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How old is too old

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How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 06:03
Most schools have a median age of around 28. I will be 33 on matriculation if I apply for this years entry and 34 if I decide to matriculate for 2014. I have just started the gmat prep and have missed round 1 applications.

My question is will my age be a hindrance for the top schools. My ideal schools are the usual HBS, Stanford, Columbia, Wharton, Insead and some European schools. My understanding is Stanford is a long shot and HBS may be a little more open but is still a struggle where as the rest maybe a little for forgiving.

Ideally I want to matriculate in 2013 but will I have enough time to prepare for the GMAT to apply for round 2. If I wait any longer will 1 year additional age factor make it even more difficult for top schools or is 33 already a deal breaker
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 06:41
From everything I have read, I would say that "advanced" age (well, you know what I mean) is no criterion for exclusion.

Median student age does not indicate the contrary. Usually, we know the median age of students, but not of applicants - meaning: we do not know whether the acceptance rate in the "older" age bracket is actually lower. Maybe it is, maybe not.

Of course, another issue entirely is whether you want to spend two years at school in your mid-thirties.

As for the GMAT prep, the short answer to your question is "yes, if...". It is perfectly possible to get a good GMAT with short preparation if you have solid knowledge of math or the English language. I won't downplay the difficulty though; a more thorough preparation definitely improves your chances. Additionally, you have to schedule the test date - depending on were you live, that might take some time. And you have to allow for the final result to arrive. In summary, you might struggle with some of the earlier R2 deadlines.

Hope this helps!
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 08:14
Spending time in school is fine by me. Earning loss is something to consider. But if it can boost my career options to what I'm looking for then it will be worth it.

I'm not sure if the acceptance rate is lower or do less candidates of older ages apply. But the general view is that the older you get the more difficult it is.

Some have told me that the chances of gaining a place at stanford are non-existent and HBS is only slightly better. Though views on Columbia, Wharton, Kellogg, Chicago and other schools is a little more positive
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 08:27
With respect, a statement like "non-existent" sounds questionable.

Stanford itself lists a range of work experience of 0-13 years for its students. I find it hard to imagine circumstances under which a successful applicant could have 13 years of work experience and be younger than you simultaneously.
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 08:33
LibertyBell wrote:
With respect, a statement like "non-existent" sounds questionable.

Stanford itself lists a range of work experience of 0-13 years for its students. I find it hard to imagine circumstances under which a successful applicant could have 13 years of work experience and be younger than you simultaneously.


Fair point. Could be military background, PhD, not a standard route

Saying that, the best thing I can do is apply and see what happens. As oppose to worrying about stats. It takes time to apply and money so wanted a overview of what to expect or what schools to target. Looks like the opportunity is there if i can put together a strong application
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 08:54
read this blog if you don't already
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 09:05
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For most of the U.S B-schools the average age is around 26-28 with around 5-6 years of experience, having the exceptions of military candidates who are generally 3-4 years plus. However, the average age and experience is onto plus side when it comes to B-schools in Europe. Moreover, an exceptional candidate will be accepted irrespective of age and experience.
An holistic introspection of one's candidature is important before considering the schools.
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 13:34
http://www.usnews.com/education/blogs/M ... ess-school






gmat3000 wrote:
Most schools have a median age of around 28. I will be 33 on matriculation if I apply for this years entry and 34 if I decide to matriculate for 2014. I have just started the gmat prep and have missed round 1 applications.

My question is will my age be a hindrance for the top schools. My ideal schools are the usual HBS, Stanford, Columbia, Wharton, Insead and some European schools. My understanding is Stanford is a long shot and HBS may be a little more open but is still a struggle where as the rest maybe a little for forgiving.

Ideally I want to matriculate in 2013 but will I have enough time to prepare for the GMAT to apply for round 2. If I wait any longer will 1 year additional age factor make it even more difficult for top schools or is 33 already a deal breaker
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 16:35
Our experience with "mature" candidates is that they have to have a well defined and compelling story, particularly as it relates to why you want to pursue a graduate business degree at this stage of your career. Also, being on the older side of the spectrum is not going to be well received at all schools. HBS is notorious for not being welcoming for candidates above 30 years of age (however, there are exceptions to every rule). From our experience, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan and Columbia are more open minded to mature candidates. A good rule to remember when you write your essays is to think what would an admissions officer expect from a candidate of my age and experience level. The basic essays samples that are available are for traditional candidates and will be of no use to you.

