A lot of people wonder if work experience is a must to get admission into an IIM. So, in this article, I am sharing my opinion on the same.

Is work-experience a must to get an admission into an IIM

Yesterday, I was listening to a speech by Bhargav Das Gupta, IIM B Alumnus, and MD & CEO of ICICI Lombard. He made one very interesting point. He said,

“Until you experience the corporate life outside, you won’t be able to admire the lessons taught inside the classroom of an IIM.”

I feel this is the very reason why work experience carries weight in the admission process of an MBA.

So, work experience is ‘not a must but a good to have’ in your profile before the MBA.

Now, let’s look at some of the advantages of work-ex in the MBA program.

  1. It carries weight in the admission process: Each IIM has weight for the work-experience, only the degree varies.
  2. It lets you know why you want to pursue an MBA: The job exposes you to the practical corporate world. This allows you to understand where your interest lies and helps you find a reason to pursue an MBA.
  3. It helps you think in a structured manner: I have realized that work-ex makes you a mature individual who is more practical in his perspective and approach to solving a real-world problem.
  4. It facilitates rich discussions on various topics in IIMs: Students with work experience from various sectors facilitate a rich discussion in the class. This is beneficial because students get exposure to varying perspectives and possibilities to deal with a particular situation.
  5. It helps in campus placement at IIMs: The exposure to the corporate world enhances your awareness and practical knowledge. This allows you to drive the interview in the direction you want and helps in your campus placement. A job gives you some practical knowledge that becomes visible when you speak in an interview, and that helps. Some companies look for people with some work-ex, and in those companies, you get an edge over freshers. For this reason, quitting a job is also not a good idea.

Now that you know that the work experience counts, one another question must have crossed your mind. And that is, how much of work experience is considered as good to get an admission into an IIM?

So, I will answer this as well based on my experience.

Generally, lesser than 12 months of work-ex is not considered. And the optimum work-ex, which can give you an advantage during admission as well as placement, is anything between 24 and 36 months. Again, this is purely my opinion based on my experience.

If we talk about the quality of work-ex, only the top few IIMs consider the quality of work experience,  Most of the other IIMs offer marks based on months of work experience only.


Edit: To the freshers!

After reading this article, many freshers approached me to ask if they should stop their CAT preparation now and resume preparation after some work experience.

I would say no to them. Keep preparing. As I said, work experience is not a must for admission in an IIM. Why would you stop trying when there is an opportunity for you to get into an IIM as a fresher itself?

I think if you are preparing for CAT during graduation, you have an added advantage of extra time and age. During college, you can spend more time on preparation. You also don’t have to worry about too much of work experience that many people with work experience go through because they could not crack the CAT exam in the first attempt and now they have 4-5 years of work experience. Understand that the CAT is unpredictable and uncertain. So don’t think that you can crack it as and when you want it. Things may not fall in place for you in the first attempt. As a fresher, you can afford one extra shot at the CAT exam. So, prepare early, prepare well, and grab every opportunity that you get.

I hope I have cleared the air now.


Read: When Should A Working Professional Join An MBA Program?


Related Articles:

  1. When Should A Working Professional Join An MBA Program?

  2. Should I Quit My Job And Take A Drop For The CAT Exam?

  3. Is Doing MBA From IIMs Really Worth It?

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3 Comments

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