The Tuesday Q&A: Am I Too Old for a Full-Time MBA Program?

QUESTION:

I planned on applying for my MBA last year but my GMAT score just wasn’t good enough and I had to re-take it. Now I’m 31 years old and want to start an MBA program in 2012. Am I too old to get into a full-time top 15 program? Is it easier to do part-time? And if so, will that look as good for employers?

ANSWER:

At age 31 it is late to get in. But it’s not impossible. Military guys and international students will make up most of the peeps who are at school in their 30’s. If you don’t fall into either of those categories, however, you still have a shot. And a good one at that.

First of all, consider European programs where the average ages tend to be older.  Also, there are some US programs that also have older average ages. Tuck, Wharton and Ross are open to older applicants, as well as others. Some other schools, like HBS and Stanford, will be virtually impossible to crack at this point. Do some research and find out the average ages for students at various b-schools.  I know US News and World report has that information, as do b-school forums like Beat the GMAT and GMAT Club.

Since part-time programs are SO much easier to get into, I’d say at age 31 that it’s still worth trying to get into a full-time program.  That’s where you meet the most folks, learn the most, tap into the best networks, etc. Give the full-time thing one last try before digging into other programs.  At age 31 (assuming your test scores are solid now), you should be juuuust fine.

Good luck this year!

— Jon Frank

See more of Jon’s advice right here.
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