Should I Get an MBA After 30?

April 11th, 2019

MBA after 30

The fact that you’re reading this article means that you must have had some lingering thoughts about doing an MBA. But some part of you is wondering,

“Am I too old for an MBA?”

And like all the others thinking the same thing, you’re also completely uncertain whether it even makes sense to do this. Becoming a student at the age of 30-something most probably doesn’t sound like the best idea. You’re probably thinking,

“Can I even get into any decent B-School?”

To that we say, don’t give up before you give it an honest shot!

If you have serious doubts and reservations about doing an MBA after 30, give this detailed article a read and see if you feel differently by the end.

In this article, we’re going to talk about:

  1. Who is an ‘Older Applicant’?
  2. Why Don’t B-Schools Accept Older Applicants?
  3. What Can You Gain From an MBA After 30?
  4. Why Didn’t You Do an MBA Earlier?
  5. How Can You Get an MBA After 30?
  6. How to Select the Right B-Schools?
  7. How to Convince AdComs as an Older Candidate?

Gunning for progress is always a good decision, and that’s what an MBA can help you do. Here’s everything you need to know to get your MBA!

1. Who is an ‘Older Applicant’?

Incidentally, you could be entirely off the mark in thinking that you’re old. Just because all the B-school ads you see only display confident professionals who look a decade younger than you does not mean they’re the only ones getting MBAs.

Knowing the stereotype of a “B-School student” can often lead people to believe that they’re too old for an MBA. Let’s take a look at how credible that idea is.

MBA programs around the world have an average age range of 27-28. Notwithstanding MBA-like programs around the globe such as IIM-A’s PGPx, 30-31 is considered to be the higher limit for MBA students globally.

It’s important to note, here, that what matters more is work experience, not just age.

However, anything above the age of 30 is typically considered ‘old’ for B-School. As you can see, though, some of these programs actually have average ages over 30.

In most cases, those are executive MBAs designed for mid-career professionals, but there are just regular MBA programs.
What this tells us is that many people in their 30s or, in rare cases, higher, are looking to get an MBA as well.

Undoubtedly, getting into a good B-School after 30 is going to be difficult. But you should remember that it is not impossible even in your early forties. At CrackVerbal, we’ve experienced a few, rare cases when people have even gotten in for an MBA after 40.

But we’re going to go back to the ‘more work experience and not just age’ part for a bit here.

One of the biggest factors that would help you build a strong case for your admission is if you’re only applying late because you spent more years than average on studying.

This means that if you have a Ph.D., MBBS, or any Master’s degree, it explains why you’re late in applying for an MBA. You won’t be considered ‘old’ because you haven’t spent that many more years than the other applicants in working full-time.

Similarly, you won’t be considered old if you’ve served as an IAS or other UPSC officer, or in the armed forces.

You’ll only be considered as an unfavorable candidate if you have worked and gathered years of full-time experience.
Now, let’s take a look at why exactly that is so.

2. Why Don’t B-Schools Want Older MBA Candidates?

There are some perceptions that B-Schools typically have which keep them from accepting applications from older MBA aspirants.

To improve your odds of getting an admit, you must try to understand what these perceptions are. Your chances improve if you can counter them successfully.

Here are four factors that make older applicants undesirable for B-Schools:


  • Potential > Performance
    Most B-Schools care more about potential than performance.
    Potential refers to the things you are capable of doing but haven’t done yet. Performance refers to the things you have already done.

    The perception among B-Schools today is that an MBA is better equipped to teach you how to do things before you learn to do them yourself. Accordingly, they look for candidates who have just enough experience to know the challenges one can face.

    The fear that older candidates must have figured out their own solutions for such challenges. So, B-Schools don’t feel like they have as much to offer you, an older candidate, as they have to offer someone with lesser experience.

    Further, they believe that the more experience you have, the more challenging it will be to teach you new concepts.

    It’s like the old English phrase about how it is hard to teach an old dog new tricks.

    You may have great stories and experiences to share with the class, and that will certainly enhance learning for them.

    However, every B-School’s main fear is that as an older candidate, you may not learn much from their course.

