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Is Now A Good Time For A Master's In Management?

Studying a pre-experience Master's in Management could help new graduates up-skill and be more competitive, says Susan Cera of Stratus Admissions

Tue Jul 7 2020

Should I take a pre-experience Master's in Management now?

Dear BusinessBecause,

In the current climate of coronavirus-related disruption, attending business school seems like a good way to gain the skills I will need to thrive in a quickly changing landscape. 

I had originally planned to study an MBA, but this would require waiting for a few years while I gained experience.

Should I stick with the original plan, or consider taking a pre-experience program now?

The Answer

This week's Applicant Question is answered by Susan Cera, admissions consultant at Stratus Admissions. 

If you are just completing your undergraduate degree or in your final year of university, the economic climate may seem daunting. 

As such, remaining in school and enhancing your academic profile may be a great option while the global economy recovers. 

Depending on what pre-experience business masters you pursue now, you can work for several years then apply to MBA programs later.

The graduate employment landscape

According to a Eurostat report released on July 2, unemployment numbers for young persons (under 25) in the European Union is 15.7%. 

Although this is substantially lower than the unemployment rate from 2009 to 2013, it is a sharp increase over the first quarter of 2020. 

In the United States, youth (16-24) unemployment skyrocketed from 10.3% in March 2020 to 27.4% in April, and has now dropped to 20.7% in June 2020, according to a July 2 report from Statista. 

Needless to say, there are many young adults who are willing and able to work but are not able to find positions. 

These numbers don’t even capture those who are under-employed, having taken a ‘lesser’ position in order to be able to pay the rent and pay off student loans.

Many university students who were expecting to be gaining valuable real world experience this summer have had their internship offers rescinded or watched opportunities evaporate during the interview process. 

Absent this experience, it may be more challenging to find a position after graduation.

Got a question of your own?


Advantages of a pre-experience masters

If this is your situation, remaining in school for a pre-experience masters could offer an opportunity for an internship next summer or during the academic program—setting you up to be more competitive for even better roles when you complete your masters.

Similarly, recent university graduates may find themselves competing for entry level positions with young professionals who have lost their jobs after a year or two in the workforce. 

These individuals may be willing to take a lesser position in order to remain employed, which may result in recent graduates with limited or no experience missing out on opportunities. 

If this is the case with you, a pre-experience business masters may be the perfect way to build new skills and knowledge so you are a more competitive candidate for target positions a year from now when the economy is recovering.

There are a number of different types of pre-experience programs to consider. Finding the right fit for you depends on both your academic background and your goals.

Non-business majors looking to land entry level positions in banking, consulting or marketing should take a look at one-year general business masters programs. 

These programs attract a diverse class of individuals with humanities and technical majors, often forming a very international cohort. 

Read another applicant question


Top pre-experience Master's programs

The University of St. Gallen’s MA in Strategy and International Management (SIM) is the perennial favorite in Europe. London Business School’s Masters in Management (MiM) is the premier program in the UK. 

Although Master’s in Management programs are  less widespread in the US,  Duke University Fuqua School of Business’ Master of Management Studies (MMS), Michigan Ross’ Master of Management (MM) and UVA’s McIntire School of Commerce’s MS in Commerce are the most highly rated pre-experience programs.

Specialized pre-experience business programs

If you have a targeted goal in finance or analytics, you may want to consider a Master in Finance (MSF or MFin), Master in Business Analytics, or Master in Data Analytics. For the more technically inclined, a Master in Financial Engineering might be the right fit. 

Many business schools offer these programs which do not require any formal work experience. 

If you have your eyes set on working in a specific industry or function (e.g. healthcare, human capital or supply chain) look for analytics programs that offer a concentration in your area of interest. 

Most of these programs offer a STEM designation for individuals who are looking for an OPT extension allowing them to work in the United States for up to three years after graduation.

As a young adult just starting what will likely be a 30 plus year career, think of a pre-experience masters as an investment in your future. 

You will likely find that your salary will be higher than if you started your first job right out of university. 

If you complete a one-year business masters directly out of undergrad or with just a year or two of work experience, you can still consider an MBA later in your career.

Ask an admissions expert a question

Next week, you'll have the chance to ask Victoria Dudka, admissions consultant at MBA Strategy, anything you want about getting into business school. 

Victoria has been working as an admissions consultant since 2013. 

Over 200 of her clients have been admitted to top business schools (Kellogg, Tuck, Darden, LBS, INSEAD, Chicago Booth, Columbia), and around 80% of them are international candidates, who applied to MBA programs worldwide. 

Preparation for a top school application is a time and effort consuming process, so Victoria supports candidates at every application step by giving expert advice.

Got a question you'd love Victoria to answer? Submit your question

Student Reviews

Duke University Fuqua School of Business




On Campus

Supportive atmosphere

The professors at Duke university exhibit exceptional commitment to the success and well-being of their students by ensuring their academic growth and fostering a supportive social atmosphere. Moreover, the entire community is recognized for its amicability and inclusiveness.




On Campus


The people or the students are without a doubt Duke's greatest asset. While all students are driven to succeed, they are also enthusiastic about a variety of hobbies. You run across a huge lot of diversity. It is the ideal example of a school with well-rounded students and the ideal balance of campus life in a metropolis.




On Campus

Happy to school

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Beautiful School, Nice Classes

DU remains one the greatest and best universities that I have ever stepped in. The school is beautiful and neat. The classes are spacious and also very nice. I enjoyed attending my Lectures in those lecture halls. I also loved the Lecturers because of the good work they did. The university also has very good dorms that are given to students on first come first serve basis and they are affordable





Amazing experience

I received my B.S. in Biology and B.A. in Global Health with a minor in Chemistry from Duke University. I was able to grow as a student, scientist, and global health advocate with the help of my friends, professors, and other mentors I met along the way. A lot to learn if you look and ask, a great place to learn for those who want to learn.





whirlwind of growth and change

An amazing 2 years, with covid and everything else happening Duke has been a place of growth for me. The courses , classes were one of a kind, online and on campus. But the valuable lessons learned in the classes are irreplicable. The students are amazing here, so much diversity , I had no problem fitting in. The teachers are down right brilliant and so helpful. Don't be afraid to ask them anything. Graduated with my MBA with Duke and now my future awaits.




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One of the best for Business students

Graduated with an MBA. The classes were very insightful and engaging. The staff are very easy to deal with. The teachers and students, are truly amazing people. Grateful to all the people I've met along the way at Duke. I've learnt a great deal that will help me in my future endeavors. The campus itself is a marvel, it is beautiful.




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The university campus is awesome

I graduated with a masters degree in Religious Studies from Duke University. One thing I really liked about the university is its huge campus. It is spread in a large area with a lot of greenery and also have the facilities of reading rooms for single person also. My department building was very well taken care of. The library is immensely populated with books for all your needs. The faculty is very nice to students. The classes are equipped with latest technology to cater the needs of students. The University also provides room rentals for international students. They are very well maintained and priority is given to the International students for a comfortable stay there. There are weekly events conducted by the University as well as Student clubs for the entertainment of students. Anybody can take part in them and show their talents. I enjoyed my degree and I graduated in 2021 and was very happy that I had graduated from a reputed University.