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How Much Work Experience Do I Need For A Master's In Management?

John White, executive director of enrollment to Master's programs at Wake Forest University School of Business, answers your Applicant Question of the Week

It's time for another Applicant Question of the Week at BusinessBecause!

Every week, we give you the opportunity to ask one of our chosen admissions experts anything you want to know about getting into business school. One question each week is chosen for our expert to answer.

This week's question comes from an anonymous BusinessBecause reader.

Their question is answered by John White, who has been working for admissions at Wake Forest University School of Business since 2013.

Applicant Question of the Week:

Dear BusinessBecause,

I want to do a Master's in Management to pursue a career in project management, but I don't have any work experience yet. Do I need work experience to do an MiM?

The Answer:

Often, specialized/accelerated masters experiences offered at business schools are for students with little or no professional experience. Their curriculums are designed specifically for all recent non-business majors who want to excel personally and professionally in today’s ever-changing marketplace. Knowledge of business or prior work is not a requirement or expectation for admission.

However, at Wake Forest University, we hold seats in our program for students who have also had some post-undergraduate full-time work experience or service/volunteerism work. For example, they may be seeking a professional path after working for Teach For America, City Year, or the Peace Corps. Or that 'dream job' they accepted right after graduation turned out to be a 'nightmare'.

Others with work experience are seeking a Master's in Management to pivot or 'reset' their career, and they simply cannot get to that next level without some type of graduate business masters-level knowledge. Usually, this segment of the student population does not have more than 24-30 months of work or service prior to enrolling in a Master's in Management program, too. 

While most students have not worked full-time, prior summer internship experience (paid or for-credit) can also be helpful when adapting to a rigorous business school environment and learning new technical skills.

The challenging curriculum and fast pace of a program are designed to build upon your prior liberal arts experience and fill in the gaps that can be missing from lack of professional experience. You might receive coursework in Analytics, Accounting, Marketing, Finance, Economics, IT Management, Business Communications, Strategy, just to name a few.

At schools with a market-ready mindset, these skills are delivered in a way such that they are learned and then utilized through experiential learning. At Wake Forest, we call these Action Learning Projects and they allow students to gain experience with real-world clients.

The goal is then for you to emerge from an accelerated business masters program with in-depth technical and critical skills that you did not receive as an undergraduate, in most cases. Aligning these new skills with your liberal arts knowledge, helps you to emerge as someone who can make an impact to lead people and organizations in the future.

Ask an Admissions Expert a Question!

Next week, Courtney Elmes, executive director of the full-time MBA program at UCI Paul Merage School of Business will be answering one of your application questions!

Before joining UCI Paul Merage as director of recruitment and MBA admissions, Courtney worked for multinational Mattel Inc. as a business unit leader for some of their top brands.

Courtney also has an MBA from UCI Paul Merage, so she knows exactly what it's like to be a student at the school, and what the admissions team are looking for in their applicants.

Got a question about your business school application you'd like Courtney to answer? 

To be in with a chance of featuring next week, submit your question on our TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn pages, or send us an email to!