There was an old TV commercial where a Yogi sat cross-legged and pondered the age-old question: “How to get a job without experience, but how to get experience without a job.” It’s so lost to history I can’t even find it online (or remember what it was for), but the paradox is a familiar one when considering your MBA.
How do you get the right kind of experience without your MBA and how do you get your dream job without one? Don’t worry! Meditate on the subject and there will be a number of ways you can decipher this sphinx-like riddle.
How much experience is needed to apply for an MBA?
You’re right to think that most applicants to a MBA program will have a few years work experience and it’s a number that has grown recently. Something to consider is WHERE you want to go. Elite schools generally require more experience. Wharton, for example, claims that an average student has five years of work experience, while Harvard’s average is closer to four. That being said, three has been recognized as pretty standard as long as it is “the right kind of experience.”
What is the “right kind of experience”?
Quality experience boils down to two things, work that demonstrates leadership and a job with a level of prestige. However, leadership trumps cache’. If you are doing low-level work for Goldman it might look good, but running your own start-up gives you better application fodder than drone work in a big firm.
What programs should I be looking for if my experience is “not so much”?
Targeting the right schools is an option and there are specialized MBA programs to check out like Harvard’s 2+2, Yale Silver Scholars, and Stanford Deferred. However, the best advice is likely just to wait two years and get the experience you need.
Ultimately, it’s up to you if you feel you are ready to move into a MBA program. Assess your resume and see if there are places you can shore up with a new position or improved skill set. If you feel good about it then go for it. If you can define your “Why Now”… then why not?
As you see, not every work experience counts for an MBA application. Of course, you can always choose a less prestigious school, but does it make any sense? This approach destroys even the strongest desire to develop. Never settle for the less. Hire one of Essay Edge editors to proofread your paper and help you achieve your goals.
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