  • Flexibility
    Young candidates who walk in with 5-6 years of work experience are usually open to accepting new ways of going about things. But if you’ve been doing things a certain way for a decade or more, you’re perceived as being more rigid.

    B-Schools doubt an older candidate’s ability to change his approach and mold himself according to what is taught.

    As mentioned before, the fear generally tends to be that you won’t have much to take away from the course. This is compounded by the idea that you may have become too rigid to truly absorb things.

    All MBA programs are dynamic in nature. So, B-Schools look for candidates who are dynamic, too.

    Older candidates are believed to be rigid and less dynamic.

  • Class Fit
    MBA is a mid-career program, where every student typically has 3-5 years of work experience.

    B-Schools typically aim to have as much diversity in the class as possible in terms of professional backgrounds, cultures, gender, and academic backgrounds. This helps because students in MBA programs are expected to learn from each other as well as from the faculty. Diversity in this environment helps bring many perspectives to the table.

    At the same time, though, MBAs require a fair amount of team-work.

    A certain degree of homogeneity is required for or effective team-work. So, the balance is precarious when it comes to managing diversity in an MBA cohort.

    If the class is too diverse and the students don’t get along with each other, the learning experience is hampered.

    The common thread B-Schools like to maintain among students in a batch is age.

    For example, a group of 27-years-olds is likely to get along quite well even if every single one of them comes from a different walk of life.

    What B-Schools are concerned about is that if they add an older candidate to the mix, it will be tough for him to get along with the rest of the students. In a B-School’s eyes, this impacts team-work and neutralizes any advantage your expertise may lend your profile.

  • Salary & Career Transition
    The final concern that most B-Schools have is what you expect the MBA to do for you.

    As a working professional, you must be well aware that it gets tougher to make significant career transitions after the age of 30-33 years. B-Schools are aware of this, as well.

    Understand that most of the younger candidates are seeking an MBA for one of two reasons – they either want to switch career paths or they want to move up in the hierarchy and make more money.

    So, B-Schools expect those to be the reasons why you’re applying, too.

    The problem with that is this:

    Having worked for longer in the same field, you are likely to be at a higher position than the other candidates. B-Schools take this to mean that you will have higher expectations in terms of salary as well as placement at the end of the program.

    It is harder for B-Schools to give you a sizeable hike in salary and have you placed in a position that does justice to the extra experience you have.

    That’s another reason why B-Schools tend to be wary of older candidates.

We hope this has given you have a better understanding of the problems that B-Schools face in taking on older candidates. Next, we’d like to address one of the common concerns people have about getting an MBA after 30.

3. What Will You Gain from an MBA After 30?

You know how B-Schools have doubts about older candidates, right?

Sometimes, the same doubts could be nagging at your own mind as well. Especially after reading all the reasons why B-Schools will likely reject your applications, you must be wondering if an MBA is even worth it at this point.

The reasons why people pursue MBAs are quite standard. However, older candidates can get some more specific benefits from an MBA.


  • Knowledge
    So far, you must probably have developed a kind of functional expertise in what you do. Having worked for so many years in the field, your knowledge of your field of work must be based on practical experience and not theory.

    This expertise must be what has helped you rise through the ranks all these years. However, as you go higher, you need to become more of a general manager and less of a section expert.

    That’s exactly what an MBA can help you do.

    As you get into management positions, you’ll need to manage functions you’ve never dealt with before.

    For example, if you’re an IT engineer, you may never have handled profit and loss statements, marketing reports, and sales updates. As a manager at any level, you’ll need to know how to use these things as tools to enhance your team’s performance.

    An MBA gives you the know-how to perform the functions necessary to be an effective manager.

  • Perspective
    In all probability, you have not had the time to invest in yourself so far. By this, we mean that you may not have thought much about your social skills, your emotional intelligence or your leadership skills.

    Being self-aware and having good interpersonal skills are both qualities necessary for performing well as a leader or manager at any level. Both these can be developed if you invest in yourself.

    That’s where an MBA comes in handy.

    It gives you the opportunity to finally take some time to focus on yourself. You can use this time to rediscover yourself and develop any hobbies and skills you choose to.

