New Research Disputes Value of Pre-MBA Work Experience

moneyWondering how the value of an MBA degree stacks up for those with and without pre-MBA work experience? Research findings released last week indicate that there is a financial disadvantage to delaying matriculation into a full-time MBA program.

The study, conducted at Crummer Graduate School of Business, investigated the economic benefits and costs associated with putting off a full-time MBA program to gain work experience, rather than enrolling immediately after completion of undergraduate studies.

Students with less work experience did have lower starting salaries, but the difference was overcome by the advantage of getting an early start on careers. The study found that, by the age of 30, those who attend business school right out of college tend to be paid about the same amount as those who worked one to five years before receiving their MBA; and students who delay matriculation may incur a long-term financial penalty.

“Pre-MBA work experience is required for admission to many graduate schools of business,” says Crummer’s dean, Craig McAllaster. “The perception among students has been that this work experience translates into a higher salary. While this might be true immediately following graduation, our research shows that those with no work experience actually see a higher gain in salary five years after graduation, compared to those students who worked for one to five years prior to obtaining their MBA.”

MBA students without lengthy work experience showed an average 96% gain in salaries five years after receiving their MBA, compared to 80% for those who had one to five years of experience.

“The study underscores that, contrary to the conventional wisdom resulting from the business school rankings, it is advantageous for students with the right attitude and aptitude to pursue an MBA directly out of college, or shortly thereafter, for a variety of reasons including a higher return on investment,” says Mark Zupan, dean of the Simon School of Business, University of Rochester.

To read more about the study and its methodology, click here. If you have an opinion on the value of pre-MBA work experience, please leave us a comment below.

(image courtesy of Flickr user pfala, CC 2.0)


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