Think that you need a wealth of work experience to get into a top business school’s Master’s program? Wrong. Think it’s true that only those with several years spent industry can get a business education akin to an MBA? Wrong.
Sauder School of Business, part of the University of British Columbia, has a program that seeks to fast-track professionals’ careers – even those fresh out of undergraduate studies. The Master of Management program (MM) requires less than two years or no work experience and can be completed in nine months – significantly shorter than many MBA programs, which are the most widely known business school courses.
Sauder, based in Vancouver, is one of the highest-ranked business schools in Canada – but their candidates come from the world over. The MM program is designed for those with no prior business education, and they admit people from a diverse range of industries and functions – even journalists and law graduates, says Laura Rojo, Director of Market Intelligence, Recruitment & Admissions at the school.
Because the program is essentially designed to fast-track the student’s careers, the Business Career Centre delivers help from day one, she says, including one-on-one career coaching and a professional development program, which is specifically designed for those at an early stage of their careers.
Sauder takes a holistic view of admissions for the MM program, says Laura, but candidate’s profiles are competitive. And students enter a diverse range of fields after graduation, as befits the diverse nature of the course, Laura adds.
How does the program differ from Sauder's MBA?
The Masters of Management is conveyed as a general business degree, but the main difference to the MBA is that it’s a pre-experience program, designed for people with no working experience, or they may have approximately one or two years of experience. The MBA is experience-based.
All of our MM students come from a very diverse pool and varied academic fields. A common theme for all of them is that they went through undergraduate pursuing their passion and learned about what they liked, and now they’re focused on jump-starting their careers by combining undergraduate training with graduate business education.
Is that why the program is only nine months in length?
That’s correct. It’s significantly shorter than any MBA out there. It’s designed as a program that provides a foundation, but it is a pre-experience program; an optimal complement to undergraduate education.
So do MM graduates also complete an MBA later in life?
It’s not designed as such. We often get this question. The idea is not to pursue an MM soon after graduation and then an MBA perhaps five years later. The difference is at what stage of their careers candidates are when thinking of graduate management education.
From a general management perspective, the curriculum is similar. The main difference is the length and that our MM is customized with the idea in mind that this is for somebody with no, or little, previous professional experience, and specifically for those with no business education backgrounds.
What potential support is there for employment after the program?
There’s a really solid professional development program that is delivered by our careers centre And it happens from day one of the program. This is a strong differentiator at Sauder: students have a career coach from day one and a strong professional development programming that aims to enhance both their soft and management skills.
Considering there are no work experience requirements, what background qualifications or skills are needed to get into the MM?
The approach we have is very holistic, to determine a good pool of talent. One of the essential characteristics is diversity. So we really look for a variety of skills. We look at adding a variety of different talents, which enriches the learning experience.
Typically common themes are: they tend to be very competitive profiles; and strong in academics – the average in the class is well above the GPAs and GMAT or GRE scores that we require [among other equivalent academic criteria].
More importantly, what we are looking for are well-rounded individuals. We don’t require work experience, but we look people who are engaged and involved.
Even though no work experience [is required], our candidates typically are engaged with a number of extra-curricular activities and tend to be people who have done internships or similar programs during their undergraduate education. We’re looking for dynamic people, career-orientated people and people who are keen on fast tracking their careers.
Is it cheaper than the MBA program?
Yes it is. It’s more compact and therefore cheaper.
Which sectors are the students going into?
It’s very diverse and that has to do with the fact that we look for diversity in admissions. We aim for people from different fields. We aren’t necessarily looking for creating a class that goes mainly only to finance or consulting, for example.
It’s truly a little bit of everything; finance, consulting, technology, fast moving consumer goods and various other sectors, as well as a variety of functional roles within those industries: from brand management to analyst roles, to client-facing positions.
We see a very well distributed [cohort] across industry sectors with not one sector over-represented. Which is ideal. We’re happy to see that.