    An MBA provides you with an opportunity to be in a class full of students learning to do the same thing. Any good B-School will have a variety of student clubs created to help you develop your personality beyond your job description.

    Your career depends not only on your IQ but also your ability to work with all kinds of people, especially those you don’t particularly like.

    An MBA helps you make the transition from a functional expert in your field to a visionary who can guide an entire team towards success.

    It helps you create a ‘new and improved’ version of yourself, which is a necessity for career growth after 30.

  • Network
    At a certain point in your career, your net worth becomes your network.

    You may have started to realize that people who have strong networks can get things done. Your ability to make things happen, to handle obstacles and overcome them, to pull off bold maneuvers, all get affected by who you know.

    How much power you have is a direct function of how many powerful people you’re connected with. Getting an MBA from a reputed B-School opens many doors as far as networking opportunities go.

    Most importantly, after a certain age, you know that your next job is not going to come from online portals.

    The entire dynamic of looking for better job prospects changes as you grow in your career. Whether you have reached the middle- and upper-management levels or not, after a certain age, you don’t expect to be looking for jobs online.

    The network you have defines how your career goes.

    Think about this:

    You have some aims and ambitions for your career, right? Maybe you want to become the CTO of a big company at the age of 50. That’s a pretty realistic dream to have.

    What you need to realize now, though, is that you’re never going to see that position as a job opening looking for candidates through ads or online. Contenders for those positions don’t apply for them, they’re referred.

    That is the reason you need to start building that network now. An MBA is easily among the best ways for you to do this at your age.

An MBA is a one-stop solution to all the issues you’re probably facing as well as those you may not even have realized you had.

Having said that, it’s important for you to be able to handle the biggest question you’ll have to face over and over. That’s what we’ll address in the next section.

4. Why Didn’t You Do an MBA Earlier?

This is the first thing anyone is likely to think when they find out that you’re looking to pursue an MBA after 30.

This issue is the elephant in your room, so you better have all your bases covered when it comes to addressing this. Now, there could be a multitude of reasons why you didn’t do an MBA earlier.

In fact, some of these reasons may even work against you. That’s why it is important that you prepare to face this question and answer it effectively.

Let’s take a look at some of the possible answers you may have.

  • Didn’t Feel the Need

    It’s entirely possible that you have been doing so well in your career so far that you didn’t feel the need to do an MBA.

    As mentioned, one of the reasons why people choose to pursue MBAs career progression. They get an MBA because they feel that they need it to help them get better at what they do.

    Maybe you never felt that need. Maybe you’ve been so good at what you do that you never faced any obstacles and therefore never felt the need for something to help you overcome them effectively.

    Most importantly, if you’ve been doing well for yourself, you may not have had the time to take a break. Your 20s were probably invested in working non-stop to get where you are today.

    With such a hectic schedule, you may never have had a chance to take a break and pursue an MBA before.

    In case you choose to respond with this reason, you’ll need to have a solid CV to back it up.

    If you don’t have that, then maybe you should consider going with one of the next few reasons.

  • Wasn’t Aware of MBA Benefits
    wasn't aware of the benefits of mba after 30
    Although this may work against you if you put it this way, it’s possible that you didn’t do an MBA because you didn’t know how it would help you.

    While every professional today has heard of the MBA degree, few understand what it really entails. And given how much time and money you have to invest in getting an MBA, you obviously wouldn’t go in for it without knowing everything about it.

    In fact, it’s entirely possible that an MBA is exactly what you needed but you simply didn’t know it so far.

    What matters is this:

    Now that you’ve discovered that an MBA is what you need, you should be willing to go for it with everything you’ve got!

  • Didn’t Get Through via CAT
    Didn’t Get Through via CAT
    Back in the day, when getting an MBA had started to become the ‘in thing’ to do, the only way to get in was to score well on the CAT.

    Perhaps you are one of those candidates who took the CAT but didn’t end up scoring well enough to get into a decent MBA program. You may have given up on the idea of doing an MBA entirely after that.

    If you’re nodding your head in agreement to that right now, you should know you’re far from being alone!

    Scores of people who wanted to do an MBA gave up on their dreams because of the CAT.

