Happy 35th Birthday to Me

So it’s finally here…my birthday; which means that I am officially a 35-year old MBA applicant. And you know what? I have never been more clear about what I want, where I’m going and how I plan on getting there. Let’s just hope these adcoms concur LOL!

Today is also the official 2-month-aversary of mbaover30.com; and I’d like to send a big ‘ole THANKS to all of you for the comments, words of encouragement or maybe just reading stealth and not saying a word–all of which helped the site reach 10,000 views just a few days ago.


Two days ago I finished my set of Wharton essay working drafts. After recovering from the sharp, jagged barbs of my first few reviews, I seem to have hit a pretty nice stride and definitely feel like I have the basic “swag” needed to put together a strong essay that hits all of the right points and relates those points to the school that I’m targeting. NOW I get to spend the next 2-3 months tweaking the details ad naseum until every word in every line adds value to my story without duplicating info or fire hosing the adcom with TMI. I’ve quickly learned that is where the real angst and work is with getting these essays right.


After I take some time out to enjoy my birthday, I’ll be getting into gear in two areas: A) Starting my MIT Sloan Drafts and B) Toying around with some GMAT material for a possible retake.

I chose to start with my Wharton Essays because they are the most straightforward and I felt they would allow me to get into a solid groove with how I expressed my story and aspirations. That was a good decision, because that is exactly what happened. I chose to go to MIT Sloan next because their essays seemed the next straightforward in comparison to Stanford (for which I will probably need hypnosis and a therapy session to draw the right stories from) and Harvard (where I’ll need to stuff my goals, context, school fit, an achievement story and a failure story into 800 words).

Unfortunately, I’ve discovered Sloan’s essays to be not quite as straightforward as I once imagined. Like HBS, there is no explicit goals essay.  There’s the cover letter, which comes across as a request to brag about your accomplishments (I thought that was only supposed to be done in subtle fashion on MBA essays?) and then two anecdotal/behavioral essays.

If I were 25,  I probably would welcome the opportunity to be expressive and just tell good stories; however, as an over 30 applicant, it is imperative that I paint a clear, solid picture of why this is the right time in my life for an MBA and why I am a best fit for a full time MBA program and not a part time or EMBA. Thus, dealing with essay sets that not only impose uber conservative word limits but force me to quickly gloss over the most important part of my value proposition to avoid the trap of “not answering the question” is quite a bit bone chilling to say the least; but I will get past it and make this work.


This weekend I’ll be creating some new study guides to review my GMAT Quant with. I’ll neither be working through new problems nor learning new material, but striving to develop laser sharp pattern recognition skills. The last time I uttered the word “GMAT”, I mentioned something about an 85% change that I’d do a retake. Well, my math was wrong. There is actually only about a 25% chance; let me explain.

My retaking the GMAT depends wholy on two circumstantial data points:

1) That I can prepare for the GMAT without reducing the quality of my essay and app execution

2) Practice tets taken in August allude to a 30+ jump in score.

So our possible scenarios are:  A) Just #1  B) Just #2  C) #1 and #2  D) neither #1 nor #2. Since I’ll only retake given the scenario discussed in option C, then I have a 1 in 4, or 25% chance of retaking that test. We’ll see how it goes.


On the same day that I signed up for the Berkeley coffee chat event that I talked about recently, I also got an invitation from and signed up for a coffee chat that  Tuck will be hosting here this weekend. I must say that I really appreciate how good of a job Tuck does with follow up and communicating with its applicants. +100 for Tuck.

More developments and details will be forthcoming. Until then, remember to enjoy every moment of your life; because you certainly are not getting any younger!


Would you like my help getting into your dream b-school? Well, there are two starting points for that:

1. Get a Free Profile Analysis (after receiving your information, I’ll let you know whether or not I think I can help you)

2. Get Help Now (If you already know that you want help and what you want help on, then just skip to here)

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Wharton 2015 MBA

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33 Comments on “Happy 35th Birthday to Me”

  1. ladyroadwarrior Says:

    Happy birfday 30+!
    Knowing you too are a cancer makes so much sense to me.
    Enjoy Tucktails this weekend – you’ll be hooked.


  2. Deborah Knox Says:

    Good strategy for when to attack which essays. I always save Stanford for last and start with the school with the most straightforward questions or the one the client cares about the least. Happy 35th!


