but the email was bounced back twice with the error: unknown user. Maybe the mail server at Accpeted.com was down?

Please give me your email address again or provide me with an alternative email address where I have a better chance of reaching you.

Thanks!
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 [#permalink] New post 09 Oct 2006, 15:55
justme123 wrote:
Hi Paul,

I emailed you but the email was bounced back twice with the error: unknown user. Maybe the mail server at Accpeted.com was down?

Please give me your email address again or provide me with an alternative email address where I have a better chance of reaching you.

Thanks!


Justme123,

Sorry about that. Please try me again at paulbodine@yahoo.com.
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 [#permalink] New post 12 Oct 2006, 21:15
Just wanted to chime in, since I've given this issue a lot of thought...

Relatively older age is something to seriously consider when going to B-school. I'm currently at UCLA and I feel old at 30. It's a very young scene: lots of drinking, etc--this goes for all B-schools I've visited. Here, there is only a handful of people aged ~35 max, and they don't attend any events outside of class (for good reason).

Last edited by eastcoaster9 on 02 Nov 2006, 00:58, edited 1 time in total.
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 [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2006, 11:38
eastcoaster9 wrote:
Just wanted to chime in, since I've given this issue a lot of thought...

Relatively older age is something to seriously consider when going to B-school. I'm currently at UCLA and I feel old at 30. It's a very young scene: lots of drinking, etc--this goes for all B-schools I've visited. Here, there are literally only a handful of people aged ~35 max, and they don't attend any events outside of class (for good reason).


Thanks for your input.
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