What is the average age for MBA in India, USA, UK, Singapore (add your favourite MBA destination here)? Apart from the statistical relevance of the question, there’s also an introspective aspect. The first one is easier to answer as most MBA portals and business school websites list this in the MBA Class profile section along with the other data like average GMAT scores. The other part is what that might mean for you, as an MBA applicant to a specific category of MBA colleges.
Let’s tackle the two separately.
If you are talking about the regular 2 year programs offered by the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) and other similar programs, the average age of MBA students would be in the early twenties. Most MBA students start the program immediately after completing their basic graduation or after a few months/years of work experience.
When we change the target programs and look at GMAT based MBA colleges in India (ISB Hyderabad / Mohali, IIMA PGPX, IIMB EPGP, IIMC PGPEX) then the average age for MBA in India is much higher.
For ISB, the mean age in the class is 27 years, while the 80% range would be between 25 to 30 years.
Programs like IIMA PGPX take it to a completely different level. You can’t even apply if you will be below 27 years when you start the program. With an average of 10.5 years of work-experience, the average age for the MBA program at IIMA is 34 years.
Most of the other GMAT based MBA programs fall somewhere between these ranges in terms of the average age.
For most of the top ranking universities, the average age for MBA in USA is around 27-28 at the start of the program. For the current class, the average age for MBA in Harvard is 27. For Kellogg and Ross it is 28 years.
Then when you start going lower in the MBA rankings, you’ll come across MBA programs where the average age starts heading south gradually. But most of the reputed and competitive ones would still expect 3-4 years of per-MBA work experience.
Europe is where you’ll find shorter variants of the 2-year program. Many of them offer 1-year MBA programs. Some examples include IMD, Cambridge, Oxford, IESE, ESADE. The INSEAD MBA is only 10 months long. London Business School and Manchester business schools have longer programs, but the duration is still much lesser than the regular MBA in the U.S.
So there’s quite a bit of variety in the shorter duration MBA courses as well. Which means that the kind of profiles they attract also vary.
The average age at INSEAD is 29 years, slightly higher than median age for American MBA programs. At London business school, the average age is 28 years. At bschools like Cambridge and Oxford, the average age within the diverse class profile is close to 30 years. Just like IIMA PGPX, among the best European MBA courses, IMD pushes the age envelope further with a median age of 31 years.
Ah, after a whole lot of numbers, finally we get to the introspective part. We wrote another post about folks over the age of 30, why the regular 2-year MBA programs in the U.S. get so few of them and the perceived hurdles they might face. Read this post –> MBA after 30: Am I too old for a full-time bschool degree?.
For those falling at the other end of the spectrum (i.e.younger than the typical student in the class), apart from some overlap with the points mentioned in the Over 30 post that was referenced in the earlier paragraph, there are other challenges as well.
The primary concerns are about fitting in, being able to connect the theory learnt in the class to their own experience and contributing back to the MBA community. Read more about it in this related post: Work experience: Why is it important for international MBA applications?
Do keep in mind that the average age is relevant, not so much for the number itself, but because of what it says about the professional work-experience that the candidate has gained before getting into the MBA class.
So don’t let the statistics of average age for MBA in USA, India, UK or Singapore distract you from the underlying principle.
If you aren’t falling in the 80% age range for the class profile, don’t discard the bschool from your shortlist yet. Think about other factors that might compensate for it. Look at the rest of your profile – your domain of expertise, your career goals, your personal traits, your ability to communicate and connect with younger and older professional.
If you can prove to the Admissions officer that age (as they say) is just a number, you might still be able to get into your top choice business school.