Every now and then we run into a BSer who’s bound and determined to go for the full-time two-year MBA at an American business school. Nothing wrong with that! It’s quite the experience and opportunity! Who would NOT want to take two years’ vacation from life and go off and study fun business courses in a new location?
Totally get it.
A problem sometimes arises when this bound-and-determinedness is coming from someone who’s significantly older, and especially when it’s someone who has some glitches and flaws in the profile that makes it a challenge to attract the attention of the adcoms at these top schools.
We’re not saying that there’s a cutoff in age for a full-time MBA. But we are saying that that program is designed for a particular phase of life, and stage of career, and if you’re outside the norm by too much, then it’s just going to be harder to break in. That is, unless you have so much going for you in so many other ways of distinction and differentiation that the adcoms just can’t say no to you.
But that rarely happens.
We did a mini-series of posts here on the blahg in February 2016 talking about why EMBA is a four-letter word, and we understand the bias against it. However we sometimes see BSers who misunderstand what the differing opportunities are about. There are many valid reasons for why someone might be a better fit to one type of MBA program versus another. The real risk that you have when your profile looks more like the standard Executive MBA student’s profile, and you’re trying for a regular full-time MBA, is that as much as you might want to insist to the adcoms that the full-time track is the one you want, it’s up to them to decide if you have demonstrated that fit appropriately or not.
We sometimes see people banging their head against the full-time wall, trying over and over again at various and sundry schools, and racking up reject after reject. There are four possible options to pursue when that happens:
1. Step back and identify WHY you belong in the standard full-time track, and make that an integral part of your pitch
2. Examine your targets and consider applying to the next lower tier of school
3. Look for a top bschool in another geography
4. Switch gears completely and consider Executive MBA instead
The American schools are the most competitive, and the full-time tracks the most of all. But there’s plenty of schools out there, and plenty of programs. If you are targeting an ex-U.S. program then what is a very competitive the-odds-are-stacked-against-you profile may suddenly become an applicant in demand.
It really depends on your priorities.
Many part-time and Executive MBA programs get the bulk of their applications late in the season, mostly because of people in exactly this position: They originally try for the F/T tracks in the early rounds of the season and get squeezed out, and then look for their options later on since they really want to go to bschool. It’s not impossible to get into one of these non-full-time programs towards the end of the cycle. If you feel you could fit in with the EMBA cohort at a top bschool then it’s definitely not too late to start putting those plans in place.