How to get an MBA through GMAT without work experience

Gauri Khatri

Gauri Khatri

Founder, Pegasus Global Consultants

Million-dollar question, Can I get an MBA through GMAT without work experience? The answer is yes, you can, however, let us review certain facts related to MBA admissions. MBA as a programme is designed for people with a couple of years of work experience. The MBA curriculum is designed to help students gear up for management roles. A familiarity with corporate structure and management gives the applicant an advantage in applying the concepts learn at business school to real time scenarios.


So, a lack of work experience can be a hurdle. However, the top business schools around the world are looking at attracting the best of talent pool. The schools understand that chances of getting a good GMAT score while pursuing education is much higher than attempting the GMAT with work obligations. So how does school get an applicant with a good GMAT score as well as exposure to a business environment. The business schools run a programme that is the solution to this issue. Let us discuss the option in detail.


Deferred Admission

This is a common and most easy way of securing an admission without relevant work experience. An early admit or deferred admission has over the year gained popularity in top business schools. Every school has a different name and admission requirements for such a programme. However, expectations and requirements from most of these programmes are: –


· Attempt GMAT in the last or second last year of bachelor’s or undergrad year and apply for an MBA. Selected applicants will be admitted in a batch few years down the line

· If you accept the admission, the school assigns you a mentor to enhance your overall profile (from an MBA point of view)

Now a question you might ask why I need to enhance my profile after securing an admit? The mentorship experience helps in the following ways: –

· Helps you understand the environment at a business school. Multi-tasking is the key to success and you are expected to ace time management (studies, activities, projects etc)

· You may be joining a batch with applicants who have prior work experience and with the guidance from your mentor you will not feel out of place in the class


Now that we have understood how Deferred Admission programmes work, let us review schools that offer such programmes:-


Yale Silver Scholars – Yale School of Management

Started in 2001, the main criteria for securing admission in this programme is no previous work experience and currently in final year of undergrad or postgrad. Applications for the Silver Scholars is accepted through the MBA application process. The first year is dedicated to classroom studies, in the second year you complete a year long internship and the third year you can choose your elective and complete the programme.


Harvard 2+2 – Harvard Business School

2+2 programme is open to students in last year of undergrad or postgrad. The pre-requisite for admission is no work experience. The application process is the same as HBS MBA, however, there is only one application deadline in stead of multiple round in standard MBA programmes.


Young Leaders Program & Early Entry Option – Indian School of Business

This programme is specifically designed for people with less than 24 months of work experience. Unlike the deferred admission programmes for people with no work experience, the EOO programme focuses on applicants with work experience not enough for a standard MBA programme. ISB EOO programme lets you defer your admission till you gain 24 months of work experience.


MBA as a programme is not just investment of time and money. The right programme will chalk out your entire career positively. Ensure you weigh all the pros and cons before settling for an MBA without the pre-requisite of work experience.

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