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Is work experience really necessary to get into a top MBA program?

JSRJSR Posts: 39Registered User Junior Member
edited November 2013 in Business School - MBA
Is work experience really necessary to get into a top MBA program?
If so, how many years?
Post edited by JSR on
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Replies to: Is work experience really necessary to get into a top MBA program?

  • sallyawpsallyawp Posts: 2,059Registered User Senior Member
    Short answer - yes, at least two years.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    Work experience is not strictly necessary. There are a few rare people who can get into top MBA programs with no experience. In fact, some top MBA programs even run special programs that foster this sort of thing. The Wharton MBA program has a 3+2 submatriculation program with the Wharton BS program where somebody can get both degrees in 5 years.

    However, it is true that it is extremely difficult to get into a top MBA program with no work experience. Almost all successful candidates have extensive experience. The average level of work experience ranges from 4-6 years.
  • GigamanGigaman Posts: 12Registered User New Member
    How about you were a law student and your only experience is law firm experience? Summer Associate positions.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    So you want to get a law degree and then immediately get an MBA?
  • sallyawpsallyawp Posts: 2,059Registered User Senior Member
    A summer associate position is no different for this purpose than any other summer job. In most cases, MBA programs are looking for individuals with several years of full time work experience.
  • GigamanGigaman Posts: 12Registered User New Member
    Yes. I don;t know if I am too late for the JD kelloge stuff. I am interested in getting an MBA degree from a school with a bigger laymen's prestige like: Harvard, MIT, or Stanford.

    Summer Associates make $2,400 per week. Summer associate position is not a joke BTW.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    Ok, I really have to ask - are you just trying to collect degrees just for the sake of saying that you want layman's prestige?

    It's still not clear to me in the least as to why exactly it is that you want an MBA, and if you do, then why you are in law school right now. If you want an MBA, then just get an MBA. If you want a JD/MBA then you should have applied to these programs and you should know why you want one. The MBA programs are all going to ask you why you want an MBA if you are a law student, and you ought to be truthful in answering the question.

    Nobody is saying that summer associate law positions are 'jokes', but on the other hand, they aren't particularly 'MBA-worthy' either, because you're not usually dealing with business issues. It has nothing to do with the money. There are lots of jobs out there that make plenty of money but are not really MBA-worthy. Professional athletes, for example, make plenty of money, but that doesn't mean that they are suitable for MBA programs.
  • GigamanGigaman Posts: 12Registered User New Member
    Sakky.

    I am going to law school because I did not major in business or econ and I would NEVER degrade myself by taking non 6 figure income. I don't know about you but law school is more than just a degree. Please don't compare law school with business school. Law school is a professional school but it is still very academic.

    At this point I don't really know what exactly I want to do. I know b-schools want people to know what they really want to do. I have interest in venture capital, M&A, consultant work, or ibanking. But obviously I don't know enough.

    These days if you want to be at the top you need both JD and an MBA.

    Why do I sense hostility from you? Is it becasue I sound cocky? That I am a Northwestern Law student? Give me a break.
  • sammy101sammy101 Posts: 124Registered User Junior Member
    I looked at the profiles of some CEOs and noticed something quite interesting. I saw that some of them graduated from a undergrad program and then just 2 years later graduated from a MBA program? So does that mean in the past (10,20 years ago) the MBA didn't require work experience and only recently made it a requirement because of increased competition, interest etc.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    I am going to law school because I did not major in business or econ

    I still don't get it. I know plenty of people who got jobs in banking and consulting without majoring in business or economics. In fact, it's become something of a running joke that, for example, plenty of the top MIT engineering students end up in banking or consulting. Or that students at schools like HYPS will major in almost anything and can still inevitably end up in banking or consulting. This seems to be especially so of the 'jock' culture. For example, a significant proportion of the graduating players of the Harvard football team went to banking or consulting, regardless of what they majored in.
    and I would NEVER degrade myself by taking non 6 figure income.

    Since when is that degrading? The vast majority of people in the world cannot make a non-6 figure income.
    Please don't compare law school with business school.

    Uh, aren't you the one that is doing precisely that? I certainly never made any such comparison.
    These days if you want to be at the top you need both JD and an MBA.

    Plenty of people do just fine with just one of the degrees. Heck, plenty of people do quite well with no degrees at all. Look at Bill Gates. You certainly don't need both degrees to succeed.
    Why do I sense hostility from you? Is it becasue I sound cocky? That I am a Northwestern Law student? Give me a break.

