I got this question today on my ask-me page on my timberry.com website:
I am currently in an MBA program at a local college. I have recently completed my third course. I have about five years management experience. I am 58 years-old. My wife is going back to college this summer for the graphic design program at the local college. I figure between my MBA degree and her Graphic Design degree we could start a business in advertising. Am I wasting my time completing this MBA considering my age? This may not mean anything but my parents are in their mid eighties. I still have a lot of life left.
My answer: Go for it. You are an inspiration. I love your last sentence:
I still have a lot of life left.
Take that, Gen Y.
I’ve seen research showing that people between 55 and 65 have hormone changes that encourage learning. I say education is good and the second-best activity humans do is learning about something they’re interested in. When I was your age I seriously considered adding a PhD to my MA and MBA degrees. I didn’t, but that’s another story.
There is, however, a possible catch: if the MBA is a drag, hard to do, and no fun at all, then don’t do it. If it’s a sacrifice, don’t do it. If you expect it to pay off in actual dollars, don’t do it. Few if any advertising clients will decide on you vs. others because you have an MBA degree. And, sad but true, to many potential clients your age is a drawback.
Do it because you want to, or not at all.
I’ve posted a lot on when and why to get an MBA degree, and some on why not, too. Click here for the category.