Is Work Experience Necessary Before MBA?

“Learn to work with people you wouldn’t go to lunch with” – a quote by Garry Marshall, famous director, on the best career advice he ever received. Engineer or commerce graduate, each of us, in the end, work with people around us. Moreover, when it comes to people, the technical knowledge alone does not help much. Understanding people lets you understand how to get them to work, and that is what management is all about. Every b-school teaches this very concept in a more profound stretch allowing the student to analyse which sector requires what set of skills.

If you are an employee in a firm and have been working there for a while, you begin to understand that the team you belong to teaches you much more than just the work you do for the firm. It teaches you how groups are formed, what different views each member can have, how consideration of each member’s idea is essential and how terrible it can be if views clash. You also learn the importance of groups and how easy it gets to solve problems when a bunch of minds, rather than one, work on them. Many of the top-rated b-schools prefer candidates with work-ex. It is because they look for versatile and well-developed individuals who can contribute to society in positive and meaningful ways. They wish to select applicants who have demonstrated leadership qualities in professional and personal lives. Leadership qualities don’t necessarily mean leading teams – they could also mean the initiatives the individual has taken, career progression, achievements, etc.

For those who are freshly out of college, team management might be going along with the team, having fun with them and some leadership skills. It can be a little cumbersome to make the most of the opportunities provided in the b-school. But at the end of the day, non-work-ex students too figure out how to optimise their resources. Stats show that almost 90% candidates in IIMs and other premium b-schools are engineers. Moreover, 40% of these are fresher. So the work done in the engineering field becomes futile when the candidate enters the management field. For example, there would be almost no relation between the work done by him/her on as the assembly line and presenting product reports or designing financial trends. Moreover, the fresher have a wider frame of mind and do not hesitate in experimenting with streams and job opportunities, which allows them to have greater options to choose from, as a career. Also, candidates with no work-ex do not have a pre-defined notion of the company culture and hence, find it easier to adjust the same.

Talking about my own experience at KJ SIMSR, we have people from zero to ten-year work-experience (29:71 fresher to experienced ratio) and that too from so many diverse backgrounds that you cannot imagine!. SIMSR enjoys the benefits of having a fully facilitated campus located in Mumbai. We also have specialised courses so that people can choose their field of study right from the beginning. All this add to the knowledge you gain from your peers. So, whether you are a fresher or an experienced professional, an MBA aspirant or student; keep in mind that you have something that other people don’t have and that is why you will be selected for your next interview.

Harshad Patel

Harshad Patel is a part of student team for InsideIIM and a member of the admissions committee at KJ SIMSR, Mumbai. He is a B.E. Mechanical graduate of M.B.M. Engineering College, Jodhpur.