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# Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age?

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Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  23 Jun 2008, 15:28
Why are American B-schools such as Harvard and Stanford with the exception of Wharton trending younger? They are coming up with innovative programs such as Harvard 2 + 2 program to attract younger students.

Some interesting excerpts below on this issue of which all do not explain the reason.

From HBSguru
Dee Leopold MD at HBS

" She also mentioned a shift towards younger applicants - this year, HBS admitted close to 40 college seniors, thought most them took advantage of the deferral option, and only 12 admitted students actually enrolled this year."

The New Age Tyranny at HBS: 28+ need not apply???

"HBS AND AGE: IF YOU ARE ~28 AND IN BANKING, PE, CONSULTING, OR WORK FOR MNC, YOU GOT PROBLEMS. HBS has been trending younger for the last 3 years, and now has two programs [one focused on college seniors and other 2+2 focused on JUNIORS] which are geared to get admit kids after two years of work experience, soooo, that is Exhibit A. "

"TWENTY-FIVE IS THE MAGIC NUMBER. HBS will reach for a 25 year old, and turn away quickly from a 28 year old. Dunno what they do w. 27 year olds. "

http://hbsguru.com/blog/2008/02/09/the- ... not-apply/

Can somebody explain this shift in applicants?
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  23 Jun 2008, 16:26
Interesting. I hope it's true since I'm 25. However I don't see what a 25/26 year-old brings to the table that a 27/28 year-old does not. I understand that wanting students that are green and open to new ways of thinking is important but I can't imagine going to b-school at 22/23 compared to next year. I've learned so much about myself and the business world this past year that will certainly benefit my MBA experience and the students around me.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  23 Jun 2008, 17:53
I'm old as dirt compared to you guys (31). My age is a concern, but I'm from a non-traditional background and only have 6 years of WE. I hope it won't keep me out.

NN
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  23 Jun 2008, 17:55
I would guess the pull is from the recruiters who want younger people as they are easier to mould into the culture of the company than someone who is more experienced. Usually post-MBA roles do not require soft-skill experiences and older people have usually been trained soft-skills culture from their previous companies that may not be compatible to the post-mba company (depending on the role).

Also, USA B-Schools trended younger sometime in the past (can't remember exactly when) and then trended older again, now its back to younger.

That's just my take on it.

If you're looking for alternatives, Europe tends to be older-applicant friendly. They tend to be more biased towards quality experience and soft skills than academic potential (the key factors for US B-school entrance, imo). If you're looking at emerging markets then Asia has plenty of 'experential' potential from B-Schools.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 00:45
conspiracy theorists (or students and alums from Stanford) think that the schools also want to mold their alums so that they become huge donors in the future. that's what a couple Stanford people told me when I asked them about it. And for the record, these students are generally unhappy with the "straight out of college" students in their classes, not contributing much to the discussions, but they cannot do anything to influence the administration for the continuing trend.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 00:54
My theory (and I think there is some support) is that they are trending younger to target the biggest possible talent base. Some people go to law school, some people go to med school, some people start careers they don't want to leave, some people, some people win the lottery and decide not to go to school, etc. The more years that go by, the more likely that one of the above things (and many other things) could happen to thin out the talent pool. I think that these programs of admitting college level students and deferring them for a couple years of work experience are squarely targeted at candidates who would otherwise be heading to law school and med school (or perhaps another grad school).
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 01:43
As I understand it, they are also doing this to make it more attractive to women to apply, since by 28-30, they are usually thinking of starting a family and an MBA becomes difficult to start then. (I thought someone from HBS mentioned this, but I cannot recall where i heard this).
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 05:54
" She also mentioned a shift towards younger applicants - this year, HBS admitted close to 40 college seniors, thought most them took advantage of the deferral option, and only 12 admitted students actually enrolled this year."

HBS has a class of 900 and approx. a 90% yield. 900/.9 = 1,000 admits. 40/1000 = 4%. I would hardly call that a youth jihad in and of itself, although it does seem to be up from the recent past. I remember reading in around 2004 when I was thinking of going to b-school straight out of undergrad that most of the top schools had <2% of students under 25 (i.e., your father is a politician, CEO or billionaire donor). That number does seem to be increasing.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 06:09
It may also be to boost their statistics..

