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Can I opt for an MBA programme abroad without prior work experience?

The infamous question that many Indian students keep thinking of: ‘Is it advisable to opt for an MBA programme abroad without any prior work experience? If yes, which universities can I apply at?’

Doodle Nandi
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Top B schools are populated with students who have had some work experience prior to joining their MBA programme. An MBA degree boosts your managerial acumen and promotes peer-to-peer learning.

A Masters of Business Administration or an MBA is the ultimate study option that students who are looking for business-ready opportunities or to nurturing the business skills weaved in their DNA can take up. When it comes to business management, employers look for this stamp of accreditation, and many employees seek to upgrade themselves on the job of business or management by acquiring this degree. 

Look for courses in business & management at universities abroad.

It is strongly believed that prior work experience is mandatory for any MBA programmes because students with work experience bring value to the MBA classroom experience and also find it easier to grasp the MBA curriculum and share more productive and matured thoughts when it comes to handle projects and work with teams. Hence, MBA admission departments emphasise strongly on you acquiring a wide range of experience in the business world, before you step in to the classroom learning environment. 

MBA schools in the USA that accept freshers include Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago Booth and Columbia Business Schools. The other schools that do accept applications from novice MBA degree seekers are Marshall School of Business, UC Davis Graduate School of Management, Carroll School of Management – Boston College and Boston University School of Management.

Some of the UK universities that accept MBA applicants without any work experience include Anglia Ruskin University, University of East London, Leeds Beckett University and Swansea University.

How does an MBA abroad help?

MBA degrees are very much oriented towards gearing up its students to entering management roles, straight upon graduation. In such cases, it works out favourably for the students and they would have their prior experience and the MBA as a strong foundation for some high-level management roles. An MBA abroad boosts your managerial acumen and promotes peer-to-peer learning in a dynamic environment where you will meet people from all walks of life. It teaches you develop leadership skills, effective communication and problem-solving abilities and overall understanding of business and technical requirements.

Though the eligibility requirements for an MBA programme at various schools abroad varies, most of the current available full-time MBA programmes prefer students to have a minimum of one to two years experience, i.e. full-time work. On average, the amount of experience that students are required to have to enter top-tier business schools is generally three to five years.

In most cases the two-year MBA programmes accept applicants without any work experience whereas the three- or five-year MBA programmes look for students with an intensive work experience. Some universities abroad might have one-year MBA programmes that involve intensive coursework and do not encourage freshers.

How long should you ideally wait prior to the application? This completely depends on the quality of your professional role. The kind of questions you should be asking yourself are if you have made any significant impact when working in the company, if you’ve been recognised for your efforts on the job or what your role has taught you. If you really don’t have a solid amount of experience and you want to start with your applications anyway, you should ask yourself if your profile is strong enough to compete against those who may be applying with experience.

What will you do with an MBA degree?

An MBA degree fetches you the right kind of job that suits your academic skills and gives you a different outlook to face the new-world opportunities. Some of the popular job opportunities that an MBA degree can open for you include Business Analyst, Banking & Finance, Venture Capitalist, Personal Finance Advisor, Human Resource and the next gen Entrepreneur. These are some of the job roles that might suit your career needs.

It is found that nearly 65% of the student population comes from some sort of investing, financial or consulting background. A class at Harvard Business School comprises of people from a variety of industries. Let’s have a look at how many come from what kind of work background: 

  • High Tech/Communications - 7%
  • Investment Banking - 11%
  • Investment Management - 4%
  • Manufacturing - 8%
  • Military - 3%
  • Non-Profit - 6%
  • Other Financial Services - 5%
  • Other Services - 8%
  • Venture Capital/Private Equity - 15%
  • Consumer Products - 5%
  • Healthcare/Biotech - 6%
  • Consulting - 23%

During the academic year 2012-13, Wharton had only 2% of its student population with less than two years of work experience (full time). This is only 15 out of 8,300 of its applicants- that is a 1:533 probability ratio! 

Coming back to your earlier question – ‘Can I opt for an MBA even if I have no work experience?’ The answer to this is yes! But in certain instances the universities might have their own set of rules that you need to adhere to. If you want to fill the gap between your pre MBA experience and admissions into an MBA programme, you can go with some transition or pathways programmes that will enhance your candidature.

Therefore, it’s always advisable to speak to any person who can provide some first-hand information, say our counsellors who have helped many students pursue MBA programmes at some of the popular universities abroad.

Worried about choosing the right course?

Suchandra Majumdar Suchandra Majumdar,
Study abroad expert.
Our experts can help you find the right course from our comprehensive database. Request a call from us now! Or call 1800 103 2581 / 1800 103 9634 (toll-free) today!

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