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Top MBA in USA without work experience for freshers

Most Indian MBA applicants planning to study in MBA colleges abroad know why work experience is necessary for MBA programs abroad.

Those who’ve done their research also know that the average work experience in the top international programs is 5 years . For some 1 year MBA programs in India (IIM), the average experience is in double digits (10+ years).

But given the widespread popularity of traditional Indian MBA programs that accept students without experience, there’s sizeable chunk of freshers in India who plan to simultaneously target MBA universities abroad and in India (Read MBA After Graduation vs Work Experience: Which is Better?).

Before we move on, let us reiterate our firm belief that it doesn’t make sense (in a majority of the cases) to go with such a strategy of flying overseas prematurely.

Though most good MBA programs share that belief, some are happy to accept freshers into their MBA classrooms. Here’s a list of some such programs.

[Editor’s Note: Article updated in August 2021 to reflect the latest data]

MBA programs in USA that accept freshers (with no experience)

You’ll find some of the best MBA universities included in the list below. But before you pop the champagne assuming that the Admission Committees are waiting for you with their arms open, keep in mind the fine print.

On their websites, they might have mentioned something to the effect of ‘No minimum experience needed to apply’.

But some might also drop subtle hints (e.g. ‘though experience is not a pre-requisite, we’d recommend at least 2 years’) to indicate that their main target applicant pool isn’t freshers.

Others will leave it open to interpretation.

Alright, onto the list of the best MBA programs in USA without work experience, starting with the elite universities.

Harvard Business School (HBS) Harvard 2+2 Program
Stanford Graduate School of Business
Wharton MBA (University of Pennsylvania)
Sloan School of Management (MIT)
Chicago Booth School of Business (University of Chicago)
Columbia Business School (Columbia University)
Stern School of Business (New York University – NYU)
Haas School of Business (University of California, Berkeley)
Anderson School of Management (UCLA)
Yale School of Management Yale Silver Scholars Program Review

Also read Deferred (Pre-Admit) MBA Programs in USA, India and Europe

Other good MBA programs in USA with no experience

If you aren’t too picky about the MBA ranking of the program, you’ll find other decent names to add to the list. Here are a few more names, in no particular order.

Marshall School of Business (USC)
Carroll School of Management – Boston College
Boston University School of Management


More U.S. MBA colleges that accept freshers

Depending on how flexible you are with the rankings and brand names, there’s a bigger universe for you to explore.

Alfred Lerner College of Business and Economics, University of Delaware
College of Business, San Francisco State University
Drucker School of Management, Claremont Graduate University
Fox School of Business, Temple University
Frank G. Zarb School of Business, Hofstra University.
LeBow College of Business, Drexel University
Lucas Graduate School of Business, San Jose State University.
Merrick School of Business, University of Baltimore
Peter J. Tobin College of Business, St. John’s University
Rohrer College of Business, Rowan University
Stillman School of Business, Seton Hall University

Ok, we’ll admit. There are several names in there that we’ve heard for the first time while working on this list. We have no idea of how good or bad they are.

As always, don’t rely purely on this list. Use it as the starting point and re-verify the universities latest policy on accepting MBA applications with no experience.

Read Average age and work experience at top MBA programs around the world

Why do B-schools accept applications from freshers?

Logical query, right? When the MBA class average is 5 years and Adcoms have strong reasons for not filling the classroom with greenhorns, why not just make it crystal clear in the application guidelines?

Business Schools might have multiple reasons to do so.

For starters they may not want to miss out on genuinely talented applicants who might have a spark to do something big after graduating. Or those who might’ve already achieved something noteworthy while being students.

The other reason might have something to do with the ever changing and ever competitive nature of the admissions process.

Bschools are competing with other universities for the same talent. Why put additional pre-requisites that’ll reduce their global applicant pool?

There are several other commercial and business reasons as well. If you’ve read Beyond The MBA Hype, you know what we are referring to.

