Celebrating A 35th Birthday & Still Wanting A Full-Time MBA

So it’s finally here…my birthday; which means that I am officially a 35-year old MBA applicant. And you know what? I have never been more clear about what I want, where I’m going and how I plan on getting there. Let’s just hope these adcoms concur LOL!

Today is also the official 2-month-aversary of mbaover30.com; and I’d like to send a big ‘ole THANKS to all of you for the comments, words of encouragement or maybe just reading stealth and not saying a word–all of which helped the site reach 10,000 views just a few days ago.


Two days ago I finished my set of Wharton essay working drafts. After recovering from the sharp, jagged barbs of my first few reviews, I seem to have hit a pretty nice stride and definitely feel like I have the basic “swag” needed to put together a strong essay that hits all of the right points and relates those points to the school that I’m targeting. NOW I get to spend the next 2-3 months tweaking the details ad naseumuntil every word in every line adds value to my story without duplicating info or fire hosing the adcom with TMI. I’ve quickly learned that is where the real angst and work is with getting these essays right.


After I take some time out to enjoy my birthday, I’ll be getting into gear in two areas: A) Starting my MIT Sloan Drafts and B) Toying around with some GMAT material for a possible retake.

I chose to start with my Wharton Essays because they are the most straightforward and I felt they would allow me to get into a solid groove with how I expressed my story and aspirations. That was a good decision, because that is exactly what happened. I chose to go to MIT Sloan next because their essays seemed the next straightforward in comparison to Stanford (for which I will probably need hypnosis and a therapy session to draw the right stories from) and Harvard (where I’ll need to stuff my goals, context, school fit, an achievement story and a failure story into 800 words).

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered Sloan’s essays to be not quite as straightforward as I once imagined. Like HBS, there is no explicit goals essay.  There’s the cover letter, which comes across as a request to brag about your accomplishments (I thought that was only supposed to be done in subtle fashion on MBA essays?) and then two anecdotal/behavioral essays.

If I were 25,  I probably would welcome the opportunity to be expressive and just tell good stories; however, as an over 30 applicant, it is imperative that I paint a clear, solid picture of why this is the right time in my life for an MBA and why I am a best fit for a full time MBA program and not a part time or EMBA. Thus, dealing with essay sets that not only impose uber conservative word limits but force me to quickly gloss over the most important part of my value proposition to avoid the trap of “not answering the question” is quite a bit bone chilling to say the least; but I will get past it and make this work.


This weekend I’ll be creating some new study guides to review my GMAT Quant with. I’ll neither be working through new problems nor learning new material, but striving to develop laser sharp pattern recognition skills. The last time I uttered the word “GMAT”, I mentioned something about an 85% change that I’d do a retake. Well, my math was wrong. There is actually only about a 25% chance; let me explain.

My retaking the GMAT depends wholly on two circumstantial data points:

1) That I can prepare for the GMAT without reducing the quality of my essay and app execution

2) Practice tests taken in August allude to a 30+ jump in score.

So our possible scenarios are:  A) Just #1  B) Just #2  C) #1 and #2  D) neither #1 nor #2. Since I’ll only retake given the scenario discussed in option C, then I have a 1 in 4, or 25% chance of retaking that test. We’ll see how it goes.


On the same day that I signed up for a recent Berkeley coffee chat event, I also got an invitation from and signed up for a luncheon that Tuck will be hosting here this weekend. I must say that I really appreciate how good of a job Tuck does with follow up and communicating with its applicants. +100 for Tuck.

More developments and details will be forthcoming. Until then, remember to enjoy every moment of your life; because you certainly are not getting any younger!

MBAOver30 offers the perspective of a 30-something, California-based entrepreneur who is applying to Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, MIT, Northwestern, Berkeley, UCLA and the University of Southern California. He hopes to gain acceptance to the Class of 2015 and blogs at MBAOver30.

Previous posts on Poets&Quants:

How I Totally Overestimated The MBA Admissions Process

Musings on MBA Failophobia

Letting Go Of An MBA Safety School

When A Campus Visit Turns Off An MBA Applicant

Yale, Tuck and Booth: The Next Leg of My Pre- MBA Research

 My Countdown: Less Than 30 Days To The GMAT

From Suits To Startups: Why MBA Programs Are Changing

Why I’m Not Getting Either A Part-Time MBA or An Executive MBA

Preparing To Sit For The GMAT Exam

 Falls Short of GMAT Goal, But The 700 Is A Big Improvement

A 2012-2013 MBA Application Strategy

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