I was planning on applying to US colleges for masters and recently I got shortlisted for this job at an Indian startup (I don't think they have anything major out in the market). They are working on some Machine Learning (ML) product and I wish to pursue a masters in ML. Will this job experience help me with the admission process or should I just directly apply? My plan in life is to do a PhD and then join the industry.


While I cannot answer the question for your particular cases, job experience does indeed matter for some graduate school admissions programs. For example, many Masters programs in Public Health or Health Administration have started to require some job experience in their admissions.


if you are planning to go back into industry, having relevant experience plus a degree will probably make you look better than just having the degree--at least this has been my experience as a recruiter

  • Unless I am mistaken, this answer does not address the question, which is about PhD admissions, not about applications outside of academia. – Wrzlprmft Nov 20 '15 at 9:54
  • you are right...I forgot to mention that I was a recruiter prior to attending a PhD program, and that I have also served on a PhD admissions committee since entering the PhD program in a top 20 business school. Industry experience did not factor into our decision criteria. Therefore, from my point of view it would be beneficial if the final goal is to return to industry, but not if the final goal is a tenured track research position. – caceves Nov 20 '15 at 22:09
  • Still, the question is not about industry applications. I am not doubting anything you’re saying, but it plainly does not address the question. The following sentence in your comment, on the other hand, does: “Industry experience did not factor into our decision criteria.” – Wrzlprmft Nov 20 '15 at 22:50

Speaking from a computer science point of view, having relevant job experience will almost definitely be considered a plus for admissions. I've seen and heard of many cases who had a mediocre academic profile but managed to get into good schools because of their job experience.

However, not all job experiences are given the same consideration. The degree of relevance of your job to your field and also to the field you're interested in applying to matters. Furthermore, some jobs are purely technical (like programming), while others include research components (like working in an R&D Lab). It goes without saying that the latter will have a better chance at impressing admission committees and faculty.

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