FAQ: MBA possible without work experience?
"I will have my bachelor’s degree in a few weeks. Now I am considering joining an MBA directly to qualify for management positions in large companies. Is an MBA without professional experience even possible? And if so, that would make sense?"
Short answer: It is possible for an MBA without professional experience in some cases, if that makes sense, there is no clear statement. We spoke to several graduates who found the MBA very good for starting a career. But actually an MBA study is thought differently.
An MBA is actually a qualification for experienced professionals
The Master of Business Administration has been “invented” by universities to provide professionals from a wide range of industries with high-quality management training. The study has one very high proportion of business subjects and is therefore rather intended for graduates of non-economics courses. But also business people can refresh their knowledge with an MBA again.
Speaking of “refresh”: Who has just completed his business degree Bachelor, will draw from an MBA no great new insights. Therefore, an MBA without work experience is not really advisable, because the majority of the study programs draw the special added value from the combination of theory and practice. This means that experienced executives can easily combine study content with concrete career challenges than newly graduated students. They lack the practical knowledge of work processes in companies. This is also confirmed by Prof. Dr. med. Desjardins of the Professional School of Kempten University:
"The sustainability of an MBA program is based on the fact that the participants can combine the theoretical knowledge from the study with their professional experience and, ideally, can also use it directly in their company environment.
The expectation of MBA graduates is that they are able to autonomously answer important corporate processes. This is not possible without previous work experience.
Therefore, the professional experience of the participants is also one of the most important criteria for the international accreditation of an MBA program, such as the EPAS / EQUIS accreditation by the EFMD, which is our Kempten MBA in International Business Management & Leadership as the first program in Bavaria could achieve."
The same is also to be considered by Ralf Bürkle of the Mannheim Business School:
We follow the guidelines of the internationally important accreditation organizations. The position paper of efmd, which demands a significant amount of professional experience for admission to an MBA program, is particularly clear and precise. If a program requires little or no qualified work experience, it does not have to be a bad course of study, only it is not an MBA; Because good MBA programs are living on the fact that the participants bring in their own experiences and thus not only learn from each other, but above all from each other.
In addition, networking is an important aspect of your studies. If you start the MBA without a working experience, you can benefit a lot yourself, but have little say.
But: It works without professional experience
As strict as the o.g. Universities do not regulate access to studies, but not all. There is an opportunity for undergraduate graduates looking for a master to start an MBA straight away. And most of them also rate this decision afterwards as positive, as can be seen from the experience reports:
"I have decided to continue my studies, because the bachelor is still rated as a kind of intermediate diploma in my opinion and many companies do not get the chance to start their career. Especially at job fairs, I noticed that companies have been looking specifically for Master graduates. What’s more, I still have a regional roots and have been looking for a job in my homeland in East Germany. The labor market does not offer as many opportunities here as in the West, especially for graduates with little experience, it is difficult to gain a foothold. That’s why I did not choose the master’s degree last year to further specialize and become more attractive to the market. Whether it is an MBA or not, has hardly played a role for me at first sight. I was more interested in the content and practice-oriented studies, which made me very happy at Hof University."
Has the study paid off??
"The MBA was primarily worthwhile for me to start my career and will continue to be of benefit to me. With the experience that I have already gained, new doors are opening up for me to climb."
Yvonne, Head of Corporate Communications at a real estate company, MBA at GISMA Business School
"I wanted to expand my management skills before joining the profession and make myself more generalist. Of that I hoped for better entry chances into the job."
Has the study paid off??
"The MBA was worth it for me, because I got to know my employer at a career fair during my studies and this resulted in my job interview. In addition, I have learned to work in colorful mixed teams with different backgrounds, nationalities and years of work experience (I encountered in the job from day 1 – good preparation for practice). In addition, I was able to expand my social skills in addition to the professionally learned (team skills, responsibility, etc.)."
Theresa, Marketing Manager at a consumer goods manufacturer, MBA Marketing Management at the HS Hof
"I decided to study because a master’s program is a prerequisite for most trainee programs in the industry of interest to me. In addition, I feel a bachelor’s degree is not subject-specific enough to enter the profession. Especially for the title ‘MBA’ related: This played for me at all no role, but was more of a nice to have."
Has the study paid off??
"Yes, because the intensity of my studies has given me a very profound knowledge of marketing – and in a very short time of 3 semesters. In the application process I had no problems / did not have to search long and was optimally prepared for my job. Whether this was specifically for the MBA or the career path overall, I can not answer. I suspect the latter."
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