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What kind of work experience is favorable for MBA aspirants?

Blog Date
September 21,

Many business schools prefer candidates with at least 2 to 5 years of work experience, which is ideal for an MBA program.

  • Having professional experience in a huge corporate firm gives you a competitive edge.
  • When applying for an MBA program, highlight all your achievements, skills, and qualities.
  • An MBA degree looks for a professional experience which involves various leadership skills.

Every MBA aspirant might wonder if work experience helps in pursuing an MBA. The answer is yes. Having real-world experience provides you with better insights into business and management studies. Professional work experience provides candidates with a certain level of maturity and managerial ability, which helps candidates become experts in the field. 

Pursuing an MBA with prior work experience not only helps you plan your future better but also gives you an edge over others. 

So, what kind of work experience is required for an MBA? Let’s find out. 

Is work experience required to enroll in an MBA program?

There is no fixed rule about how much work experience is required to pursue an MBA. However, most prestigious institutes prefer students with a minimum of two years of experience in the relevant field. Amid cut-throat competition, students who possess 2 to 5 years of experience are more likely to get admission.

The admission requirements vary from B-school to B-school. Some allow freshers to pursue an MBA, while some only have a few seats that the most experienced people fill. 

Thus, it is recommended that before choosing an institute for your MBA, you must research well about their experience requirements and select a school whose criteria you can match.

How many years of work experience is right for you?

Pursuing an MBA degree with a professional work experience of at least one year will provide you with a more practical approach and give you the best output of the course. Therefore, if we look at the placement reports of top business schools in India, they indicate that an average work experience of 2-3 years is ideal. These b-schools also have candidates with up to 5 to 8 years of work experience. If you are looking forward to applying for an MBA program, 2 to 5 years of work experience is considered an ideal work experience in most cases.

Is it good to go for an MBA after 2 years of work experience?

Yes, with a minimum of two years of work experience, candidates can successfully apply for all the MBA programs in India and abroad, which will also help them land in a high-paying job after completing the course. Hence, it can be said that candidates having a professional work experience of at least two years are considered to have a decent profile for an MBA. While pursuing an MBA degree, there are a lot of perks to having professional work experience as it helps you in learning and applying the concepts in rela life.

Read more – Why should i do an online MBA?

Is too much experience good or bad?

Many B-schools prefer candidates with work experience but not many years experience (i.e., more than eight years). This is because an MBA program is designed as a hands-on experiential learning program where candidates enrich the learning environment with their previous working experiences.

This course requires candidates to have a certain level of maturity, skills, and managerial ability, which comes from professional full-time work experience. So, having too much work experience may go wrong. These candidates are more likely to grow restless in their roles post their MBA. 

Typical work experience for an MBA program

Based on your experience in the field and your position, the quality and intensity of your MBA program may vary. Typical work experience and the MBA programs related to them are mentioned below. 

No. of yearsBenefits to student
2 yearsThis is the minimum work experience required for most of the MBA programs. It helps you get basic hands-on experience, providing a great start to your career.
3 yearsCounts for opening a few opportunities in specialized courses like finance, marketing and entrepreneurship.
5 years Gives you a strong chance for admission in specialized MBA programs. 
Counts as your professional experience and if it is managerial work then you may get an opportunity for executive MBA programs. 
Provides you with an opportunity for full-time work during the program.
8 yearsOpens up multiple opportunities for a student in various courses 
It is expected only at a few business schools

What kinds of experiences are ideal for an MBA?

None of the top b-schools specifically mention the kind of experience that students or candidates must have. An MBA degree always welcomes students coming from diverse backgrounds along with their unique skills. 

No matter what kind of work experience you have, candidates need to possess leadership, problem-solving, and many other soft skills to get an edge during the MBA program. However, students with certain work experience may be preferred over others. 

There is a direct connection between work experience required for an MBA and the quality of the program. There are specialization courses for MBAs for which students must have relevant experience to gain a clear understanding and knowledge of the program. These specialization courses include –

  • MBA in Finance 
  • MBA in Marketing 
  • MBA in Human Resource
  • MBA in Digital Marketing 
  • MBA in Operations
  • MBA in Healthcare Management 
  • MBA in Risk Management 
  • MBA in Marketing Management 
  • MBA in Supply Chain Management 
  • MBA in Business Analytics
  • MBA in Data Analytics

All of the above courses require thorough knowledge and experience in the relevant industry before entering the course. Ensure you have proper experience according to the stream you are willing to enter. 

