Do you really need work experience before MBA?

Work experience in MBA holds significance at the time of admissions! Fact or a myth? Read on to find out if a candidate really needs to possess work experience in order to pursue MBA degree.


MBA programs are largely designed to capitalize on the knowledge that the students bring to the classroom. And for that model to be useful it presses on the need for students to have some prior work experience. The core objective of an MBA program is to create management professionals. Someone who can provide direction and leadership to the employees and help contribute in achieving the company's goals. Problem solving attitude and the understanding of business process hence come forth as the prime qualities of a managerial professional. They are required to seek answers to the questions like 'why does a problem exist' rather than 'what to do and how to do it’.

Although the number of MBA aspirants in the country have grown exponentially over the past few years. And students from varied educational backgrounds are opting for an MBA degree, most of them are fresher's with little or no prior experience. They perceive MBA as the sure shot path to success right from the beginning of their career. Thus, choosing to forego having work experience prior to MBA. 

Let's take a look at the benefits of having work experience prior to pursuing MBA. 

Also Read: Can I get a good MBA college (IIM) without work experience?

Professional Work Experience Gives you an Edge in MBA

All MBA programs rely on case studies and classroom participation. Work experience prior to MBA allows for students to get the best out of the course. They are able to connect better with the theories taught in the classroom. Professionals are able to analyze a situation more practically by drawing insights from their existing workplace experiences. Moreover, in the learning structure like that of MBA program students also benefit from the practical experiences of their peers. And it is the mixture of theory and real world experience that sets apart MBA program from other business degrees courses.  

Better Chance of Getting selected in the Top MBA Colleges of your choice 

Although having work experience prior to MBA is not a necessary requirement in most MBA institutions in India. But it is recommended that one has some form of work experience. While evaluating prospective students MBA colleges award them points based on various parameter. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) recently set an evaluation weightage of 5% of the selection process for MBA aspirants with prior work experience. Also, if for some reason you don't have a good academic record; good work experience can help you overcome that obstacle.   

So, for all those who have a relevant work experience before joining their MBA programme, it’s time to cheer because you might have an edge over the other applicants in the selection process rolled out by various top MBA colleges of India.

Helps Define A Clear Career Path

A freshly graduated student has more of a general understanding of the career path they want to take. However, it's when they enter the field that they sometimes realise that it's not their cup of tea and far from what they imagined it'd be like. It's very common for young people to find their passion after switching two or three jobs. The initial years that a fresher spends in the work place environment provides him with valuable lessons. There are times when people switch fields all together changing the career direction. 

If you have work experience beforehand you would have a better understanding of the career path that you want to take up. With a clearly defined career goal, previous knowledge and practical experience can help you to drive the best out of your academic endeavours. 

Drive the Best Out of Your Degree 

While many professionals realize the need for additional knowledge and skills to advance in their career. MBA programs offer them the best opportunity to do so. Live projects and management simulation games are broadly used in the top B-schools to promote the development of problem-solving skills. And when you have the experience of having worked in a real life situation you can draw insights and use your practical knowledge to solve the situations. Your previous knowledge base combined with the new skill set gained in during the course can help you advance in your career and become better leaders. 

Greater Acknowledgement for the Course  

The course work of an MBA program is very different from that of other post graduate courses. They tend to be more intensive and competitive. Most of them require students to take up the responsibility of their own learning. And for those who lack proper motivation find it difficult to cope with the challenges of an MBA curriculum in their early 20's. The diverse issues raised in the class encourage for peer learning and inculcates team work. The learning structure of the course requires for the student to be open to new ideas as well as critique. Students with prior work experience usually find it easy to appreciate another's viewpoints. A fresher, on the other hand, may not be very open to such things and find it difficult when his prior learning are questioned.  

All this talk about the importance of work experience prior to MBA raises the question - 'How much work experience should one have before applying?' Ideally for a full time MBA program of a two year duration, one can have two to three years of work experience. And while opting for an executive program, work experience of more than two years is desirable. However, there is no magic number that will guarantee a spot in the MBA program. 

Also Read...

MBA Post Work Experience: A Better Perspective

Work Experience and MBA: How much is really necessary?

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