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MBA after 35 in Canada with Scholarship despite low GMAT score

MBA after 35While this Bahubali has more peaks to scale, the way he has battled challenges to reach this position is a story in itself.

Amit Jathar, an Indian MBA applicant over 35 with a 650 GMAT score, had plenty of baggage to deal with.

Forget the fact that there weren’t many to support him with his aspirations. What made it worse was the treatment he got from some official business school representatives who wrote him off the minute they found out he was in his mid-thirties.

Like this experience at an MBA fair event he shared on GMAT Club, where the bschool representative unceremoniously asked him to leave. And to add insult to injury, she added that he’d never get into any full-time program in Canada.

As a mature MBA student with a family and someone who grew up in a low-income family background, his eyes were also focused on RoI. This narrowed down the list of options further.

He now has an admit from HEC Montreal in Canada which meets his academic and financial benchmarks. The Canadian work permit rules are very favorable to international MBA graduates. The low fees and the additional scholarship makes the overall investment and RoI calculations very different from the top branded options in USA.

While Amit prepares to tackle the next set of peaks (MBA loans, academic workload and job hunting) in his professional journey, we invited him to share his experiences and lessons.

How I battled high age & low GMAT score challenges

Amit Jathar

As I was from lower middle class background, I set for myself financial security as first goal. I was not fortunate to get the basic facilities in my school and college days.

Small home – cluttered and crowded – without even proper place for study, I pledged to command the respect of the society. Rising through the ranks till Account Manager, I have done justice to my role, and today as many as 12 members report to me.

While the rise from the street has been spectacular, at this point of my career, I have come to realize that my growth in my professional life is limited to a particular Level. To rise above my current stagnation, I need a global MBA.

How I prepared for the GMAT

I started with the GMAT preparation but was not able to find time. As I am working as an Account/Project Manager, the workload was immense. Also, I have 2-year-old kid and the family responsibilities were my priority. I was managed to spare barely one or two hours per day (mostly at night).

For the GMAT prep, I really like to thanks the Gmatclub and its members. It’s the ultimate destination for all the Gmat related knowledge. You can find all the types of questions on it, and even the error logs templates, study plans, Gmat success stories etc.

The website is so organized that you can keeps a log of your practice questions and refer it while analyzing your performance. I purchased few MGMAT books (you get 6 MGMAT mock tests with it) and Veritas prep tests. Finally, I was managed to score 650 (Q47, V32) in GMAT.

How MBA Crystal Ball helped

As I started my research about B-schools, I came across various informative forums such as MCB. I was regular visitor of MBA Crystal Ball (MCB) and I read almost all the blogs on MCB.

I used to regularly visit the MBA application questions forum and read Sameer Kamat’s answers to applicant’s questions, and used to relate it to my profile. I frequently asked questions to Sameer on this forum and received timely answers.

One day, I saw on Facebook that Sameer called for a quick meet in Mumbai (#KoffeeWithKamat) and grabbed the opportunity to meet him personally. We met over a coffee and Sameer provided me with very good inputs. He changed my perception about MCB.

Before the meet, I thought Sameer would try to persuade me to join MCB and purchase its services, but instead he provided me honest and free help.

He explained to me how the MBA MAP process works and told me to do it on my own.

After understanding my priorities and choice of schools, he honestly told me that for the league of schools that I shortlisted, there was no need to hire MCB, and I should manage the applications on my own.

I respect Sameer and MCB for their honesty.

After the meet, I felt like I found a good friend and mentor whom I can resort whenever I need an advice.

Hurdles along the way and my application strategy

While I was working on my applications, I got the feedback from number of people that due to my age (35) and experience (11), it would be difficult for me to get into the b-school.

I started my research and spoke with current students as well as alumni, and they told me that having a decade of experience in the MBA class is super-common and no need to worry.

So, I just made sure to check the class profile of the schools and shortlisted the schools which have higher average age/experience.

I selected 1 year MBA programs and was able to rule out almost all the American schools. Usually European and Canadian schools have concept of 1 year MBA programs. I went though the various rankings such FT, TopMBA, Economist etc. and shortlisted the most suitable schools with respect to my priorities. I contacted the alumni of the shortlisted schools to make sure my choices were correct.

As the schools are shortlisted, I have started the application process. I went though lot of sites in search of tips for writing the admission essays. I tried to put all the information in the essays honestly and meticulously. After reading my essays, I felt like I have rediscovered myself. I have got the essays reviewed by my friends who are already experienced this process.

