Students with work experience benefit more from an MBA program than those without work experience. They are able to better relate what they learn at b-school to the practical experience gained at their workplace.
However, despite knowing this, and as we mentioned in an earlier post (Read MBA in USA without work experience), the popularity of Indian MBAs that accept students without work experience has persuaded students without experience to target business schools abroad along with top schools in India.
MBA without experience: Pros and Cons
Granted, there may be some advantages in starting your MBA right after graduation:
- You have an early start on a career path and do not have to take a break from work to equip yourself with business-management skills and knowledge.
- You get to develop your networking right from an early age. [Read how MBA networking works]
- You get academic, cultural, and professional exposure while still very young.
However, we feel the minuses outnumber these pluses:
- Without practical knowledge, you are unable to connect what you learn at b-school with any knowledge previously gained at your workplace
- Your job prospects post-MBA are likely to be less than those of an MBA graduate with work experience;
- You have less chance of a summer internship placement that might lead to recruitment;
- The quality of your networking would not be at the same level as that of your classmates who have work experience.
Here’s a quick look at a few MBA programs in a few countries that admit students without work experience.
You should keep in mind that those schools that offer MBA without work experience prefer applicants with some “work involvement” (as some would like to call it) of a year or two.
Class profiles tend to show an average work experience of three or four years at the lower end of the scale.
MBA in Germany without work experience
World-class facilities, low tuition fees, and great industrial interface make Germany an excellent choice for a master’s programs in management.
Germany has both public and private universities, and they offer master’s in management (or MiM and other master’s programs in management are more or less the same as the MBA in the US in many European schools), which is an option for recent graduates.
German universities also conduct specialized other master’s programs in management, with emphasis on marketing, finance, supply chain, and other specializations of business studies.
Universities in Germany are not regulated by a single authority, and therefore do not have the same, uniform admission criteria. This makes it possible for a few of them to offer the MBA course without work experience.
As is the case in many countries, top-class MBA programs insist on work experience. However, there are reputed universities that offer MBA and other postgraduate programs in business for applicants without work experience.
Among them are the Technical University of Munich (School of Management, FT 2019 rank 65), Ludwig Maxmilians University of Munich (QS global university 2020 rank 63) , University of Kiel (QS global university rank 478), University of Tubingen (QS global university rank 169), and the University of Ulm (QS world rank 340).
Ludwig Maximilian runs a two-year MSc. in Management program, in which the first year includes a fundamental management course and the second year includes specializations such as organization, change, and strategy; corporate finance/strategy; and corporate development in collaboration with the Emlyon Business School in France and Lancaster University Management School.
The Kiel MBA program emphasizes critical thinking, practice-based creation, and interpretation of business data, and integrates traditional MBA curriculum with the “human side of management.”
The Tubingen School of Business and Economics imparts knowledge that is particularly useful for doing business in East Asia.
The Ulm MBA includes courses in mathematics, applied mathematics, finance, and insurance.
Other quality business programs for which you don’t need work experience for admission include those of the University of Stuttgart, Dresden University of Technology, University of Bremen, Johannes Gutenberg University, and RWTH Aachen University.
A few universities require a four-year bachelor’s degree that is equivalent to a German degree or a three-year bachelor’s degree and a one-year postgraduate degree.
However, a few other schools accept a three-year bachelor’s degree. Usually, universities seek GMAT / GRE and TOEFL / IELTS score, but some require only a TOEFL score, and so admission is possible without GMAT.
Most universities run their MBA program in English, too, but a few insist on a certain proficiency in German.
Other requirements are similar to those that schools all over the world insist on: at least two letters of recommendation, statement of purpose/letter of motivation/essay, and CV. A few universities conduct an entrance examination.
Many German universities charge no tuition fee other than a semester fee of $250-$500 from international students, though some have reintroduced tuition fee.
In private colleges, the cost of attendance for a two-year, full-time MBA program can be around $35,000.
The cost of living is around $770 a month, the main component of which is accommodation. Some universities provide accommodation for a nominal fee.
Also read: Best MBA programs in Germany
MBA in France without work experience
Good schools in France that admit students without work experience nevertheless require applicants to have an understanding of corporate affairs through an internship or part-time or volunteer work.
But as mentioned earlier, even these schools prefer applicants with work experience, and only a small percentage of applicants get in without experience.
Most of these applicants have shining CVs with a history of top grades and other academic achievements, deep non-academic interests and involvement in extracurricular activities, and excellent letters of recommendation.
Among the top schools that offer a business management master’s is HEC Paris (FT 2019 rank second for MiM). HEC Paris’s Master in Management (MiM) is a full-time, two-year program, admission to which requires 0-24 months’ work experience.
