Why choose a pre-experience MBA?

08.08.2018 | | Katariina Nuotio

Traditionally, MBA-programmes have only been offered for business professionals with several years of managerial experience. Tuition fees have reflected their standing as mature individuals with a steady income, oftentimes sponsored by employers. As MBA-programmes have diversified in speciality and focus, also a new and growing subset of programmes have emerged in the US and the UK: pre-experience MBA-programmes.

The purpose of a pre-experience MBA is to enhance the employability of students, bringing their skills and knowledge base on par with middle level management without being on-the-job for several years. In the developed world this has to do with the so-called “degree creep” – as undergraduate degrees are more prevalent, employers seek to hire candidates who stand out with more education. In the business world, the expectations for mid-level management have grown: there is a need for broad understanding of business processes and strategy at all levels of the organisation. Also, with the trend towards leaner organisations, the number of middle-level managers performing the same functions as before has dwindled, while budgets for corporate on-the-job training are often tight. Thus, new hires for middle level management require a strong skill set from the start.

Typically, a pre-experience MBA classroom will consist of both seasoned professionals and fairly recent undergraduates in business. Both have to gain from this diverse setting, sharing their insights in class discussions. What will more experienced students gain from a pre-experience MBA? Based on our experience, a lot:

  • The content is very similar to a traditional MBA, enabling both sets of learners to consider their own experiences in the business world
  • When instructors are skilled in what they do, they know how to engage the classroom so that both sets of learners can contribute
  • Fresh undergraduates often have excellent academic skills, such as academic writing and research, which they can share with group members who may not have studied in university for a while
  • Fresh undergraduates often have at least some work experience, having had managers as supervisors and observed the setting from an underling’s perspective.

Read more about the pre-experience MBA that HELBUS offers in partnership with the University of Northampton, UK.

Katariina Nuotio


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