Your challenge is not so much your age, but to explain why you want to get an MBA at this point, and why you need an MBA to achieve your post-MBA career goal, and to show that you will get a lot of value out of the MBA program.
Have you worked elsewhere besides Nigeria?
I like experienced applicants because they can contribute greatly to the classroom discussions and the business school community. My roommate at London Business School was 36 when we started the MBA program, and she got a lot of value out of it. She did well with traditional campus recruiting for summer internship despite the economic downturn of 2001, and also ended up with a managing director role in an established firm after MBA. Since she was an expat with Motorola at China prior to business school, she also organized a China trip for us that included visits to international companies as well as local companies, and meetings with alumni. She was awesome, and she definitely enriched the MBA experience for the rest of us. So just embrace your age, experience, and wisdom, and write about what you’ve learned from your experience, and what you hope to achieve professionally through the MBA program, and what you can contribute to the business school and to your community.
Since your post-MBA career goal is in the same field you’ve been working in, I’m assuming you would like to continue to take on more leadership roles. You may be able to differentiate yourself further by thinking more about your long-term career goal based on what you’re passionate about, and ways you can uniquely leverage your skills and experiences.
Your strengths are the GMAT score and professional leadership experience.
In terms of narrowing down the list of schools, where would you prefer to work after business school? The business schools may all sound similar initially, but when you start to learn more about them, each school has a unique culture, and you should go for the type of environment you thrive in.
I don’t know enough about your background, but if you have some great extracurricular activities and can tell a good story, you do have a chance at the top schools.
For Europe, I would recommend looking at London Business School, and INSEAD (1-yr MBA program may be good for someone like you with more work experience). For the U.S., consider Columbia and Wharton, then depending on the quality of your work experience and extracurricular activities, considering stretching for Harvard and Stanford. There may be some concerns about you having too many years of experience for schools like Stanford and Harvard, so you will have to demonstrate that you've used your time wisely, and that you are very clear and realistic about the value you will get out the MBA and your post MBA career goals.
For your recommenders, make sure they are able to provide specific examples of your leadership capability and positive personality traits, and that they understand why you want an MBA, and why this is the right move for you now. You do have to tactfully follow-up to see if they have any questions, and make sure they allocate adequate time to provide great letters of recommendation.
We do help applicants brainstorm ideas for essays and help they tell their own unique stories. If you are really feeling stuck, it may be useful to engage a few hours of an admissions consultant’s time to help you with strategic positioning and essay development.
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I've endlessly researched top schools but can't seem to arrive at a high-potential shortlist of five schools.
Firstly, which among the top 20 FULL-TIME MBA programmes are most likely to accommodate applicants of my age in their admission? I'll be 36 at matriculation (Aug. 2013.). Based on my age and career focus (and other details below), which schools are my best bet? I really need to get started on the essays. I've been drafting responses to more than a dozen schools' essays in my head for months now...but appear to be too jittery about being written off as too advanced (in age or/& career-wise) for the schools I eventually choose . The referees that I've put on alert for over a month now are already telling me that they are yet to receive any link! Just imagine. Pls HELP!
I've seen the average age and w.e. of the various schools - but the ranges would have guided me better. As a hint, I have been eyeing HBS, Wharton, Columbia, Yale, MIT, Darden, Stanford, UCLA (Hass & Anderson), Stern, LBS, Judge, INSEAD, IESE, IMD, Darthmouth and Fuqua. Did I hear you say, "really a long wish list"?
11-year W.E. (BIG 4 audit firm (12 mths), Investment banking (Corp. finance & Issuing House) (14 mths) and asset mgt (82 mths). Last position held: AVP/COO of a mid-tier Nigerian bank's asset management subsidiary. Now an independent financial consultant - (est. at matriculation: 30 mths).
Leadership (example): Led the team that handled the biggest mutual funds issue in Nigeria (as at Q1 2008); led teams in my last two full-time employments that recorded other local industry firsts/biggest.
GMAT 770; GPA (3.22/4.00), MSc Finance (Univ. of London)
ACA (CPA equivalent) and CFA Level II Passed
Application Round: 2nd round.
Immediate post-MBA focus: investment banking/investment management. 5-years and above post-MBA focus: investment management/entrepreneurship
Christine Lin | Marvel Admissions
http://marveladmissions.com/ | Marvel Admissions Blog