Why more work experience is worrying factor in IIMs and other top B-Schools

A small data interpretation exercise for all wannabe MBAs here:

Below are the pictures of PGP student profiles of IIM Calcutta for the batch 2015-17 and the points awarded for work experience during admission process.

IIM Calcutta Student Profile

IIMC Student Profile

IIM Calcutta Work Experience Point Allocation

Having placement record of IIM Calcutta, on prior work experience lines, would have given us a true picture of where people with more than 4 years work experience stand. But alas, let us restrict ourselves to Faculty of Management Studies (FMS) placement report which provided a peek into compensation based on prior work experience.


The Myth of Work Experience

Many of the freshers feel that they are at disadvantage compared to the work experience candidates but above data clearly shows that having no experience looks better than having more than 4 years of work experience, especially from placement perspective. We cannot generalise based on one B-School report but the pattern is more or less same. In India, people with more experience find it hard to get placements to their satisfaction.

Industry Perspective

Indian industry is still in growing phase and not yet reached maturity levels to that of industries in developed countries like USA. In USA and other developed countries, more preference is given to candidates with good academic profile and versatile work experience. People with more and quality experience were given better preference than freshers. This is not to say that freshers have to be less preferred but MBA education per se relies heavily on learning through group interaction and interpersonal skills which make experienced candidates better equipped in terms of contribution to class.

In most of Indian B-Schools, recruiters typically prefer freshers or people with less work experience compared to others. Take the case of Investment Banking, Banking and other financial services industry, batch toppers with no or less work experience are regularly recruited for key positions and given the same positions as that of experienced guys from non-financial background. I expect the industry to evolve over a period and give better weightage to work experience based on quality rather than functional domain.

B-School Perspective

We had seen many instances where freshers and students with less prior work experience topping the class at B-Schools. One reason attributed could be continuation of study mindset carried forward from college. Compared to them, work experience candidates find it difficult initially to adjust to B-School environment and take some time before going full throttle.

Top B-Schools rely on past data and statistics to take a call on class composition and the kind of student profiles those fit into their scheme of things.  As we said earlier, past data on academic performance and the kind of profiles offered to work experience guys might have forced B-Schools to re-think their admission process.

The result is less weightage to more work experience and carving out one year full time programme in Management for work experienced professionals. Indirectly, top B-Schools  are encouraging the candidates with more work experience to apply for PGPX than the regular flagship programme, PGP in Management.

Career Change and all that stuff

One question always hover on MBA aspirants minds is can they make the career shift and move to a new industry of their choice. The answer is not easy due to lack of solid data and relying completely based on few experiences. One pattern we always found is that students need to be in top 10 percentile of their batch to have the flexibility of choosing the industry of their choice. Otherwise it is a rat race and those with lots of patience only can make their dream come true.

Indian industry is still evolving and those with more than 3~4 years of work experience are at a disadvantage, not only at the time of admission process but also afterwards. Only time will tell how the movement happens.


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