Whether you’re a few years into your career or a veteran of the boardroom, we make the case for an MBA at any age.
Is an MBA worth it after 30? 40? 50?
The consensus among educators and students is that an MBA education adds value at any age. For younger students in their 30s, the credential could help propel you into higher-level roles earlier in your career.
Making a career change at 40 with an MBA is definitely possible when you leverage your education to pivot into a completely new field—or move into a leadership role.
In your 50s, an MBA could offer context around changes to the business landscape, new technologies, and improve your ability to communicate with colleagues across teams and varying age groups.
Iowa MBA Sarah Thompson went for her MBA in the middle of a decades-long career with TransAmerica after missing out on two promotions:
“You’re never going to think you have the time or resources to get your MBA, but getting started is the important thing. Once you have that degree, people will know you’ve got what it takes.”
- Is an MBA still worth it in 2023?
- What is a good age for an MBA?
- What is the long term benefit of an MBA?
- Can you do an MBA fully online?
- Is an online MBA worth it?
average age for full-time MBA students
Source: Poets & Quants
average age for Iowa MBA students
average age for Online MBA students
Source: U.S. News & World Report
For Sarah, the MBA made a huge impact on her career, earning her those two promotions she initially missed out on. It’s also contributed to her personal growth. “I am dramatically different,” Sarah says. "More confident, more willing to ask hard questions, more ready to take risks.”
What age is too late for an MBA?
If you believe in the value of professional development, lifelong learning, and growing as a contributor and leader—then it’s never too late. As you age and your goals change, an MBA can still provide valuable opportunities, be it through a career change, a promotion, or simply adding more value in your current role.
“An MBA helps you think differently—to look at things in the big picture and not micro-focus on a singular path. You see the whole pie and not just your piece in it. It removes some of the limits you may have placed on yourself and your career.”
When searching for the right fit for both your age and experience, the best MBA programs for older applicants are flexible, part-time programs that fit into the busy lives of working professionals. You’ll also want to look for advanced curriculum that emphasize leadership and strategy.
Some older candidates may also consider an executive MBA or executive certificate that has curriculum tailor-made for professionals with upwards of 10 years of experience.
If you don’t take care of your career, no one else will.
When considering why should I get an MBA, here’s the short answer: At any age or experience level, an MBA demonstrates that you’re committed to growth, helps you communicate across silos to work more strategically, and gives you an understanding of how the different functions of business connect to one another.
- John A. Byrne. “Average Age & Work Experience at Top MBA Programs”. Poets & Quants, November 2019
- Friedman, Jordan. “U.S. News Data: The Average Online MBA Student”. U.S. News & World Report, May 23, 2017
- A. Williams, et al. “Graduate Management Application Trends Survey – 2022 Summary Report”. Graduate Management Admission Council, October 2022