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I am planning to Join MBA next year when I will be 34 will finish at 35 and my aim is to join MBB is 35 too old?

age MBB Nonprofit
New answer on Oct 13, 2023
17 Answers
9.0 k Views
Anonymous A asked on May 19, 2020

And I have not worked in a prestigous company. I work in Local NGO in Africa with no brand name and most probable none of the MBB heard of it . So am worried that at 35 years old with no brand company name , it will be impossible to join MBB any insight on that? Thanks in advance.

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Udayan
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Sep 22, 2020
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience

The answer to your question ultimately depends on your end goal.

MBB helps if your end goal is the following

  • Bulding your strategic toolkit to be able to leverage that for a more senior role
  • To pivot to a different role that values MBB experience
  • To change careers and try a new industry

MBB is unhelpful in the following instances

  • If you want to continue down the path of Supply Chain - you already have the expertize here, MBB will not add any additional value. If anything you will have slowed down your growth trajectory
  • You want to go into a career where MBB skills aren't explicitly valued (Banking, Digital Martketing, Entrepreneurship)
  • You are bored and looking for a change - MBB is way too demanding for this

In terms of age - I have mentioned in the past that my mentor when I was at McKinsey started his career at 38 and quickly rose up the ranks. However he was also single and very career focused. There are a few things to keep in mind

  • Are you genuinely willing to sacrifice your personal life at this point? I cannot begin to emphasize the depth of this sacrifice - you will be working 12-15 hour days EVERY day and you will be traveling post covid EVERY week. This is not a simple commitment. Everyone's situation is different make sure you are genuinely okay with this commitment
  • There is a genuine toll on your health working these hours and sitting down all day, traveling, eating out all the time etc. You can control some of it but not all at the same time
  • Do you have the energy and focus this job will demand? It is a lot of learning and constantly being challenged. Excellent if that is your goal and not so good if you are looking for a slower pace

All the best with your decision, you are in a great place right now! Feel free to reach out with any questions

Best,

Udayan

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Anonymous updated the answer on May 20, 2020

I know a few people who joined consulting only in their 30s also.

It is not so much of a question about the age. It is more about:

(1) are you okay with the consulting life style, given that some people in mid 30s tend to have more family obligations etc. and thus it requires a lot more understanding from family if the path of consulting were to be choosen

(2) are you humble enough to be working with or even working for people who are younger than you but have been in consulting much longer than you. Would your ego get in the way?

If none of these 2 would be an issue for you, then I don't see a barrier why you shouldn't try.

Best,

Emily

(edited)

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Anonymous A on May 20, 2020

Thanks a lot am ok with both of those two issues.

Ian
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 19, 2020
#1 BCG coach | MBB | Tier 2 | Digital, Tech, Platinion | 100% personal success rate (8/8) | 95% candidate success rate

You're never too old! (If it's the path you want)

It really depends on your career trajectory. What have you done with this NGO? Have you reached a director level? Will you be joining a top/target MBA?

I knew plenty of people in their mid-30s during the MBA and they went on to MBB.

However, you do need to be conscious of a potential downgrade (i.e. either Consultant or Project Lead), as well as the difficulty in adjusting to the MBB style (long hours, high-level strategic thinking) after NGO work

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Anonymous A on May 20, 2020

Yes I have reached a director level. I am also willing to adjust to the long hours and the high level strategic thinking. Thanks a lot

Allen
Expert
replied on Sep 22, 2020
Ex-McK Experienced Hire and EM - I show you how to perform at your best

Hi there,

I will simplify the problem for you. Obviously, if you have a clear path of growth in Amazon and that's something that gets you up in the morning, you don't need to go to MBB. You are correct, you likely "won't come out on top."

But maybe you want to do consulting anyways! You will learn a great deal of new skills and knowledge. And open yourself up to new opportunities that you don't realize are out there. Or maybe it's just something you always wanted to do!

However, if there isn't a compelling path for you at Amazon, you should be thinking down the road and MBB can definitely help you. Again, it will expose you to areas you didn't know existed and it will give you new knowledge and skills to succeed there.

Finally, something to keep in mind: supply chain in Amazon is extremely respectable. That can also help you go far.

Best,

Allen

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Allen on Sep 22, 2020

FYI I joined McKinsey at 36, there were definite challenges at working with much younger managers, but once I got over myself, I really started to grow. Happy to share all the details over chat.

(edited)

Francesco
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Content Creator
replied on Sep 22, 2020
#1 Coach for Sessions (4.500+) | 1.500+ 5-Star Reviews | Proven Success (➡ interviewoffers.com) | Ex BCG | 10Y+ Coaching

Hi there,

It depends on your goals. Where do you see yourself in 5-10 years?

  • If you are looking for a career in Amazon and you have a clear promotion path in front of you --> Sticking to Amazon makes sense
  • If you want to change industry, build your own company, aim to positions that you cannot reach now or that you want to reach faster for which consulting helps --> ​ MBB make sense

In terms of the age, it is definitely possible (although requiring), I helped a few people older than you to join MBB.

