We often stay in touch with certain former BSers as they go through the actual GOAL of this whole process and launch into their MBA adventure, and it’s so helpful and interesting to get reports back from the field. One comment from a current student in a recent private exchange with us is worth sharing:
Perhaps by dint of age, I’m much more focused on the academic and leadership learnings to be extracted from this place, so the seemingly endless focus on parties and being social can annoy at times.
Now, this person is not “old” by any means, but they are post-30, and they bring up an important point to consider for all you eager-beaver types who are chomping at the bit to make it into a two-year full-time program.
There are many reasons why some adcoms are reluctant to admit candidates who are too far from the mean in terms of age of their cohort, and there are also reasons why the applicant may want to pause and consider the experience they’ll get out of it if they get in.
It’s not like the MBA is not worth it only because your classmates are younger, and it’s not like an MBA class with an average age of 28 is full of “kids” like you think of as college-age frat-house types.
It’s belittling to call it a maturity thing, but it’s definitely true that people go to bschool with different priorities in mind. Many bschools are populated with gobs of these Type A achievers; it’s what the adcoms select for and it’s what our society values. They get to bschool, and they feel like they’ve worked soooooo hard their whole lives and this is the terminal experience, they’ll never be in an academic environment again, and are determined to make the most of it socially.
Plus, there’s little motivation to be focusing on studies. It’s not like college, where so many of them were straight A students, after being manic teenagers driven by their parents to do EVERYTHING so that they could get into a top tier college. And then working for X years post-college in a grueling analyst role or traveling around as a consultant on grunt projects….. Now they’re ready to party!
(If that totally describes YOU, then this post is not for you. 🙂 )
As we replied to this former BSer who came into the MBA from a nontraditional background: “Even if you were closer in age, you’d still likely be feeling some disconnects because of the different life experiences.”
Now to be clear, this student does not regret a thing. They are absolutely in the right place, at the right school and the right program, and they’re maximizing opportunities left and right. The full-time MBA was the correct choice. Today’s post is not calling this person’s decisions into question, by any means.
All we’re offering is for you, Brave Supplicant of today, to consider the choices you’ll be making this season, for what school you choose to apply to, and what program, too.
There is a fixation on the full-time two-year MBA as “better” in almost everyone’s mind. It may be 100% true that it’s the right choice for you. But it’s not the right choice for everybody, so make sure you’re aware of what the experience will be and how it may differ from your expectations set forth in your mind, based on both soft and hard factors and the realities of the type of student who’s attracted to that school and that program and what they will be seeking from the experience. This again is why we emphasize the class visit as such a priority in investigating your options and determining fit.
School fit is this nebulous concept that most applicants struggle to understand. It’s critical to convey “school fit” to the adcom when you present your pitch in the essays, but it’s just as important to evaluate “fit” for yourself in deciding where you even want to apply in the first place.