Application Process

Work Experience: Generally MBA programs prefer two or more years of work experience[1]. Prior work experience will impact the applicant's contributions to classroom discussions as well as the overall benefits of the MBA experience, including post-MBA job opportunities.

GPA:  The GPA is certainly an important consideration for business schools. At many schools, however, the applicant’s work experience may outweigh an undergraduate GPA. 

GMAT: Check the range of GMAT scores for the list of your target schools. All schools post their median GMAT score. Always remember that the GMAT score is not the only criteria measured. Applicants are eligible for a discount on the GMAT registration fee if they take the test as a college student. Consider whether you might be a good candidate for a test prep course. 

GRE: Many MBA programs now accept the GRE or the GMAT. If you are applying to other graduate degree programs that accept the GRE, you may be able to save considerable cost and study time by taking only one test for both programs.

Letters of Reference: Prior employers or professors can act as great a "referee." Be sure to prepare your "referee" – tell them know why you want an MBA, share your career goals, and make sure they have a copy of your personal statement and recent resume. This will allow your application and letter of reference to complement one another. 

Essays: There are many books available, such as “65 Harvard Business School Essays” that will provide samples of MBA essays. Striking a balance between personal and professional life in your application is very important. Be forthcoming, thoughtful, and sincere in your essays. 

Interview:  Most top MBA programs interview at least a subset of their candidates. The interviewers want to get a sense of your personality, presentation style and cultural fit with their program. 

Application Strategies

  • Consider the application round that might give you the best chance of admission. For some schools this may not be a factor, but for others, there is a distinct difference by round.
  • Give yourself ample time to develop your strongest application.


[1] Some MBA programs may admit students directly from college or, more rarely, even earlier in their undergraduate years.