MBA prerequisites are requirements that students are expected to achieve before enrollment in an MBA program. While top schools are increasingly competitive and may have a long list of prerequisites, less-competitive programs may not require as many and may offer students more flexible options to complete them. As a general rule, the most basic prerequisite for all MBA programs is the successful completion of a bachelor's degree.
While most programs don't specify any particular type of undergraduate degree for admission, successful completion of a bachelor's degree at an accredited institution is required. International students must present officially translated documentation of an equivalent degree. Additionally, all MBA programs require that international students are native or proficient in the language in which the program is conducted. The most common way to demonstrate proficiency in English is through a TOEFL exam. While some programs now accept GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores, most MBA programs require GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) scores for admission. Your scores on the quantitative section of the test are especially important.
MBA programs focus heavily on math coursework. If your undergraduate transcripts show low grades in math and reasoning courses, or you do not have sufficient math coursework, you should seriously consider taking additional courses before even applying to an MBA program. Although a high quantitative score on the GMAT remedies unsatisfactory undergraduate math coursework for application purposes, additional classes or self-study in calculus, statistics and economics will prepare you for the math-intensive work required during your MBA studies. If you are accepted to a program without this coursework, it's likely that you will be required to successfully complete it before enrollment. Some MBA programs also require prior business coursework and knowledge. Get in touch with your school; it may offer refresher courses before the academic year to prepare new students.
Most MBA programs recommend that applicants have a certain amount of full-time work experience. Many of the top programs require two-plus years of on-the-job work, while other exclusive MBA programs focus on the candidate's leadership experience. Most MBA programs also consider a candidate's extracurricular experience during and following undergraduate studies. Volunteerism and community involvement are looked upon very favorably, but applicants with more unusual volunteering experiences are at an added advantage in the admissions process. The Harvard University School of Business MBA program, for example, doesn't have a minimum required work experience for its candidates, but instead focuses on candidates' past leadership, a capacity for intellectual growth and involvement in their communities. A lack of extracurricular activities and community involvement is considered a weakness and should be explained on your application or in personal interviews.
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