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Do You Need Work Experience For A Master’s Degree?

Do you need work experience for a master’s degree at business school? Here’s everything you need to know

Wed Feb 2 2022

BusinessBecause
Are you considering business school? Whether you want to develop your business acumen with a Master in Management (MiM), or dive deep in a particular industry with a Specialized Masters, you'll need to consider what work experience you're expected to have.

There are plenty of business schools that require little or no work experience for a master’s degree. But enrolling in a business master’s with some work experience could help you make the most of your experience.

Here’s everything you need to know about work experience for a master’s at business school, and whether you need it.  


What is required work experience for a master's? 

Work experience is often not a requirement to study a business master’s. Hanken Business School, for example, encourages bachelor’s graduates to apply for its masters degrees straight away, and there are no work experience requirements to apply.

Similarly, Luiss Business School accepts students into its masters programs from a range of different backgrounds, with varying levels of experience.

“Some of them have work or internship experience that they gained during or shortly after their bachelor’s degree, and some of them have no work experience at all,” says Professor Marco Mazzù, professor of International Marketing and recruitment leader at Luiss Business School.

For Luiss’s admission board, the most important factor is a candidate’s previous academic record, he adds. 


However, gaining some work experience before a master’s can help you excel in your studies. Cynthia Law, graduate admissions manager at Concordia University’s John Molson School of Business in Canada, believes that work experience in a relevant field can be valuable in...

pplication and may enhance your profile.

Your previous work experience can help you tailor your application essay by sharing relevant professional examples and showing how the master’s degree will contribute to your career, Cynthia explains. 

Still, there’s no official work experience requirement for John Molson’s research-based masters programs.


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Luiss Business School does not require you to have any initial work experience to apply | ©Luiss Business School / Facebook


Specialized vs generalist programs 

Work experience requirements can vary depending on the type of program you’re applying to.

MiM degrees are generalized programs offering an introduction to various aspects of a business. This means they have little expectation of experience before you apply.

For MiM programs, your GPA score, extracurricular activities, career goals, and overall academic performance will be valued in your application. Although work experience can help you gain that competitive edge, it’s by no means a requirement.

While specialized masters also value those parts of the application, some ask for work experience in particular fields or industries. 

Masters in Finance (MIF) are often highly quantitative degrees that aim to help students launch careers in banking and finance. Their technical nature means some MIFs are designed for students with professional finance experience. The London Business School Master in Finance, for example, requires financial experience in order to successfully apply.

Business schools offer specialized degrees in a wide range of areas including business analytics, technology management, supply chain management, marketing, and finance.

To make your application stand out for one of these specialized masters, it’s more important that you have relevant experience in the specialization you wish to enter.


Applying with experience: master's or MBA?

If you’re applying to business school with some experience under your belt, you may want to consider whether an MBA or master’s degree is your best option. 

Typically, to study an MBA, you should have a few years of professional work experience. John Molson’s MBA program, for example, requires a minimum of two years before applying. 

“For admissions into the John Molson MBA program, work experience is essential,” says Cynthia. “Employers who seek to hire MBAs also consider work experience important, as they are looking for candidates ready to take their careers to the next level and grow into management positions.”

The amount of work experience required for an MBA is usually dependent on the business school. Competitive admissions processes can also mean the cohort's average years' work experience is significantly higher than the official minimum requirement.

HEC Paris’ MBA program also requires a minimum of two years of work experience, but students in the cohort have an average of six years of professional experience. 

“Our students are well-rounded, high-achieving and have shown leadership potential through career progression,” says Benoit Banchereau, executive director of the Communications, Marketing & Admissions department of HEC Paris’s MBA program.

“We want their professional experience to add value to their classmates.”

HEC Paris also considers the quality of a student’s work experience, and the overall level of diversity in professional backgrounds among the cohort. This ensures the class is made up of people from various industries and functions, who possess transferable skills, says Benoit.


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If you’re a recent undergraduate looking to enter a generalist master’s program in Business or Management, applying with no professional experience shouldn't be an issue. 

If you're applying to a more specialized program, you may want to gain some experience to give yourself the best chance of landing a place. 

If you have more than a couple of years' work experience, however, you may want to consider applying to an MBA instead. 

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Student Reviews

Concordia University: John Molson School of Business

Anthony

Verified

25/11/2023

On Campus

Educational advancement

My time at Concordia College has been set apart by huge self-awareness. The steady instructors and staff have assisted me with fostering my abilities and information. The college offers a scope of administrations and extracurricular exercises, giving various open doors to understudies to reach out. In general, my involvement with Concordia has been positive and improving.

