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Why is MBA Work Experience so Important Before Applying?

Last updated:
4th May, 2021
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Why is MBA Work Experience so Important Before Applying?

Completing an MBA degree can be a game-changer for many. It would help you get better pay, bag senior roles, and accelerate your career growth by a considerable margin. Not just that, an MBA degree will help you stand out among your peers and make you look more appealing before potential recruiters.

On the other hand, if you want to switch industries or get into a company’s C-suite, an MBA degree will certainly take you a step closer to your goals.

However, you can’t enrol in an MBA program right after college. That’s because every MBA program requires you to have a few years of work experience.

For instance, our MBA program with Liverpool Business School requires you to have a bachelor’s degree with 50% marks and at least two years of full-time work experience. Professional experience is so valuable that institutes recommend students who lack professional experience to join an internship or a part-time job during summer breaks.

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Why gain work experience before enrolling in an MBA program?

When you have a few years of industry experience, you will possess:

1. A better understanding of your Industry

No matter how much time you spend with books, there’s specific knowledge you can get only through professional experience. Working as a professional will help you get first-hand knowledge of the different avenues. You’ll see the various aspects of your field and see how multiple business departments work together to achieve a specific goal.

An MBA program would prepare you to take on advanced roles, where you’d have to handle many responsibilities. Such positions require you to be familiar with the different aspects of your industry so you can tackle industry-specific business problems effectively and efficiently.

Spending several years in the field will help you see and experience the different challenges of that industry, helping you formulate actionable solutions for the same.

2. More Clarity about your Career Aspirations

Getting an MBA degree largely depends on your career aspirations. When you figure out your career goals, you must think about what you want to do ten years from now and which industry you want to enter.

As you spend more time in your field, you’ll learn about its different aspects, including the advantages, downsides, challenges, etc. Having such knowledge would help you determine what you want to achieve from your career.

Many freshers face confusion when they come out of college. They don’t know what they want to do professionally. Diving into the workforce can help such students as well and help them define their career goals.

For freshers, the career goals and aspirations would be based on the limited knowledge they have of the industry. As they gain more experience and knowledge, their career aspirations shape into better-informed and clearer plans and objectives. Learn more about growth opportunities in MBA.

3. Greater Independence

As a student, a lot of your choices are limited. However, as a professional, you will have a lot more independence to make your life decisions. More importantly, you’ll be financially independent.

No matter which MBA program you pick, it would require you to make a huge commitment both personally and financially.

Thus, it’d be better to step into your MBA journey as a financially independent person, capable of making crucial decisions. There are many important decisions you need to make when it comes to getting an MBA. For example, you’d have to choose between an online MBA program and an offline one.

After the pandemic, online MBA programs have become more popular because they provide quality education while keeping you safe within the bounds of your home. Online MBA courses also have the upper hand as they don’t require you to leave your job to study.

4. Crucial Soft Skills

After getting an MBA, you can pursue senior roles in various fields such as Business Development, Growth Strategy, Sales and Marketing, and Management Consulting, to name a few.

Every senior or leadership role requires you to be adept at different soft skills, including communication, teamwork, time management, organization, and leadership. Developing these skills as a student is quite challenging and demonstrating them is even more difficult.

On the other hand, you can develop and hone these skills as a professional. You will be working with different professionals to handle your organization’s day-to-day tasks and overcome the challenges of your industry. There, you’ll have to communicate, collaborate, and even lead others to keep the business operations flowing smoothly. You might even have to train junior employees at your organization and coach them about your organization’s goals and vision. Read on how MBA helps improve your management skills.

When you add such skills and competency to your resume, you appear as an ideal choice for companies.

5. Competitive Advantage

In most cases, companies prefer candidates with more experience over others. Having professional experience will help you stand out among your peers and bag lucrative roles with much ease.

Having more experience will help you a lot in your career. For example, a product manager with one to four years of professional experience earns $92,000 per annum on average, while one with five to nine years of experience earns $105,000 per annum on average. That’s not all, product managers with 20+ years of experience earn over $120,000 per annum on average. Learn more about MBA salary in the US.

Indeed, having professional experience will give you an advantage over your peers.

6. A Strong Foundation

MBA programs focus on teaching you the advanced concepts of business and specific fields. They help you specialize in your domain and become an expert.

Due to lockdowns across India, multiple universities and b-schools are now offering their MBA programs online. You can consider some of these world-class MBA programs offered by top Business schools. upGrad can help you apply for an MBA from Liverpool Business School with a specialization in marketing or other domains. This course offers you a dual alumni status, an MBA graduate from Liverpool Business School.

Spending a few years in the workforce will help you learn various skills and aspects of your industry. For example, if you want to pursue an MBA in digital marketing, you can start out as an SEO executive and learn the different principles of search engine optimization as a professional.

You’d already know about the different SEO tools and how they are used in digital marketing. So when the MBA program introduces you to the industrial applications of these tools, you wouldn’t be overwhelmed or confused.

MBA courses prepare you for specialized roles, so having a basic understanding of that field will help you learn the advanced concepts for those specialized roles more effectively and efficiently.


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So, now you know why MBA work experience is important in the present job market.

Industry experience deepens your understanding of the industry you work in, teaching you valuable lessons on how to thrive in the competitive market and upskill to stay relevant. Since MBA programs teach you advanced subjects and skills, your real-life experiences will come in handy to help you grasp those concepts much better.

We hope this helps!


Karan Raturi

Blog Author
Karan Raturi is the General Manager of upGrad North America. He has also led various finance, strategy, and operations teams at Wayfair, Kurt Salmon, and IBM.
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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1What kind of work experience are B-schools looking for?

Though business schools are looking for candidates with relevant work experience, they are not specific about the industry or sector. They are only looking for a candidate who has diverse work experience and business knowledge. They assess if you were challenged at your workplace, if you were able to develop a varied skill set, if you received any awards and accolades and most importantly if you were in any leadership position. Therefore, when you are applying for a job before your MBA program, look for a company that can bring out the best of you to the world.

2How much work experience is required for an MBA program?

To get into an MBA program, you need at least two years of work experience. Some B-schools insist a candidate has four years. However, the more experience you have, your chances of getting into reputed B-schools increases. If you have two years of work experience, you can explore the most basic MBA programs whereas if your work experience is more than three or five years, you can explore specialised MBA programs such as finance, marketing, entrepreneurs, and an executive MBA.

3Do internships count as work experience for an MBA?

No, internships do not count as work experience for an MBA. Since most internships are unpaid positions, they do not qualify as formal, professional work experience. Instead of doing a part-time internship, it’s always better if you opt for a full-time role. Alongside this, you can always take up any kind of CSR activity or volunteer work since this will add some weight to your resume.

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