Business classes during your undergraduate degree can help you understand the concepts introduced during your MBA degree program, but they are not essential to getting into an MBA program. Some MBA programs are designed for those with no previous business education, and other programs will allow students to take core courses in order to shore up their business knowledge before entering the program itself. Though these options can be costly, you will enter your MBA program as prepared as if you had completed undergraduate business courses.
Admissions requirements for the top ranked MBA programs
Top MBA programs often require leadership experience. Usually, MBA applicants fulfill this requirement with at least 2 years of work experience in the business world, though some top programs note that other leadership, such as education or combat squad leadership, is also acceptable. This experience shows that not only do you have the aptitude for business, you also have the leadership talents necessary for using your MBA to accomplish great things.
These programs also require high scores on the GMAT, a standardized examination given to business students interested in graduate school admission. Top programs typically have no set minimum, but the average student in a top tier MBA program has a GMAT score above 700. This may seem like a steep requirement, but it ensures that the students have the necessary analytical capabilities to succeed in a specialized professional course of study.
Top programs also require you to submit other documents such as letters of recommendation or writing samples. Writing samples may be of your academic or business work before entering the MBA program or essay prompts designed by the school, and they are designed to give application reviewers insight into your thinking. Letters of recommendation give the school context for your academic and professional performance and can help the program determine if you would be a good fit.
These programs generally do not have GPA requirements, but students often have excellent undergraduate GPAs. Most top programs emphasize that they examine the total application package holistically to make a decision, meaning an application with an average GPA can be competitive if the student has an excellent GMAT score and positive letters of recommendation.
How to make your application competitive
If you are lacking in some areas of your application, you can make it more competitive by getting strong letters of recommendation. Letters of recommendation are a key feature of a good application and can illustrate strengths that a transcript may not such as business skills, punctuality or lessons learned after graduation. This is particularly true of letters from managers or other individuals in your company rather than professors who were involved in your studies.
Another way you can make your application more competitive is by writing a strong essay or statement of purpose. If you have contacts who have already received an MBA, or if you have maintained contact with your undergraduate business professors, you should ask them if they would be willing to look at your essays and statements of purpose. Experienced eyes may be able to point out potential improvements to your writing or point out areas where you are selling yourself short.
Another way of making your application more attractive is to interview well or have a strong GMAT score. Many websites are available for students applying to business school programs who are interested in learning more about the process from other applicants and graduate students. Other students may be able to share insights about the GMAT format, common interview questions and what the school is looking for.