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Work experience: Why is it important for international MBA applications?

The natural question in the mind of aspiring Indian student wishing to do a MBA abroad; he is confronted with the preference for work experience. In f

The natural question in the mind of aspiring Indian student wishing to do a MBA abroad; he is confronted with the preference for work experience. In fact it is one of the criteria in most abroad universities for pursuing management studies. Not that there are no exceptions; in India you are not burdened with this prerequisite. On the other hand there is a general perception that a MBA at an early age is a sure passport to a lucrative career. Let us check out.

What is recommended?

There is no thumb rule as such for pursuing MBA abroad and most top ranked B-Schools categorically mention that work experience is not mandatory. However, this is more of a marketing ploy which allows the Ad Com with some flexibility in the selection process should the competition be tough. At the same time makes exceptions for the exceptional. On the other hand, the education method employed in management studies makes it imperative for work experience to be advantageous. It is thus preferable that instead of hurrying into a MBA abroad, you spend some time in the corporate world to gain experience.

Why do MBA abroad prefer work experience as a criterion?

When you are eyeing an international MBA, you are practically under compulsion to showcase your work experience by highlighting your merits, professional achievements and leadership qualities at work. It is because international B-Schools expect MBA students not only to add value to the institute but also imbibe the maximum from the program. This is possible only when you have some industry knowledge to bank upon in your chosen career field.

Also Read – Top 10 MBA Universities in India

Need to connect to the MBA abroad?

The critical aspect of an international MBA is not about theoretical concepts and skills. It is collaborative in nature with emphasis on practical insights through teamwork to get a feel about the real business world. Let us check out some of the key methodology as the program progresses.

  • Group Projects: It is a means to achieve simulations, role playing and case discussions with regard to live situations.
  • Case Study: It is an important component of teaching method in management studies. Real life business scenarios are recreated with actual data and facts. You are expected to evaluate the issue using your past experience to suggest solutions.
  • Interactive Sessions: Management studies are all about mutual learning experience. It depends on what contribution a student is able to make to gain from the process.
  • Sharing: Management studies are also about sharing your experiences which ultimately enriches you.

In all of the above, the most critical emerging point is that without a suitable work experience, you will be left with crucial gaps in your MBA program, which is difficult to fill.

Impact on selection prospects:

Your success in convincing the Ad Com is greatly dependent on your ability to showcase yourself as competitive enough to handle the pressures of a B-School eco-system based on your previous work experience. As a fresh graduate, you lack the inputs to project your talent and potential.

Impact on career:

It goes without saying that your post MBA profile is much healthier when combined with pre-MBA experience. To a future employer the prospect of choosing a MBA candidate from among those who already have the feel of the real corporate world rather than those who are yet to see the real business world; the former has a definite edge

 Is there a middle ground?

With just such a possibility in mind, many B-schools offer bridge programs. It gives an opportunity to add credible business training to your profile.


If there was a choice between applying with experience and without, the obvious answer would be that MBA abroadprefer candidates with a job history. While there are instances of many top schools giving fresh candidates an opportunity, the trend in the same schools reveals an affinity towards MBA students with reasonable work experience.


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