An MBA graduate cap on a laptop.
An MBA graduate cap on a laptop.

4 alternative pathways to study your MBA


When most people think about studying an MBA, they do so after completing a bachelors degree, typically in business, finance or marketing. Most typically, those considering an MBA also have several years of experience in the workforce. They may be a consultant, or they may already be in a management or even an executive position. These pathways are considered the “conventional” pathways to a Master of Business Administration (MBA).

Fortunately, your path toward attaining an MBA qualification doesn’t have to be conventional.

Yes, many MBA students do complete undergraduate studies prior to enrolment, but this is not the only road to MBA course entry at one of Australia’s leading and most industry-connected institutions: Victoria University (VU).

Alternative pathways into a high-calibre MBA course are far more common than many applicants realise. In fact, there are several different career routes, skills and professional experiences that lend themselves to qualification for MBA course entry. At VU, we recognise these varied backgrounds and how they shape our students’ learning experiences.

So what are some of the ways to start studying an MBA that don’t involve earning a bachelors degree first?

4 pathways for studying an MBA

If you haven’t earned a bachelors degree, the idea of applying for and completing an MBA can feel daunting. It’s understandable to question yourself or wonder if getting an MBA is worth it. Fortunately, though, many students find success through numerous different pathways, including those listed below.

1. Extensive industry experience

There is rarely a substitute for lived experience and “on-the-job” learning. For prospective MBA students who have gradually forged a successful career in business—or a related discipline—without an undergraduate degree, the lessons and skills accrued through day-to-day work are invaluable.

There is no limit to the skills and knowledge you can gain while at work, and these skills and knowledge may even be more valuable (and practical) to your MBA than a bachelors degree might have been.

From project managers to small business owners and entrepreneurs, VU recognises the diverse experiences of prospective students who apply for entry into our MBA qualification.

If you can demonstrate a minimum of five years’ experience in a related or relevant discipline you may stand a strong chance of securing entry into VU’s MBA course.

2. Combine a diploma qualification with industry experience

How you started your career doesn’t define where you’ll end up: sometimes, you may have not been ready to earn a degree, you may not have felt you had the time or financial resources or you simply may not have wanted to. You may have done any combination of things as an alternative.

For example, you may have started your career with a Graduate Certificate in Business Management and worked your way up into middle management. This path may have given you a plethora of real-world business experience across a variety of disciplines.

At VU we recognise this mix of learning and career experience. A clear demonstration of lasting, relevant industry experience and in-depth expertise is what defines the enrolment of new postgraduate students.

3. Start with a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration

If you’re still thinking of enrolling in a bachelors degree as a pathway to studying an MBA, why not consider a Graduate Certificate instead?

A Graduate Certificate is a higher qualification than a bachelors degree and takes less time to complete. At VU, you can apply for admission to a Graduate Certificate in Business Administration with a minimum of five years’ relevant work experience.

4. The 21st century career pathway

With today’s wide range of careers and pathways, you may end up working in a completely different field than what you studied. What if you do have a bachelors degree, but it’s completely unrelated to business?

Today’s modern business environment includes individuals of all career backgrounds and undergraduate qualifications. This includes those who may have completed undergraduate degrees in non-business disciplines such as science, engineering or arts and who typically shift into commercial environments as product or project managers.

For those looking to take their managerial profile to the next level, studying an MBA may be just the ticket.

Similar to today’s fluid employment landscape, VU Online works to understand the breadth of experience our prospective students bring to the table when considering applications for our MBA course. So if you do have a bachelors degree, but it’s not business-related, you can still apply for entry into VU’s MBA course.

Study an MBA without a degree

As your career evolves, so too do the skills, insights and expertise required to succeed, making studying an MBA all the more attractive. Too often, potential students think they can’t pursue an MBA without a degree, but fortunately, that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

An MBA qualification equips students with in-depth business and managerial skills, the opportunity to learn from the insights of industry-connected and highly successful course administrators, as well as the chance to benefit from engagement with a diverse network of like-minded peers.

An MBA qualification is a gateway qualification to greater opportunity for promotion or career change in the business or corporate world.

An MBA pathway for you

If you don’t have a bachelors degree, don’t let this hold you back. Consider all options to upskill yourself in business and reap the career rewards, which include—but are not limited to—access to more senior and higher-paying opportunities.


An MBA can also help you get the recognition you deserve for your experience. Learn more about our online MBA course here.