For many late bloomers (age > 30 years), the question of why a regular, full-time MBA instead of an Executive MBA (EMBA) will most likely pop up. We published another related post – MBA after 30: Am I too old for a full-time bschool degree?
In it, we covered a few important questions: Why full-time MBA class profiles have very few students over 30? If you are over 30 years, how can you improve the MBA admit chances?
What we hadn’t covered was the specific question about why you chose to apply to a Full-time MBA vs an Executive MBA which is generally a part-time option. If you are unsure of how an Executive MBA program works, read this – Executive MBA vs MBA for Executives – The Big Indian Confusion.
There may be two reasons for nudging you in the EMBA direction.
The first one is purely for a ‘Fit’ angle. In an executive MBA program in India or USA, there would be many more candidates with your profile. You’ll find it easier to connect with them and building a strong network.
The second reason might the number of applications that the school gets for regular MBA vs Executive MBA. The former is significantly higher than the latter. They want to fill the EMBA class too, so if they can get a few good guys interested in their slightly lesser in demand program, it saves them the effort to chase new applicants.
Whatever their reason, if you have made up your mind to go for a regular MBA, then do not change your story mid-way. Stick to your ground and convince the admissions committee that you’ve arrived at the decision after a lot of thought.
The best approach is to not wait till the interview hoping this question will be posed to you. Address it earlier, in your MBA essays.
Here are a few alternatives for you to evaluate. Some might apply to you, others won’t:
Probably you’ve had an unusual career path compared to your peers. For instance, you may have worked in one field for several years before switching to a new field. Now to get you to the next level (more on this a little later in rationale 3), you need an MBA.
So for the general reviewer (focussing only on your age and experience level), it may seem that you may be too old for a full-time MBA. But if you have narrated the background effectively, your sabbatical plans, though a little later, may not sound as unusual.
Despite the age difference, there would be several commonalities that you have with the other younger students in the class. What are those? An interest in the popular electives offered by the school? Is it your rich experience that’ll benefit others? How can you make it a two way street where you aren’t sitting in a corner in the class wondering what’s getting the others excited about the topics being discussed.
The other aspect you can highlight is your flexibility (before you start hunting for your pics in impossible yoga postures, read on). The general assumption is that the higher the age, the more rigid the attitude. In a bschool, a rigid approach can be disastrous as you are influencing others in there as well. What do they say about one bad fish polluting the whole pond. You don’t want to project yourself as that fish.
This is where your post MBA goals come into picture. Irrespective of your age, if you can strongly connect the MBA requirement to your goals, you’ve made the logical association.
Probably the next role you are targeting (you’d need to be pretty specific about this), an immersive experience that a regular MBA can offer (and an Executive MBA can’t) is crucial. Otherwise, if you are only going through the motions to pick up the theory, an Executive MBA should be just fine.
Apart from these three, there are a few more aspects that you need to think about. As an example, it could be related to the constraints that you face in the current role and how not going for an MBA at this stage could actually be counter-productive for you in the years to come. This is a little tricky, so let’s not get into the details here.
A common principle to keep in mind is to provide solid examples from your experience that will strengthen the rationale for each of the categories listed above.
Even if you aren’t exactly basking in the youthful exuberance like your fellow MBA applicants are, you don’t need to be intimated by the process.
Build a solid application strategy (starting with the right bschools and then writing MBA essays that add credibility to your plans) and stick to it till the end.