Work Experience Before an MBA (Quick Reads)

Work Experience Before an MBA

Have you considered the role your CV plays in your MBA application? Ilana Kowarski, a reporter at US News, weighs in on the importance of work experience before an MBA, and just what type of experience admission teams are looking for.

Helpful for: MBA Applicants

Read Time: 8 minutes

Quick Facts:

  • Admission teams don’t focus much on whether you’ve worked at a leading company with an important job title when considering whether to accept you to their MBA program. What is more significant is the candidate’s skill development, success, and contribution to the company they worked at.
  • Remember that a leadership title will only serve its purpose if it is given credibility. A candidate should be able to convince the admission team of the responsibility and authority they had by giving concrete examples.
  • Candidates shouldn’t feel anxious about their lack of experience when applying for an MBA, if it’s within the requirements of the program. Nikhil Varaiya, director of graduate programs at Fowler College of Business, says:

Selected Quote:

Most applicants are still early in their career, so MBA admissions’ officers don’t expect these applicants to be high-level executives. You are starting as a junior and you might have limited supervisory roles, but you are probably working in a specialized area, and you are trying to either advance in that area or gather other skills.

  • Nevertheless, spending a few years working will help you gain the necessary skills to succeed in the MBA environment before you apply, and will also give you a more realistic vision of future career goals and aspirations.
  • At the same time, too many years spent at a company in a senior-level position means that a two-year MBA might not bring many benefits to that candidate. A better option for someone in that position is an accelerated MBA or an EMBA program targeted towards leaders who are at a later stage in their career and are looking for new, better strategies to manage a team.
  • Amanda Karr, executive director of student enrollment services at Graziadio School of Business and Management, prefers to see work experience that is business-related, or that has connection to technology. Quantitative expertise is also important to her as it’s an indicator of whether a student will be able to excel academically, as math is a crucial skill set in an MBA program.

Useful Information:

  • A strong CV which demonstrates leadership, motivation and professional development might be able to offset a low GMAT or GRE score. Don’t overlook the importance of this document and its role in a successful application.

How important is professional experience before starting an MBA? Share your thoughts in our forum!

Source: US News

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