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# Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas

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Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  18 Aug 2008, 22:51
Dear GMAT clubbers,
This thread pertains to aged applicants (>30) and what strategies they can adopt to enhance their chances of acceptance, into a regular (top 20) MBA program. Following are my views on the issue. will add more as I gain more insight into the issue.

1.Stop shying away from the fact whether 31 is old or not. For US B schools, anything above 30 is old.

2. Select, schools that are old applicant friendly (of course the schools should meet your other criterion and should be in reach on the basis of GMAT/GPA). In my opinion, Tuck, Duke, Michigan, Yale, Wharton, Kellogg , Cornel and Tepper are old applicant friendly. However, a stellar GMAT/GPA won’t help you as it will help a younger applicant. A 700 to 720 GMAT (balanced) and 3.5 GPA should do for most B schools in the elite cluster. Stanford and HBS are out, unless you are the only olypic gold medallist from your country.

3. Consider European B schools such as Insead, Judge, Oxford, LBS, HEC, and ESADE etc. ingeneral european B schools with their 1 year MBA are more friendly to older(aged? ) applicants.

4. If you belong to any of the category: army service. Doctors, non-profit, government, or an esoteric background, chances brighten for you.

5. Your work ex has to be top notch and your essay should reflect your maturity. However, herein lies the catch, if you are so successful, and have substantial achievements without an MBA, why do you need it now? Hence, why now is more critical for old age applicants than the routine why MBA?

6. Your essays should upfront answer the question. why MBA and why not an executive MBA?

7. Your essays should also try to allay the doubts that adcom may have on placing you.

8. Key lies, in making adcom curioys enough via your essays to give an interview invit. From their on it could be anybodys game

Pls correct me if I am wrong .More suggestions are solicited

Best
Devil
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Intern
Joined: 25 Jun 2008
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  19 Aug 2008, 06:02
Good topic, I'm currently obsessing over how much my age (34) will be a factor. I do disagree with the notion that only top 20 schools are "regular" however, (quite the opposite--they're extraordinary). I'm applying to at least one top 40 school, as well as other regional schools that don't appear in all the rankings.

My strategy is to address why I'm applying now, and I think I have a good reason. There was no way I was going to college after high school--my father never made it through high school, so I was unique in the family once I did that. There was also the financial issues involved...I worked my way up at a factory, and eventually worked the night shift so I could go to school.

My strategy is to highlight how I went from a mechanic to manager, and the difficulties along the way. I probably got a late start in life due in part to family elements out of my control, but I'm demonstrating how I overcame it.
Current Student
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  21 Aug 2008, 16:39
perpetualmotion,
Good that you have a solid reasons to justify. but still this doesnot explian why not an EMBA?
and by the way where is the oldie crowd(literally and not figuratively , i mean kryzak etal). basing in sunny california
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Joined: 01 Jun 2006
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  21 Aug 2008, 17:55
Age before beauty, goatcheese.
Director
Joined: 18 Dec 2007
Posts: 983
Location: Hong Kong
Concentration: Entrepreneurship, Technology
Schools: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) - Class of 2010
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  21 Aug 2008, 18:23
I'm an oldie (34 now) and just started attending B-School, although I'm doing it in Hong Kong. From my experience, it's important to have clearer goals and reasoning as to why you need an MBA. Als important is the progress of your career, there needs to be good explanation about your career progress, if there is anything which shows some stalling, be prepared to explain it in your essays when describing your career choices in the past. For me, in a nutshell, it was showing that i was a specialist who wanted to generalise.
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  21 Aug 2008, 20:34
devil420,

While I agree with the other schools you listed, I don't think Cornell is age friendly. In fact, at the admit weekend, the average age hovered closer to 26. I did not ask everyone their age but it was pretty obvious from their year of graduation . The only older admits were like me - 30+ with advanced degree & in the AMBA (1 -year) program. A few other M7s like Wharton & Kellogg are also slowly tending younger.

-sv
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  21 Aug 2008, 20:52
perpetualmotion wrote:
Good topic, I'm currently obsessing over how much my age (34) will be a factor. I do disagree with the notion that only top 20 schools are "regular" however, (quite the opposite--they're extraordinary). I'm applying to at least one top 40 school, as well as other regional schools that don't appear in all the rankings.

My strategy is to address why I'm applying now, and I think I have a good reason. There was no way I was going to college after high school--my father never made it through high school, so I was unique in the family once I did that. There was also the financial issues involved...I worked my way up at a factory, and eventually worked the night shift so I could go to school.

