Average Age and Work Experience at Top Business Schools

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Work experience is a very important factor that business school admissions committees consider while selecting candidates for their upcoming classes. They consider not just the length of your work experience but also its quality. So, when you decide to apply to a business school and you are doing your research, average age and work experience are important criteria to look at.

In other words, If you want to get an MBA, work experience is one of the most important requirements.

Many schools have a minimum number of years of work experience that applicants must have. If you don’t have enough years under your belt, your application won’t even be looked at.

average age and work experience at mba programs

Even if you have the minimum amount of experience for a top program, you may not get in because admissions teams tend to give more weight to candidates with more experience.

One of the most important parts of applying for an MBA is figuring out how much work experience you need.

So, before applying to a business school always check if they have a minimum work experience requirement or if your work experience is near the average work experience of the last incoming class.

Do top business schools ask for minimum work experience?

There are a few business schools that ask their applicants to have minimum work experience. Most business schools don’t have an official guideline. However, the average work experience of almost top business schools is around 5 years.

For example, the cohort at INSEAD has an average of five and a half years of work experience. Despite the fact that the school recommends a minimum of two years of experience before applying,

Similarly, London Business School (LBS) recommends three years of work experience before applying to its MBA program, despite the fact that the typical LBS cohort has five-and-a-half years.

Fuqua Business School at Duke University, CEIBS, and HEC Paris all have more experienced cohorts with a greater average number of years of job experience. The majority of their cohorts have six years of experience.

Some business schools also need a minimum of two years of work experience and will not accept applications with less than this amount. Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, CEIBS, HEC Paris, and Dartmouth University’s Tuck School of Business are among these.

Let’s take a look at the average age and work experience of top business schools in the US, Europe, and Canada.

Average age and work experience at US business schools

The average age at top US business schools is 28 years and the average work experience is 64 months which is 5 years and 4 months.

Here is the average age and work experience of the latest incoming class of a few top business schools in the US:

S. No.Business SchoolAverage age (years)Average Work Experience (months)
1Chicago Booth2963
2Wharton2960
3Northwestern Kellogg2859
4Stanford GSB2858
5Harvard Business School2860
6MIT Sloan2860
7Yale SOM2753
8Columbia2863
9UC Berkeley Haas2966
10Michigan Ross2764
11Dartmouth Tuck2865
12Duke Fuqua2971
13NYU Stern2861
14Virginia Darden2763
15Cornell Johnson2865
16CMU Tepper2965
17UCLA Anderson2863
18UT Austin McCombs 2966
19UNC Kenan Flagler2965
20USC Marshall2964
21Emory Goizueta2871
22Georgetown McDonough2963
23Indiana Kelley3077
24Washington Foster2971
25Notre Dame Mendoza2765
26Vanderbilt Owen2969

Average age and work experience at top European business schools

European business schools tend to have slightly older students as compared to US business schools.

The average age and work experience at European business schools are 29.3 years and 5.6 years respectively.

Business SchoolAverage AgeAverage Work Experience
INSEAD295.5
HEC Paris305.8
London Business School295
University of Cambridge Judge296
University of Oxford Said285
IMD (Switzerland)317
University of St. Gallen (Switzerland)306
Mannheim Business School (Germany)306
SDA Bocconi (Italy)295.5
IESE Business School (Spain)284
Esade Business School (Spain)295
Copenhagen Business School (Denmark)306

Can I get into business schools without work experience?

Most schools will just suggest a minimum number of years of experience before you can apply, but some will turn down your application if you don’t have the right number of years. So, can you get an MBA with less than average work experience? Or even none at all?

Technically, you could apply to programs that don’t have a strict rule about how much work experience you need to have before you can apply for an MBA. There are no specific experience requirements at schools like NYU Stern, University of Washington Foster School of Business, and Yale School of Management.

MBA admissions committees will also look at your application as a whole, taking into account your GMAT score, GPA, and how well you do in the interview process, among other things. This means that you might get in even if you don’t have experience.

A deferred MBA program is another option, though it will require you to get some experience in the end. These let seniors in college or master’s students apply before they graduate and have any work experience. Schools will let people in as long as they have work experience before starting the course.

The Harvard 2+2 program is an example of this kind of plan. Those who are accepted must work full-time for two years before they can start the two-year MBA program.

Admit Expert Advice

If you want to go to a top school, you should get the experience you need first. This will give you the best chance of success.

MBA programs prefer to accept candidates with four or five years of work experience. This is because these students are likely to have had some leadership experiences, which sets them up well for further leadership development.

So, if you want to apply to a top MBA program, the first thing you should do is get some work experience. Only then should you worry about application rounds, essay questions, and everything else that goes into an MBA application.

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