Most colleges show a % increase in salary..

It may be a little difficult to show that with experienced candidates.. Also placing them for better jobs alongside candidates with lesser experience could be a challenge that theyre facing. .

I think that could be a reason H/S adcoms are treading young, but my concern is that Harvard and Stanford are the best instituions, I doubt they would care much about their stats, theyre already the top two MBA institutions globally in most rankings.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 06:37
sudden wrote:
" She also mentioned a shift towards younger applicants - this year, HBS admitted close to 40 college seniors, thought most them took advantage of the deferral option, and only 12 admitted students actually enrolled this year."

HBS has a class of 900 and approx. a 90% yield. 900/.9 = 1,000 admits. 40/1000 = 4%. I would hardly call that a youth jihad in and of itself, although it does seem to be up from the recent past. I remember reading in around 2004 when I was thinking of going to b-school straight out of undergrad that most of the top schools had <2% of students under 25 (i.e., your father is a politician, CEO or billionaire donor). That number does seem to be increasing.

Agreed. The age is definitely "trending younger" but it is hardly a youth jihad as a certain (unnamed) admission consultant would have everyone believe. Older applicants can still get accepted and younger applicants are still looking at an uphill battle.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 06:41
It may also be a practical move based on demand. The two top MBA employment fields these days are IB and MC. These fields require massive time commitments. People graduating in their early 30s are likely, on average, to be less willing to invest themselves in such heavy time commitments. Whereas someone who is younger is probably more willing to work the long hours or suffer through the heavy travel scheduled required. Those fields also value potential and brain power more than experience. Therefore, schools will see greater demand for very smart young students and will recruit more of them.

I'm not sure if this is a good thing, it seems to be shifting the purpose of the MBA degree, but it does seem to be a plausible explanation.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 07:39
Sudden,

“HBS has a class of 900 and approx. a 90% yield. 900/.9 = 1,000 admits. 40/1000 = 4%. I would hardly call that a youth jihad in and of itself, although it does seem to be up from the recent past. I remember reading in around 2004 when I was thinking of going to b-school straight out of undergrad that most of the top schools had <2% of students under 25 (i.e., your father is a politician, CEO or billionaire donor). That number does seem to be increasing.”

I would not put college seniors in the general applicant pool. I think college seniors would be put against other college seniors seeking admission into the program. So it would be 40/325 (number of college seniors who applied) = 12%. It would not make sense to put an undergrad student against a 28 year old senior banker at Goldman Sachs.

Also these stats are for college students who applied straight from undergrad. They are way more applicants who applied after two years of work experience. Which has made the 25/26 applicant pool significantly larger. I would say a good portion of the 8500 people who applied to HBS were between 25/26 and only getting larger. So I wouldn’t say total youth jihad, but it is getting there.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 07:40
hsampath,

“As I understand it, they are also doing this to make it more attractive to women to apply, since by 28-30, they are usually thinking of starting a family and an MBA becomes difficult to start then. (I thought someone from HBS mentioned this, but I cannot recall where i heard this).”

Very good point! The amount of work experience required pushed the age up to high, discouraging women to apply. Pushing down the number of years would allow more women to apply to the program and allow them to start their careers a lot earlier. So by the time they are finished their MBA and have worked a couple years, they could take a break to start a family. When they are done, they can re-enter the workforce a lot easier with an MBA equipped.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 07:41
Pelihu,

“I think that these programs of admitting college level students and deferring them for a couple years of work experience are squarely targeted at candidates who would otherwise be heading to law school and med school (or perhaps another grad school).”

You are correct in saying this, that’s why Harvard has the 2 + 2 program. However, I believe it is just to lock up talent early regardless of what background the students have come from.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 07:51
bherronp,

"It may also be a practical move based on demand. The two top MBA employment fields these days are IB and MC. These fields require massive time commitments. People graduating in their early 30s are likely, on average, to be less willing to invest themselves in such heavy time commitments. Whereas someone who is younger is probably more willing to work the long hours or suffer through the heavy travel scheduled required. Those fields also value potential and brain power more than experience. Therefore, schools will see greater demand for very smart young students and will recruit more of them."

