Options for a full time MBA after 30
The following article has been inspired by the thoughts of Mr. Mayank Srivastava. He is the Founder of Experts’ Global, one of the world’s leading EdTech firms in the field of GMAT prep and MBA admission consulting.
The typical pattern in India has always been to complete one’s education, in one go, and then focus on one’s career. The idea of going back to school is a new one in India, but over the last 15 years, an increasing number of Indian corporate professionals have been deciding to pursue MBAs after gaining more than two years of experience.
As in developed nations, this trend seems to be here to stay. However; many professionals take the decision to get an MBA, after the age of 30. They see their growth bottom out and realize that they need to do something to develop their skill-set.
However late it happens, there is always merit in realizing the value of an MBA. However; opportunity cost is greater at this age, so one must take decisions with great care.
Here are some of the best options for MBA aspirants, above the age of 30. They are presented in a decreasing order of recommendation.
One Year Indian MBA
This option is strongly recommended for those who wish to stay in India, as well as avoid the logistics and investment of a global MBA.
The benefits of an Indian MBA are that it makes it easier to gain employment, education loans and good institutions are easily available, and the network that one develops is much easier to maintain and leverage. These programs are offered by a number of IIMs and other schools.
One Year Global MBA
Most European MBAs and a few American/Canadian/Asian MBA programs are only one year long. These programs have a number of excellent qualities, such as a global student body and excellent university reputations, while having very low opportunity costs.
The major disadvantage of these programs is that they do not provide any work experience. Thus, these programs are not recommended for those looking for a career switch. This option is recommended, only if one already carries significant experience in the relevant field.
Two Year Global MBA
Almost all of the American, as well as global, MBAs are two-year programs. These are the world’s most prestigious programs, offering a strong curriculum that allows for concentration in 1-2 disciplines and the highest brand values.
These programs are often a bit reluctant to admit students above 30, as it is the younger candidates who derive the maximum benefit from them. The schools also doubt that a student above 30 can keep up with students in their 20s.
The financial requirements and length of these programs also represent a very high opportunity cost. However, those who wish to shift careers, move to the US, or simply want an MBA of the best brand value cannot afford to overlook these programs.
A 30 + candidate will have to present an impeccable application profile and strong reasons for pursuing a late career MBA. They will also have to conduct some serious financial planning.
Part-Time/ Online/Correspondence/Weekend MBA
Various big-name schools offer such, non-full-time, options. They may seem enticing, as they are low cost and will not require one to take a sabbatical, but they are actually quite low-value. Practically, these are not MBAs but merely certifications.
The change that one can expect in one’s profile and career trajectory, from these degrees, is minimal. This is a very low dividend option that is not recommended, except for those whose circumstances will not allow them to study full-time.
Two Year Indian MBA
This is the lowest recommended option, for candidates above 30. Most of the students in these programs have only 1 year of work experience and the average age is 23.
A student above 30 will be entirely out of sync with the rest of the class and will not be able to benefit from peer learning.
Furthermore; one will not be able to rely on campus placements, as the visiting companies will not be interested in middle management profiles.
Going back to school, after 30, is a challenge. It will require a significant investment of both time and money. As the saying goes, however, “If you think education is expensive, just take a look at what ignorance will cost you.”
If you feel that your career needs the push that an MBA will provide, then go for it. Do not be enticed by cheap or easy options, however.
Get a high GMAT score, apply to only the respected programs, and go back to school to experience your MBA in a vibrant setting with smart brains all around to enrich your skill-sets and develop a stronger profile.