MBA is a value addition course for which you have to have a certain value attached to you to make the best of the course. The average age of MBA applicants studying in business schools is 23. Usually, candidates with work experience of 2-3 years enrol for a General MBA program whereas candidates with 5+ years of work experience more likely go for an Executive MBA program.
Wondering if it’s right to pursue an MBA after prior work experience?
The answer depends upon the direction you want to lead your life; meaning your future goals. It’s worth going for the program after prior industry experience if you’re looking for a longer and stable corporate life. But if you’re planning to go for Civil services or Academics, then you should take a different route.
Some of the perks of pursuing an MBA after prior work experience -
If you want to maximize your MBA experience, it is recommended that you take 2-3 years of work experience and then apply for the program as it will make a huge difference in your learning experience during the program. As you go through the motions and texts, it will be easy to understand the logic and emotions behind all your case studies. You can apply at a decent corporate, startup or at a good size non-profit like Teach for India/CRY etc. That's the reason most of the American/European business schools requires you to have a minimum of 2 years of work experience to apply for a General MBA program.
Moreover, having prior work experience before pursuing an MBA gives you an upper hand if you’re planning to pay the college fees on your own. You can use your accumulated Provident Fund for paying a significant part of the tuition fees.
Having industry experience before pursuing an MBA renders better job opportunities the moment you graduate. People with prior work experience are most likely to get hired on higher CTC compared to those who don't have any work experience since most companies would prefer hiring a guy with relevant experience in a particular sector. Another possibility is to join your previous firm again after the program, provided you have left them on good terms and that the firm is rapidly growing to ensure a better salary package.
Studying with freshers would be a limiting experience especially in class discussions and group projects which may be a hindrance in acquiring knowledge and understanding from others. Thus, having prior work experience does help, as you can relate to a lot of the teachings to the practical scenarios that you might have faced in your workplace. In fact, during projects, freshers are paired up with experienced candidates so that all-round learning can be drawn through both fresh and experienced perspectives.
A lot of the companies have their own selection criteria where some prefer freshers while some prefer people with prior experience in particular backgrounds (IT, Operations, Marketing). Some companies also set thresholds on the amount of work experience they require. Ideal work experience for a regular program is 2-3 years. Don’t go beyond that or less than that as you will anyways be considered as a fresher in most cases. It's just that with prior work experience, you’ll have a clearer understanding of the core concepts and an extended scope of companies during your placement period.
Final thoughts -
If you’re aspiring to get into business management, make sure you dive into it when you feel the readiness in your guts and not when you think you should be ready. Just try to avoid any gaps in your education and work period, and if you do, try to ensure that you have a valid reason or do something productive during the time to justify the gap like learning a new skill, language, or working with some NGO. A number of case studies and research suggests that pursuing an MBA after a few years of work experience is a more transformative experience than those who do an MBA immediately after graduation. So, if you have a chance, join MBA after gaining a few years of industry experience as it will really enhance your understanding of the business world. That’s why the world's top b-schools give additional weight-age to industry experience in their admission process.