I prepared the list of interview questions and answers. I practiced the answers by rehearsing them. With the due hard work, I was able to crack the HEC Montreal interview. I even got a scholarship from HEC Montreal :-).

I was convinced with the offer, due to the duration of the program (1 year intensive) and comparatively lower fees while the reputation of the school and the quality of the education is best of the class in the Quebec region.

Also, I came to know that the Montreal is great place to stay. It is a bit French-oriented but it’s the only city where you could experience truly diverse cultures.

Advice for other MBA applicants aged over 30 / 35

I would like to advice fellow aspirants:

Don’t get disappointed, if you hear that your experience/age is above the average for the school (MBA after 8 years experience: Student life in UK). Most of the b-schools respect older candidates. But, just try to remain closer to the average class profile of the school.

It’s not always GMAT that rules, but the schools want the prospective student to be having the leadership qualities along with social sense.

Try to join a NGO and take part in the social activities. The experience will be immensely helpful in MBA admission and at the same time it will make you a better human being.

Right now, I am gearing up myself for the MBA’16 and preparing for the prerequisites / skills.

Please reply if you have any questions, and I would try my best to answer them.

Need a little inspiration before you start the brutally competitive application process? You’ll find plenty in the links below:
MBA admissions success stories
Guide to MBA Scholarships
Scholarship Success Stories
Low GMAT success stories
Low GPA success stories

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

20 thoughts on “MBA after 35 in Canada with Scholarship despite low GMAT score”

  1. Great source of inspiration for someone like me also. Dont have much work experience and age factor also going to be bit of problem.Will have to figure out a way like this gentlemen

  2. Hii i want to do mba or mpa at australia after completing does it requires the expirence please help me please bro….

  3. Congratulations. Your hard work paid off. One question – Based on your GMAT score of 650, you would have shortlisted a few universities. I would like to know what made you choose those universities and which ones to apply for. I ask this as I plan to apply in a similar way with same requisites of high/adequate RoI on the colleges. Your reply would be very helpful. Also, I am looking at 1-year MBA courses and region is not an issue. Thanks in advance.

  4. @Neil: Thanks and All the best !

    @mohammed junaid: As per my research, almost all the MBA schools require experience. Check the entry requirements on the websites of schools of your choice.

    @PG: Thanks ! I researched various rankings and then formed my own ranking as per the parameters that I was looking for. I was looking for mainly avg experience, avg age, avg GMAT, tuition fees, employability, duration of the MBA, etc. You may not get all your parameters readily in the rankings and for that you need to visit websites of the respective schools and find out. Having said that, shortlist the schools that you think are BEST FIT for you.

  5. Hi Amit,
    Your story is an real inspiration and what you say is actually very true.
    I am 33 and looking for a 2nd MBA to take my career to the next level. While I have managed to have a decent GMAT score ( 740), the interactions with several college representatives does indicate that my age and experience is much above the average class profile. This is all the more an important factor if you are willing to continue working in the same industry. For E.g in financial services , the age is a serious impediment.
    I was earlier too fixated at the US Bschools ( and have already applied to one which is Kellogg) but think the chances for getting a call are slim.
    I am now exploring the Canadian and the European B Schools now. Applied to Rotman and Ivey and keeing my fingers crossed here.

    @Sameer: Could you guide me for the potential list of B Schools one should be considering for a Equity Research professional who wants to continue in the same profile at the global level.. Needless to add that looking for a place where I could get a work permit given the financial considerations involved. It would be helpful if you could provide me your inputs…

    • Hi Malik..

      Could you please guide me what decision u took for your MBA. I am today at exactly same position with same GMAT. I have Treasury Banking Experience of 8 years at the age of 33.

  6. Hi Amit,

    Your story is really inspiring . I am in similar stage of my life. I am 34 and working in IT industry since last 11 years and have international experience as well. I would like to know how did you manage the personal life while doing MBA. I mean is it possible to take your wife and kid along with you to Canada while you study there . I have a 2 year old son.

  7. @Manik: Congratulations for your GMAT score , its amazing ! At this age, its wise to skip the US B-schools, and the most viable options are 1 year MBA in Canada or Europe. If you feel your age and industry are not in sync, then you may look for Sloan MBA programs as they are designed for experienced professionals. Sameer can guide you on your specific question.
    @Saurabh: I am going to start my MBA in the next year. As per my current plan, my wife and kid will stay in India with my parents, till I complete my MBA and i will call them once I get a job there. Its bit tough to leave far from your family but, kuch pane ke like kuch khona bhi padata hai !

