Apply to an MBA Program
A Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree is an advanced degree designed to enhance management and leadership skills. MBA degrees are often preferred or required for careers further up the corporate ladder. MBA grads utilize their in-depth business knowledge and skills in a variety of settings and industries from government and non-profit organizations to agricultural and telecommunications companies.
Just Getting Started?
If you are in the early stages of considering an MBA program, the first thing to do is clarify why an MBA is the right choice to achieve your career goals at this time.
- What are your motivations, goals and expectations?
- How will a MBA degree move you towards your professional goals?
- Is an MBA degree a prerequisite to enter your field or will it help you to transition into a new field? Could you accomplish the same goal(s) simply by taking a few specialized courses and/or pursuing relevant professional experiences?
- Are you aware of the marketability of your degree and the job prospects following completion?
Required Courses for an MBA
There is no uniform admissions’ standard for Business School. Most schools have several required prerequisite courses. These can include: Microeconomics, Macroeconomics, Calculus, and Statistics. If you don’t have an undergraduate background in business, you will want to start planning for any prerequisites you will need to take. Some programs will allow you to take these courses after you are admitted, before you begin the core coursework. Check each school’s website to learn more.
Selecting an MBA Program
Selecting a Business School, as with other graduate programs, is a personal decision based on numerous factors. We recommend a process of self-assessment in which candidates consider their own priorities, needs and goals. Business schools vary widely in their curriculum, teaching methodology and culture.
Important factors could include:
|Rankings & Reputation||Total Program Cost|
|Program Focus Areas||Culture/Atmosphere|
|Diversity||Total Credits Necessary|
|Business Connections||Potential Career Opportunities|
AACSB The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business
AACSB’s Student Website
IACBE The International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education
ACBSP Accreditation Council for Business Schools & Programs
Rankings are one piece of information. Research the criteria that are being measured to evaluate and rank Business Schools. The best program for you may not be the top ranked school.
Selection Criteria for Admissions
Admissions officers are looking for candidates with professional experience who have strong analytical, leadership and interpersonal skills. As with other graduate programs, your application will include standardized test scores, essays, recommendations, and transcripts.
The GMAT is the most widely used test for admission to Business School. Some schools will accept GRE scores as well. Check admission requirements.
You can find free diagnostic tests at the GMAT's official site. Take one to help you map out your plan of study.
Recommendations & Essays
Your essays and letters of recommendation are an important part of your application. Choose people who will give you excellent recommendations and also provide different perspectives on your work, academic, and leadership abilities. Let each person know why you would value their recommendation and what experiences or strengths they could discuss in their letters to support your application. Give people ample time to complete and submit their letters. Ideally, well before you are applying to an MBA program, you will have been building strong relationships with supervisors and professors who can attest to the quality of your work and character.
The essay gives the admissions committee a sense of who you are beyond the resume and test scores. It is important that you follow directions and thoughtfully and honestly answer the questions each school asks. Your essays should be well written and error free. UVM Writing Center and Career Counselors are happy to review your essays. Essays may touch on the following themes: Why do you want an MBA and how will it help you achieve your goals? Why is this the right time for you to get an MBA? Why do you want to get your degree at our school?
- Career Services: Applying to Graduate School
- Recommendation FAQ’s
- MBA Applicant.com: Essay Tips & Recommendation Tips
There are also print resources available in the Career Services Library.
Application Process Timeline
Allow yourself at least a year from the application deadlines to find, research and apply to MBA programs. Generally, the earlier you apply to graduate school, the more beneficial to you. At a minimum, submit the application at least a week before the deadline. Note that some schools have several application rounds; aim to be in the first round.
- Begin studying/preparing for the GMAT /GRE
- Begin researching schools
- Evaulate program types and decide which is the best fit: Full Time, Part Time, On-Line, Executive or specialized MBA
- Make a timeline with the application deadlines of all the schools you are interested in; note 1,2,3 rounds of applications
- Begin to identify who you will ask for recommendations
- Take the GMAT /GRE
- Visit some of your top schools of interest
- Build your resume with internships or jobs
- Begin to brainstorm ideas for your personal statement/ essays
- Take the GMAT /GRE
- Write/ polish your essays
- Request letters of recommendation
- Request official transcripts
- Research financial aid options & apply for Financial Aid
- Continue/ finish the above as needed
- Evaluate the schools you’ve been accepted to: review how your priorities and goals fit with the programs, as well as the financial implications and return-on-investment of each of your choices.
Financial Aid/ Scholarships
It is important for you to consider the total cost of your MBA program and research the options to finance your degree. Apply early in the process to increase your chances of admission and receiving a good financial aid package. The Financial Aid departments of schools to which you’ve been admitted will be a great resource. Here are a few websites to get you started:
- Business Schools.com Scholarship guide
- Career Services: Applying to Graduate School “Financing Graduate School”
- Harvard Business School’s Funding guideFind MBA Funding Information
General MBA Websites
Find information on different programs, tips and advice, articles and current trends.
- MBA Depot
- Bloomberg Business Week
- Business Week
- Professional Development Path
Last modified April 24 2015 11:52 AM