6 Traits Top MBA Programs Look For – #2 Work Experience

December 12th, 2012

| Last Updated on May 21, 2019

In our first blog in this series, we threw light on how academic potential is the core indicator of one’s ability to succeed in an MBA program from a top B-school. Now, let’s probe into the next one…work experience for MBA.

The second quality that helps B-schools assess the caliber of an applicant is work experience!

Though some B-schools do accept applicants who have just finished with their undergraduation, many of these actually prefer a minimum work experience for MBA, usually ranging from 2-10 years (depending upon the curriculum the schools offer). Work experience is important as this gives the AdComs a criterion to evaluate your competence in the workplace in terms of leadership qualities, managerial abilities, communication, etc.
B-Schools are keen to have a diverse group of professionals in their classrooms who can add value to classroom discussions, projects and other group activities. In fact, B-schools are very open to applicants from all industries and do not favor those belonging to any particular industry.

3 Aspects Admissions Committees Look For In Work Experience

Think about the amount of time a B-school has in hand to judge your application… just 1 or at the most 2 hours to know who you are and what your potential is. In such a situation, your work experience comes to their rescue. AdComs turn to your work experience to quickly know what you have been doing over a period of time and what domain expertise you bring to the table.

1. Pedigree of the company you worked with:

Are you working with Google or Microsoft? If yes, great! If not, no problem. This is because Admissions committees do understand that not everyone gets into a Google or a Microsoft. Yes, though it’s true that a big brand does leverage your chances of getting into your dream B-school, the good news is that even if you are working for a start-up, your application will not be rejected solely on this basis.
However, if you are working for a small brand, you should be able to quantify your performance, roles and responsibilities and precisely what value addition you brought to your employer.

2. How well did you perform at work?

There is something even more important than the brand name of the company you work with and the number of years of experience you have. AdComs focus more on your work performance and value addition you made to the company. Now, is there any standard or norm to appraise this? Your performance is directly related to the number of promotions you got.
If you are able to show a couple of jumps, this adds a lot of weight to your application. AdComs will try to gauge your work performance through these parameters:
Were you able to explore your professional opportunities to the fullest?

Do you believe in teamwork and work ethics?

Did you perform satisfactorily or exceed your employers’ expectations?

Thus, it is extremely important that your application and your admission essays should display your ability to perform well.

3. Roles and Responsibilities:

You may be a great software engineer, doing a great job assigned to you.
Was your job restricted only to IT coding?
Or were you also involved in the cross-functional and cross-cultural roles?
For instance,
Did you work in other functions also such as pre-sales, functional consultancy etc?
Have you worked, studied or traveled abroad?
Even if you have not worked abroad, have you undertaken any such project where you had to deal with foreign parties?
Are you a person who can appreciate and work with people from other cultures?
Remember, this holds true for professionals belonging to other industries also, not just IT. It is very crucial that you provide precise quantifiable information that will demonstrate your initiative to take more challenges and responsibilities and show your excellence in these.
If you missed out the 1st trait, here’s the link!
Coming up next…The 3rd trait that top B-schools look for in an applicant!
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