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Why getting your MBA “Early” is a great decision

By Lilly Testa

There are a variety of reasons to pursue an MBA.  Some people want to change careers, some look to accelerate the climb up the corporate ladder, and some need to enhance or compliment the skills they already have.  Regardless of your purpose in pursuing an MBA, many students postpone this educational milestone because they know that industry practice is to have 3-5 years of formal, post-graduate (that means internships don’t count) work experience before returning for the degree.

However, this trend has been changing in recent years.  What many colleges around the nation are realizing – and Simon was one of the first to take action – is that students with 0-3 years of formal work experience can be as successful with an MBA, or MORE, than some of their more work-seasoned counterparts.

For many years now, the Simon School has taken to admitting Early Leaders, or those who apply with 0-3 years of formal work experience.  This provides a high return on investment for the student as well as the ability to pursue a graduate-level management degree many have planned to obtain regardless.  There are a number of benefits I will detail below.

• Obtaining the MBA when you are a recent graduate means that you still understand how to learn in a college setting.  Many students who have been in the workforce for 3+ years have forgotten how to study, take tests, write academic papers and read class materials efficiently while balancing the other parts to their lives. You do not!
• Going directly from an undergraduate to a graduate program means you have not experienced and will not experience lost income from a full-time job.  Many students returning to school are used to salary income, and being a student with no income for much of the academic year can be a tough transition.  As students with no or only a little earning experience, this is not as difficult of a transition.
• Additionally, when looking at the opportunity cost of getting your MBA sooner rather than later, students have the ability to earn a higher income in the long-run.  The following information can be found on our website, but I would like to draw your attention to it here:  The accompanying table shows why pursuing the M.B.A. now yields an appreciably higher value later since individuals secure the post-M.B.A. salary jump sooner and then see it compounded by subsequent annual wage increases. At the same time, these individuals sacrifice less in salary to attend business school than someone who has worked for several years prior to enrolling.

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6 Year 7 NPV
Now -40,000 -40,000 72,000 75,600 79,380 83,349 87,516 $282,124
Later 40,000 42,000 44,100 46,305 -40,000 -40,000 87,000 $167,911

Early Leader candidates are just as qualified and capable as their more “seasoned” counterparts.  They receive competitive internships and full-time positions at global companies ranging from Johnson & Johnson and P&G to Exxon and R.W.Baird.  They are leaders in all aspects of club life here at Simon, and receive competitive scholarships throughout the admission process. 

We at Simon see the value in the Early Leader and encourage you to evaluate your career timeline, perhaps considering an MBA a little before you originally thought…
These points and many more are only a few reasons why those who are younger and not necessarily thinking they would like to pursue the MBA, should give it some active consideration.  More information on the Simon School Early Leader Initiative can be found here.   Feel free to email Admissions at admissions@simon.rochester.edu or call directly at 585-275-3533 if you have any additional questions about the program or opportunities we offer.

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