    However, the GMAT has ignited hope for such candidates once again. If you belong to this category of people, you should consider starting your GMAT prep right away!

  • You Have Done an MBA Before

    If this is not going to be your first MBA, you’re going to need to give a very convincing reason why you should be admitted into any good MBA program.

    MBA is one of the most dynamic and versatile degrees out there, which means it has evolved massively over time. So, you may have done a degree that was called an MBA but it may not have looked anything like what a good MBA program means in today’s world.

    The MBA degree you earned should be drastically different from the MBA programs you’re looking to apply to. Moreover, you need to be well-versed with the differences.

    In short, you’ll have to show that the MBA you’ve got was not designed to equip you with the skills you’re looking to learn today.

    Remember not to sound like you’re complaining when you discuss this, though. You don’t want to come across as someone trying to externalize the blame for not having achieved as much as you’d like to.

No matter what your reason may be, you need to put it in words and be honest with yourself about it. The MBA Application process is going to require you to do that anyway. So, you might as well start now!

Speaking of the MBA Application process – you should know that it is a rather nuanced process. It may come across as rather straightforward but we promise you, it is not. The next section will take you through how to go about getting an MBA.

5. How to Get an MBA After 30

It probably seems pretty intuitive – just pick a good MBA program, apply, and start your course – right?

If you agree with that statement, you’re in for a BIG surprise.

An MBA is not like any other Masters degree you can just sign up for and get on a whim. It requires clarity of mind and a sense of determination and purpose like nothing else.

Let’s take a look at the five stages that older MBA candidates typically go through in their MBA journeys.

5. How to Get an MBA After 30

It probably seems pretty intuitive – just pick a good MBA program, apply, and start your course – right?

If you agree with that statement, you’re in for a BIG surprise.

An MBA is not like any other Masters degree you can just sign up for and get on a whim. It requires clarity of mind and a sense of determination and purpose like nothing else.

Let’s take a look at the five stages that older MBA candidates typically go through in their MBA journeys.

  • Figuring Out Your Intentions
    If you’re considering yourself too old for an MBA, you’re probably doing well for yourself. You have a good life, with a family of your own and a good job.

    Thanks to that, you’re likely to think to yourself, “Why should I even do all this?”

    So, here’s the thing:

    Having such thoughts in the middle of your MBA journey is simply not an option. Understand that the competition to get an MBA is very high and you’re starting out with a disadvantage.

    Before you begin, you need to know what effect that an MBA can have on your life. Ask yourself if you truly want that life it can create for you. You need to be sure that you want that life because you’re going to have to work pretty hard for it.

    If you have serious doubts about whether or not you’re a good fit for an MBA, take our free MBA Profile Evaluation test. That’ll help clear out some things in your mind.

    The point is, getting an MBA is going to be a long process, so you need to double down and prepare yourself mentally to face its rigors in advance.

  • Preparing for the GMAT
  • Let’s face it – studying isn’t exactly fun.

    On top of that, you’ve likely been out of touch with the routines of studying and taking exams for ages now. Getting back into the groove is going to take some solid effort on your part.

    Add to this the fact that you have a lower attention span than before. Plus you’re a busy professional with a hectic lifestyle… How are you going to find the time to study?

    This is the point where you have to remind yourself to keep your eyes on the prize.

    Knowing and visualizing the difference that an MBA can make to your life will help you stay on track. Pick a GMAT coaching program designed for busy professionals that will help you stay focused and manage your time effectively.

    Planning to study for the GMAT and actually doing it are two very different things.

    So, even when you’re planning your GMAT attempt, remember to take into consideration that it’ll take a lot of time and determination to get into a study routine.

  • Scoring Well on the GMAT
    The reason this section is separate from the previous one is that your GMAT score changes the way you think.

    Let us illustrate with an example.

    With a 550 on the GMAT, you’re likely to give up on the MBA idea altogether. If you get a 650, though, you’ll consider applying to some of the good B-Schools. You might drop any grand plans to apply to the top B-Schools but at least you won’t give up.

    However, if you get a 750, you might even decide to take a shot at getting into Harvard!

    The point is, getting your GMAT score is a pivotal point in your MBA journey.

