When’s the perfect time to take an MBA to advance your finance career?

s there a sweet spot in your finance career when taking a few years out for an MBA is most beneficial? No, insist business schools, which say they accept old and young students alike. Yes, suggest the statistics and – privately at least – graduate recruiters in investment banks.

The theory is that undertaking an MBA is pointless, or at least of minimal benefit, if you have little to no work experience in the real world. Equally, it seems an odd decision to start at a business school with decades of experience under your belt.

The most recent classes of top business schools suggest that the optimal level of experience is five years, and the perfect age for starting an MBA is 28 Share on twitter. The class of 2016 at London Business School has an average age of 29 and mean work experience of 5.5 years – the youngest person is 23 and the oldest 38. At Columbia, the average work experience is 5 years, and the oldest person is just 30 Share on twitter, while at Insead the average age is 29 with six years’ of experience. At New York Stern University, where 27% have a background in banking or finance, the average amount of work experience is 4.3 years...

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