Seatlle MBAs That Do Not Require Work Experience

Work Experience

Not everyone comes from a traditional working background earns an MBA for the same reason. So, in the same ways that some MBA programs don’t require the GRE or GMAT score for their applications, many business schools are also willing to consider applicants with limited or no prior professional experience.

In the Seattle Metro there is one MBA program where professional working experience is preferred, but not required—the full-time MBA program at The University of Washington Foster School of Business.

Founded in 1917 and named for Michael G. Foster beginning in 2007, Foster is an Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International accredited MBA program located in Seattle. Many of the classrooms neighbor the offices of top businesses such as Microsoft,, and Starbucks.

Foster’s full-time MBA Program ranks in the top 25 in national rankings. According The Economist, Foster ranks first in diversity of companies hiring graduates and Princeton Review ranks the program as the fifth best in generating opportunities for women.

The program enrolls nearly 130 students per year and takes 20 months to complete. First year students are required to take 38 credits in core courses such as Financial Reporting and Analysis, Marketing Strategy and Statistics for Business Decisions. Meanwhile, second year students take two core classes on top of eleven elective courses that cover topics in Business Economics, Entrepreneurship and Operations Management.

Students come into the program, on average, at 28-years old. The average GMAT for this class was 688 with undergraduate GPAs averaging 3.35. While no work experience is required, full-time MBA applicants are required to hold a bachelor’s degree and GMAT scores are required for all applicants. The average score is 670. In addition, students must prove quantitative analysis proficiency via college transcripts in quantitative courses, GMAT score and/or current employment responsibilities.

The completed application includes an online application, two required essays, a résumé, two letters of recommendation, all prior transcripts, an official GMAT score report and an $85 application fee. Once an application is received, prospective MBAs may be invited to complete an admissions interview via video or in-person.

Aside from being the only program in the Seattle metro that doesn’t require working experience, Foster is also known for the UW Arthur W. Buerk Center for Entrepreneurship, which provides MBAs with knowledge and skills, internships and fellowships, business competitions and accelerator funds, expert mentors and connections in the Seattle entrepreneurial community. The center also organizes various challenges and competitions over the year so that MBAs can get the vital real-life experience they need, but without needing to have full-time employment prior to signing onto the program.

Foster is also home to the Jones + Foster Accelerator program, which helps early-stage, student-led companies through the decisive first six months of starting-up. According to Foster, companies enrolled at the Jones + Foster Accelerator receive:

  • Mentoring from a committee of entrepreneurs and investors.
  • Guidance creating a list of measurable milestones.
  • Drop-in office space in the Herbold Innovation Lab in Dempsey Hall.
  • Workshops on a variety of topics relevant to the companies in the program (raising money, developing customers, strategic thinking/planning, business sustainability, etc).
  • Access to a new fund to assist with early-stage expenses (up to $1,000 per startup team).
  • Connections to the Seattle entrepreneurial community.
  • Up to $25,000 in follow-on funding (if milestones are met).

All these opportunities for entrepreneurship make Foster the sensible (and the only!) choice for prospective MBAs looking to get into a program that doesn’t necessarily require lots of working experience beforehand.


About the Author

Max Pulcini

Max Pulcini is a Philadelphia-based writer and reporter. He has an affinity for Philly sports teams, Super Smash Bros. and cured meats and cheeses. Max has written for Philadelphia-based publications such as Spirit News, Philadelphia City Paper, and Billy Penn, as well as national news outlets like The Daily Beast.

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