The Fresh-Out-of-College MBA

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on June 29, 2011

There are a handful of universities that offer right-out-of-college MBA programs for a select few undergrads who don’t mind staying in school a little longer.

There are a few key differences between these programs and traditional MBA programs. Having undergraduate work experience or internships is helpful, but not required. As a result, admissions directors say every other part of the application must be stronger, particularly GPA and recommendations. The classes of students are also smaller, hovering anywhere between six and 20 students. It’s unclear whether graduates of these programs are hurt by their lack of work experience when applying for full-time jobs, but they offer an alternative for the small group of new college graduates who know they want to get an MBA.

The Silver Scholars program at the Yale School of Management (Yale Full-Time MBA Profile) is three years long and students are required to do an internship in their second year, says Bruce DelMonico, Yale SOM’s director of admissions. One letter of recommendation should come from a professor and internships serve as a proxy for work experience. The program has several hundred applicants, DelMonico says; about six are selected each year.

DelMonico recommends that potential applicants should use the semester breaks during their sophomore and junior years to find internships and focus on strong standardized test scores to stand out. Students should also make a “compelling case” in their application essays to explain why they need an MBA right out of college, as opposed to later.

The Momentum MBA program at Xavier University Williams College of Business does not require work experience, letters of recommendation or personal statements, considering them only if an applicant is on the cusp of acceptance. Students can be provisionally accepted as they wait for their GMAT scores, and classes start six times a year.

Additionally, the program waives up to 9 foundation courses an MBA candidate may have taken as an undergraduate business major, as long the student received a B or better, according to Dana Genet, an MBA specialist at the school, saving students 36 credit hours or $26,640, at the program’s current rate of $740 per credit hour. The program is small, graduating just 15 students in May, said Jennifer Bush, assistant dean of MBA programs. She said 95 percent of last May’s graduates found full-time jobs in their field, with an average salary of $70,837.

Leadership is key to get into the Emerging Leaders MBA program at Loyola University Maryland’s Sellinger School of Business. Applicants should show leadership and maturity through their letters of recommendation or resumes. The 12-month program is accelerated and taught cohort-style, meaning applicants must be “academically rock-solid,” says Ann Attanasio, assistant dean for business programs. The program has experiential components such as internships and site visits to companies built into the curriculum to make up for the work experience deficiency. The program, which is finishing its first year, had 50 applicants with 24 eventually enrolling.

—Kiah Lau Haslett

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