How much does pre-MBA work experience affect post-MBA employment opportunities?

chocotaco99's picture
Rank: Monkey | banana points 63

I'm wondering how much pre-MBA work experience affects post-MBA employment opportunities. For example, do the majority of those who get management consulting jobs post-MBA already have consulting experience? What about those who get IB associate gigs? Were most of them ibankers before they went to b-school?

So what I really want to know is if I don't have relevant work experience prior to getting my MBA, do I still have a good shot at getting an IB or management consulting job post-grad?

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Comments (32)

Jan 31, 2013

Prior experience always helps but the 2 careers you mentioned are two that quite commonly hire direct from top MBA programs without previous experience. Many people go to b-school to switch careers into I-Banking or consulting. If you want something more specialized like PE or VC without prior experience you are probably out of luck. But if you want to be an IBD Associate they have roles specifically for new hires direct from school.

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Jan 31, 2013

Most IB associates do not have pre-MBA IB experience.

Feb 2, 2013
SECfinance:

Most IB associates do not have pre-MBA IB experience.

Does this change thier role/responsibilities compared to those MBA who did come from IB pre-MBA?

Feb 2, 2013
Cmoss:
SECfinance:

Most IB associates do not have pre-MBA IB experience.

Does this change thier role/responsibilities compared to those MBA who did come from IB pre-MBA?

Do they do different work than people with pre-MBA IB experience? No.

Feb 2, 2013
SECfinance:
Cmoss:
SECfinance:

Most IB associates do not have pre-MBA IB experience.

Does this change thier role/responsibilities compared to those MBA who did come from IB pre-MBA?

Do they do different work than people with pre-MBA IB experience? No.

And the hours are still 90+ week?

Feb 2, 2013
Cmoss:
SECfinance:
Cmoss:
SECfinance:

Most IB associates do not have pre-MBA IB experience.

Does this change thier role/responsibilities compared to those MBA who did come from IB pre-MBA?

Do they do different work than people with pre-MBA IB experience? No.

And the hours are still 90+ week?

Hours are the same for all associates. Associates without IB experience just have to catch up/learn from experienced analysts.

Jul 4, 2017

It depends. If you are a pre-MBA analyst, perform well, and return to the same bank your hours will be significantly better - just like analyst-associate direct promotes. You 1). Know what your doing 2) have equity, which means FaceTime is nonexistent.

Jul 6, 2017

Duh.

Jan 31, 2013

Pre-MBA work experience largely determines where you do your MBA. Where you do your MBA largely determines what options you will have.

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Feb 2, 2013

No, it doesn't make a difference. I know first-years at my school with interviews at the top firms from all walks of life.

Feb 2, 2013

Keep in mind that the "advice" you get on this board is often times coming from high schoolers and college kids who have no relevant experience to what you are asking, and use the "I know a guy" analogy to support baseless claims.

Obviously the job you have before business school impacts recruiting. You are competing for the same jobs not only against people from your school, but other MBAs (even some from presumably higher ranked schools). You need to put yourself in the best possible position. Suck it up and put in a little more effort for the few months you have left before you start bschool.

Feb 2, 2013

How likely are you to get promoted if your employer probably knows that you'll be leaving? If there's a real chance of being promoted, I'd go for it.

NB I don't have an MBA.

Feb 2, 2013

I'd say take the promotion and work for three months. You're about to go on a 2-year sabbatical from work with ample time to do anything you please. You'll likely regret not taking it once recruiting kicks off.

Feb 1, 2013

Ib and consulting are fine. PE and other buy side gigs will require per MBA experience

Jul 4, 2017

I am a Strategy Consulting Manager that did not have consulting experience (or a 700!) before I went for my MBA. It's absolutely doable. The one piece that i'd provide caution on is how you use your interest in pursuing consulting in your MBA application story - it's not a real differentiator in the application process. I worked with an admissions consultant (springboard admissions but there are tons out there) to help me turn my interest in pursing consulting into a compelling story for admissions. She also helped me after I was admitted to start up my networking game with MBB (for freeeee).

All in all, this is doable... but I also had help that I found pretty valuable.

Feb 2, 2013

For either MC or IB, if the banks and the consulting firms come to your school, then recruiting is a structured game - just talk to 2nd year students and the placement office. No pre-MBA experience required for either to the best of my knowledge.

Jul 4, 2017

<3 year isn't too helpful with recruiting in a pool of 5 years pre-mba average. Job details in reality don't matter unless your school isn't a serious recruiting target

M7 MBA, iBanking. Top MSF grad. AntiTNA. Truth is hard to hear! But... :
DickFuld: Yeah....most of these people give terrible advice.:
Jul 6, 2017

Congratulations on the M7 school! I can't speak for MBA job postings, but in general, the years of experience are just guidelines, definitely not set in stone.

Jul 6, 2017

Exactly right. "Minimum" usually means "ideal" in the recruiter's eyes. For reference: the job I have right now said minimum 2-3 yr exp to be considered and I had zero when I applied.

