February 2, 2014

BUSINESS NEWS: University Official: Work Experience Not Mandatory for Business School Hopefuls

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Though many business schools require applicants to have previous work experience, undergraduates who do not fit this description can still apply to MBA programs, according to Rebecca Sparrow, executive director of Cornell Career Services.

“For many years business schools started, essentially, requiring two years of work between [undergraduate school] and applying to business school,” she said. “We’ve seen a little bit of a return to taking students straight from [undergraduate school] to business school.”

According to Sparrow, it can be more difficult for undergraduates — who do not have previous work experience — to gain entry to and thrive in a top-tier business school. Schools include Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

“Part of the reason is that you’re going to be competing against people who have been out in the workforce for a while,” Sparrow said. “Let’s say you’re learning accounting. You’re going to be in class with people who have worked in that field before. Your classmates have that context.”

Either way, proponents of business school believe that it provides high value to students, according to Christine Sneva, executive director of Admissions and Financial Aid at the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management.