Please feel free to PM me for further questions.

Best,
Francesco

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Mehdi
Expert
replied on Sep 22, 2020
BCG | Received offers from all MBB & Tier 1Firms | Supporting you secure your top tier consulting offer

Hi there,

Getting into an MBB would definitely enable you acquire some valuable business skills. It will also expose you to numerous clients and industries. I feel like you will need to make a choice between the following:

  1. Staying in your comfort zone, being recognized as expert in the field, getting into Senior positions, managing teams and working regular hours, etc.
  2. Starting a new career, acquiring new skills & competing with colleagues who are much younger than you, working long hours, etc.

I think it all depends on your mid & long-term career plans (5-10 years). Staying in Amazon would help you get a niche expertise in Supply Chain, and going for MBB would expose you to how business is done in the top management and would prepare you for leadership roles in the future.

This is not an easy decision to make, but ultimately you will have to take many elements into consideration (intensity of work, seniority of the position, expertise, etc.)

Happy to discuss this further if needed.

All the best,

Mehdi

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Federico
Expert
updated an answer on May 19, 2020
Former Bain (4+ years, UK & Italy) | Ardian (France) | Specialized in Case Structuring, Case Cracking and Non-verbal Comm.

If you are making a pivot in your careeer (and you are really committed about it), the MBA program will allow you to achieve that, repositioning you on the job market.

If you have many years of experience in NGOs, why not considering also working in the no profit consulting sector? I can't see in which country you are based, but if you live in the US, why not considering opportunities such as the Bridgespan Group? They started as a spin-off of Bain & Company, provide management consulting services to no profits and foundations and still work very closely with Bain & Company.

Good luck!
Federico

(edited)

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Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

am based in Kenya and am frea

Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

am based in Kenya and am really interested in Strategy consulting. I want to change career thanks for the reply

Vlad
Expert
replied on May 19, 2020
McKinsey / Accenture Alum / Got all BIG3 offers / Harvard Business School

Hi,

The major argument against this idea is that MBA will downgrade you since you will be mostly competing for the same roles as 25-year-old. The decision making will mostly depend on your end goal:

  • If it is about switching the career path - MBA can be your last chance
  • If it is about relocation - MBA can be a great option

I would consider doing an executive MBA in your case. The value and network will be much greater

Best

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Anonymous A on May 19, 2020

I am mostly interested in joining MBB I guess executive MBA doesn't give me the same opportunity to change careers as MBA thanks for the reply

Anonymous replied on Sep 24, 2020

Dear A,

It depends on your goals and your career vision. Ask yourself honestly where do you want to see yourself in 5 years, and how you experience and skills which you gained in consulting will help you in that? Does it fit to your vision?

In terms of age, it's not old, but you have twice about your possible intensity, position, work-life balance.

Best,

André

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Ollie
Premium
replied on May 23, 2020
Veteran > MBB

I joined Bain post-MBA at 39. Age hang ups are other people's problem.

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Anonymous A on May 23, 2020

Thanks a lot. That is encouraging

Réka
Expert
updated an answer on May 20, 2020
3+ years McKinsey consulting experience|Strategy @ Coursera |Oxford MBA

Agree with most of the things shared already - you would probably need a good MBA/MPP to be considered for MBB in Africa (assuming you want to stay in Africa?). I currently live in Kenya, and, knowing the local environment, it's not just the top 5-10 schools that are competitive, though. Schools with strong social impact focus (e.g., Oxford, Duke) are considered strong brand names in Africa. Both of these programs can be done in 1 year, which could be a good fit for you. Check out the scholarship opportunities for these schools - I know Oxford has a strong focus on the continent and quite a lot of funding for Africans.

Re development consultancies: check out Dalberg, too.

Best,

Réka

(edited)

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Anonymous A on May 20, 2020

Thanks a lot. Oxford is among the schools am considering as well as Insead.

Réka on May 22, 2020

Yayyy! :)

Benjamin
Expert
Content Creator
replied on Oct 13, 2023
Ex-BCG Principal | 8+ years consulting experience in SEA | BCG top interviewer & top performer

Hi,

Just from an age perspective, no you will not be ‘too old’. I personally knew people who started as a Consultant (post-MBA role normally) at the ages of 38-39, and they have done very well.

Nobody cares about your age in MBB, they only care about your ability to deliver on projects.

 

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Clara
Expert
Content Creator
replied on May 21, 2020
McKinsey | Awarded professor at Master in Management @ IE | MBA at MIT |+180 students coached | Integrated FIT Guide aut

Hello!

I don´t think you should worry, I also know quite some people who joined consulting in their 30s and did not only ok, but very good.

Usually they will offer you a very advanced Associate position with quick promo to EM.

Hope it helps!

Cheers,

Clara

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Anonymous A on May 21, 2020

Thanks a lot looking forward to that.

Udayan gave the best answer

Udayan

Content Creator
Top rated Case & PEI coach/Multiple real offers/McKinsey EM in New York /12 years recruiting experience
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