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Applying to Business Schools When You Are 30+

If you are asking yourself whether you are too old for an MBA, you are not! MBA is not about age at all. Rather, it is about transforming yourself by learning key skills. And while it may be true that learning a professional skill early on in the career allows the person the time to hone that skill, as someone who has worked in a professional setting for 10+ years, you too will be bringing a lot to the table by combining the MBA skills and your industry experience!

But, let’s face the truth. As someone applying to MBA in your 30s you will be above the class average age. The average age of the previous Harvard batch was 27, and Columbia and UCLA both had average applicant age as 28. However, all of these batches did have a few graduates who are in their 30s, and UCLA also had a 40+ aged candidate.

If you believe that now is the right time to get an MBA, it is. But, are there real benefits to this decision, especially considering the cost of MBA programs at top B-schools? Let’s find out!

Benefits of getting an MBA after 30

If you have worked for a long time in any industry then you have developed a good set of skills. An MBA is nothing but adding to those skills and it will always have benefits.

Learning from diversity

An MBA classroom is made up of one of the most diverse groups of people. If you are an employee in India and planning to pursue an international MBA in the USA or Europe, the hugely varied types of people you will meet at the B-school will itself make the experience worth it.

And let’s not forget that these are the future business leaders who you will be your peers. So, there is indeed a lot to learn from them. The diversity of the classroom is not only represented through professional background, but also in the form of age, mindset, culture, etc. This will also leave a deep impact on you and help build you into a better professional.

Your own professional network

Once you are 30+ your job and professional world can seem really boring. Something that you once did with utmost enthusiasm might now come across as a burden. This is when you need to start building your own professional network and seek out the right opportunity. Being at a B-school is probably the best chance you will get at creating a professional network and you should definitely jump into it regardless of your age.

And leaving aside your age, if you want to search for a job in the international market, then an MBA will not only serve as a platform to find one, but it will also increase your salary expectations!

Learn to lead

It is natural for someone with over a decade of professional experience to have taken on leadership roles. But leading from an organizational perspective and analyzing the entire process to create a fail-proof leadership methodology is a different ball game altogether. And that is what an MBA degree will equip you with – the ability to truly view an industry segment from a bird’s eye view and take executive decisions.

No matter the stage of professional life you are in, learning leadership skills will always elevate your position. So, if you are over 30, don’t overthink it and just get the upgrade you deserve!

Choosing the right MBA Program for candidates over 30

Firstly, you want to consider the best B-schools with a higher average class age. For example, a Harvard MBA class or Stanford MBA class has an average age of 27-28, but the average age at HEC Paris is 30 and IMD Switzerland is 31. Information such as average class age is released by all schools so you should have no trouble finding it.

Something to consider is that a full-time MBA is not always the best option for those over 30. This can be due to many reasons. You may not want to quit your job or you may not want to enter into a full time educational environment. In such a case, there are two options that you can explore:

  •       Part time MBA programs
  •       Executive MBA (EMBA)

Part-time MBA programs are conducted via evening classes and their tenure is also much shorter than that of a regular MBA program. If you can not afford to quit your job and enroll yourself into a full-time B-school, evening classes or online classes are offered by many of the top MBA programs. While this will not shine on your resume like a regular MBA program, you will still be learning the hands-on skills you need in order to take on executive roles. And in the post-pandemic world online education is being taken more seriously, so an online MBA is something you should definitely consider.

Executive MBA programs are specially crafted for senior professionals. EMBA programs are also offered by most top B-schools, and these programs provide a curriculum that truly suits the needs of someone with a decade worth of industry experience. If you are over 30 and want a really good raise in terms of both money and job position, an EMBA is a great option for you. Take a look at some of the top EMBA programs from around the world:

Rank in 2020 School name Country
1 Kellogg/HKUST Business School Hong Kong SAR (China)
2 Ceibs China / Switzerland / Ghana
3 HEC Paris France / Qatar / China
4 Trium: HEC Paris/LSE/NYU: Stern France / UK / US / China
5 Tsinghua University/Insead China / Singapore / France / UAE
6 Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai China
7 ESCP Business School France / Germany / Italy / Lebanon / Spain / UK
8 Iese Business School Spain / US
9 INSEAD France / Singapore / UAE
10 EMBA-Global Asia: Columbia/HKU/LBS ‡ US / UK / Hong Kong SAR (China)
11 Arizona State University: Carey China
12 IE Business School Spain
13 London Business School UK / UAE
14 UCLA: Anderson/National University of Singapore US / Singapore
15 CUHK Business School Hong Kong SAR (China)
16 Washington University: Olin China
17 Kellogg/WHU Beisheim Germany
18 University of Oxford: Saïd UK
19 Korea University Business School South Korea
20 EMBA-Global: Columbia/LBS ‡ US / UK

Getting an EMBA program means you will be swamped with a lot of curriculum, but at the same time the courses are usually designed in such a way that you will not have to completely let go of your current job. The average age of an EMBA class is also much higher than the regular MBA, and you will definitely feel more in your safe space.

MBA Applications tips for candidates who are 30+

You may know how your industry operates inside out, but this alone doesn’t give you a seat at a prestigious B-school. The applicants there may be young and much less experienced, but they are unique in their own way and have their own strengths. So, you will definitely have to prove your application is strong.

Concentrate on the following three aspects:


Get a good GMAT and take note of the average GMAT score of the institution. A good GMAT score immediately lets the admissions committee know that you will be able to take on the hefty curriculum of a B-school. This is a great way to stay ahead of the competition.

Career goals

As someone over 30 your career goals are going to be quite different from the other MBA applicants. So, make sure to explain why your goals are unique and how they tie into the skills you will be learning at the B-school. If possible, point out certain courses that you think are crucial towards ensuring you can take on executive roles and at the same time stress on your existing industry experience.

Social impact

This is something that most applicants under 30 have not really gained in their life. So, if you have been able to create legitimate social impact, always draw it out before the AdCom. Explain how these experiences have helped you grow as a professional, and chances are that your application will come across as unique.

Always remember that an MBA program does not have an age cap for a reason. And it’s time that you completely utilized this opportunity to reach where you belong. There are literally no barriers to applying for an MBA except your own will.

So, go for it despite the age gap and whatnot!

Best of luck!


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For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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