Do Students With Work Experience Hold An Edge Over Freshers In Tackling Business Situations

“Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ‘em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it.” –Theodore Roosevelt

This prompts us to ask, “Is MBA really necessary to reach greater heights?” Even if one decides to pursue MBA, “Which is better- Doing MBA as a fresher or with work experience?” This question boggles thousands of MBA aspirants every year. There has been an age-old debate on this matter and probably, there is no definite answer to this question. In this article, we are going to answer this question from the perspective of two aspirants. One is Raghav, a final year engineering student, who is already placed with one of the leading automobile firms of India. However, he doesn’t want to be just another drop in the ocean like others who usually start their professional career at the lowest rung of the organizational hierarchy. He wants to differentiate himself. So, MBA was an obvious choice for him.

While, on the other side is Pragya, who has been working with a leading software consultancy firm in India for about 3 years. She started her job with some dreams in her mind like working with a renowned organization, handling important clients and on-site trips. The next thing she wishes is to move up the ladder quickly. MBA is a natural choice for her to re-skill herself and achieve this task. So for these two people, reasons are different but common is the destination. But, what about the end results each one gets after MBA? What about their final placements? What about their performance post MBA?

Does students with experience hold an edge over tackling business situations – the answer of this dilemma may sound like a ‘Yes’ but, it requires a closer deliberation. A work experience undoubtedly brings along a trove of knowledge in terms of real-world complications and varying dimensions of applicability, but having the capability to do a work does not necessarily transform into the ‘Will’ to do the work. The scope of learning that an MBA offers requires, more than anything, the will to absorb and apply it. As a fresher you may have a different viewpoint to address the problem, maybe a less knowledgeable one but, that does not imply that it is not valid. As one of the lessons from Strategy explains that, ‘there are multiple winners in any segment and each firm uses the resources at its disposal to compete on unique capabilities.’

How does mindset of a fresher differ from that of a person with work experience – On one side, a fresher is more open to change, unlike the work-ex. When you work in an organization for a considerable time you will get attached to it. You might have left the company physically but mentally you carry its cultural, behaviour, etiquette, ethics and much more with you. When he steps into the new organization with the same old attitude the result will not be fruitful. But for a fresher this won’t be a problem, he can blend into any organization, take any role, play according to his will. A fresher will have whole new different problem-solving abilities. Last but not the least learning subject & coping up with studies will never be a problem for fresher but in case of work-ex it is very unlikely. He can earn good grades in his subjects which obviously will fetch him a good job at the end of the course.

How they differ from the perspective of a recruiter – every recruiter looks for a fit within a management student with his organization. A work-ex person can leverage his experience to put forth valid points and bring credibility to it. A fresher can also turn it into an advantageous opportunity by validating his answers with extra-curricular activities, which plays an important part in showcasing your inter-personal skills and teamwork abilities. The person who can convince the recruiter of his interest and ability to learn has the best chance of achieving a better fit with the organization.

Thus, dwelling deep into the aspects of working abilities of people with work experience v/s fresher, it is of prime importance so as to know the task at hand. At times it’s a mere paradox. There are situations wherein a fresher might feel overwhelmed and may not be able to perform at his full potential, and a person with work experience may be a little overconfident in his approach, and again not perform to the best of his ability. It’s not the years that count, but it is the sheer attitude with which you take the task forward. It’s about the right approach, at the right moment, with the right set of actions, in the right framework to get the right results!

When you deal with a completely new task, the fresher has an advantage of weighing the pros and cons by an open mind, while the people with work experience might be strongly biased. An experienced person has a practical approach to the problems, which gives them an edge to arrive at conclusions on the basis of their prior experiences. A fresher can base his evaluations on the basis of his logic and intellect. Creativity of the mind is key here. Ultimately, everything boils down to the individual and his career goals and aspirations.


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