MBA Programs That Don’t Require Work Experience: San Francisco

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. 

Business schools in the San Francisco metro are no stranger to MBA programs that don’t require work experience.

Edward S. Ageno School of Business – Golden Gate University

Golden Gate University is California’s fourth oldest private university and launched the region’s first evening MBA program in 1950. While students at the school normally enter with an average of three years work experience, no experience is required for the Traditional Weekend and Evening MBA program.

According to Golden Gate University, the evening and online programs are designed for working professionals to achieve their career objectives and allow for MBA candidates to work at their own pace in deciding how many courses to take in a given trimester and whether to study fully in-person, completely online or a combination of both.

F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business – Babson College San Francisco

While its main campus is located in Wellesley, Massachusetts, Babson’s San Francisco location opened in 2011. The F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College San Francisco features the blended learning part-time MBA program, which does not require work experience. While students in the blended learning MBA typically have around 11 years of professional experience, but that is not a requirement for applicants.

The blended learning MBA is a flexible program that combines about 20 weekly hours of online learning with classroom lessons every seven weeks on Fridays and Saturdays. Curriculum for the Babson blended learning MBA program includes core classes such as entrepreneurship and opportunity, financial reporting, managing talent and strategy. Available concentrations include: business analytics, entrepreneurship, finance, global management and marketing.

Haas School of Business – UC Berkeley

Founded in 1898, The Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley is the oldest business school at a public institution in the United States. Although no work experience is required, the admissions committee suggests a minimum of two years before applying. According to the Haas MBA FAQ:

Although not a formal requirement, virtually all of our students have two or more years of professional work experience since the completion of their bachelor’s degrees. The average years of post-university work experience for those admitted is just over five years. The middle 80 percent range of years of work experience is between 3-8 years. Therefore, applicants without any substantial work experience would not be as competitive.

The Admissions Committee does review and consider pre-university work experience in the review of each application; but very often pre-university work experience does not demonstrate the level of progression and milestones (such as promotions and increased responsibility) that are evident in post-university experience.

Leavey School of Business – Santa Clara University

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, the Santa Clara School of Business calls one of the most dynamic business environments in the world it’s home.

While the full-time and evening programs at Leavy require a minimum of three years working experience, folks with fewer than three years under their belts can pursue the emerging professionals MBA, which meets twice a week for 30 to 36 months.

Lucas Graduate School of Business – San Jose State University

The Lucas Graduate School of Business requires no minimum required or suggested amount of working experience in order to be considered for admission. For those who are seeking their MBA while working, the school offers an MBA for professionals.

The MBA for professionals program is a part-time program designed to provide working professionals with an opportunity to advance their careers. Classes are taught in Santa Clara and are delivered year-round in six-to-eight-week sessions, meeting one evening per week and on two Saturdays with some additional online class offerings. The program can be completed in as few as 24 months, or as many as 36. Admissions are held both in fall and spring.

San Francisco State University College of Business

Three years of experience are recommended, but not required in order to apply to any of the MBA programs at San Francisco State. The school offers a fast track, flexible and executive MBA programs.

The flexible MBA is designed for those who work full time and or those who want to attend school full-time. While no work experience is required, those applying for this program must have a four-year bachelor’s degree and a GMAT/GRE score.

Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Stanford University’s admissions committee doesn’t set a minimum requirement of work experience. Instead, the committee takes a holistic view of the candidate’s background, experience and initiative. Students enter the program with an average of four years professional work experience, although the range of students in the class is from zero years to 17.

UC Davis Graduate School of Management

While the school states that work experience is valuable to consider, it is not required in order to apply. According to the school’s admissions FAQ:

Full-time work experience is not required for admission, but highly preferred. The UC Davis MBA Program admits students with an amazing range of experience as well as an exceptionally small number of students who enroll directly from an undergraduate program without traditional work experience. Typically these candidates demonstrate superior academic potential as well as outstanding leadership, maturity and focus by their success in extracurricular and community activities.


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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