MBA Application:The Importance of Work Experience For International Students

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I know this question holds a very special place in the troubled hearts of international MBA applicants especially those fresh out of school with little or no work experience. While this article is not meant for those with “enough” work experience, it is aimed at those who might not have had any form of work experience prior to their MBA application.

Without mincing words, I’m going to say this; for any applicant wishing to earn an international MBA, work experience is very vital. Now how much work experience is required is the question. Though there is no thumb rule but there have been cases where students with an excellent academic and professional track record have managed to get into the top business schools with very little work experience, there are reasons why I’ll recommend spending a few years getting a decent amount of “real-world” experience before you decide to take a plunge into the international MBA world.

While business schools in your home country might not fuss about work experience and with a very good academic result, you can stroll into any of the business schools back home, those on the other side of the world are particularly interested in how much Pre-MBA work experience. An applicant would need to leverage how much he/she has achieved in the work space before coming to the business school for an upgrade. Most international schools are not just looking to accept students, but students who would easily go with the flow, overcome challenges and achieve good grades. They admit students based on how much value they can add to the school and how much they can benefit from the program.

To impress international business schools, a student would need to highlight his/her credible achievements, professional accomplishments and leadership qualities at work. And you cannot do that if you have not worked for a couple of years. An international MBA is not just about learning business concepts or skills through theory. It tends to be practical and collaborative in nature with an emphasis on teamwork and insights into the real business world. There are the group projects, role-playing, simulations, case discussions to mention a few.

Teaching in international business schools revolves around a real-life scenario with some issue or problem faced by a company with a lot of actual data and facts provided. Students are required to evaluate it, use their knowledge and judgement based on their previous experience and present their opinion on how they would tackle the situation.

Through these interactive sessions, students get to know the diverse points of view which gives different perspectives of handling. A student with valuable work experience should be able to participate in such sessions without feeling out of place. The MBA journey can be a mutual learning experience if each student is able to gain (and provide) significant inputs from/to the class.

Normally, business schools require for an average of three to four years working experience. And if a student is able to add a couple more and attains them earlier than his peers, he has an added advantage.

I do hope you’ve enjoyed my argument for the work experience criteria for a complete MBA application, please hit the comment section, and let me know how you feel about it.

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