It is a dilemma for those who have crossed the age of 30 and have 10 or more years of work experience. The usual experience required for an MBA is 3-5 years. You can stretch this to 7-8 years. But if you have 10 or more years, many business schools will question your ‘late waking up’. If you have good reason for such delay, it would be imperative for you to explain it in the application. What the business schools will also consider is your career trajectory. If you have taken more time to achieve what others have in fewer years, it will go against you. No school will want students who might slow down the class. Besides, universities would not want to hurt their class employment rate on which their rankings depend.
An MBA is for either attaining leadership positions in the same industry or when you want a shift in your career. The latter would mean a movement below your current level. So you might want to think if you are willing to start again, so to speak, at this point of your career.
Another factor to keep in mind would be the opportunity cost of taking the break and the cost of the MBA. At this age, how much more can you expect to increase your salary post MBA? Would companies prefer a younger and more energetic mind with lesser familial constraints or someone with greater experience?
Whether you should do the MBA after 10+ years of work depends upon your individual needs and situation. When choosing where to apply to, think about what your personal goals are and if the university matches them.
Several business schools in the UK and Europe accept advanced careers. As an alternative, if you have outstanding achievements, you can choose to do one of the elite programs, MIT Sloan Fellows Program, Stanford MSx, the LBS Sloan or the Nanyang Fellows MBA programs of one year duration. These are more advanced and rigorous with a very small cohort. Company sponsorship is largely the way to fund this expensive program.
If you would like advice based on your personal circumstances, do get in touch with us.
Admission committees look for leadership skills in an applicant, both undergraduate and postgraduate and this can be shown in various ways.
Narrate your achievements as a leader. You may be a team leader within an organization or outside. For example, you could be the leader of an academic project, a sports team captain, organize a food drive or any community service based activity. It could be that you improved the work environment, helped build the brand, streamlined investments, enabled or empowered your team members.
Note, you must mention measurable results, like the size of your team, percentage increase in sales or clients etc.
If you have not been in the role of a team leader, but were an ad-hoc leader for an individual project or perhaps you did not have an official position, but were the driving force behind the project, you could still show your leadership quality. Show individual initiative.
Here it would be useful to have your recommender vouch for your claims.
If you have not led a group of people, don’t loose hope. You can inspire/motivate others/peers or help someone solve a problem, contribute to the growth of an organisation or project to show that you have leadership potential.
Note, it is important to narrate the episode/story rather than just list your accomplishments.
Whether it is to advance in your current career, change your career path or do something entirely different, when you are applying for an MBA program, you are competing with others who are perhaps equally qualified if not more and you need to distinguish yourself from them. So instead of making the application about what you want, make it about what you can give, how you can contribute to the school that you are applying to.
As you think about how to frame your essays and prepare for interview, keep in mind to convince the admissions that you will enhance the college experience of your peer students, add knowledge to the classroom learning environment through special skills that you will bring to the table and that you will continue to make a positive impact as an alumnus.
Read here tips on how to do this.
Start with thinking about which of your skills and interests will benefit the program. Think of what you want to give and receive from your classmates. Example: you might have technical experience that can be shared with your cohort.
Connect your past and present experiences. For example, you have worked at a leather export company and bring the knowledge of the leather industry to your classmates.
Research what clubs and societies are there in the school, mention how you can contribute to them or perhaps talk about some club that you would create of your own.
Research the faculty and their work and relate it to your interests. Perhaps you might aspire to assist the professor with his or her research.
Reach out to the current students and alumni to get to know the ins and outs of the school culture. With your research and understanding of the school and it’s mission and vision, establish that their school is uniquely the best fit for what you want to achieve.
By showing that your career will be augmented by their program and that you will augment their program with your presence, you will have satisfied the admission team of your suitability.