But those are not relevant for this post, so let’s get the focus back on the main topic.

There are several MBA programs in America, Europe, Asia, Australia that accept MBA applications without experience.

It’s up to you to decide whether to look at this as an opportunity to apply early (if you are already superstar material), or to introspect if there’s more work to be done to strengthen your profile first.

If you ask us, we’d suggest being more patient. Get some managerial and leadership experience in the business world.

For the impatient ones who don’t want to defer their MBA plans, there are excellent MBA colleges in India that don’t require work-experience.

Instead of the GMAT, focus on cracking the CAT. Or if studying overseas is on your mind, you could consider MiM programs.

Read this post to understand the differences between MBA and Masters in Management (MiM).

Are there other good MBA programs where work experience isn’t needed? Share it below as a comment and we’ll add it to the main list.

You may also be interested in these posts:
MBA without work experience
Does company size and brand of pre-MBA work experience matter in MBA admissions?
Top MBA in USA and UK with 2 years of work experience
MBA without GMAT in India, USA and other countries.
Best MBA college with scholarship + job guarantee

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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

40 thoughts on “Top MBA in USA without work experience for freshers”

  1. hello sir im interested in doing mba i didnt write icet im from andhra pradesh so now im thinking to write cat & gmat if i clear with minimum passing marks can i be able to join any normal colleges near by my locality?
    in interviews written exam is all about apptitude im from commerce back ground i have no idea about it.

  2. Greetings from Assam, India.

    I have 6 years of experience as a Business Analyst in BI And Analytics in an MNC in Hyderabad. I am interested in Business/Management Consulting but my current role/works is not helping me to shape up my career and am stuck at a monotonous job.

    Will an executive MBA degree help me to achieve my career goals or there is an alternative path?

    I have not solve a single maths problem since I completed my B.Tech degree in 2008, how tough GMAT will be for me?

    Please suggest me on what I should do to fix my career at this stage?

    Puspanjali Sarma

  3. Dear sameer, i m in final year in b.e mechanical. I want to earn money and good position like others. What is future in mba. Means which branch? Can u answer me?

  4. Hello Sir,
    I’m going to complete my B.E. from E.C. branch in June 2015. Right now preparing for Gmat and expecting 650+ and don’t have any work experience. Do I have a chance to get into the top 100-200 universities of U.S. for MBA. ?? and if yes then which field should I opt for better career.. i have interests in marketing, media & mass communication. I don’t want to wait to get 2 years of work exp in hands. I want to pursue MBA in regular.
    please guide…

  5. @Pushpanjali: Can you please post this on our forum where we are providing free profile evaluations?

    @Milind: An MBA from a top ranked MBA continues to be a good long-term investment. Unfortunately, no one can tell you which specialisation you should go for.

    @Aman: With no degree, no GMAT score, no experience, it’s impossible for anyone to comment on your chances. If you can scroll up and read the blog, you’ll get some general perspectives on what it means to apply to top bschools in USA as a fresher.

  6. hi,

    I completed btech(graduation) in 2014 and now working with Infosys as fresher. last year I gave cat and I got 85 percentile.
    I want to do mba. Now I m confused whether I should try for gmat or cat .I m not getting enough time for prep of exam(only Saturday and Sundays)

    can you help me what would be better option for me as pg.
    .If I take cat coaching from some coaching class whether it will help me in gmat also or not????

  7. I am doing my btech 3rd year due to my parent compulsion .But i want to do ph.d maths ,is there any possible choince to study continue maths after complete my btech degree.

    • Sir i am in 2nd year and preparing for CAT and interested in doing MBA from abroad…Sir can you suggest me from which university or college should i opt for..(without any experience)

  8. Hey

    The first list of elite schools is pretty much a non-starter for most Indians unless you’re a business scion. HBS and even Stanford offered deferred admits to students in the final year of college, but they make it crystal clear, work for two years before coming to business school. I know a girl who got in to the HBS 2+2 program, she spent 2 years at Bain after IIT.

