If you are considering an MBA, you are likely wondering if you are the right age for business school. The average entering age at most top schools is approximately 28 – but this is just an average, and programs are always looking for strong candidates of all ages. Here are some pointers to help you understand how business schools think about your age.
- Experience, Not Age.
It’s illegal for schools to focus on your age. Also, your age doesn’t tell them much about what they really want to know: Do you have the right personal and professional experience to participate in the classroom and engage in the community? Will an MBA enhance your career?
- Goals Matter.
As always, it’s essential to articulate persuasive goals. Rather than looking at your age, schools will think about your professional tenure in relation to your goals. Is this the right inflection point for you to go back to school? Can you sell your current experience to employers?
- Leverage Your Strengths.
Younger candidates round out the class socially, and often have outstanding entrepreneurial experience or international perspectives. Older candidates might bring military or non-traditional experience, and can also potentially offer broader professional insight. Schools want students to learn from each other as well as from their professors, and admissions committees actively craft cohorts with diverse perspectives.
Class profiles share part of the story, but there is no reason to be discouraged if you are older or younger than the average student. As with all aspects of your business school applications, think about points of differentiation as opportunities to contribute. There is no universally right age for business school.
Karen Marks has more than 12 years of experience evaluating candidates for admission to Dartmouth College and the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth.
Since founding North Star Admissions Consulting in 2012, she has helped applicants gain admission to the nation’s top schools, including Stanford, Harvard, Wharton, Yale, Cornell, Dartmouth, Columbia, MIT, Duke, Georgetown, Northwestern, Booth, NYU, Ross, UVA, Haas and more. Clients have been awarded more than $10.2 million in scholarships, and more than 95% have gotten into at least one of their top-choice schools.