When is the best time to get an MBA?

Jennifer Dawsonon 4 August 2021
students working on laptop

Are you looking to study an MBA? Get our guide on everything you need to know to decide whether it's right for you.

Many students interested in applying to a business school for an MBA may not know the right time to start their programme. Back in the day, MBA applicants were expected to have around four to six years of work experience, but that’s no longer the case. A lot of MBA programs now accept students who have just finished their degree. Increasingly, universities are willing to consider applicants who have less job experience. Meanwhile, professionals with less than three years of work experience are also uncertain about the right time to apply for the MBA program. If you're currently considering an MBA, here's what you need to know:

Life and work experience

One of the most important factors which top MBA colleges consider before deciding whether to admit a particular applicant is their experience. In stark contrast to the MBAs of the past, many of the top-rated MBA colleges have very diverse student bodies. Having students from a range of different backgrounds and experiences benefits the entire class.

Ideal MBA candidates should have a solid understanding of how organisations and businesses work. It’s beneficial to have determined your long-term career goals, as these can inform your course applications.

Assess whether you need more professional experience

Before applying for an MBA, you should decide whether you’d be better off working for a year or more, especially if your studies could potentially impair your career path. Having more work experience could get you admitted to a better college and improve your long-term prospects. If your workplace offers an inclusive MBA program, you may also want to consider applying elsewhere since you'll likely get a lower salary and, in some cases, your career growth could be affected.

MBAs and career goals

When applying, demonstrate how an MBA will help you attain your career goals. Since most younger applicants have little professional experience, they are often less sure of their long and short-term goals. This can make it harder to convince the admissions committee that an MBA will further their career. However, highly motivated students with extraordinary leadership skills still frequently get accepted into top MBA establishments.

Depending on your career plans and long-term goals, this guide will hopefully help to inform your decision as to whether now is the right time to pursue an MBA, or whether you ought to delay your application. Whatever your choice, we wish you all the best for your application.

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Jennifer Dawsonon 4 August 2021