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An MBA May be Nothing without Work Experience

It's hard to work while you're enrolled in a full-time MBA program. For this reason, many MBA students choose to live off of their financial aid while pursuing their MBA degree rather than getting a job in their field. However, studies have found that employers prefer to hire MBA graduates who have experience in their field. According to CareerJournal.com:

Hiring an M.B.A. graduate is an expensive proposition, and companies complain that too often they aren't immediately getting their money's worth from a green recruit. In The Wall Street Journal/Harris Interactive survey, recruiters frequently criticize M.B.A. students for lacking enough specialized, "relevant" experience. Most recruiters say they expect a minimum of four or five years' experience, preferably in their industries. Some are even hoping for six or seven years.

Both quantity and quality of experience are crucial. Recruiters are looking for students who have learned to cope with ambiguity, adversity and conflict in the workplace. Some M.B.A.s believe "simply working two or three years entitles them to a leadership position immediately following graduation," says Jeff Rynbrandt, who does recruiting for Guidant Corp., a marketer of cardiovascular products. "To me, students need to have demonstrated success in their past job with positions of increasing responsibility and be able to articulate how their actions specifically contributed to those successes."

The desire of employers to hire MBAs with experience in their field may be another reason why a part-time MBA program is a good option. While many MBA students used to head right into their graduate program after getting their bachelor's degree, many more now are taking time off to work between degrees, meaning that many MBA graduates have several years of experience under their belt. This means that it will be harder for younger students with no experience to find a decent job after they graduate.

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