Should you apply to Business School if you do not have work experience?

Should you apply to Business School if you do not have work experience? What other options can you consider if you are looking for a management degree straight after college?

Several potential applicants are looking to apply to leading Business Schools with no or limited work experience. As most of you know, if you are looking to get an MBA abroad from a leading institution then you need, on average, about 4-5 years of work experience. Of course, you can still go ahead and apply if you have 2-3 years of work experience - and if you are a strong applicant you will be successful. Some Business Schools, such as Harvard, are also encouraging younger applicants. However, few MBA programs accept applicants with no work experience. There a few programs though that are designed for applications with no work experience and also a few university that are open to accepting a limited number of applicants with no full-time work experience. So what are your options?

1. HBS 2+2 program

You apply to HBS in your junior year at college. If you get accepted then after you graduate you will go into your 1st summer program at Harvard. This will be followed by two years of approved work experience. After the 1st year of work experience you attend your 2nd summer program at Harvard. Once you have completed your work experience you immerse yourself in two years at the Harvard Business School MBA Program.

2. Yale Silver Scholars program

Each year Yale SOM admits a select handful of college seniors to a three-year MBA program called the Silver Scholars Program. The program provides the unique opportunity to enter an MBA program immediately after your undergraduate education. The program was created in 2001.
As a Silver Scholar, you will spend your first year at Yale developing the basic skills and mindset of a manager through SOM's core curriculum. During the second year, you will complete a full-time internship. In your third year, you will return to campus for the conclusion of the MBA program, taking electives at SOM and elsewhere at Yale in the areas that most interest you. You can only apply if you are a college senior.

3. Apply to programs that are more open to college seniors or early career applicants 

These include Stanford, MIT, Chicago, CMU, UCLA and Simon Rochester.

4. MSc in Management

A few leading MBA Schools have introduced an MSC in Management for college graduates with little or no work experience. For example, Last September London Business School launched a new program - an MSc in Management for graduates with little or no work experience. It is an 11-month full-time programme and is designed for people without work experience who want to lay the foundations for a successful career in business and beyond. It would be taught by the same faculty on a dedicated campus (Regent's Park) adjacent to the London Business School campus.

To quote LBS, the program is for "top recent graduates who have less than one year's previous work experience and an undergraduate degree in a discipline other than business or management studies." If you have excelled in non-academic areas such as sports or the arts, or shown your leadership potential in community activities, this may also make you an ideal candidate for the programme.

The essay questions are identical to that of the MBA program - which indicates what they are looking for from applicants in this program. So if you know you want to get a management degree, and are concerned about waiting to do so then this could be a good option for you.

Other leading schools that offer an MSc in Management include Duke, Richard Ivey, IE and ESADE.

About Kavita Singh

Kavita Singh has over 13 years of experience working in the U.S. and India. Kavita is the CEO of FutureWorks Consulting. She is an MBA graduate of Columbia Business School and holds a BA (Hons) from Oxford University. She has worked for leading companies such as Mars, Colgate-Palmolive and Web MD at higher management and consulting roles.
Kavita writes for elite publications like the Hindustan Times


FutureWorks Consulting offers array of services for both undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at leading institutes abroad. FutureWorks Consulting also runs NDTV.com’s study abroad center.

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