    • mbaover30 Says:

      Thanks Deborah! And thanks for the strategy critique. I’d be elated to go to any of these schools so I’ll more than likely do multiple revision runs going through all sets in a loop once the working drafts are done. I hear that essays get better with time and I definitely want to present my best to each; however, HBS and MIT are not allowing much room to tie my story together considering my age so I may need to write optionals for those.


  3. Angie Says:

    Happy Birthday! Wow, 35…what a great age! I hope you are celebrating all your victories – a great GMAT score, solid work experience you can be proud of, and being an all around great person. It seems like you are on your way!

    I hope this is not “off topic”, but have you ever attending the Diversity MBA Conference (Riordan Programs) at UCLA? Just signed up for it, and I was curious if you attended? If so, what was your impression of it?

    Have a great b-day!


    • mbaover30 Says:

      Hello Angie. I’ve heard about that before but it hasn’t been on my radar. Do you know how many of my target schools will be there?


      • Angie Says:

        Your targets are somewhat similar to mine. I will dig up the info and post it.

      • mbaover30 Says:

        I actually checked it out on my own and it ended up registering just now. The list of schools who are participating is stellar; in fact, Stanford, HBS, MIT, Wharton, Berkeley, Booth, Kellogg, Tuck and Yale will ALL be there. That came as quite a surprise since most of the “MBA Tour” conference-type events that I have seen tend to have ZERO schools that I am interested in applying to. After registering, I also submitted a resume and bio. Thanks for kicking me in the butt about this Angie. My feelings would have been hurt had I missed this opportunity to rub elbows.

  4. OhDenny Says:

    Happy Birthday! I’d make an old joke here, but given the nature of this blog, probably not the most appropriate…


    • mbaover30 Says:

      Ha! I can take it. Are you ready to start @ Yale? It looks like I’ll be seeing them and practically every other school I’m applying to at the Riordian diversity MBA event in LA in August.


      • OhDenny Says:

        It’s currently a matter of trying to enjoy my vacation while still doing my (relatively) massive amounts of pre-term coursework. Sigh.

      • mbaover30 Says:

        We’ll have to discuss some of that pre-term work in the future…hopefully in the spring with me stoke to get an acceptance at one or a few of my targets lol.

      • OhDenny Says:


  5. Angie Says:

    Hello again. I am SO glad you are going to the conference!! I am really excited to go, also. I really wanted to go last year, but my boyfriend’s sister was getting married on the very same day they were holding this. Ironically, I have another event that day, but it is thankfully in the evening (Red Hot Chili Peppers concert…YEAAH!).

    So, hope to see you there!


    • mbaover30 Says:

      That’s weird, because what I registered for is an all day event from 8am to 5pm. My confirmation and ticket says “Saturday, August 11, 2012 from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (PT)”. Are you sure you’re going to the one in LA?


      • Angie Says:

        Yes, I am going to the exact same event. I just meant to say that I have a concert in the evening – a few hours after the event commences. Sorry – I think I was a bit confusing on that. So, I will definitely be there!

      • mbaover30 Says:

        Well we must meet!

      • Angie Says:


        Sounds great. I would definitely love to meet you. I work in an environment where not many people are pursuing MBAs. A positive person with like minded goals is always someone I would like to meet!

      • mbaover30 Says:

        sounds great. I’ll send you an email.

  6. clayne Says:

    Happy Birthday! I am 37 and applying to b-school. Thought about pursuing this degree in years prior but know that now is the right time for me to walk down this path. Very pleased that I have your blog to read as I go through this process. Good luck.


  7. bschooladmit(asax) Says:

    Belated birthday wishes!


  8. Alison (aka mrsjonstewart) Says:

    Happy birthday — I’m sure it is going to be a great year!


  9. merina Says:

    Happy belated birthday!
    Awesome posts. Love reading them


      • merina Says:

        Oh, and I am 35 and gunning for a good school same as you. But you sound so cool and me wonders about my own chances at competing with people like you….Sigh.
        Well, I am rooting for you and you too Clayne 🙂

      • mbaover30 Says:

        I’m rooting for you, too Clayne. And unless you are a black male with an engineering background, I am probably not your competition. Ethnicity, industry and major all trump age in the formation of applicant pools. I wish you the very best of luck, my friend!

      • merina Says:

        Well, well. That was sometime ago. And I come back a couple of years later and Presto!
        You have done very well, my friend. Proud of you!!
        My best wishes.


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