Last week we talked about how you should assess your qualifications in light of your GPA and GMAT score. As we discussed, knowing where you stand amongst your competition will help you evaluate where you should apply.
Here’s another important criterion to think about when assessing your qualifications: work experience. Adcoms look at applicants’ work experience from two perspectives—quantitatively and qualitatively. Your work experience shouldn’t just amount to X number of years, but should have a significant impact on your development as a person and as a burgeoning business mind.
Most schools want a minimum of two years of significant work experience. The work experience “sweet spot” for most business schools is between three and six years, with eight years of full-time work experience serving as an effective maximum—with exceptions. If you have less than the minimum or more than the maximum, then you may want to consider other options—like pushing off applying to b-school for a few years or applying to a master’s program (for people with little work experience), or applying to an executive MBA program (for people with work experience beyond eight years) or a residential masters like the Sloan Fellows programs. If none of these options appeal to you, be prepared to persuade skeptical readers that you need an MBA now.
When constructing your MBA resume, and certainly when composing your MBA application essays, be sure to emphasize quality. Be sure to show off GIM: Growth, Impact, and Management Potential. If you feel like your work experiences do not provide these three elements, then you may want to consider pushing off applying until you’ve acquired more qualitative work experience, or getting to work right away to make your job more significant.
Like the advice you see in this post? Download Accepted’s new special report, MBA Action Plan, for more practical tips on what you can do now to increase your chances of getting in to a top business school next year. (P.S. It’s free!)
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