    What I will say is this, there’s is insane notion that the MBA degree is an answer to all of life’s problem and people hence can’t wait to get in. My advice is work experience is going to make you realize who you are and where you strength lies. It will also serve you well in case studies where your insights from an industry you’ve worked in will be both, beneficial and required in many classes.

    Just my $0.02 though!

  9. Hey,
    I just wanted to know if we can study MBA abroad without any work experience(as a fresher)
    Or does it become necessary to get a work experience of 1-2 years before joining MBA

  10. @Jaspinder: Your views are spot on. It makes sense to gain enough experience and clarity of career goals before joining an MBA program.

    @Srishti: It helps to have at least 3 years experience for students to appreciate what’s being taught in the MBA classrooms.

  11. But without any work experience can ppl apply get selected for mba abroad and which exams are given most priority by universities there

  12. I have completed my graduation in English language and literature this year. I would like to pursue an mba in travel and tourism course. Can you suggest me the best universities and as im looking forward to work abroad, do you think this course is a right choice?

  13. Hello Sameer sir,
    I ave currently pursued my TYBMS and i have o work experience nor and i would like to go to usa for MBA could u suggest me good universities where work ex does not matter much anjali

  14. Hi,

    Please suggest top universities for the MBA program in the US/ Canada where GMAT isn’t required.
    My Profile:
    4 Years and 3 months of work experience in operations and knowledge management
    Toefl score: 94
    GPA (in BBA): 4.00/4.00 from Birla Institute of Technology – Bahrain

  15. @Leah: We should soon be publishing a post on MBA programs that don’t require GMAT scores. Hope you are subscribed to the blog / social media pages, so you know when the article goes live.

  16. hello sameer,
    I am having 1 year experience in IT field.I am planning for mba in abroad.Is 1 year experinence enough for good schools and for good carrer. please give your suggestions

  17. Hi Sameer,

    I am a recently qualified Chartered Accountant(6 months of post qualification experience in a boutique investment bank) also pursuing my CFA charter.I have complete by Bcom. through correspondence along with CA and so I don’t have a good undergraduate college(University of madras).
    Can u please tell me,
    1)no. of years of experience recommended
    2)when should I apply for the MBA(top 10 colleges in the US preferred)
    3)the importance of branded work experience vs. a small bank experience(any preference and whether I need to consider a job change)


  18. hello sameer,
    i will complete my in 2017,and i want to do mba in the stanford university and i just want to know that without experience do they accept us and i want to know how much score we should have in gmat for applying in stanford university.


  19. Hello Sameer,

    I would like to ask you whether 2 years of articleship (generally required with Chartered Accountancy ) and one year of Industrial training, be considered as job experience?


  20. Hello Sir,
    I am in final year computer science engineering, i want to do my MS in MIS(Management Information System) in USA as a fresher, because i don’t want to go back to Technical field again..
    I am much interested in Management side, so please suggest me weather this MIS has more weight-age in Management field?
    Is there value given to MIS in India coming back after 2 years?
    What kind of job i may get?

  21. what kind of work experience is needed for doing MBA in US .
    i had completed B.E. in 2013.then i entered into my fathers business and now i want to do MBA with this work experience.
    is this possible?….

  22. Hi Sameer,
    I am in the final year of my under graduation. I am preparing for CAT but I’m just performing average. I am planning to do GMAT but as a fresher. Getting job now or even after MBA is not my priority. I just want to complete MBA from a decent university. Indian universities apart from few are not as good as the ones in US. Will i get a decent university if my GMAT score is good but as a fresher?

