We started this discussion recently on whether it’s realistic to try for a full-time American MBA program if you’re “older.”
[EDITED: Apparently we only started this discussion in our head… The posts about bschool and age haven’t actually been published yet! sheesh too much eggnog for EssaySnark. You will see more of this topic in the coming days/weeks. But as we were saying…]
What really needs to be discussed is, why do the schools even care — why do they want someone to have at least X years of experience, but not be older than Y? We’ve talked about all this on the blahg before, but we’ll lay it out again here in the essence.
Mostly the schools want to see a minimum level of experience because they want you to be able to navigate the difficult waters of the early days of a fast-paced bschool program. As Derrick Bolton said once in an interview with BusinessWeek or some such, he wants to have students who know how to get on an airplane – in other words, you’ve been around the block, you’re independent, you’re a full-on adult. You can deal with the world.
They also want you to be on par with your fellow students. If you’ve never worked in an office — really worked in an office, not just as the temporary intern who’s there only for the summer, but as a full-fledged politically-involved member of the pecking order — then how are you going to make any type of contributions in class discussions and on team projects? It’s fine if your experience is very non-traditional (non-office-based) but you would still want to demonstrate that you understand how such organizations operate. You need to have DONE SOMETHING before you’re going to a viable candidate for a top bschool. You need to have something to offer to your peers.
This generally comes from experience, which for most people takes the form of a “real job” of some type of another.
Those are the basics for why they want students who are at least a certain age.
Soon we will discuss the other end of the spectrum: why they may be less inclined to go with candidates who are above a certain age (and no, there’s no set-in-stone limit or cut-off – it’s completely up to YOU whether you personally have the pitch that will convince them!)