Should I get an MBA right after college?

Seniors and recent grads often wonder if they should get an MBA after college or work for a few years first. When should you apply to MBA programs?
Written by Genevieve Carlton, Contributor

An MBA offers major career benefits and a solid return on investment. The degree also requires a considerable amount of time and money. Is it worth investing in an MBA after college, or should you wait? 

Top business schools often look for work experience, and a strong resume helps MBA graduates on the job market. Still, there are some significant benefits to applying to MBA programs right after college — for certain applicants.

What is an MBA?

An MBA degree provides focused training in organizational behavior, leadership, and management. Professionals with an MBA work in supervisory and managerial roles in diverse industries. Business schools offer many in-demand MBA concentrations that prepare graduates for specific career paths after completing their degree. 

Graduate students pursue an MBA to increase their earning potential and advance their careers. The networking and training gained during an MBA can open doors to new professional opportunities.

Does it make sense for me to get an MBA right after college?

For some students, entering an MBA program right after college makes sense. Before applying to MBA programs, prospective students must consider whether an MBA is worth it for them and what their career options with an MBA are. 

Students in the following circumstances may find it beneficial to go into an MBA right after college:

  • Those with professional experience from a college internship or work. This experience helps applicants get into top MBA programs.
  • Those with clear career goals that would directly benefit from an MBA, including students interested in managerial roles.
  • Current working professionals who want to increase their earning potential by pursuing an MBA while working.

What to expect in an MBA right after college

Pursuing an MBA degree represents a major commitment. Students should know what to expect in business school before applying. 

MBA students complete rigorous coursework in data analytics, marketing, finance, and business intelligence. Learners gain advanced leadership and management skills through projects, presentations, case studies, and internships. Many programs let MBA students choose a concentration to focus their course of study and prepare for the workforce.

MBA programs come in many different formats. Degree-seekers can choose an in-person option or enroll in an online MBA program. Most business schools also offer part-time MBA degrees.

Summary: Should I get an MBA right after college?

Should you apply to MBA programs as a recent college graduate? While an MBA offers many benefits, there are also cons to jumping into an MBA directly from college.


  • An MBA offers valuable networking opportunities to help graduates launch a career in their chosen field. 
  • Learners gain hands-on experience that help them on the job market during an MBA internship.
  • Work experience in an unrelated field may not provide many benefits.
  • MBA graduates tend to earn higher salaries and work in more specialized roles.


  • Without work experience, applicants may have a harder time getting into top MBA programs, which often look for professional experience.
  • MBA students may struggle with case studies and class participation without drawing on previous work experience.
  • Employers hiring MBA graduates often look for relevant work experience, so getting an MBA after college without investing in professional development can hurt candidates on the job market.
  • Going straight into an MBA program also means postponing launching a full-time career and earning a salary.
  • Recent graduates also miss out on employer-sponsored tuition remission plans that help them pay for an MBA. 
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