Highlights are double-degree opportunities with top universities, 20 specializations, and the school’s Career Center. The total tuition fee for the program in $45,000. The annual living expenses come to about $13,000.
MBA in Sweden without work experience
The Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden (FT 2019 ranking for MiM is 13), offers a Master Program in International Business (MIB) and a Master Program in Business & Management (MBM), both two-year programs taught in English.
Both MIB and MBM require a bachelor’s degree, but students in their final year of degree studies can apply. Other requirements include GMAT/GRE, proof of proficiency in English, knowledge of another language, letter of motivation, CV, and cultural exposure.
The tuition fee for the MIB and MBM programs is about $15,000, and the annual cost of living for students in Stockholm is estimated to be around $17,000.
MBA in UK without work experience
Most AMBA-accredited MBA programs in the UK require two or three years of work experience. However, there are nearly 30 universities that offer MBA programs for fresh graduates.
A general MBA, without specialization, is the course of choice for applicants without work experience seeking admission to b-schools in the UK.
Many MBA programs in the UK run for one year and the student is able to launch a career sooner. There are also Master in Management programs with a duration of one year and fees between $19,000 and $25,000.
UK universities that offer MBA without work experience include Derby, Northampton, Sunderland, Swansea, Greenwich, South Wales, West London, Central Lancashire, and Cardiff, to name a few.
Generally, the entry requirements include TOEFL (88)/IELTS (6-6.5)/PTE, academic transcripts, statement of purpose, two recommendation letters from school or college, and internship letters (not mandatory).
The fee ranges from $13,000 to $53,000 for the full program. Students may work for 20 hours a week during classes and four hours a week during holidays.
Also read: Best MBA programs in UK
MBA in Canada without work experience
The Rotman School of Management of the University of Toronto welcomes fresh graduates, but class profiles show an average work experience of over four years, indicating that the school prefers applications with experience although it may consider outstanding candidates without it.
At the Schulich School of Business of the York University in Toronto, volunteering overseas and internships recorded in transcripts count for a year’s work experience.
At the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics at the Toronto campus of the Wilfrid Laurier University, no work experience is required for the full-time MBA with co-op (a program that alternates academic course work with paid work experience).
Other schools/universities that don’t require work experience for MBA include the universities of Thompson, Cape Breton, Brock, Vancouver Island, and Windsor.
Dalhousie University’s Rowe School of Business offers a two-year Corporate Residency MBA that requires no work experience and allows the students to work for eight months, with pay, for a leading employer.
The Sprott School of Business, Ontario, of the Carleton University, admits applicants without work experience, but they have to complete the internship portion of the 16-month program.
As in other countries, entry requirements include degree, GMAT/TOEFL scores, letter of recommendation from professor or internship mentor, essays, and references.
The average fee for regular MBA programs is about $21,000 in Canada. You need at least $8,300 in Quebec per year and $7,500 in the rest of Canada to meet your living expenses as per visa requirements, but the real cost could be about $14,700.
Also read: Best MBA programs in Canada
MBA in Australia without work experience
Most universities in Australia require applicants to have work experience of two or three years. We found a couple of universities where work experience is not a criterion.
The University of Tasmania offers a two-year MBA (International) course that admits students without work experience with conditions such as completion of an undergraduate degree from a higher education institution that is equivalent to a degree from a similar Australian university.
Alternatively, a graduate certificate of business studies equivalent to one from the University of Tasmania is also accepted. The total course fee is about $46,000. The annual living expenses could come up to $14,000.
RMIT University, Melbourne, conducts a two-year full-time MBA program for students with a bachelor’s degree in any discipline equivalent to an Australian degree with a GPA of 1.0 out of 4.0 or a GMAT score of a 550.
The program fee is $30,000. The annual cost of living in Melbourne as estimated by the university is about $30,000.
Also read: Best MBA programs in Australia
MBA without work experience worth it or not?
So, is an MBA without previous work experience worth it? A postgraduate degree in business studies certainly improves your understanding of the corporate world and adds to your skills and knowledge gained during your bachelor’s degree.
However, you can benefit the most from an MBA from a good school if you have substantial understanding of corporate affairs before you embark on your MBA.
As far as your post-MBA job prospects are concerned, early work experience gained prior to your b-school is likely to improve your candidature: after all, without it, you are still a fresher, although one with an MBA.
– Top MBA in USA without work experience for freshers
– Top MBA in USA and UK with 2 years of work experience
– MBA without GMAT requirement in USA, Europe, India
– Masters degree without GRE or GMAT | MS in USA
References: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14