MBA Podcaster regularly received inquires from older business school applicants who are concerned about their chances of getting into their program of choice. This guest blog post by Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com, addresses some of these common concerns:
Realize that business school career centers are geared to graduates with a certain level of work experience. If you vary too far from the mean, admissions committees will be concerned about your employability upon graduation. As an older applicant applying to top MBA programs, you must answer the following question: How can I prove to the adcom that I will be just as employable (if not more so) than one of my younger competitors?
We all know that adcoms like to steer clear of applicants who are “difficult to place.” Here are three ways you can prove that you’re a recruiter’s dream come true…despite (or perhaps because of) your age:
1. Be a (wo)man with a plan. In your MBA goals essay, you’re going to want to describe your post-MBA career path as clearly and detailed as possible. By providing a step-by-step plan, you’ll show that your goals are realistic and achievable, and that you are the right person to execute them. You may not be a 20-something, but all that means is that you’ve had a little more time to seriously think about what you want to do and how you want to do it.
2. Show you’ve got what it takes. As an older applicant, you should pay extra attention to explaining how your past experiences will increase your desirability quotient. After all, that little pipsqueak only has three years of marketing experience; you’ve got nearly eight! Not only do you come with 4+ years of hands-on experience, but you’ve also built a wider network and established more of a name for yourself within the field. You’re really in good shape if you can show you will have a job waiting for you when you graduate. Demonstrate that your age, in essence, has contributed to your enhanced employability and positioned you on the “easy to place” list after all.
3. Demonstrate that one CAN teach an old dog new tricks. Stress that you are extremely open to obtaining new information and learning new business and management techniques. Often adcoms worry that an older applicant will be too set in his or her ways to change in any way. Yes, you should enter the scene with concrete goals, but you should also express and demonstrate openness to change.
Finally, stay positive and be confident. If those elements are present throughout the MBA admissions process (that is, in your application and then later in your business school interview), the adcoms will forget that they ever had concerns about your age or high level of experience.
By Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com, the premier admissions consultancy and essay editing company that has helped applicants around the world gain admissions to over 450+ top schools since 1994. Linda is also the author of the soon to be published book, MBA Admission for Smarties.
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