  23. hi sameer
    am about to start my final year bcom wanted to study mba in US
    if i had to choose the best university with avge gmat score with no work exp what universities can u suggest me?
    m dead confused bro i wanna kick start my gmat preparations as well….list out budget friendly universities if u can plse 🙂

  24. Hello Sameer!
    Can you please suggest some safe and moderate universities for MBA for following profile:
    BE Information Technology 8.38/10 (Topper 8.83/10. I ranked 7 in class of 75) in Govt. Engineering College Aurangabad.
    Working in Tata Consultancy Services. Will complete 22 months next June.
    GRE: 317 (154V + 163Q + 3.5AWA)
    TOEFL 102 (RLSW: 26-29-23-24)
    Extra Curricular: State and national level Taekwondo player, Short Film Director (Made 3 short films)

    P.S: I am from Business family background and would like MBA with specialization/career track in Entrepreneurship/Strategy.
    Applied to University Of Georgia Terry (Awaiting Reply), Purdue (Awaiting Reply), Northeastern University (Couldn’t convert the interview), PennState Smeal (Reject without interview)
    I need some safe universities now.
    Akshay 🙂

    P.S.S : You are doing a good job with this site. Thank you for all the articles!

  25. sir, what should be the best mba program to pursue after my bachelors in production engineering (from bit mesra ) ..also could you kindly suggest me if gmat is a good option for a middle class family like mine.

  26. Hi sameer im doing my ug mechanical engg…3rd yr.i want to do mba intrested in the field of marketing nd my question is ..if i get selected in any cmpany while doing my ug..if i go there i think i il handle only mech related stuffs…thinks so no way to get an idea r work experience abt mba there..then y should i hav work experience…plz give me relation between tat what wrk experience tat im getting in my company and my mba

  27. sameer sir,
    My name is Anmol.I am in my final yr of engg.I want to pursue my career in bussiness field..For that i want to do mba from best university of usa.I know top uni. needs exp. and here is the problem.I want your advice in this.What shoul be the min, exp to get enroll in top elite university.i dont want to hurry but need an exact path to follow my dreams.I am confused abt ds n i read many articles butunable to find ans.
    pls reply ASAP.

    Thnak you

  28. Hello sir,
    I am a fresher too and all i want to know is why is it too importnat for the freshers to have work experience to apply for mba programmes abroad and not in India.

  29. Hi sir,
    I am a Chartered Accountant and a Cs. However I feel these guys out there don’t consider 3 years articleship as work ex. So I would only be a 1 yr experienced candidate by the time I apply . Do you feel I should take GMAT now or wait ?
    I would be highly obliged if you could answer my query at the earliest.


  30. Hello , I am currently a 19 year old 1st Year engineering student in India determined to pursue MBA in future ,AM I thinking about it to early? Or is it already High time?

  31. Stumbled upon this article, it’s a good one. This is a dogmatic situation that many faces, especially in India and I would love to share my views.
    @Karan it’s great that you are planning well ahead of time. If you want to get your degree from a foreign B-School, you need to get some experience. But if you are adamant to do MBA, prepare for CAT, not all but many IIM’s take Freshers. All the best.
    Few said what’s the point of getting a work experience to get hold of a MBA degree? Let’s be honest. No one can win a Bodybuilding competition rather participate in the contest without having a prior experience of weightlifting if any. Experience does matter, and if still you don’t believe me, take a test (GMAT/GRE) and send your application, the percentage of a fresher getting selected in the reputed university is 5-7% and the five percent are those who *dazzle* meaning have already achieved something unique and outstanding.
    I would like to simply put it this way, if you don’t have a work ex, then DON’T GO FOR IT. If you have, it’s your lucky day. Have decent scores I’m sure you will be selected.

  32. Hello!

    Thank you for the wonderful article. I need more help on this. Can I anyhow get an exhaustive database (containing every small minute detail like when to apply, cost structure, exams needed, 0 year or 1 year or 2 years experience, etc.) of top 10 B-schools in USA which offer MBA program without work experience or very less experience.

    Thanks, hoping to see a positive response.

  33. M persuing bba from pune and want to join hbs for mba in 2019 as I would get my degree of bba on 2019.
    I would do some intership in my 3 years of bba. Is these interships count as work experience or i have to take drop for 2 years and then apply for mba ?


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