The Masters of Business Association, better known as the “MBA”, is a common postgraduate path for students to take after college. Whether it’s to set yourself up as the next CEO or make a career shift, obtaining an MBA has its own challenges. First and foremost is getting into a good program. Here then are some common MBA requirements you need to be aware of NOW.
If you’re looking ahead to your postgraduate career and MBA ambitions, then be aware of these common MBA requirements that you’ll need to prepare for before applying.
MBA Application Pressures
Going after an MBA isn’t a walk in the park.
When post applicants decide to pursue an MBA, they often have multiple pressures to contend with:
- Full-time employment
- Family commitments
- Extracurricular activities
- GMAT studying
Understand that if you want to pursue an MBA degree, it’s a commitment you are 100% willing to make despite the difficulties.
Common MBA Requirements
Common MBA program admission requirements include:
- Four-year Bachelor’s degree from an accredited school (either U.S. or international)
- Minimum of two to three years of work experience, depending on career responsibilities
- Professional Resume
- Personal Statement
- Two Letters of Professional Recommendation
- Proof of English Proficiency (mostly applicable to international candidates)
- GMAT Score (preferably over 600 at minimum)
Key MBA Requirements To Consider
Here are a few key areas to focus on early in your undergraduate and early post-graduate careers:
You’ll definitely need a bachelor’s degree.
The majority of business school students enter MBA programs after already obtaining a bachelor’s degree. While some programs will accept candidates with extensive work experience but without a degree, you’ll have the best chance after getting your BA or BS.
If you’re at an undergraduate level now, there are degree programs you can study that will give you a leg up later on:
If you pursue a bachelor’s degree in any of these disciplines, you’ll receive a very broad taste of what an MBA program will dig into later. That being said, it’s not 100% necessary to get a bachelor’s degree in these subjects, but you’ll need one regardless.
Undergraduate GPA Score
GPAs still matter at the graduate level.
Just like making the transition from high school to college, MBA admissions officials will check on your GPA score. The difference is they’re looking at your undergraduate score.
If you’re already in college, or about ready to start, then focus on maintaining a B+ average minimum GPA score. Numbers-wise, look to keep it at around 3.6 or higher.
If your GPA is lower than that, you won’t be eliminated from consideration. However, you’ll need to focus on balancing it out with a higher graduate admissions exam score. Make the process easier on yourself while studying undergraduate courses.
GMAT Score Requirements
A great GMAT score will go a long way for your candidacy.
To get into an undergraduate college or university, you had to do well on either the SAT or ACT. When applying for MBA programs, you now have to place your focus on the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT).
Traditionally, the GMAT was the main test gatekeeper for MBA programs. However, times have changed, and now business schools will consider GMAT, as well as Graduate Record Examination (GRE), scores too.
It’s still a good idea to focus on the GMAT first and foremost. In terms of scores, the GMAT’s range runs from 200 to 800 (considered a perfect score). Your goal should be to hit an average score that matches what your prospective programs are looking for in candidates.
In general, a score ranging from 700 to 720 is a great sweet spot that will attract the right attention. Higher than that would be great, but shoot for that range as your bare minimum.
MBA program officials want to know where your career is right now.
Most applicants work a minimum of four years before applying to an MBA program. In fact, virtually all programs want you to have a level of real-world career experience beforehand.
Work experience is important because officials want to create diverse classes in terms of industries and experience levels. Follow the provided application directions, but make sure to be specific on what you’ve done at each position and list accomplishments more than responsibilities.
Show how you’ve contributed, not just position expectation. Officials will get a better sense of what you can bring to the table if admitted into a particular MBA class.
Getting Effective Recommendation Letters
The key is getting letters from people who know you without telling them what to write.
The worst thing to do with professional letters of recommendation is basically writing the letters yourself and having others co-sign them. Admissions officials can smell that from a mile away. The focus should instead be finding people who fit the following criteria:
- Have worked with you for an extended period of time
- Can speak objectively to your work performance and professional manner
The more recently you’ve worked with them, the better. In essence, they are providing confirmation about everything you’ve shared about yourself elsewhere in the application.
You can provide some instruction, such as backing up statements with specific examples but don’t tell them exactly what to write. If the admissions committee catches you, then you’ll be automatically rejected.
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