Work experience and its pertinence to the NUS MBA programme

What does the admissions team at the NUS MBA programme look for when it comes to work experience? Is it the length of service or the prestige of the company? Are applicants with fewer than the average number of years of work experience at a disadvantage?  We seek to answer these questions and more in equipping prospective applicants with the right information for pursuing an NUS MBA degree.

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How much is sufficient?

Full-time students in the 2013 intake of the NUS MBA programme have an average work experience of 5.5 years, while their part-time counterparts have seven years. Do bear in mind that this is merely a statistic, not a strict guideline. While some candidates can impress admissions officers with just two years of work experience, others may benefit from having a lengthier corporate stint.

Internships and professional positions

For younger applicants with a dearth of work experience, listing their internships can be useful in demonstrating practical work experience, transferable skills, or even minor accomplishments. Even so, an applicant with a history of full-time professional work experience is likely to have an edge over another with only internships on the resume. However, do not underestimate the value of internships. Apart from gaining professional experience in a specific industry, it can be a source of valuable contacts and an opportunity to gain valuable insights in an industry.

What impresses the admissions team?

The NUS MBA programme values student diversity. As such, we welcome students with different backgrounds in areas such as healthcare, media, social entrepreneurship and family businesses. The programme does not specifically seek applicants with any particular professional profile. However, we desire a student body of well-rounded individuals. If applicants are from a profession that has a high representation, they may have to work a little harder to stand out from the rest.

How will the quality of work experience be judged?

There is no blanket prescription for the types of work experience that will gain applicants entry to the NUS MBA programme. Each person’s experience will be different and will be looked at holistically. What we can do is to provide a list of specific qualities pertaining to work experience that admissions officers tend to look for:

  • The types of skills applicants have acquired;
  • Leadership and management opportunities;
  • Participation in a variety of different projects;
  • Contributions to large projects within the company;
  • Good career trajectory;
  • And a good track record in an organisation.

When applicants are wondering whether their work experience will be good enough to gain them entry into the MBA programme, it is also important to know that work experience constitutes only a part of the entry requirements. If you feel that your work experience may not be up to par, you should take steps to improve the quality of your work experience or look into other ways to make your application stronger, such as having a high GMAT score.

Find out more about the admission requirements and the application process on our website, mba.nus.edu. You can also prepare your online application and contact your recommenders at  http://mba.nus.edu/apply