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I am willing to submit my application to INSEAD but I do have an issue: they have an issue with my age. Even if they told me that my profile was great, they also did let me know that my age was a major handicap: I am 34 and will be 35 by end of the year. So after discussing with (MBA)friends, they suggested I should focus on demonstrating why I should not consider the Exec MBA at INSEAD. I am unemployed at the moment so getting a company to pay for me is just impossible and I can t afford it either.
Have some of you faced this situation and how did you tough it out?
Hi, I am in the same situation. I will be 39. I am trying to apply to Oxford, Insead (Jan 2011) and Cambridge. They had students who were 40 and plus before. After some discussions, they told me age wasn't a problem. It only depends on what I will bring to the class. Therefore, we shouldn't give up.
At the open day I attended they specifically sold the EMBA as an alternative. I guess they have an easier time filling the MBA class and want increased EMBA applications, for which admissions is less competitive. Of course they also extract more money from EMBAs.
Does the INSEAD EMBA require you to be sponsored, or do they just assume you're employed? Make sure you've done the research -- do you know why you'd choose the MBA over the EMBA, and can you relay this to adcom?
I wouldn't build the application around "MBA over EMBA" exclusively because that may not leave you with much room to sell yourself, but certainly address it directly and make them believe you've researched thoroughly and have a good reason. Adcom don't like to be left nervous or in doubt about obvious questions like that.
When I was on campus I met a 33 year old finance guy who had lost his job and was attending the MBA course. He said he gave very clear and specific short, medium, and long-term goals in his application and exactly how the MBA played into them.
In the end adcom have an obligation to fulfill too. All you have to do is convince them that if they offer you a place in the MBA program that fellow students, the school's alumni, and the recruiters going after your cohort will be better off because you were there, both on graduation day and 10 years later when you've gone on to achieve X with the help of your degree.
I also discussed the age factor with a couple of my friends who passed out of INSEAD. They said, till you can effective and convincingly mamrket your reason for "Why MBA" in your application (essay + interview), age won't be an issue.
My experience with INSEAD is that age does matter to some extent. Your age coupled with quality work experience could make INSEAD push you toward an EMBA. INSEAD dinged me and immediately after that INSEAD sent me stuff on its EMBA. Coincidence? Maybe. However, I received info from IMD and IESE that kinda confirmed my reasoning for the INSEAD ding.
My conclusion is that there are two issues holding me back: one issue is my age (will be 39 at the beginning of an MBA program) and the other issue is my work history. I was an entrepreneur for 5 of the nearly 7 years of my work experience. I also served as a President of a company. So, I guess my profile probably fits an EMBA program better.
Here's what IMD stated in an email to me after a preliminary review:
"The average age of our MBA participants is 31 and more than 80% of the class falls in the range of 27 - 34. Although a candidate outside this range with exceptionally strong international work experience, career progression, interpersonal skills and recommendations may be considered for admission, I would recommend that you investigate our Executive MBA program (EMBA) which may be more suitable to your level of experience."
Here's what IESE stated:
"In evaluating the profile information that you supplied in your request, it appears that your experience and profile may be more in line with those that fit our Global Executive MBA program, designed to give international managers the tools to move forward faster. It is taught in English in a modular format with residential sessions interspersed with extended periods of distributed learning. Our participants learn while on the job, applying the MBA to their current professional responsibilities and creating immediate value."
Lately, I've been getting all kinds of stuff from the top exec. programs and part-time programs. The reason for pursuing a European MBA is to expand my interests in international markets. Plus, I prefer the one year format to the 2 year U.S. format. However, I wouldn't go to any European school for an EMBA if I could go to an EMBA program at Columbia or Wharton.
So, I would like to say that age doesn't matter but in reality there is a negative impact if you are 36 or older and have excellent work experience.
I hope that by sharing my experience it helps you in some small way. Good luck.