Good luck in this process. It is not an easy route, but in the end it will be well worth the sacrifice.

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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 17:27
Eh, I don't know. I matriculated at 32 which is only a year younger than you would be. There aren't a lot of 30+ applicants so I don't know if there is any statistically significant evidence that your chances go down. I'd say that if your stats are in line and you have a good answer to Why MBA and why now? then you should have a shot. All of the schools you're looking at are really selective so age is really the least of your worries. JMO,
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 23 Oct 2012, 21:37
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cheetarah1980 wrote:
Eh, I don't know. I matriculated at 32 which is only a year younger than you would be. There aren't a lot of 30+ applicants so I don't know if there is any statistically significant evidence that your chances go down. I'd say that if your stats are in line and you have a good answer to Why MBA and why now? then you should have a shot. All of the schools you're looking at are really selective so age is really the least of your worries. JMO,


Good point here. There is a CW that goes "it's harder for older candidates to get in" but very often that's a specious argument based on a false chain of logic built from the extrapolation of stats of folks who actually attend Bschool.

That having been said, there are a few important things, for older candidates:
1. Doing an MBA at this specific point in time still needs to make SENSE! Meaning age can influence just how effective your MBA is in reaching your goals. So if you are 33 and your goal is to join McKinsey for the first time after your MBA, then I may look at your profile with a sceptical eye, but if you were the same age, and your goal is to consolidate your mid-sized start up firm and gain knowledge and contact to propel it into hugeness, then that's a lot more reasonable.
2. Fit - You still also need to fit into the class. So really, a 37-year old might feel like "What the heck am I doing here with all these kiddies?" is he were in a class of 25 year olds, plus the differences in experience are huge and that is why for older candidates, one year programs and EMBAs make more sense often.
3. There is no cutoff point - It may get a bit harder as you get older, but there is no actual year where you say to yourself "now it's too late", you still need to take into consideration the above two points though
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2012, 11:13
The finances are more of an issue then fitting in. I feel I have a good application but being a older candidate if it is expected I have an outstanding application. I can't say I do. Good degree, work experience. But will I be expected to be better then other candidates. Has been sometime since I have studied so am preparing for GMAT but if I have to go for round 2 not sure what score I can get. Will round 3 eliminate me from most schools. As I understand the interviews at this stage are low.
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2012, 15:26
gmat3000 wrote:
The finances are more of an issue then fitting in. I feel I have a good application but being a older candidate if it is expected I have an outstanding application. I can't say I do. Good degree, work experience. But will I be expected to be better then other candidates. Has been sometime since I have studied so am preparing for GMAT but if I have to go for round 2 not sure what score I can get. Will round 3 eliminate me from most schools. As I understand the interviews at this stage are low.


I've read that GMAT scores tend to decline in step with age. So basically, a higher score is statistically more impressive when you're older. I don't know how conscious they'll be when thinking this, but they might say, "huh, I haven't seen many 35 year olds with a 760!"

Round 3 won't eliminate you, but it's not recommended. Stick to R2 if you can. R3 is good for non-traditional candidates, and who knows, maybe older candidates fall into that category...
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 31 Oct 2012, 17:16
machichi wrote:

I've read that GMAT scores tend to decline in step with age. So basically, a higher score is statistically more impressive when you're older. I don't know how conscious they'll be when thinking this, but they might say, "huh, I haven't seen many 35 year olds with a 760!"

Round 3 won't eliminate you, but it's not recommended. Stick to R2 if you can. R3 is good for non-traditional candidates, and who knows, maybe older candidates fall into that category...


They might give it a little consideration but cant see it pushing the application through. Maybe it will help if you are 10 points short of what they want.