  8. Hi Amit,

    I am 38 yrs old with post graduation in Commerce and more than 13 yrs of exp. I am planning to do MBA, can you suggest which country can be best Aus/Can or US? shall i do 2 yr full time or 1 yr executive MBA? Please suggest

  9. Hi Srinivas,
    You should judge the “best” country according to your priorities. Jobs prospects are better in US but the immigration is easier in Canada and easiest in Aus. At your age, 2 years MBA doesn’t make sense and you will also face difficulties getting in. You should look for 1 year MBA only.
    I hope you know what the executive MBA is. If you do not know, please refer this link on MCB :

  10. Hi Amit,

    A very Inspiring story.Congrats on your admit with scholarship… I am 31 yrs old (Computer Engineer) with experience in IT sector (3.6 yrs) and 6 yrs as an Entrepreneur in Manufacturing services.I run a machine shop ( water jet cutting ) from past 6 years but now I prefer to move on and do MBA. After reading your blog, I was convinced to do a 1 yr MBA. But, a Post-Graduation Work Permit in Canada where the course length is 2 years or more can only get a 3 year work permit. If it is one year program , then how do we get a work permit after graduation? Employer needs to sponsor for Visa?As I am planning for a long term in Canada and take my wife and kid after i get a job there.Please suggest.

  11. Hi Srinath, In the point of view of PR, 2 year MBA is a better choice, as it gives 3 years work permit, and you easily get the PR within that time. In case of 1 year MBA program, you will get work permit of 1 year. You can apply for the PR after 6 months of your stay in Canada and you can get the PR in a year after that. Also, as per the rule, the work permit extends if your PR application is in progress. So, the only challenge in the 1 year MBA program is that you should be able to get a job after MBA. Generally, people with good pre-MBA work experience manage to get a decent job within that time.I am not sure about your experience, as its not my domain, but you can ask people from your domain and you will be able to get an idea about the relevant job market there. Hope this helps. All the best !

  12. Hi,

    I plan to do Executive MBA. I have 5 years of work experience in Investment Research in two different KPOs. Did B.Com and MSc A/c & Finance and have been working since 2011. I plan to start MBA in 2018 and wish to move to Canada. Please suggest what should I do to get into a good B School. Discussions so far have been quite helpful but anything specific to my case will be really appreciated.

  13. Hi Amit,

    Have you given English Language Proficiency test for the said program? I have completed my Btech degree from NIT Rourkela .I have done my class 11-12 course in English medium .Do i need to give TOEFL / IELTS etc for one Year MBA from HEC Montreal?
    Please suggest.

  14. Hi amit

    Your total MBA process is an eye opener for a person like me as i am in a dilemma to go ahead with MBA at the age of 31 . Truly inspiring ..

  15. Hi Amit

    I am preparing for GMAT but at every stage the question arise in my mind with age of 33 May be it difficult for me to get in B-School,

    But your blog gave me motivation to continue with my studies

  16. Hi Sameer
    Hi Amit

    I have been preparing for GMAT for quite some time. I gave one attempt but score pity low. I am planning to give my GMAT again in April’2018. I would need some guidance on the preparation and time management aspect.
    Secondly, here is my short profile. At present I am 33 and having 10.5 years of experience in Manufacturing Sector and within the sector I have worked in different departments like Operations, Projects and Marketing. The major concern which I come across while discussion with various people is, is there substantial benefit of doing MBA at this age and secondly whether colleges accept students in high age groups.

    One of the main reason for me to think of MBA is that I want to have a sector change in my career.

    I would be thankful to get some guidance.

    Deepak Mishra

  17. Hi Amit,
    Your achievements are remarkable. Congrats.

    I am married and above 35.I want to do my masters from Canada. I have done my bachelor’s in statistics, work experience of more than 5 years. Please suggest whether MBA/MSBA WHICH COURSE IS BETTER.

    I am preparing for GMAT. Looking at my age ,at the earliest I want to enroll. Kindly advise how to go about it.

  18. Hello sir
    You are a true inspiration for us.
    Actually my friend wants to do pg course .He is in mechanical and he has 10 years work experience.he is 33years old.w e don’t know which course is suitable Masters of engineering or MBA or some other.plz suggest the right course or we don’t know how to write SOP or LOR.plz help us .plz we need your advice

  19. Hello my situation is same but I have engineering background. But by having graduation degree of software which I didn’t pursue and then having masters degree of computer engineering with specialization in communications but not in depth, then I had job in tech industry that was way out of my education. I have job experience of 5 years. But now at age of 35 I want to do MBA for further job opportunities or to establish my business…. please reply whether I be able to secure job after 35 secondly will it help me to establish business.


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