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For those who are going into consulting (MBB) after graduation, how long should we wait before applying to business school?

2-3 years? Or is it better to get more work experience? Moreover, is it worthwhile to go to business school only if you want to pivot careers or does it help you rise within the consulting firm to earn a business school degree?

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Jerel’s Answer

Hi Sydney! It's great to hear that you're interested in pursuing a career in consulting and are considering business school. The answer to your question about when to apply to business school really depends on your goals and career aspirations.

Generally speaking, it's a good idea to wait until you have a few years of work experience under your belt before applying to business school. This will give you a chance to build your skills, gain experience, and determine what you want to get out of a business school education.

In terms of consulting specifically, some firms prefer to see candidates with several years of experience before they apply to business school. This is because consulting is a demanding field that requires a lot of practical skills and experience.

That being said, it's ultimately up to you to decide when the right time is to pursue an MBA. Some people choose to go straight from undergraduate to business school, while others wait a few years before pursuing an MBA.

As for whether business school is worthwhile for rising within a consulting firm, it really depends on your personal goals and the culture of the firm you're working for. Some firms place a high value on advanced degrees like an MBA, while others may prioritize on-the-job experience. If you're looking to pivot into a different area of business or industry, an MBA can be a great way to gain the skills and knowledge you need to make that transition.

Ultimately, going to business school can be a great way to gain new skills, broaden your network, and open up new career opportunities. Whether it's the right choice for you depends on your personal goals and aspirations. I hope this helps you make an informed decision! Good luck with your career in consulting!
Thank you comment icon Thank you! Sydney
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Ashish’s Answer

Hello Sydney! An MBA offers a compact education in a brief 2-year period, covering a wide range of business functions. This is why companies view it favorably. However, having prior work experience significantly improves the learning process and makes it instantly applicable, which is why 3-4 years of experience in the field is valuable.

I agree with Jerel's suggestion to gain a few years of experience before pursuing an MBA. Hiring managers typically seek candidates with 3-4 years of experience in the relevant field after completing their bachelor's degree. Furthermore, having experience in the same field as your target area seems to offer a greater advantage in terms of post-MBA opportunities. Of course, many individuals pursue an MBA to change careers, and that works well too.

Best of luck in your future endeavors!
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Justin’s Answer

When thinking about attending business school for an MBA degree, it's a good idea to first spend 3-5 years working in consulting. This way, you'll gain valuable hands-on experience that will be useful when pursuing your MBA studies.
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Milinda’s Answer

Hello! I would recommend getting into a full-time MBA program with 3-5 years of work experience prior. The format of most MBA programs includes learning from the professors, assigned course content but also from your cohort/class. Your own insights and experience can add a lot of value. Most internships do require a certain number of years of experience as a pre-requisite.

The experiential component as part of the course work, will provide opportunities to hone your skills and gain exposure to a plethora of industries and companies. I definitely recommend getting your MBA is you have the opportunity to do so. Can be a real game changer for career growth and acceleration! Plus, the network you build with your class can be invaluable!
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Imogen’s Answer

I agree with all of the answers above! I will add that getting an MBA can be a requirement for certain levels and roles (not just in consulting) and can boost your salary ( a lot of advanced degrees put you in place to get a higher salary such as an MPh). One additional thought is that the MBA internship can help you to get experience in an industry or function first hand, not just as a consultant. I think it is really valuable to experience, especially if you decide to be a consultant long term, and helps with your empathy for clients.
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Katie’s Answer

I think this may depend on a variety of factors, and begs the question as to why you are looking to get an additional degree. After 2-3 years in consulting, you may know if you want to specialize in a certain line of work, switch industries, or build out your network: each of which an MBA can be beneficial for. If your company is likely to sponsor your MBA, that may be a deciding factor in the timeline to pursue a degree. I believe an MBA can be valuable for many reasons beyond career trajectory or pivot-- and thus is worthwhile, so long as you are willing to trade off a working experience in that time frame of an MBA.
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Abhishek’s Answer

Earning an MBA helps you gain many valuable hard and soft skills that can boost your consulting career. Plus, it's super helpful because you learn about your classmates, their stories, and their dreams. This gives you a broader understanding of the business world and how to work with clients. As a result, you'll become a better consultant. And guess what? Some experienced consultants check your education when deciding to work with you!
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Shashank’s Answer

One thing I'd add to the above answers is that a number of Consulting firms will fund your MBA (for specific schools). You should leverage that. This way is MBA is paid for and you have a job waiting for you (there is a minimum time period you need to work after MBA). This can help you decide the "how long" for the policy kicks in after you're worked for 3 years typically.
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Stephanie’s Answer

Hello! I agree with many of the above comments that is is extremely valuable to have a few years of work experience under your belt prior to pursuing an MBA or other graduate business degree. I personally waited about 9 years, but that was for personal and financial reasons--also, it was beneficial to start classes online during the pandemic because many of the usual weekend distractions were closed due to COVID. Having that business experience has helped me often in my classes and case studies in being able to provide real-world, personal experiences and examples related to the various cases that you will review.

Also, as others have pointed out, if you pursue this degree after you've been working for a little bit, most companies offer educational support, such as tuition reimbursement up to a certain dollar amount each year, so that you aren't having to completely eat the expense of additional school. The only issue with company educational support is that you need to be sure you have read all of the terms around any reimbursement and be sure that you are prepared to stay at the company for the required additional term after you complete the degree, so that you don't end up leaving too soon and having to pay the company back.
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