Patience pays: four reasons why you should work before joining a b school.
It has been a general trend among students to join an MBA program after two years of work experience, which is the minimum requirement in most of the schools. Certain people would jump into an MBA program as soon as they graduate if given that choice. However, an extensive understanding of the corporate realities, which can come only with extensive experience, helps you harness your MBA degree to its maximum potential. Here are
Reasons as to why you should wait for a few years before applying for an MBA:
1. Two years of work experience is little: Students with just a little work experience have not really been exposed to enough real-world case studies by employers and eventually they draw their understanding from limited background and perspective. Hence, reliance on theory is more than practice.
2. Knowing what you want to do with a degree comes only with extensive experience. It is an unsaid truth that it is extremely unlikely to know exactly what you want to do with your career at 24 years of age. That being said, applying to a business school without a set reason or focus in mind beforehand will very often lead you to enrol into a certain program because it is perhaps your school's speciality and not because it is in line with your vision. The fact of the matter is that you will get more value out of your program provided you know what you want to do with your MBA and the best way to know this is to work for a good number of years so as to understand the corporate mechanism and understand the area that interests you.
3. You are better equipped to choose jobs and a market. In our early and mid 20s, we are still very impressionable, i.e. get influenced easily. The direct aim of most students is to secure a good job, though, this can be influenced heavily especially if the student lacks substantial experience. Business schools have things like Career Development Centres whose entire focus is on the student getting a job, not on the profile of job s/he wants. With just two years out of college, it is easy to take this short term solution without thinking of its long term impact. Here’s where experience helps. It gives you a clearer picture of what you want to do, and provides you with a network outside your business school which is of great help in finding opportunities that are relevant to you.
4. Waiting helps you utilise the school’s resources to the fullest. Having an established network outside of business school will help you to take better advantage of the school and program’s resource. It will enable you to engage with your professors in more meaningful ways, provide thoughtful insights to classroom discussions. Moreover, when you have an extensive experience of 5 years or more, your professors will engage with you differently and will lead to a working relationship based on shared experiences and insights, which will consequently help you to access their network better.
These 4 reasons provide a strong basis to think about when to pursue an MBA, however in the end the choice is yours and yours alone. There are many who believe that the MBA should be done and over with as soon as possible, however, the truth is that if you want to leave business school with meaningful experiences and relationships, fully prepared for your next professional move, you should wait. Having a meaningful work experience before getting an MBA will make your learning worthwhile, an enhanced network outside school and a plan for your future which will lead to better opportunities and a brighter career path.