I want to get in for R2 but will be rusjed as need to get an exam date and prep only have two months. Also.need to write essays etc. I wouldnt mind R3 but have been told by thst stage most places are filled. Is it worth the risk of a possible poor application in R2

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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 01 Nov 2012, 05:55
gmat3000 wrote:
machichi wrote:

I've read that GMAT scores tend to decline in step with age. So basically, a higher score is statistically more impressive when you're older. I don't know how conscious they'll be when thinking this, but they might say, "huh, I haven't seen many 35 year olds with a 760!"

Round 3 won't eliminate you, but it's not recommended. Stick to R2 if you can. R3 is good for non-traditional candidates, and who knows, maybe older candidates fall into that category...


They might give it a little consideration but cant see it pushing the application through. Maybe it will help if you are 10 points short of what they want.

I want to get in for R2 but will be rusjed as need to get an exam date and prep only have two months. Also.need to write essays etc. I wouldnt mind R3 but have been told by thst stage most places are filled. Is it worth the risk of a possible poor application in R2

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R3 is really a roll of the dice. I've met plenty of R3 admits at my school but I don't know if they just happened to get lucky and their profile fit a void or if they are rockstars who would get in no matter what.

The issue with R3 is that if you are denied or WL it doesn't give you a whole lot of time to improve your profile for reapplying. A lot of people assume that getting denied in R3 is simply a function of there not being any space for them. Waitlisters (especially those waitlisted through summer) sometimes have the false impression that since they made it that far they are a lock for next year. The closer your application season ends to the beginning of the next one the less time you have to do something to demonstrate that you are a better candidate this year (i.e. retake the GMAT, get promoted at work, take on more leadership, etc.). That's why R3 is something you want to avoid if you can. But if you really need to be in school next fall and don't want to rush a R2 application then R3 is definitely an option. Just know the risks before you apply.
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 30 Mar 2013, 02:13
Stumbled across this - I'm having the same worries about applying this September and I'm only just 29! I think the neurosis of the MBA application is setting in early.

Found this article quite useful with some useful stats, in case anyone else is thinking the same.

http://poetsandquants.com/2011/11/30/am ... -an-mba/3/
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2013, 16:10
Having just gone thru the application process and getting feedback directly from Adcom members, I found that up to 32 is usually ok. After that, you start to get pigeonholed for EMBAs
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2013, 22:56
There is a clear difference between US + AU + Asian schools and European schools

US, et all the golden period is 3 years experience. Up to 5 are still OK. Until 7/8 years, you still have chance. More than that, even though you are selected, the programme may not be a good fit for you. There are exceptions. So the virtual age limit is around 27-28

In EU, 5 years is the golden period. 8/9 years is still OK. After 8/9 years, you have very limited schools options. So the virtual age limit is around 30-32

Some schools like IMD, LBS will directly or indirectly or subtly discourage you from applying if you are 30+

Some schools like Cranfield, Henley, Ashridge has quite a few 40+

35+ is quite common in Warwick and I believe a couple of 40+ there.

Having said that, my personal impression is, this year not many people are going for full time MBA and European schools are struggling to fill up their numbers. And due to this, quality of new admits may be different.
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Re: How old is too old [#permalink] New post 08 Apr 2013, 08:21
My experience is that MBA students over thirty can add a lot of maturity and depth into an MBA classroom, if they come into it with the right attitude and are able to work and learn with individuals who are less experienced than they are. It's good to acknowledge that you are an applicant with a profile that is atypical, and sell yourself on how this will be an advantage for your classmates and the school.

From an admissions perspective, you will need to have a well-defined post-MBA career goal and be able to demonstrate how you are taking actions to make that happen. Many MBA employers are targeting candidates with the typical 2-5 years of professional experience. If you fall outside that target group, employers may not know where to fit you into their process. If you are viewed as not employable post-MBA, this may eliminate you from consideration for admission.

Keep in mind that there are many options outside of the Full-Time MBA. A Professional MBA or Executive MBA may fit your circumstances better. Also, when you graduate from an EMBA program, you will have a network of more seasoned and highly ranked colleagues than you would if you attended a Full-Time MBA.
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Re: How old is too old   [#permalink] 08 Apr 2013, 08:21
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