    To get a good score, you should know that the GMAT doesn’t look to test your knowledge as much as it tests your ability to use what you know. You need to understand how the test works, identify GMAT patterns, and learn how to take the test.

    You may or may not have attempted the GMAT or studied for it before. If you haven’t, don’t worry – it’s not as big a deal as it is made out to be.

    But if you have engaged with the GMAT test before, you should know that fundamental changes have been made to the exam in recent years.

    Either way, it’s a great idea to read up on the GMAT Syllabus and the recent changes that have been made to the exam. This includes the GMAT exam pattern and the Select Section Order option. Brush up on how GMAT scoring works and what the GMAT Enhanced Score Report is.

    However, you should mentally prepare yourself to retake the GMAT if you don’t get the score you want in your first attempt. Unless you’re prepared, just one bad score can bring your MBA dreams crashing down.

  • Applications
    We’ve noticed that people drop out even after getting a good GMAT score. Our understanding is simply that ‘life happens’ to some people.

    At times, older candidates don’t realize what a rigorous process it is to apply for an MBA. So, they’re just burned out by this point.

    To avoid dropping out at this stage and putting all your efforts so far to waste, you must remember that MBA applications are demanding, too.

    First, you have to pick the right MBA programs for your profile.

    Then, to get in, you’ll have to write or record video essays, find the right recommenders and get your letters of recommendation, and then get through interviews with Admission Committees.

    Your essays, whether written or video-recorded, will be in response to questions posed by the schools you’re applying to. This means there will be multiple questions and multiple essays to address them, although some – like the Why MBA essay – will be common.

    The thing about written essays is this:

    It’ll be challenging to write these essays. Firstly, you must be out of practice with creative writing on the whole, so it will take time. Secondly, you will need to do a lot of soul-searching to write a convincing essay, no matter what the question is. Thirdly, there will be multiple rounds of editing, which can get pretty tedious.

    Further, you must write your own essays.

    Apart from the fact that it is totally unethical, there are far too many risks involved with outsourcing your MBA application essays. The biggest of these is that the AdComs will figure out if you haven’t written your own essays.

    Getting good recommendations is critical, even though you don’t control what’s in them.

    And last but not least, you need to prepare well for your MBA interviews, too.

  • Getting Through
    Once you’ve run the entire obstacle race of MBA applications and made it through, you’ll reach another very important juncture: actually beginning your MBA.

    Many older MBA aspirants often have a pessimistic approach where they don’t really expect to make it through and get admits. That’s why, when they get to this stage, they blank out.

    If you’ve done well, you will end up with one or multiple admits into various great MBA programs.

    This is when you have to choose where you want to be.

    And we wish this choice was simply about comparing programs, but it is not. You have to factor in your MBA financing options as well. This includes scholarships, loans, and a multitude of factors, depending on the country you’re going to.

    To start your program, you’ll have to be comfortable leaving your entire life behind.

    This might seem like an obvious thing that you will have thought of already, but trust us, when the time comes to actually leave, this can hit pretty hard.

    These five critical stages in your MBA journey will define what your life will be like a couple of years down the line. Now that you’re aware of these obstacles, you’re already better prepared to face them and make it through.

Here’s what Arun Jagannathan, the founder and CEO of CrackVerbal, has to say about getting your MBA after 30:

In the next section, we will address another really big question: At which schools do you have good chances as an older MBA aspirant?

6. Selecting the Right B-Schools

Now, you’re aware that B-Schools typically have their reservations about taking in older candidates for their full-time MBA programs. What we haven’t discussed yet is the handful of schools that are known to be friendly towards older MBA candidates.

If you apply to any of the MBA programs at the following schools, your chances of getting in are likely to get a boost.

Each of these schools offers multiple formats of MBA programs. There are also many choices when it comes to specializations, but you can always opt for a General Management MBA as well. In any case, each of these schools is open to taking in candidates older than the average age for an MBA.

However, an MBA is not the only way forward for you, either. Some of the world’s leading B-Schools also offer other programs that are specially designed for older candidates.

In some cases, as in the case of IIM – Ahmedabad’s PGPx, these other programs are looked upon as MBAs even though they aren’t formally called that. The simple reason for this is that these courses are very similar to MBAs, they’re just tailored for more specific needs.

