Getting admitted to a Master of Business Administration, or MBA, program can be a relatively easy process or a very difficult one, depending on the school you've chosen. If the school is in the top 25 list of business schools, you will need great grades, great test scores and great work experience, at a minimum. If your school is not on that list, you may have an easier time getting in.
Have at least three years of business work experience. You can even have been self-employed if you can demonstrate success. At highly competitive schools, admitted MBA students often have five years of great work experience with lofty titles such as director or vice president. The best managers often have hundreds of employees under them and millions of dollars in budget responsibility. As you gain work experience, keep in mind that you will need to have substantial achievements in the workplace as well as supervisors willing to write you letters of recommendation for the MBA program.
Take a Graduate Management Admission Test, or GMAT, preparation course and take the GMAT. If you are applying to a top school, you'll need a GMAT score above 700, with no scores below the 90th percentile. If you're applying to a lesser but still selective school, you may need scores between 500 and 630, depending on the school and your previous work experience. Some people blow off the GMAT AWA, or Analytical Writing Assessment, but don't do that. A poor GMAT AWA score gives the admissions committee a valid reason to reject you. At some schools, an AWA score above 5.0 can be used to waive the MBA program's writing proficiency requirement.
Have at least a 2.5 undergraduate GPA. Do not count graduate course work in your GPA calculations, as most schools know that graduate school courses have inflated GPA standards. In selective programs, you'll need a 3.0 to 3.2 GPA, at a minimum. In the top MBA programs, admitted students have at least a 3.3 and possibly much better if they don't have outstanding work experience.
If your undergraduate GPA is too low, take additional easy undergraduate -- not graduate -- courses to boost your GPA at a community college, online school or other private school. Keep in mind that once you're in graduate school, you'll be required to maintain at least a 3.0 GPA to avoid academic probation. You will also need a 3.0 GPA to graduate.
Take undergraduate courses typically required as a foundation for business study, especially if you don't have a bachelor's degree in business administration within the last seven years. Some courses typically required include Financial and Managerial Accounting, Statistics, Principles of Management, Principles of Marketing, Calculus, Micro and Macro Economics, and Computer Applications and Management Information Systems. Get the best grades you can in these courses, as that will indicate to admissions committees that you have aptitude for the subject area.
Apply for the MBA program of your choice. As part of the application process, you will write essays that detail how your managerial work experience and academic experience make you a great candidate for getting admitted to the MBA program. You will also be expected to submit letters of recommendation and usually will have an interview as part of the application process.
Things You Will Need
- Bachelor's degree
- Be yourself in your essays and interviews; don't write or say what you think the committee wants to hear. They are interested in your individual story and what you have to contribute to the program.
- Burke/Triolo Productions/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images