    You asked for honest answers, and I'm giving it to you. I think that you don't really know what you want, which is why I question why you are in law school. If you just want to become a banker, then why don't you just get an analyst job? If you are really interested in business, and less in the law, then you should seriously consider dropping out to take a business job.

    Now, if you say that you just don't want honest answers, and that you'd rather have us lie to you, then fair enough. Just say that you don't want honesty and that you just want us to tell you what you want us to hear.

    Maybe you should give us a break and tell us why you are in law school when it seems to me that you're not really interested in law at all. If you liked business, then why didn't you just take a business job?
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    I looked at the profiles of some CEOs and noticed something quite interesting. I saw that some of them graduated from a undergrad program and then just 2 years later graduated from a MBA program? So does that mean in the past (10,20 years ago) the MBA didn't require work experience and only recently made it a requirement because of increased competition, interest etc.

    This is true. About a generation ago, it was considered perfectly normal for people to go to B-school right after undergrad. This all changed when B-schools became more professionalized and began to value work experience.

    I should note that changes like this happen all the time. Back in the old days, it was considered perfectly normal for people to attend what was then 'law school' before ever going to undergrad, and in fact, many people passed the bar and became lawyers through self-study without ever having graduated from college at all. Nowadays, no law school will take anybody who didn't complete undergrad first, and self-study to pass the bar is quite rare.
  • GigamanGigaman Posts: 12Registered User New Member
    Okay okay I'll be honest. But you seem like a person who might think this is a bad reason.

    I decided to become an attorney few years back. At that time none of my friends majoring in econ and business had a job. So I was going around talking **** on them that I was gonna go to law school and make 6 figure starting salary while they will be working at some business firm making less than me.

    Now all of them got a job at top ibanking firms. One of them is an associate at a ibanking firm. And now I want to do ibanking because it seems like more money.

    Is this not good enough?

    Sakky, which school do you go to? Are you even in an MBA program?
  • GigamanGigaman Posts: 12Registered User New Member
    Law degree is not just a professional degree. It will change the way you think and make you more prestigious. Although with tons of sub-par schools out there the legal profession is in decline.
  • sakkysakky Posts: 14,759- Senior Member
    Okay okay I'll be honest. But you seem like a person who might think this is a bad reason.

    I decided to become an attorney few years back. At that time none of my friends majoring in econ and business had a job. So I was going around talking **** on them that I was gonna go to law school and make 6 figure starting salary while they will be working at some business firm making less than me.

    Now all of them got a job at top ibanking firms. One of them is an associate at a ibanking firm. And now I want to do ibanking because it seems like more money.

    Is this not good enough?

    This is indeed a very bad reason. Life is not all about talking smack to your friends, you know. You should be thinking about what it is that YOU like to do, and then figure out if you can wrap a career around that. Ibanking ain't all gravy, you know. They are absolutely notorious as meat-grinders. Most people find out that they don't like the 90 hour work weeks and all of the aggressiveness of the industry. It takes a certain personality to succeed in that field that most people do not have.

    But like I said, if you want to do Ibanking, then just go and do Ibanking as an analyst. What's wrong with that? That's a lot better than going through the whole JD/MBA route and then getting to Ibanking, and only THEN finding out that you don't like it. I would advise trying it out, seeing if you like it. If you don't, fine, then quit, and you can do something else with your life. But at least now you know.
    Sakky, which school do you go to? Are you even in an MBA program?

    I'm not going to post my biography publicly, although I will say that you can search through my old posts and you can probably figure out a lot about me. But to make a long story short, trust me, when it comes to B-schools, I know what I'm talking about.
    Law degree is not just a professional degree. It will change the way you think and make you more prestigious. Although with tons of sub-par schools out there the legal profession is in decline.

    Look, my point is that while I think education is always a good thing, going to law school is a pretty expensive way to go about getting an education if you already know that you want to do something else. Doctoral programs also change the way you think and many of them are also highly prestigious, and they're a heck of a lot cheaper in the sense that they usually pay you through a stipend, as opposed to you having to pay them.

    Law schools are (obviously) useful if you want to be a lawyer. But now that you're saying that you don't want to be a lawyer at all, then law school is probably not a good path. It's like somebody saying that they don't want to be a doctor, but are getting an MD anyway.
  • GigamanGigaman Posts: 12Registered User New Member
    I really can't back out of law school now! That would be crazy.

    But hey, are you a b-school student? If so then can you tell me if you go to a top program?

    top program:
    Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Sloan, Northwestern, Chicago, Columbia, Haas, Dartmouth, Fuqua, Anderson, Ross, Stern, UVA?

    Can you tell me little bit about your experience and score/grades...etc?
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