The MBA Guide: Is Work Experience necessary for MBA?

As it is well said, Experience is the best teacher. Not only in philosophical terms do these words hold weight, but also in realistic terms. Maybe this is why to handle the human mind it is very important to hold some experience. Same goes for MBA. Some people have the opinion that you should pursue MBA after gaining some work experience while others are of the opinion to pursue it right after graduation, which leaves most of the students in confusion while taking the crucial decision of MBA for their careers. So, this post is to help you to answer the crucial question- is work experience necessary for MBA?

There are certain institutes that provide admissions to students on their GMAT score and a few internships. However, the top universities with such liberal thoughts are few. Most of the top B-School universities abroad demand a minimum of 2 years of work experience. This has always been the trend. The reason behind it is that MBA requires human and situational understanding which the students with prior experience can better relate to; whereas the students without experience tend to take admission but fail to keep pace with the spontaneous understanding of the subject, somewhere decreasing their scope of better employment opportunities as compared to other students.

Benefits of Work Experience for an MBA abroad

Now, moving ahead on this notion-let us list down the obvious benefits of work experience in studying MBA abroad-

Admission to Top Universities

Almost all the topmost B-schools mark references and letter of recommendation as an important criterion for admission. Work experience works as an incentive to get into a university. Even if the university does not demand work experience or any reference, it is sure to give an upper hand to candidates having one. Therefore, having some work experience will always gain benefit in long-term.


Upper Hand in Job Allocation

A student having an MBA degree with prior work experience often lands him in the job of his choice. Every recruiter requires a candidate with good grades and understanding but practical knowledge is always served first. Therefore, having a work experience will eventually land you up in the best university and help you get the best opportunity in job perspective. It will also help a candidate greatly in getting an on-campus placement.

Maturity in Work ethics and style of learning

Experience often helps us understand and perceive things in a better fashion. Once we understand it implementation becomes easier. Therefore, work experience helps understand the content of the curriculum in a better way and also brings maturity to the learning style. The by-product of which is that new ideas are invented, yielding the result of a successful career.

Builds connects on a deeper level

As mentioned earlier, prior work experience builds up maturity and a better understanding of things. Once this level is achieved, the student can connect and have deeper conversations regarding more practical problems than the ones merely mentioned in books, with the professors and fellow mates. The interaction becomes deeper and more knowledgeable and often the smallest of information proves to be beneficial during implementation in long run.

Ahead in Field Work

Be it summer internship or any other field related work, whenever implementation is required, these students tend to become the torchbearer. This is so because they have already had the experience before and since that knowledge gets supplemented by the content of course; the product is then- confident young individuals ready to move forth with the assigned work. Thus, not only during admission or after it, work experience in MBA is an all-time investment.


Solid Plan for your Future

Work experience paves a definite path for your career and makes a solid plan for your future. You will already be familiar with where you want to go because you have already been there. This knowledge may help you focus your academic endeavors in a way that helps you frame the way you engage the classroom material. Also, it will also help you to shape the future you desire for because you have already been through the experience of it all.

What is the average work experience in top B-Schools?

It is observed that class profiles of nearly all the elite MBA schools are full of students with multiple years of work experience. The knowledge gained during your MBA is largely dependent on a full understanding of the material and its possible application and having an experience in this field surely helps in better interpretation and understanding of the subject making it less academic and more practical, simultaneously maintaining the nature of the course. Now here’s a quick visual, in the interest of time and the work experience required by some top universities-

Almost all the business colleges require work experience. For a better understanding of the average requirement, we are listing down a few of them (U.S.)-

                Business School    Required Experience (Average)
Stanford GSB 4 Years
Wharton Business School (Upenn) 5 Years
Sloan School of Management (MIT) 4.8 Years
Columbia Business School 5 Years
NYU Stern 4.9 Years
Haas School of Business UC Berkeley 5 Years

So, is work experience work experience necessary for MBA and if yes, then why?

It is always wise to follow what has been followed since time immemorial. While exceptions are often there to prove this trend a lie, it is always safer to plan your career according to what is accepted, rather than what rules the schools are willing to bend, for you. MBA in itself is a promising career and fulfilling its asked requirements will only lead you towards a brighter future. Therefore, as you take the time to determine when the best time to earn an MBA degree is for you, keep in mind the two most important aspect- firstly, the competition is very high and you will have to be exceptionally good; and secondly, between the dilemma of applying with or without work experience, it should be apparent that the trend seems to suggest that top B-schools favour the applicants with a prior work experience which seems promising.

Now, make your decision wisely.

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About the Author

Rachit believes in the power of education and has studied from the top institutes of IIIT Allahabad, IIM Calcutta, and Francois Rabelias in France. He has worked as Software Developer with Microsoft and Adobe. Post his MBA, he worked with the world’s # 1 consulting firm, The Boston Consulting Group across multiple geographies US, South-East Asia and Europe.

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