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It has been a little over a year since I began the full-time MBA programme at HEC Paris. The decision had a catch: the average age of an MBA applicant in Europe is about 28, and I am 40.
I was last a student 10 years ago — a MSc in sustainable energy engineering — and since then I have worked on several continents, started my own business and started a family.
As I plunged into the MBA course, I was aware of the pros and cons of doing it at an atypical age. As the programme advanced, I made sure I learnt from everything and everyone, setting aside the overconfidence that more than a decade of experience might bring.
Fast forward to now and I am halfway through a six-month internship at Schneider Electric. So I took some time to think about the experience. Here are some insights worth sharing:
● Reinventing yourself is ageless. Some think it stops after a certain age but in today’s fast-paced world, reinvention (in learning, approach, etc) is very important.
● Networking remains key: the ability to connect with people, get an interesting conversation going, which sets the tone for a long-term relationship. It is not enough to go through the motions.
● Make the most of lunchtimes. Groups will form — colleagues, friends, interns. It is the time personal conversations and internal jokes happen, while everything else, including job application stress, fades into the background.
● “Perspective” is a daily mantra. Age, family and economic context make today’s decisions feel critical, but putting things into perspective becomes a daily sanity check to appreciate the new experience with the future in mind.
An intern’s expectation, eagerness to learn, uncertainty and motivation are the same whether they are 28 or 40.
Read more first-person insights from business school students: ft.com/mba-blog