Examples of schools offering such programs are:

  • Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (US)
    One of the highest ranking universities of all time, MIT is world-renowned for its higher education programs across numerous walks of life. Its Sloan School of Management offers a massive variety of programs with various specializations for business executives. You can use the MIT program finder to help find the best fit for your profile.

  • Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad (India)
    One of India’s most prestigious B-Schools, IIM – Ahmedabad, offers a postgraduate program for business executives. This is a highly coveted program because of IIM-A’s stature, but also because of how effective it has been. The progress made by the alumni of this program is quite spectacular.

  • International Institute for Management Development (Switzerland)
    The IMD is the only institute of its caliber in the world that is not affiliated with any university. It is an independent institute that exclusively offers management training programs including MBAs and executive MBAs. It has a vast variety of leadership programs that you could benefit from as well.

  • Indian School of Business (India)
    The Indian School of Business is a globally-recognized and -respected B-School with two campuses – ISB Hyderabad and ISB Mohali. It offers one of the country’s best learning experiences through its MBA programs, and the postgraduate program (PGP) it offers rivals the one provided by IIM-A.

Consider all your options carefully and weigh them against each other before you decide which programs you want to pursue.

The reason we recommend this is that you will have to be very certain of your choices when you face the AdComs. Whether it is through your essays or your interview, your conviction regarding which course you want to get into will make a huge difference in convincing AdComs to give you an admit.

In the next and final section, we talk about the extra steps you’ll have to take to convince AdComs that you’re worthy of getting into their MBA programs.

7. Convincing AdComs

As an older candidate, you will face some very specific challenges when it comes to convincing Admission Committees. We highly recommend that you bring up these issues before AdComs or others bring them up for you.

That way, you can control the narrative.

Here are the challenges you will have to face along with our recommendations on how to tackle them:

  • Chequered Career Path
    Being an older candidate, you probably have a long history of professional experience. If you write out everything you’ve done, it might fill up a couple of pages.

    In all likelihood, if this is the case with you, then you must be feeling some pressure to summarize your CV.

    Do not do that.

    Chances are that your resume has a couple of jobs that don’t make you look that great. Trust us, everyone has those. But if you try to downplay or hide those jobs, it might work against you. Instead, we recommend that you elaborate on everything you’ve done.

    You may have a job or a few which don’t really make sense. Maybe they are beyond the scope of your expertise or completely out-of-sync with the rest of your profile. Or, maybe you didn’t make much headway at one of the jobs you held for a long time.

    In either case, it reflects badly upon you unless you present your side of the story.

    Some of these jobs may just have been stop-gap measures that you took on while looking for the right opportunities. Others you may have taken on to experiment or to try and build on a skill or hobby you have.

    Explain what you learned from each job you held and how it contributed to what makes you who you are today. This will portray confidence instead of a lack of focus.

  • Learnability
    As mentioned before, one of the major reasons why B-Schools are apprehensive about taking on older candidates is a belief that older candidates might be too ‘set in their ways’.

    While the ball is still in your court, establish that you are willing to learn.

    The best way to do this is to mention the activities, courses, or projects you have undertaken recently and talk about why you took them. Exhibit your tendency to invest in yourself, to grow as a person and be open to learning new things.

    An MBA is, in many ways, the ultimate investment you can make in yourself.

    Show the AdCom that you have a high ‘LQ’ or ‘learning quotient’. Display a history of investing in yourself and actively seeking learning opportunities. It will go a long way in building the AdCom’s confidence in you.

  • Employability
    Another major fear B-Schools have about older candidates is that they will be difficult to place. You can assuage this fear at the very outset through your application.

    We have already advised you to elaborate on your work experience. Such elaboration comes in handy here, too.

    What you can do is this:

    Establish clearly that you will not be entirely dependent on the B-School’s Placement Committee to get good opportunities after your MBA. What you need to show is that your extra years of experience have given you the skills and network to make it on your own.

    Whether you end up taking the Placement Committee’s help later or not is immaterial. The point here is to show AdComs that you have absolute faith in yourself and that you are a self-starter.

