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How much work experience is required to pursue an MBA?

Admin | September 21, 2022

Key takeaways:

  • MBA (Master’s in Business Administration) is a postgraduate degree with various options and courses for working and experienced professionals.
  • Executive MBA, part-time MBA, and online MBA are a few course options for candidates. 
  • It is better to have prior experience in your field before pursuing an MBA for better understanding and knowledge.
  • Both quality and quantity are a must for MBA. Some of the internships may be taken into account as work experience for MBA, while some of them are not.

A Master’s in Business Administration is a vital degree that holds a lot of significance. It allows the students to get well-versed in multiple roles demanded across industries. Some students decide to pursue an MBA after their bachelor’s degree. 

However, it is better to do an MBA after work experience, and thus the smart decision is to gain some experience and then pursue MBA in the preferred relevant field. This article will provide you with a few insights and answer your questions and doubts pertaining to how much work experience is required for an MBA. 

What is the 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. 

Why do you need experience for an MBA?

If you pursue an MBA program without experience, you must start from scratch. On the contrary, if you have some years of experience, you know your field and how things work generally. In this case, the MBA degree refines your pre-existing skills as a professional to make them more efficient. 

While enrolling students for the MBA program, institutes look for characteristics such as maturity, skillset and managerial ability in the candidate. These capabilities come only with experience, and thus work experience is necessary for MBA, as experienced students are always preferred over newbies. 

Job opportunities after MBA are more plenty for students with real-world experience and academic skills. 

Also, good companies prefer experienced MBA graduates over non-experienced ones. Thus, if you gain some experience and then pursue your MBA, you will have better opportunities after completing your degree. 

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.

What is the ideal work experience for an MBA?

If you wish to enrol in courses with an extensive and high-quality education that caters to all the important aspects of management essential for valuable jobs, it is better to pursue an MBA after a work experience of 5-6 years. 

Only then will the institutes enroll you and provide you with the academic skills required to become an esteemed professional in the field. Also, your work-experience matters according to the course type you are applying for, which may be part-time, full-time, correspondence etc. 

Typical work experience

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
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 job roles have better recognition?

Work experience in the field you opt for an MBA helps you update your profile and prepares you for competition. It can give you a clear idea of how the job market looks and where you stand in the market through your experience. Work experience makes you independent and self-reliant, and helps you develop time management skills.

The various job roles that attract MBA institutes are

  • Financial Manager
  • Financial Advisor 
  • IT Manager
  • Human Resource Manager 
  • Management Analyst 
  • Chief Technology Officer 
  • Accounting Manager
  • Risk and Insurance Manager 
  • Credit Analyst
  • Data Processing Manager
  • Project Manager 
  • Product Manager
  • Brand Manager
  • Business Consultant 
  • Sales Manager 
  • Store Manager 
  • Supply Chain Analyst
  • Business System Analyst  
  • Corporate Supervisor 
  • International Business Development Manager
  • International Finance Manager

Does the employer matter for MBA admission?

Of course, the firm you have worked with adds value to your work experience. If your experience is with a big brand or a reputed firm, it will have more significance. 

Your application will become attractive, giving you a better chance at the B-school you are applying to. In some B-schools, internships also count as work experience for MBA, given they are done at a well-known firm.  

Will I get an MBA admission without work experience?

Yes, some universities do enroll students without work experience. 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, extracurriculars and community service can also increase the value of your MBA application. 

Wrapping up 

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.

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