Having a Master in Business Administration (MBA) in Finance or a Master of Finance degree can mean the difference between climbing the corporate ladder to the top and being stuck on the bottom rungs. If you’re ambitious, you might wonder how soon after earning your bachelor’s degree you can start your graduate studies. While you may not need extensive professional work experience to get into every online MBA in finance degree program, you will often need at least a year or two of experience if you want to apply to the best programs in the country.
Work Experience Requirements for MBA Programs
Most MBA students, online or otherwise, have at least a year or two of full-time, paid professional experience under their belts before they begin pursuing their graduate degree, according to U.S. News & World Report. At “top-tier” MBA programs, having three to five years of work experience is more common, U.S. News reported.
Not all MBA programs absolutely require this amount of experience, but many do – including some of America’s best online MBA in finance programs. At Tiffin University, for example, students must have at least five years of work experience unless they already have a 3.0 GPA entering the program. Benedictine University requires students to have at least two years of work experience plus a 3.0 GPA to gain admission into its accelerated MBA in finance program.
Even among programs that don’t have a rigid work experience requirement, you will be competing for admission against applicants who do have work experience. If you want to gain acceptance into a competitive online MBA in finance program, you need some qualifying factor that will prevent more experienced candidates from overshadowing your application.
Though most MBA students have experience in the form of full-time salaried jobs, this isn’t the only kind of experience that’s valuable or relevant to your application. Consider the internships you have completed and the skills you learned through those experiences. Think about part-time jobs you may have had and the leadership opportunities they presented. You could even get accepted to an MBA program on the strength of volunteer work, if it allowed you to grow personally and professionally, develop your collaboration and management skills and accomplish goals that had a meaningful influence on your organization.
Why Professional Work Experience Matters
Even if it’s not required by your school, having professional work experience prior to beginning an MBA program is valuable for you personally. Actually working in the business and finance world can help you understand precisely why earning your MBA degree is important to you – and make sure you’re not pursuing the degree for the wrong reasons, like prestige or simply following a path. Your work experience can show you what skills and qualifications you need to achieve your goals, so you know what to look for in an MBA program.