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To do or Not to do

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New post 09 Apr 2014, 15:20
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I am 34 and have 8+ years of experience working in IT. Mostly in large companies and in a fairly cross-functional role.

I have admits from three schools that all fall within the top 10-20 range. I know what school I want to attend, but I am back to the question that bothered me most before I started this process - To do or not to do an MBA.

If I do an MBA, I intend to pursue technology strategy consulting and use Product Management as a back up path.

What makes me unsure about an MBA:
Age. I might be the oldest in the class, graduating at 36, competing for jobs typically offered to 28 year olds.
Salary - My current salary is fairly close to what the average salaries are at these schools,although for past 4 years the growth rate has been ~2%. I understand that this means it will take me much longer to break even on my MBA costs. I value job satisfaction much more - but I wonder how realistic my ~7.5% year on year salary increase for the first 10 years of post MBA is.

What I am trying to find out the most is - how does age, and a lot of IT experience affect recruiting? I understand that an entire career switch is hard to pull off and that is not what I going for. But do those factors make consulting firms or firms like google/amazon be hesitant in hiring me? Esp when there's a good chance that if the hiring manager is an MBA with 3/4 years of experience - he/she might be the same age or younger than I.

Of course, this is mostly a matter of opinion unless you've been in or closely know someone in exactly the same shoes.

Thanks for your input.
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New post 10 Apr 2014, 00:11
Have you spoken to the respective career services of each school about the placement for older candidates like yourself? I think your point regarding salary and age is valid in that, however you analyse it, your ROI will clearly not be nearly as good as something aged 25 making $50,000 pre-MBA. However, I would also consider the fact that at age 34, this might be your last chance to take time out of the work force and also pivot into an industry that really excites you rather than sticking with a well paid job that you are not enthusiastic about.
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New post 10 Apr 2014, 06:13
From a pure ROI standpoint, it's not going to be the prettiest calculation, especially if you're doing it mostly on debt...but there's more to life than salary. I'm leaving a high paying job to get a MBA (albeit I am only 26), because on top of salary, I also value the experience, the network, the brand on my resume, the opportunities, two years of not working, the friends I'll make, the vacations I'll take, the satisfaction from completing a top-notch graduation program, getting a job I enjoy more, etc.
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Re: To do or Not to do  [#permalink]

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New post 10 Apr 2014, 06:55
Hey, first of all, congrats on your admits!

About age, during my application journey I have run into some students who were in a similar situation than you (had many years of experience and wanted to change career path and were on their early thirties) and they turned out pretty well. However, every person is different and it is all about what you are looking for in an MBA.
As both previous posts point out, from a ROI perspective it probably would not make sense, but there is much more on an MBA than that. In my particular case, I am leaving a high-end good paying job to do an MBA for a complete career change (and I will be graduating at 30, which is not an ideal age for a female looking for a new job...), it depends on how risk-averse you are, your personal situation, how happy you are at your current job and how bad you want the job you are targetting.

Life is all about choices. I believe that sometimes you have to take the leap and go for your dreams but sometimes it is just to risky or not just that type of person... On the other hand, if you don't do it you will always be wondering what if...?
If I were you I would contact the school you want to go (as you said you made your mind about which one to choose if you finally go) and ask them if they could put you in contact with some older students and share your concerns with them. I would also contact some people in your target industry to know how it really works and if age would be a real deal breaker.

I personally don't think age is such a deal breaker and that your extensive WE will help you but again I am no expert in your target industry.

Good luck with your decision :)
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New post 10 Apr 2014, 08:56
Hey Thanks for writing everyone.

My main concern really is to find out whether age(and with that experience) becomes a baggage. I am trying to reach out to as many 2nd year students as I can. The only problem is, most of them - or almost all - have the more traditional 4-6 year experience. I am reaching out to the Career Services folks as well.

Will update this thread as I hear more.
Thanks!
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New post 10 Apr 2014, 21:04
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Well, I'm 36 and likely going to Ross. I have a bit of hesitation about going, but I'm also excited.
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New post 13 Apr 2014, 06:45
I just finished the Admitted Students Weekend at Ross, and I have to say I feel a little more hesitation about going at my age. In the end, I most likely will go, and I know it's impossible to say that you won't fit in the class after just a couple days meeting random people. But I kind of started getting those feelings again of "I'm too old for this."
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New post 13 Apr 2014, 09:48
How was the weekend overall? Were you able to talk to career services folks?
I am going to one April 25th.

I talked to one recent grad with a somewhat similar backrgound who was 34 at graduation and now works in consulting. He didn't think age or more experience was a problem. He said that companies won't offer you a higher position considering your experience, also because they don't want to set a precedent. But other than that, he didn't think it was a negative for him.
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New post 13 Apr 2014, 12:52
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portland wrote:
How was the weekend overall? Were you able to talk to career services folks?
I am going to one April 25th.