For example, if you want to pursue your career in MBA finance, you should have an experience as an accountant or finance manager or analyst to gain a proper understanding of the subject and concepts.

Explained – What kind of work experience is required for an MBA  

  • Corporates vs Start-ups

A huge corporate firm can give you instant recognition, and the latter will not have to think twice while shortlisting a candidate with such a kind of corporate job experience.  

However, if you can gain all the necessary skills while working with a start-up, it can act as a game changer during your MBA journey. But remember to educate the interviewers about your qualities and your skills acquired during the work experience. If you fail to do so, you might miss out on a few opportunities while succeeding in your career path.

Whether the candidate has experience working with a corporate firm or a start-up, all an MBA degree needs is a certain set of skills and the ability to effectively fulfill managerial responsibilities.

  • Family business experience

Indeed, a family business experience does not hold as much value or reputation as a corporate firm or a start-up. However, in some b-schools abroad, the family business experience is more important than an experience at a huge corporate firm.  

It also depends upon what kind of family business you have. If you have a rapidly growing and lucrative family business, having an experience in it will make you stand out. If not, you must focus more on brushing up all your skills and qualities.

  • Internship experience

Do internships count as work experience for an MBA? Generally, internship experience is not necessarily counted as professional work experience when applying for an MBA program. However, doing an internship may add some value to your CV. Some universities consider internships as work experience. 

If you are a fresher, doing an internship is the best way to highlight all your skills and qualities when undergoing the interview process. This may also help you to get a preference over the other fresher candidates during the selection procedure. 

However, the value of your internship experience may vary depending on the nature of your internship and the type of organization. You will need to prepare to fit the exact criteria to reach your desired goals. 

  • Part-time experience

Many students start working when in college. So, if you are a candidate with such part-time work experience, you might be wondering whether this kind of experience is considered for an MBA or not. Unfortunately, most b-schools do not count part-time experience for an MBA program. However, just like internships, part-time work experience may also be valuable to your CV.

At last, when it comes to pursuing an MBA degree, no kind of work experience is considered to be ideal. Whether a full-time corporate job, volunteering, or internship experience, an MBA degree looks for a work experience that portrays your most impressive qualities, skill sets, diversity, and uniqueness.

Can my experience be outside of work?

This is one of the most concerning questions among MBA aspirants. The answer here is simple. Regardless of the field or position, any full-time work experience after completing your bachelor’s degree is considered professional work experience for an MBA program. 

Generally, an MBA program looks for evidence of a certain set of desired skills, including effective communication, strategic thinking, creative problem-solving, leadership, teamwork, analytical thinking, and various interpersonal skills.  

Read more – How to keep your MBA dreams relevant in 2023

Is work experience necessary for an MBA?

When discussing an MBA program, work experience is always considered a strong and essential factor. However, it is not necessarily important to have professional work experience for an MBA program. Many b-schools in India accept candidates without any kind of professional work experience. 

If your application has an exceptional CGPA and extracurricular activities, it may be enough to counterbalance the lack of work experience. Also, pursuing an MBA early may help you network expertly in the professional world while beginning your career journey. 

Will I get an MBA admission without work experience as well?

Yes, there are MBA without work experience that you can get into. Universities and institutes often conduct entrance exams for admission into their MBA program. The students who acquire the highest marks fill up the seats respectively. Some institutes might demand prior experience, while others may not, depending on their admission policy. 

However, if your application contains some whopping elements such as a strong GPA or a GMAT score or any other skills you have possessed in your academic period, you might impress the faculty and get admission. In this regard, extra-curriculars and community service can also increase the value of your MBA application. 


Surely, Online MBA courses provides value addition to your career path and an understanding of various business practices. So, while pursuing an MBA degree, having atleast 2 years of professional experience can help you to gain better future outcomes.

To help experienced personnel add up to their skills with substantial knowledge about the business industry, MAHE brings the Masters in Business Administration program for working professionals, which you can find on the Online Manipal platform. 

Candidates can pursue the online MBA program offered by MAHE anywhere, anytime. They can take essential lessons with real-life examples and expert guidance from multiple industries.


Information related to companies and external organizations is based on secondary research or the opinion of individual authors and must not be interpreted as the official information shared by the concerned organization.

Additionally, information like fee, eligibility, scholarships, finance options etc. on offerings and programs listed on Online Manipal may change as per the discretion of respective universities so please refer to the respective program page for latest information. Any information provided in blogs is not binding and cannot be taken as final.

  • TAGS
  • Master of Business Administration
  • online degree
  • Online MBA
  • online MBA courses in India

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