What qualifies as good working experience?Chen Wan Lim
With competition at the workplace and to gain places in business schools heating up, potential candidates might wonder if their working experience is ‘good enough’ for the admissions board to consider. Some might think that having worked at popular multinational companies and famous brands qualify as a superior working experience compared with working in family-run companies. However, the quality of the work and outcome are much more important than the branded institution.
Generally, the admissions board will look to form a class with candidates from diverse backgrounds with wide range of experience in a bid to enrich the entire programme. MBA courses for instance, rely largely on participation from the candidates and having candidates from many various backgrounds will add zest to the whole teaching experience with real world examples.
So, do not fret if you think that your working experience is not relevant or just not good enough. Here are some things to consider about your working experience.
1. Size doesn’t matter
Regardless of the size of the project you were involved in, be it RM100,000 or RM100,000,000, the most important point to display in your resume is the results. For example, you would want to display leadership qualities in leading a team of five to increase sales growth by 15% while reducing operational costs by 8%. In addition, you would want to highlight any critical thinking and strategic planning that was carried out in achieving success for the aforementioned projects. The admissions board would appreciate candidates which display a healthy level of team communication, leadership and experience in handling various projects, as opposed to just being a minor team member in a multinational company.
2. Career growth
Most start small and work their way up throughout the years to reach where they are. Success doesn’t come overnight and the admissions board knows it. As opposed to only showcasing your current high flying job, properly displaying your career growth with strong project participations, promotions and responsibilities will impress the admissions board more. Generally, the admissions board would prefer someone who has ‘gone through the mill’ as they would be able to bring along a wealth of experience, be it success or failures into the classroom.
Not to be confused with point number 2, your career path must be able to display some sort of relevance in your career growth. For example, a display of relevant working experience would be a candidate which has started out as an accounts executive in a manufacturing firm, gradually moving up to be an accounts manager in a plantation company and currently serves as an accounts director with an oil and gas company. On the other hand, a ‘not so relevant’ career path would be to start as a factory technician, then moving over to an insurance sales agent, before transitioning to an Uber driver and finally seeking an MBA degree to be a recruitment specialist. While everyone has their own story to tell, trying to tie all your working experience to display some sort of relevance is important for the admissions board to consider you into their programme.
4. Social works and charities
Apart from your formal working experience, including social works and participations in charities into your resume will add value and will increase your chance of getting selected for a spot in a Masters course. Participation in charities does not only display your willingness to give back to society but also displays selflessness in serving the community. In some MBA courses, candidates will be asked to serve on boards of non-governmental organisations and non-profit organisations to train leadership, managerial and decision making skills.