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How Old Is Too Old for an MBA?

Students on campus at Harvard University
Students on campus at Harvard UniversityPhotograph courtesy of Harvard University

Can one be too old to go for an MBA? It’s a question asked more frequently as older applicants—those north of 28, the average at many top full-time programs—look for ways to give their careers a B-school boost. Harvard Business School recently disclosed that the latest entering class includes 23 students who got their undergraduate degrees a decade or more ago, nearly twice as many as this year’s graduating class.

Most admissions directors say they have no age limits when considering applicants. But they do look closely at work experience, which is usually directly linked to age. While more is generally better, too much can be a problem, since some recruiters believe older candidates are too set in their ways, says Christie St-John, director of admissions at Vanderbilt University’s Owen Graduate School of Management.