Jul 6, 2017

Also interested in this. Was wondering the likelihood of breaking into VC if you come from a non-banking background pre-mba and was recruiting out of a top 3 bschool. For example, let's say you worked in tech at a VC portfolio company, or came from a renewable energy background as a solar asset developer.

Jul 6, 2017

It's an interesting path to VC. VC is definitely an art not a science and also very small and tight nit. A solid start up track record and a pedigree/background that could've easily gotten you into banking or consulting is the really the only "sure fire" way. The best VC's are really good at making things and/or selling them or at least identifying people who can.

I've tried to lock down an answer on this and no one will give a straight answer inside the industry. So I guess my guess is as good as the next guy.

Jul 6, 2017

VC is a bitch to get into sometimes. I tend to think finance skills are less important as compared to XYZ skills depending on the shop. I managed to talk to a partner at a decent sized VC shop in Philly and he wasn't feeling my all finance background. If I was a premed student who did something random after UG I probably would have been more interesting.

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Jul 6, 2017

Here's the best post I've seen on entry level VC positions.

http://www.adventurista.com/2008/04/vc-pre-mba-hir...

Jul 6, 2017

thanks for the input guys. my question is more related to which would make a more "qualified" post-mba vc out of the following two:
1) 2 years banking, 2 years pre-mba vc (essentially two junior level jobs), or
2) 4 years banking (i.e. getting promoted, having some management skills and more client interaction, etc)
of course i am assuming that the business school for both paths is the same.

based on the comments, it sounds like vc's look for a little more well-rounded experience for their post-mba roles, but just wanted to confirm (anywhere i can find numbers to back this up?)

thanks again!

Jul 6, 2017
nodiggity:

thanks for the input guys. my question is more related to which would make a more "qualified" post-mba vc out of the following two:
1) 2 years banking, 2 years pre-mba vc (essentially two junior level jobs), or
2) 4 years banking (i.e. getting promoted, having some management skills and more client interaction, etc)
of course i am assuming that the business school for both paths is the same.

based on the comments, it sounds like vc's look for a little more well-rounded experience for their post-mba roles, but just wanted to confirm (anywhere i can find numbers to back this up?)

thanks again!

Pre-mba VC experience will UNQUESTIONABLY give you a better shot at post-mba positions than 4 years in banking will. I'd also say it isn't true that VCs like more well-rounded backgrounds. They all want something a little bit different in their associates, and even the same firm can want something different across different hires.

With that said, the one universal thing that will help you with VC recruiting is having a network. That is huge, and you will build that up in a big way as a pre-mba associate. That, and if you only have banking experience + mba, your chances will be very very slim. Even though they all want something different, that is very rarely a background that is desirable. Keep in mind that I'm not endorsing pre-mba associate path as the best way to break into VC post-mba, but between these two options it really isn't close.

Jul 6, 2017
fk:
nodiggity:

thanks for the input guys. my question is more related to which would make a more "qualified" post-mba vc out of the following two:
1) 2 years banking, 2 years pre-mba vc (essentially two junior level jobs), or
2) 4 years banking (i.e. getting promoted, having some management skills and more client interaction, etc)
of course i am assuming that the business school for both paths is the same.

based on the comments, it sounds like vc's look for a little more well-rounded experience for their post-mba roles, but just wanted to confirm (anywhere i can find numbers to back this up?)

thanks again!

Pre-mba VC experience will UNQUESTIONABLY give you a better shot at post-mba positions than 4 years in banking will. I'd also say it isn't true that VCs like more well-rounded backgrounds. They all want something a little bit different in their associates, and even the same firm can want something different across different hires.

With that said, the one universal thing that will help you with VC recruiting is having a network. That is huge, and you will build that up in a big way as a pre-mba associate. That, and if you only have banking experience + mba, your chances will be very very slim. Even though they all want something different, that is very rarely a background that is desirable. Keep in mind that I'm not endorsing pre-mba associate path as the best way to break into VC post-mba, but between these two options it really isn't close.

In my opinion this is the only relatively "surefire" path to becoming a partner level VC:

Top 10 UG in CS, Bio Engineering, or Near Eastern Women's Studies -> start 1st company sophomore to sr year -> sell it by 22-23 -> start second company -> sell 4-5 years later, big fucking home run acquisition rolled up by a large cap tech company -> become loaded and run the "disruptive emerging technology" corp/product development -> VC

Jul 6, 2017
Stringer Bell:

In my opinion this is the only relatively "surefire" path to becoming a partner level VC:

Top 10 UG in CS, Bio Engineering, or Near Eastern Women's Studies -> start 1st company sophomore to sr year -> sell it by 22-23 -> start second company -> sell 4-5 years later, big fucking home run acquisition rolled up by a large cap tech company -> become loaded and run the "disruptive emerging technology" corp/product development -> VC

Can't argue with that

Jul 6, 2017
Jul 6, 2017