Hi Sonya. You're asking a great question and I wish I had asked somebody too. I completed my BMM (BBA equivalent) and straight enrolled into a 2 year PGDBM in India. And then I got to work for a few years in the industry and had an opportunity to pursue a full time MBA in the US. So I have both experiences and there is a huge difference in them.
I strongly recommend getting some work experience before you get your MBA and here are some reasons:
(A) You will get into a better MBA university if you apply with experience. If you have a really good profile your tuition fee may get waived too.
(B) When you do your MBA with other experienced professionals, you learn not just from the degree program but from each other. The program then teaches you not just your core subjects but business values, professionalism, ethics, team work, leadership, and develops your personality overall.
(C) You will grasp your coursework much better if you have experience. You would be able to relate to a lot of your study material which will make it easier and more fun for your to pass your exams!
I completed my MBA this year—21 years after I earned my bachelor’s degree—so I had quite a lot of work experience going into the MBA. I think my work experience helped me understand a lot of the learnings through a personal lens, and also to share many learnings with my classmates.
Of course, the drawback of waiting so long is that there were key business concepts I didn't know as well during the majority of my career, which could have benefited me and my employers. If you’re keen on pursuing an MBA, there are also advantages to getting it early in your career. That way you benefit not only from the learnings but you will likely be more marketable to potential employers.
A good balance might be 3-5 years of career experience. You could also pursue it part-time while working, which is what I did (evenings and weekends).
I will say though that after 10 years in sales without an MBA, I think that I could tailor it more to my current career goals at this time then I would have been able to many years ago. I also think it would be easier and more interesting now due to my work experience.
Also, having work experience will make it easier for you to understand, learn and know how applicable what you are learning is.
An MBA opens a lot of doors. It gives you the opportunity to change sectors and advance. If you wait until you are more mature in your career, you will be able to focus the MBA to help you achieve your goals.
Typically, an MBA program will want at least 2 years of work experience after an undergraduate degree. An example is Harvard Business School
In my own personal experience, if I didn't have nearly 10 years of real world experience, I think my project work would have suffered. It might have been easier to get a higher score on my GMAT if I had taken the test right after graduation, but nowadays schools waive the test with over 10 years of experience.
An MBA is great, but you'll want to have Work/Life Experience to answer the Essays and Interviews.
David recommends the following next steps:
For me, I realized that I didn't like the industry I was in and so that was the key reason for me to go back to get my MBA. The key question to answer is what you are looking to get out of the MBA. Once you have that answer you are ready to go and that can be as soon as 2 years or 10+ years later.
I hope this helps!
Depends. You can save time and money by going straight through. Life happens and it is sometimes hard to stop life and go back later. Some companies offer tuition assistance programs so you can have an income and still get your MBA. If you go this route remember the priority is doing your job.
I recently completed my MBA and I would definitely recommend a few years of work experience before pursuing your MBA. You will be able to contribute more to the class discussions and your classmates from your working experience and the material will feel more relevant since you would have something to relate it to. The average at my business school was 5 years and I would definitely recommend working for at least 1-2 years after your undergrad and then start the school search and application process that way once you start a program you would have about 2-3 years of work experience.