    Our recommendation is, don’t outright claim that you will not seek help, but do indicate strongly that you can do it on your own.

    Doing this will take care of the AdComs’ fear that you may become a liability that the school will have to nurse later.

  • Why NOW?
    One of the most interesting questions to try and answer is, “Why do you want to do your MBA right now?”

    Now, your actual reason may be that you’ve hit an air pocket in your career and you’re finding it tough to get out and move on. But you cannot say this without sounding like you’re externalizing your problems.

    No B-School appreciates candidates who sound needy.

    If you say you’ve hit a plateau in your professional growth and are looking to get an MBA that will spark growth once again, you can forget about getting into a decent program.

    Instead, B-Schools look for candidates who show signs that they are going to excel with or without their MBA. They are interested in candidates who are already making things happen; candidates who will use the MBA only to accelerate their existing growth plan.

    One of the terms often used by older candidates to address this question is ‘retooling’.

    It means re-equipping oneself with knowledge, skills, and acumen that is relevant and important for growth in the desired direction.

    So, what you can say is that you’re retooling to try and change the path your career is on. Say that you’re looking for an MBA program to help you do that more efficiently and in a structured manner.

    Link what you’ve done so far to what you want to do in the future.

    Basically, establish that you’re looking to grow your existing skills and build on new ones to help you develop a more globally-oriented skillset.

    Make it clear that you’re not expecting the MBA to wave some magic wand and infuse life into your dying career. Instead, reinforce that you’re on your way to success and are looking for a program to speed up the process.

  • Class Contribution
    Every B-School is quite concerned with what each candidate brings to the table. We’ve talked earlier in this post about how diversity is a big deal for B-Schools as it enhances the overall learning experience.

    You can exploit the desire that B-Schools have to bring more diverse and rich experiences to the classroom.

    Of course, you have to be careful not to overdo it, but you must talk modestly about how you think your years of work experience will contribute to the entire class’s takeaways.

    Mention the biggest lessons you’ve learned, the skills you’ve picked up, or your greatest achievements. Talk about what you think the younger candidates can learn from them.

    This is a great opportunity to paint your weakness – i.e. your age – as your strength.

    Portray that you’ve got a lot to offer the B-School and that they can also benefit from having you in their class.

  • Your X-Factor
    Hold your horses – we’re not talking about the reality TV show! :p

    At the end of the day, remember that your direct competition is not the 27-year-old applicants; instead, it is the other applicants who are your age. Take into account that anyone who has been in the field and working for around 10 years will most probably have the same kind of experiences and insights to a certain extent.

    This would make your profile look just like theirs and it may slip through the gaps.

    To avoid falling through the cracks, talk about something that makes you unique.

    Mention something about your personality, background, or just about anything you can think of, and talk about how that affects the perspective you can provide.

    The aim here is to stand out as a more memorable or more valuable candidate than the rest.

  • Why Full-Time MBA
    One of the only other major challenges we can foresee for older MBA aspirants is this:
    Establishing why you want to take a break from your career and go for a full-time course instead of continuing to work while pursuing a part-time MBA.

    Since you’re already ahead of most applicants in your career, it’s easy for an AdCom to reject your application thinking that you’d be better suited for a part-time commitment. That’s why it is quite important for you to clearly state that a part-time or online MBA is not for you.

    You can say that you think immersing yourself full-time into learning is the most productive or effective way for you to learn.

    Feel free to mention that part-time and online courses don’t go into the kind of depth that you are looking to get into.

    Don’t hesitate to express it if you feel like you won’t be able to handle work and studies together, if that’s one of the reasons why you prefer a full-time course over any other format.

In Conclusion…

When it comes to getting into a good MBA program, there’s no doubt that your opportunities shrink with age. The older you grow, the more challenges you will face and the less convenient it will be to field the questions volleyed at you.

However, this does not go to say that getting an MBA after 30 is a bad idea. It does not mean you should give up on your aspirations just because of your age.

All you need to remember is that the secret to a successful MBA journey lies in planning and anticipating it well.

Do let us know your thoughts and feedback in the comments section below. We’ll be happy to help with any queries as well!