If you consider where most of the graduates from H/S/W end up working, it is logical to assume that this is one of the contributing factors. I think roughly 60% or more of HBS grads go into consulting/investment banking/private equity. With this being the case, employers need work horses that will stay long hours and travel anywhere they tell them to go.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 08:05
Just to follow up on my earlier post.

Harvard, Wharton, Standford - 60% of graduates go into investment banking, consulting, and private equity.

-In these fields in particular, younger is better. Thats why it is so hard for older people to make the transition into IB from other fields.
- With more than 60% of grads going into these field, i agree that it is a case of demand.
- So really only the Ultra-Elites are trending younger.

Other schools

- most grads go into executive roles/corporate roles where experience is a must. EX. a grad landing a job at Microsoft managing a team of engineers in product development. I would think a more experienced person is needed for this job as only a very experienced would know what to do.

In conclusion, i believe the employers are the driving force behind this push to lock up young and motivated students right away.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  24 Jun 2008, 21:59
good news for me I guess... I'll be 26 when/if I matriculate in 09 and am aiming for a job at M/B/B
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  25 Jun 2008, 06:38
I think the really big beneficiaries here are women. A good example is my wife (currently 25) who all of a sudden feels like she could compete at the top places without having to sacrifice the possibility of starting a family, etc.

It makes sense to adjust the desired age group with ground realities as long as not too much is being lost in terms of experience and maturity in the incoming classes.
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  25 Jun 2008, 17:40
I acknowledge that MBA students fresh out of undergrad might have less to offer in the classroom... as I've said in prior discussions, I actually kinda like the fresh perspectives that younger students offer. In any event, the number of students without prior experience, even at H and S, remains quite low. I believe there are < 10 such students out of ~370 in Stanford's incoming class.

There's no doubt that the average age is starting to trend lower at H and S, though. I'm not sure of the reason. As pelihu mentioned above, B-schools may be trying to target students at an early age before they flow to other professional/grad schools. Makes sense, though I don't think they're going to get many people who were thinking about med school. The required pre-med curriculum is quite clearly defined and the MCAT is a major pain in the a##. You either commit to the medicine route fully or you don't pursue it.

There may be something to gaining more female applicants by recruiting at a younger age, and that seems laudable. As has also been mentioned, all of this may have arisen from the desires of consulting firms, banks, and PE firms to have younger and more obedient associate-level employees.

In summary, I have no idea

p.s. Out of curiosity, TFN, you mention that "60% of graduates go into investment banking, consulting, and private equity" at HSW. Did you get this info from employment/recruitment reports?
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Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age? [#permalink]  25 Jun 2008, 18:51
terry12,

Yes I did get it from the employment reports. Here are the links as well as a summarization of the data.

Consulting - 26.2%
Investment banking - 23.1%
Private Equity/VC - 15%
__________________
Total - 64.3%

+

Hedge Funds - 5%
____________________

New Total - 69.3%

http://www.hbs.edu/mba/recruiting/data/ ... areer.html

Wharton

Consulting -27.4%
Investment Banking - 24.4%
Private Equity - 8.2%
___________________
Total = 60%

+

Hedge funds - 5.5%
_________________
New Total = 65.5%

http://www.wharton.upenn.edu/mba/careers/statistics/

Consulting -29%
Investment Banking - 5%
Private Equity - 15%
___________________
Total = 49%

+

Hedge funds - 17%
_________________
New Total = 66%

http://www.gsb.stanford.edu/cmc/reports ... port07.pdf

In summary, the average between the three schools = 64.3 + 60 +49 = 58% add the Hedge funds = 65.3%

Last edited by TFN on 25 Jun 2008, 18:56, edited 1 time in total.
Re: Why are B-schools trending younger? Is 25 the golden age?   [#permalink] 25 Jun 2008, 18:51

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