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Why Should You Start a Full-time Job before MBA?

Written By: Xinyi Wang

As we continue through recruitment season, we are so inundated with career opportunities for post-graduation that we often forget that there are other paths we can follow. Part of the reason is because the number of business professional networking events far exceeds the number of graduate school programs information sessions. Why does this happen?

Professor Steffanie Wilk, who had worked in the Wharton School for 11 years, now is the Professor of Management and Human Resources while serving as the Associate Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. She says that top MBA programs almost only accept students with working experience. The only exception are student entrepreneurs, who start their own businesses while pursuing their undergraduate degree.

According to Wilk, what Wharton and other top MBA programs are looking for is someone who is willing to take on challenges. No matter whether you are an entrepreneur or an employee, whether you work for non-profit or for-profit, the thing that always set a person apart is that they are willing to take risks. Maybe they go into something that is not a traditional path, or they occasionally will push themselves to take on challenges. Working in P&G and being willing to take an overseas assignment would be an example. Living in a place you have never lived before and using a language you have never tried before is a precious experience and not everyone can do it. Then, what these students can bring to the program is much richer than people who went to P&G and worked in Cincinnati for four years.

If you are a student that would like to pursue a higher-level education beyond a bachelor’s degree, you should consider how to put yourself on the same level as fellow applicants—which is by gaining job experience. Having working experience will help you become clear on which career path you would like to take on. It also helps set you apart from others and enables you to have experience to talk about, considering it allows you to develop your abilities and skill sets.

For these reasons, it is reasonable to see an overwhelming number of career fairs and networking opportunities in Fisher each week. Having full-time job opportunities can benefit all business students, regardless of their intention to go to graduate school or not and, thus, supersede the need for graduate fairs.