Are you considering business school? Whether you want to develop your business acumen with a Master in Management (MiM), or dive deep in a particular industry with a Specialized Masters, you'll need to consider what work experience you're expected to have.
There are plenty of business schools that require little or no work experience for a master’s degree. But enrolling in a business master’s with some work experience could help you make the most of your experience.
Here’s everything you need to know about work experience for a master’s at business school, and whether you need it.
What is required work experience for a master's?
Work experience is often not a requirement to study a business master’s. Hanken Business School, for example, encourages bachelor’s graduates to apply for its masters degrees straight away, and there are no work experience requirements to apply.
Similarly, Luiss Business School accepts students into its masters programs from a range of different backgrounds, with varying levels of experience.
Specialized vs generalist programs
Work experience requirements can vary depending on the type of program you’re applying to.
MiM degrees are generalized programs offering an introduction to various aspects of a business. This means they have little expectation of experience before you apply.
For MiM programs, your GPA score, extracurricular activities, career goals, and overall academic performance will be valued in your application. Although work experience can help you gain that competitive edge, it’s by no means a requirement.
While specialized masters also value those parts of the application, some ask for work experience in particular fields or industries.
Masters in Finance (MIF) are often highly quantitative degrees that aim to help students launch careers in banking and finance. Their technical nature means some MIFs are designed for students with professional finance experience. The London Business School Master in Finance, for example, requires financial experience in order to successfully apply.
Business schools offer specialized degrees in a wide range of areas including business analytics, technology management, supply chain management, marketing, and finance.
To make your application stand out for one of these specialized masters, it’s more important that you have relevant experience in the specialization you wish to enter.
“Some of them have work or internship experience that they gained during or shortly after their bachelor’s degree, and some of them have no work experience at all,” says Professor Marco Mazzù, professor of International Marketing and recruitment leader at Luiss Business School.
For Luiss’s admission board, the most important factor is a candidate’s previous academic record, he adds.
However, gaining some work experience before a master’s can help you excel in your studies. Cynthia Law, graduate admissions manager at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Canada, believes that work experience in a relevant field can be valuable in your application and may enhance your profile.
Your previous work experience can help you tailor your application essay by sharing relevant professional examples and showing how the master’s degree will contribute to your career, Cynthia explains.
Still, there’s no official work experience requirement for John Molson’s research-based masters programs.