Many professionals decide that the best way to improve their career trajectory is to earn their MBA. In the past, most of them got several years of work experience before they earned their graduate business degree. And many MBA programs required, and still require, significant work experience.
However, this trend is beginning to change, as more young professionals want to go straight from undergraduate school to an MBA with no work experience. More and more MBA school applicants are thinking about business school early in their careers, and some do not have any work experience at all.
The Graduate Management Admission Council has stated that people who are younger than 24 are the fasting-growing group of students who are taking the GMAT exam. From 2004-10, their numbers increased by an average of 25%. In 2010, about 40% of the applicants to full time MBA programs had less than four years of work experience. ‘MBA no work experience’ is definitely becoming a growing trend that is being noticed by students and schools alike.
Some business schools have been quite enthusiastic in embracing the MBA no work experience trend. They have made their requirements easier for work experience, or have created new MBA programs that are set up for younger applicants who do not have as much professional experience.
However there still are some professors and staff who are a bit wary of all of the new students who do not have as much professional experience.
One of the benefits of an MBA program has long been that you have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of your classmates. If your classmates do not have much work experience, this could be a detriment to the learning experience in some cases.
Also, for the aspiring MBA student, entering MBA school with no work experience can be a bit more challenging in the application process. If you are asked about your leadership experience in your MBA application essay, for example, you will have to draw upon college experiences rather than work experience. This can be done, but it is a bit more of a challenge.
Still, there are many MBA programs, full and part time, that are catering to the crowd with little or no work experience. For example, the Sellinger School of Business and Management at Loyola University has an accelerated, 12 month program that is setup for recent graduates from college. The first class began in 2010, and the average age was 24.
According to the business school deal, the students in this program want to jumpstart their careers. The program is designed to give the students a good deal of real world experience. They spend their time doing field studies in Silicon Valley and also Barcelona, as well as internships. The program helps to give the students the real world experience they need to boost their careers. In a sense, it is a sort of internship on steroids.
At other MBA programs, schools are taking in students while they are still in their undergraduate program. They are provisionally admitted, and will be fully accepted after they earn a minimum amount of work experience. The 2+2 program at Harvard Business School take undergraduates for a spot in business school in a future class. The conditions are that they graduate and get two years of work experience that is approved by the university. Stanford Graduate School of Business also has a deferment program set up. Students apply to be admitted during their senior year of undergraduate school, and may choose a date to start one to three years after graduation.
Stanford has said that the university is always in the market for business talent. When they see talented people, they want to get them committed to attending. So, no work experience is not as much as a hindrance in this MBA program.
According to a Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management professor, MBA graduates without as much work experience can appeal to employers. Some companies like to get younger people into the organization to provide new ideas and more diversity.
A younger graduate with less experience often has more reasonable expectations than a 35 year old graduate who wants a much higher salary and more responsibility without having proven him or herself.
So, ‘MBA no work experience’ is definitely a trend on the upswing, and there are many options available to you if you wish to enter an MBA program without having worked for many years first.