I talked to one recent grad with a somewhat similar backrgound who was 34 at graduation and now works in consulting. He didn't think age or more experience was a problem. He said that companies won't offer you a higher position considering your experience, also because they don't want to set a precedent. But other than that, he didn't think it was a negative for him.


The weekend was fine. Friday morning, when we went through mock aspects of the Ross program, was particularly well done, I thought. But I thought a better job could have been done on getting admitted classmates to meet each other. It was hard because we were always on the move. Also, I thought some of the social stuff felt a little too college-y. The Thursday night happy hour, in particular, was ridiculously crowded.

Career Services did a presentation, and I'm sure you could have chatted with the anyone from the office. They did mention that right now they are busy with current students, so they probably wouldn't have time to talk to admitted students until after the current MBA2 students graduate, which makes sense.

At any rate, in terms of my last post, you raise some good points, and I agree. I'm not worried about age and my career prospects, particularly since I'm not going for consulting or IB. I was actually talking about how I felt socially. I felt a little more mature than a lot of people, which I'm not saying to fault anyone. I've obviously has more experiences in life than the average student because I am 6-7 years older. But when I went to a house party and a ridiculously packed bar for some of the social things, I didn't really feel like I felt in.

Of course, in the end, you're in b school to invest in yourself, learn new things, get a job, etc. And I'm sure in a class of 450 people, I'll find the people I gel with.
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New post 13 Apr 2014, 18:41
I will say that also, that while I'm happy to be in at Ross, I still have feelings of disappointment of not getting into my dream school, after being waitlisted for two years. Part of me thinks maybe I should try again, but given my age and the ROI, it just doesn't make sense to do that.
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New post 14 Apr 2014, 01:38
Ward2012 wrote:
I will say that also, that while I'm happy to be in at Ross, I still have feelings of disappointment of not getting into my dream school, after being waitlisted for two years. Part of me thinks maybe I should try again, but given my age and the ROI, it's just doesn't make sense to do that.


Ward I am sure that is tough to get over since WL feels pretty close. I do wonder whether your misgivings about the social side would manifest itself even if you were admitted to Sloan. I didn't attend ASW at Tuck but I do get the impression then sell weekend emphasises more the "woo let's party" side of b-school way more than the "let's catch up at a coffee shop" side of social life. I think with the diversity of the classes at b-schools, you will be able to find your kind of people more often than not!
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New post 14 Apr 2014, 04:07
Ah great, Ward2012 did end up chiming in on this thread. When I first saw this thread, I was going to call him out on being older than you for Ross! As for Tepper, I might end up going there, and in Ward2012's eye, I'm older - not in age, but because I have two kids. I've also been talking to an alum who was 40 at the time she matriculated at Tepper. I'm not sure what your third admit school is from your profile, but I'm sure you'll find those of similar age as you. I'm two years younger than you FYI.

I can't really answer your questions on age, ROI, and recruiting. But I've talked to a lot of folks in their 30s, and most of us seem to be going to bschool for a career change though we are usually not interested in IB or consulting. The ROI factor seems to be less important than the opportunity to switch industry/function. If you're purely in it for the money, then whether or not to attend is definitely something to consider. I guess you really need to think about how satisfied you are with your current and future employment with or without an MBA.
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New post 14 Apr 2014, 04:24
If you are willing to pursue your MBA then don't think about your age. My father was 54 when he did MBA, when he entered the classroom all students stood up and greeted him thinking that he is the faculty. But later on when he completed the course he was the happiest amongst all. Same as in your case if you feel that the degree is going to help you in future then just go for it.
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New post 14 Apr 2014, 08:24
domotron wrote:
Ward2012 wrote:
I will say that also, that while I'm happy to be in at Ross, I still have feelings of disappointment of not getting into my dream school, after being waitlisted for two years. Part of me thinks maybe I should try again, but given my age and the ROI, it's just doesn't make sense to do that.


Ward I am sure that is tough to get over since WL feels pretty close. I do wonder whether your misgivings about the social side would manifest itself even if you were admitted to Sloan. I didn't attend ASW at Tuck but I do get the impression then sell weekend emphasises more the "woo let's party" side of b-school way more than the "let's catch up at a coffee shop" side of social life. I think with the diversity of the classes at b-schools, you will be able to find your kind of people more often than not!


thanks. yes, I'm sure I'd get the same feelings of hesitation at any other school, but they just would bother me less if I were at my dream school.

But at this point, there's nothing for me to do except look forward.

Hope all is well
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Re: To do or Not to do   [#permalink] 14 Apr 2014, 08:24
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