How Old is Too Old to Get an MBA?

November 10, 2021
MBA Age Blog Photo

Having trouble deciding if you can justify earning an MBA at this point in your career (and life)? Take a look at how you can decide if you are too old to get an MBA.

It is not that difficult to make a compelling case for you to earn your MBA at 30, 40 or 50 years of age.

After all, many people have benefited from the impact and versatility of the MBA. You do not have to look hard to find results (and inspiration) from those who did not represent “the ideal MBA candidate”—students with little work experience, no academic background in business or those looking for advancement in unconventional career fields. not represent “the ideal MBA candidate”—students with little work experience, no academic background in business or those looking for advancement in unconventional career fields.

That includes being past your mid- to late-20s. If you think you might be too old to get an MBA, you should take a closer look at your situation to make an informed decision.

Start With the Basics: Return on Investment (ROI)

Before attaching your age to the equation, you should begin the decision-making process by looking at the merits of an MBA.

There is little question that an MBA prepares you for today’s workforce by giving you foundational career skills, regardless of your industry or role. The market backs up the notion, too. A recent survey found that 91 percent of recruiters plan to hire MBAs in 2021.

What about comparing how much you will pay for the degree and how much you can earn with it? You have a number of ways to finance your MBA, including scholarships (offered in all of Baylor’s MBA programs) and employee assistance (offered by 92 percent of U.S. organizations), and the potential salary figures can be compelling. One survey found the average salary plus bonus for full-time MBA graduates to be $107,000 overall, and it rose to $174,000 for those at more selective programs.

Couple some of that general advice with more specific estimates of what might be possible for your career and you can chart what your ROI could look like. If you plan to use an MBA to help you search for a better job, a typical salary increase for changing jobs is around 15 percent. Here are a couple of examples of what a higher title could amount to in two business fields.

  • Account managers earn an average salary of $56,017, according to PayScale. Two natural title progressions in that field, senior account managers and account directors, earn $73,736 and $99,497, respectively.
  • Marketing managers earn $66,849. Senior marketing managers and vice presidents of marketing earn $100,046 and $149,999, respectively.


With less time to recoup your financial investment, even the most conservative salary figures can illustrate how you are (easily) not too old to earn an MBA. Take some time to evaluate your career intentions and what you can expect by adding such a powerful degree—plus key skills and lasting networking connections—to your career.

It Is About More Than Money

Some online MBA students in Baylor’s Cybersecurity concentration lack experience in the field, but thanks to the drastic talent shortage in cybersecurity, it does not matter. In Dan Pienta’s Cybersecurity Fundamentals course, students get the skills that are lacking across the country, plus opportunities for mentoring and networking.

But what about their underlying motivation? It is not about jobs, money or career.

“Most of my students say, ‘I am getting my online MBA because it is something I have always wanted to do. I am a nontraditional student but I am going back and doing this for myself because it is something that I want to do,’” Pienta said. “I have students who are over 50 years old and I have students in their 20s. It is a broad range.”

Passion and motivation are the driving forces. Make no mistake: Earning an MBA at any age is a major accomplishment. Like other students, it may be something that you simply want to do for yourself.

You can see the same trend in Pienta, who was inspired to pursue a career in cybersecurity and later become a professor because he felt a sense of mission—“This idea that we are doing something that is a little bit greater than the individual contributor because we are sharing information.”

“For me as a professor, that is kind of what inspired me to get in there,” Pienta said “How can I impact the world? And you can do that in multiple ways. Baylor is a Christian university, and part of my upbringing was to always do service for others. I thought, being a professor, I could do this in a number of different ways—through research, teaching and interacting with students.”

An MBA can open up doors for you to pursue your passion. Maybe it is only partly about money because an MBA represents a way for you to better provide for your family. Or maybe an MBA represents the ability for you to become a leader in your organization, where you can be a light to others as you glorify God in your work.

Whatever the case may be, consider both the career-changing and life-transcending potential of accomplishing something of this magnitude. What could it truly mean for you and others around you?

Your Age and Experience Can Be an Asset

Another thing to remember when considering an MBA at an older age than normal is how it can actually give you an advantage.

An MBA can accelerate your future based on your skills and background. After all, put yourself in a hiring manager’s shoes. Would you be intrigued by someone who spent the past 15 years as a marketing specialist, recently became a marketing manager and only then decided to earn their MBA? You can imagine what insights that journey could reveal, making even better use of an MBA than if it came at the beginning of that person’s career.

Some people earn an MBA early on to help develop foundational skills that will pay dividends throughout their career. Others complete the degree to complement their background and truly master what they need to go to the next level. No way is correct and each has its advantages. It all goes back to just how powerful and versatile an MBA is.

A final point is how there are different types of MBAs and they cater to different audiences. In addition to the more traditional full-time MBA at Baylor, you can pursue an online MBA or choose from the Executive MBA programs in Dallas (one weekend a month) . These flexible programs are designed for more experienced professionals and they are filled with 30- and 40-year-old students.

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