LUMS is the premier institute for an MBA degree in Pakistan and has been consistently ranked as the number 1 place to get an MBA. A lot of my GMAT students who are planning to apply to LUMS MBA program ask me various questions regarding the work experience requirement of LUMS. Here is a comprehensive list of questions and answers related to the work experience required to get into LUMS.

What is the ideal length of work experience required to get into LUMS?

In the past couple of years I have worked with many students who applied to LUMS MBA. One thing that was common in majority of the successful applicants was not the duration of experience but the quality of work experience they had. A few of the successful applicants had no full time work experience but had a few internships lasting no more than three months. LUMS evaluate work experience not by counting the years, but by the maturity of one’s work, the depth of an individual’s decisions at work, the impact to the work environment and level of responsibility and foresightedness.

In my experience LUMS does not favor one industry over another and highly values applicants working in a small business or public institution.

What counts as work experience?

LUMS is more interested in the leadership and management skills that you have acquired over a period of time rather than the number of years. LUMS counts work experience as any opportunity that assisted you to develop your professional and leadership skills. It may be a major undergraduate project, a 4 week long internship or voluntary work for a non-profit organisation. Many times students in Pakistan think that LUMS only accepts applicants with full time post graduate work experience – this impression is wrong and LUMS does welcome applications from candidates who are in their final year of undergraduate education.

Please note that academic courses do not count as work experience.

Is there any specific type of work experience that LUMS is looking for?

None – in fact in my view, LUMS is looking for applicants who focus on learning from the work experiences that they have been involved in. You might be working for a Fortune 500 company in a role that does not let you learn much of the managerial and leadership traits; versus you may be working in a little known start-up company that gives you multiple roles and responsibilities. LUMS looks for applicants with the ability to handle the academic rigor of their MBA program.

I am still an undergraduate student. How can I improve my chances of getting into LUMS MBA program?

LUMS business school welcomes applicants directly from undergraduate programs who have a strong leadership and managerial potential. LUMS MBA is a highly quantitative program and prefers applicants with strong quantitative and analytical backgrounds. When preparing for the LUMS MBA program always make sure that you have good quantitative ability to handle courses in statistics, finance, economics, accounting etc. Take foundation courses in calculus and statistics and make sure you do well on the GMAT test, especially the math section.

Take up internships during summers where you are involved in team work and collaboration. Remember, its not the company that matters it is the quality of experience that does. For undergraduate applicants LUMS is also interested in an applicants involvement in extra-curricular activities and community service. Such fresh students are able to contribute more fully to the LUMS community.

I have less than one year of work experience. Am I at a disadvantage?

Each year LUMS welcomes applications from early career candidates who have less than 1 year of professional work experience. As I mentioned earlier, LUMS is more interested in the skills you have acquired up till now rather than the number of years. Just make sure that you highlight instances and examples where you have exhibited leadership and managerial potential.