Student

Verified

16/11/2023

On Campus

My growth

"My time at Concordia University has been marked by significant personal growth. The supportive teachers and staff have helped me to develop my skills and knowledge. The university offers a range of services and extracurricular activities, providing numerous opportunities for students to get involved. Overall, my experience at Concordia has been positive and enriching.

Ashley

Verified

31/10/2023

On Campus

Communications and Culture Studies

I am currently enrolled in my first year in the Communication and Culture studies program. I have met so many incredible people and have already acquired skills that I will serve me in my professional career. The courses are dynamic, engaging and intellectually stimulating. I am happy to be a student at this university and look forward to the next 2 years here!

Student

Verified

11/09/2023

On Campus

Significant advancements

Having attended Concordia University, I can confidently state that I have seen significant advancements in my skills. The faculty and staff demonstrate great thoughtfulness and provide effective support. Additionally, the university offers an abundance of student clubs and services.

Arman

Verified

11/09/2023

On Campus

Master of Quality Systems Engineering

I completed my Master's in Quality Systems Engineering at Concordia University, where I gained a comprehensive understanding of quality management principles and methodologies. The program provided a mix of theoretical knowledge and practical applications, including coursework in statistical process control, Six Sigma, and Lean principles. I engaged in hands-on projects addressing real-world quality challenges, collaborated with experienced faculty, and conducted independent research. This experience has equipped me with the skills and expertise needed to contribute effectively to organizations seeking to enhance their quality control processes and achieve operational excellence.

Amber Lee

Verified

6/09/2023

On Campus

Awesome

The Communication program at Concordia University will prepare you for the future. The program is divided in two blocks: one more theoretical, from which you learn the concept of communications through the perspective of philosophy, history and social studies; another completely hands-on in which you learn how to produce media choosing from three streams; sound, moving images, intermedia. What I love about the communication program at Concordia is that the teachers are clever, up to date, and exited about putting the future in the hands of students. Not only there is so much to learn in the communication program, but there are also so many opportunities!

Student

Verified

3/09/2023

On Campus

Concordia is best

Concordia university is one of the top listed universities not just in Canada but worldwide. The most amazing thing about this university is it is a standalone English speaking university in Montreal that allows non francophone students to enrol and study efficiently. My program is beautifully designed with access to high quality classrooms and faculty members that are available every time to attend your queries. The huge campus of the University including the library allows students to indulge in group work and research programs. The administration staff is super supportive and polite in their conversations. I have had the most amazing experience studying at Concordia so far.

Student

Verified

5/07/2023

On Campus

Entrepreneurship and Marketing

I had the privilege of being a part of Ryerson University's Entrepreneurship and Marketing program, and it was an outstanding experience. The program's curriculum was well-designed, providing a perfect balance of theoretical knowledge and hands-on practical application. The faculty members were highly knowledgeable and supportive, creating an engaging learning environment. The program's emphasis on industry connections and experiential learning opened doors to valuable internships and co-op opportunities. The resources and facilities dedicated to the program were top-notch, allowing me to explore my passion and excel in my studies. I am grateful for the real-world skills and industry connections I gained through the program. Ryerson University's Entrepreneurship and Marketing truly prepared me for a successful career in the business world. I highly recommend this program to anyone looking for a transformative educational experience.

Student

Verified

25/06/2023

Blended

Integrated Student Life

Concordia University has done a fantastic job at providing on-campus activities and workshops for students to feel connected and less lonely in stressful times. My program, Human Relations highlights this perfectly as a human relations student to be able to see the effects these workshops have on our beings and our mental and physical health as well. The student Life at Concordia has allowed our school to feel more like a community than a school.

Dami

Verified

6/03/2024

On Campus

Study review

As a graduate student in the doctoral program in chemical engineering at Concordia University, I would rate the program as highly commendable. Although, the academic experience has been rigorous, challenging, and intellectually stimulating, providing a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of chemical engineering principles. However, my ongoing program has been equally rewarding and has equipped me with the skills and knowledge needed for a successful career in academia and industry.

Student

Verified

7/03/2024

On Campus

Amazing

In general, I love my university. It's a true representation of diversity, with students from all around the world. The system is incredibly organized, with everything functioning seamlessly, from the structure to the services.

Kamilla

Verified

24/04/2024

On Campus

Great range of classes - Political Science program

- I would definitely recommend this university. Concordia offers a great range of various classes for Political Science program. Offered courses are interesting and well-taught. - My campus is located in downtown, and I have no problem to drive there and park, as university offers two big parkings for students - Teachers are nice and comprehensive. If students obtain a bad grade, there is always a possibility to discuss and do something with that - University has an amazing student life. There are various help-centers and crews who are always willing to help students

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