With the financial crunch hitting employment opportunities hard, an increasing number of young graduates are flocking towards B Schools to bide their time and get the best opportunities once the global economy recovers. However, experts still maintain that an MBA is best done after gaining a few years of work experience.
A number of internationally well known B schools are increasingly admitting students with fewer years of work experience and even fresh graduates to their MBA programs. Young students these days too, want to pursue their MBAs earlier on, so as to accelerate their career advancement. However, the key question here is: which is the right time to enroll for an MBA abroad? Is it wise to invest huge sums of money in an international education when the employment scenario is uncertain or is it wiser to gain a few years of work experience and then pursue an MBA?
The right time to pursue an MBA may vary according to a person’s characteristics and development. Having said that, it’s extremely important for students to gain some years of full time work experience, that may be as little as a year and a half or as long as 14 years, so as to test drive their skills. But the value proposition of a full time MBA is to capitalize enough work experience not only so that you know where you’re headed but also so that you can make maximum contribution to the classroom and select the right courses and can effectively navigate through the flexible curriculum. A few years of work experience not only makes you more focused but also helps you to make the best of the classroom atmosphere. People pursue an MBA to gain professional advancement make more money and achieve greater heights of success. A person who waits to pursue his/ her management studies after gaining say five years of work experience can expect to benefit more not only in terms of being offered a higher salary packet but also in terms of being offered more opportunities as compared to someone who is fresh graduate. A few years of work experience can prove to be advantageous in terms of sharpening one’s focus, exposing one to his/her likes and dislikes and getting a clearer picture of one’s future goal, that can eventually help one maximize his/her classroom experience. Yet, some fresh graduates do make it to some coveted B Schools because their reasons for pursuing an MBA at that particular point in time are clear. They have a clear picture of their career goals in mind and obviously gain a right to admission.
Freshers do not only to convince the admissions authority of their decision but also need to have displayed exceptional academic as well as leadership skills during their college days in order to make it to a good B School. Unlike, a number of elite B Schools do accept a certain percent of students with less work experience to their programs now. But students are academically brilliant. A typical applicant who is admitted after his/ her undergraduate studies will be very different from most applicants. He/she will have been enormously successful in his/her academic endeavors, be it in terms of GPA, GMAT and TOEFL scores or in terms of displaying leadership qualities and being closely involved with clubs or student government sororities. They will have had undertaken significant internships and will demonstrate high intellectual curiosity much beyond their years. They will also be direct and clear about why an MBA now versus the future.
One of the most crucial pre-requisites of pursuing an MBA is to have a strong awareness of yourself, of who you really are, and what your future plans are. You also need to know for sure as to why you wish to pursue an MBA at a particular time and not later? However, all this is hard to do at 22. This does not mean that pursuing an MBA early on does not have any advantages. As a fresh graduate you get used to the classroom setting more easily than those who have worked for a long period of time. Academically speaking too, some of the content, especially analysis or math related may be similar to the content you studied at your undergraduate degree. However as a young member of the class there are situations for you find yourself to be a disadvantage when other student longer years of work experience about real life instances where concepts being discussed applicable. Such students can relate the concepts much easily and much valuable contributions to the class.
Thus, through the ultimate decision of whether or not to pursue an MBA soon after graduation is an individual one, as experts say, it is wiser to gain some years of experience before finally taking the plunge.