Answering the MBA Application's "Why Now" Question

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on October 1, 2008

Paul Bodine, a senior editor at, a web site that helps MBA applicants (and others) get a foot in the door, has an interesting post today about an application question that lots of would-be b-schoolers encounter: why are you pursuing an MBA now?

With a lot of people fleeing the bad economy for the warm embrace of b-school, this is a particularly difficult question for many applicants to answer. After all, “It beats unemployment” isn’t exactly what the admissions committee is looking for, now is it? An answer like that will almost certainly get you waitlisted or rejected.

So how do you answer it? Bodine has several suggestions:

Career plateau. Your learning curve has flattened, and no new challenges are foreseeable in the next two years. If you stay any longer in your current career path, you will risk being pigeonholed as a “[insert your job here],” and breaking out will only become harder.

Goals epiphany. You have only just recently realized what your career’s purpose (post-MBA goal) is, and now that you know it, there’s simply no reason to delay.

Post-MBA goals have time element. Your post-MBA plans are linked to trends that will begin to gel about the time you earn your MBA. You can’t afford to wait to gain the skills to capitalize on these trends.

Maturity. You finally have the professional and personal savvy, balance, and perspective to make the wise decision to invest in your long-term future. (This is an acceptable way of saying ‘My age matches the median age of the people you admit.’)

Natural break in career. You’re approaching the end of a clearly demarcated career phase, such as a corporation’s two-year management training program or a one-year overseas posting.

Reader Comments


August 5, 2009 2:37 AM

what if im older than the median age of the school i want to get into. im 31 yrs Female with 8 yrs WE, international applicant. is that a big negative? which schools looks favorably at older applicants?


September 7, 2009 2:18 AM



November 8, 2009 1:06 PM

Well, in that case I would suggest an Executive MBA. In addition, there are some programs for people with more experience and that is above its 30´s.. for example INSEAD that offers a 1 year program.


February 26, 2010 9:17 AM

I am a fresher having completed graduation in Science-Biotechnology, Biochemistry...How should I answer as to why a career in MBA after science?


March 21, 2010 8:13 AM

iam a fresher completed btech . how should i answer and why a career in mba after btech


December 17, 2010 5:22 PM

I'm 47 with MANY years of experience. I'm looking at pairing and MBA with a Masters in Project Management. In order to fulfill my goal of becoming a CIO or CEO, I think I need to have the MBA. Suggestions on schools? Seems like purely online schools (Walden, Strayer, Keller) are as expensive as a bricks/mortar type.


June 28, 2011 8:36 PM

Does anyone read, write, or understand
english anymore? I am truly puzzled why
most of the responses suffer from confused grammar, misplaced tenses, and
a clear lack of direction. Is there a good answer to this question?

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