My strategy is to highlight how I went from a mechanic to manager, and the difficulties along the way. I probably got a late start in life due in part to family elements out of my control, but I'm demonstrating how I overcame it.

i thought "regular" was to denote "full-time," as opposed to part-time or executive
Intern
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  22 Aug 2008, 04:33
^^^ I see that now, I initially misinterpreted the point.

I'm considering EMBA, and part-time, but at the moment I'm not married and have no kids, so I want to take the opportunity for full-time while the door is still somewhat open. Also, since I worked non-stop through undergrad, I missed out on a lot of networking, as well as extra-curriculars (school clubs, athletics, etc...). So much of the MBA is based on outside of the classroom interaction, as well as the connections made with other students, and I don't want to have work get in the way of that. One other thing is the internship. I'd like to move from operations to corporate finance, and would use the internship as a way to get some experience in a different work environment.
Manager
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  22 Aug 2008, 07:03
perpetualmotion wrote:
^^^ I see that now, I initially misinterpreted the point.
One other thing is the internship. I'd like to move from operations to corporate finance, and would use the internship as a way to get some experience in a different work environment.

Ya, if you will want to change career, you are better off with a full time MBA.
If you are going for part time or EMBA, better off not mention this career switching idea.

I'll be 31 next year and it's the first time I feel my age!
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Joined: 28 May 2006
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  22 Aug 2008, 11:55
fatb wrote:
I'll be 31 next year and it's the first time I feel my age!

It's all downhill from there.

devil420, great list! One thing I would like to add to your list is that to articulate how you will contribute to the class with your experience.
Current Student
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  22 Aug 2008, 17:48
svrider wrote:
devil420,

While I agree with the other schools you listed, I don't think Cornell is age friendly. In fact, at the admit weekend, the average age hovered closer to 26. I did not ask everyone their age but it was pretty obvious from their year of graduation . The only older admits were like me - 30+ with advanced degree & in the AMBA (1 -year) program. A few other M7s like Wharton & Kellogg are also slowly tending younger.

-sv

Dear SV rider, my assessment was based on the following data for cornell , class of 2010.

Age admit waitlist ding widrew unknown
30 2 4 2 1
31 1 2
32 7 4 1
33 2
34 2 1
35 1
36 1
37 2
This data is based on compilations from admissions 411 and hence i cant vouch for it.
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Joined: 28 Feb 2008
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  22 Aug 2008, 18:49
perpetualmotion wrote:
My strategy is to highlight how I went from a mechanic to manager, and the difficulties along the way. I probably got a late start in life due in part to family elements out of my control, but I'm demonstrating how I overcame it.

Sounds like you've got a great story!

I think if you can justify "why?", you'll be fine.

RF
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  23 Aug 2008, 11:03
topic is bookmarked

thank you

and I'm a career changer
and a late bloomer
so I'm planning on full program in the more age friendly schools
mentioned above

good luck

and lets show them what old timers can do

ran
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  27 Aug 2008, 19:47
btw, bringing this back from the dead. Berkeley-Haas is VERY old applicant friendly. Average work years is between 5-6 years (67 or so months) and average age is solidly 28, with an 80% range that goes up to 32 or 33. The past few weeks I've met SO MANY people who are over 30. The key is to show that you've progressed a LOT over the long years you've been working and show how you can use that to add to the classroom learning if you get into B-school.

I don't know what you're looking to do, but definitely take a look at Berkeley if you're seeking old applicant friendly schools.
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Current Student
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  03 Sep 2008, 22:03
Australian schools esp the better ones(AGSM and MSB) have an average age of 30 years. hence are more elder friendly. Although I couldn`t find the data for HKUST but I have come to know that even Hkust is friendly to older applicants. I hope togafoot can thtrow more light on it.

besides, I hope Pelihu (our resident old applicant expert !) throws some more light on this
issue
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Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas [#permalink]  04 Sep 2008, 01:34
Yes, HKUST is older applcant friendly.

This years class has an average age of 29 (of 91 students). I'm the second oldest person (34.. turned 34 mid July). Youngest is around 26 years old, so most people have at least 3 years work experience. We also have a couple of PHD's this year. In the orientation period, the associate dean specifically emphasised that experience and soft skills are some of the key criterias for entrance, and that GMAT is only a minor criteria... that is why the school generally does NOT give out an average GMAT and only presents a GMAT range. The interview is very important, and not usually performed by Alumni, this is so that the admissions team can have a better feel for the social capabilities of the candidate.
Re: Age: wisdom or waterloo? Old applicants woes and dilemmas   [#permalink] 04 Sep 2008, 01:34
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