Applying For An MBA – Series Introduction

by Ryan Guina

So you’ve selected your MBA program and now you ask yourself, “How do I apply to an MBA school?” Great question.

Applying for an MBA program can be a daunting process – but it doesn’t have to be if you are organized. This guide should help you understand a little more about the application process.

How to apply to and MBA Program

Application: This is your personal information which usually includes your biographical data, scholastic background, and work history. There is usually room to include other pertinent information including academic and professional recognition, professional certifications, community service, clubs or organizations you belong to, or other information that may give the Admissions Council insight into your personality and professional prospects.

Resume: Your resume gives the Admissions Council a peak at your professional history including growth, tasks and responsibilities, and career path. They want to see that you have progressed and have a clear career path. Don’t worry, there is no “best job” for MBA applicants. MBA programs like candidates from all backgrounds.

Official Transcripts: The Admissions Council at your prospective MBA program will want to see the work you’ve done your previous schools, and more importantly, how well you did it. Keep in mind that the Admissions Council will want official transcripts from all universities attended, not just the degree granting universities.

GMAT Scores: The GMAT is the standardized test for B-school applicants. This is arguably the most important element of your application because if your scores don’t at least fall into the normal median for accepted applicants, you probably will not be accepted to the program you apply to. Here is what you need to know about preparing for and passing the GMAT.

Essays: The essays are your money maker! This is your chance to tell the Admissions Council who you are, what makes you tick, why you would be a benefit to their program (not why their program would be a benefit to you!), and tell them your strengths and weaknesses.

Letters of Recommendation: It’s one thing for you to tell the Admissions Council who you are and what you do, but it’s another thing for someone else to tell them. Especially when that someone else was in a supervisory position over you.

Interviews: This is another chance to shine in front of the Admissions Council. Treat this like a job interview – be confident – not arrogant, dress well, and give well thoughtful answers.

Application Fees: Don’t forget to pay your application fees, they are important!

Remember, getting into an MBA program is a very competitive and detailed process for everyone involved. You want to ensure you get accepted into the best program you can, and the schools want to ensure they have the best and brightest students attending their MBA program because it is a direct reflection of their reputation and standing in the business community. Do your best to prove to the Admissions Council that not only are you good enough to attend their program, but that you will be a good reflection upon their school and traditions. Good luck on your application!

This is the series introduction on applying for an MBA program. Please read the rest of the articles for more information!

For more information about selecting an MBA program, please check out my 8 part series – Selecting an MBA Program:

Published or updated December 31, 2009.
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{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kyle

Key for me when applying for an MBA program was my contact/counselor at the school, made the entire process a piece of cake.


2 Ryan

I’m glad you had an easy time! Many programs (especially top programs) are flooded with thousands of applications, and the amount of time they can spend helping individual applicants can be minimal. I guess it all depends on where/when you apply.


3 Roxy

Thanks so much for this series. It really gave me a great overview of everything I need to think and research more on.

Good luck with your MBA!! You should continue this series and chronicle your studies so we know what to expect once we’re in. 😉


4 KiraBG

Additionally, if you have taken the GRE in the last 5 years and you have an acceptable score, you hold a graduate degree with a good GPA, the GMAT might be waived for you and you can apply with your GRE scores. Make sure your GPA and GRE scores are good, though. Still, this is subject to admissions’ consideration, but it never hurts trying. I got into a good MBA program with my graduate GPA of 3.90 and my GRE of 640 Verbalm, 780 Math, 5 on Writing and did not have to study additionally or pay extra for taking the GMAT. If you have taken the GRE and have a good GPA, contact admissions and ask if they will accept them instead of the GMAT.

Also, a lot of programs require some basic courses which they can waive if you have taken them before, but less than 5 years before. I pretty much managed to cut my required courses 1/3 by applying and starting the program 2 years after my other graduate program. Thus I would also advise people to not wait too long after graduating college to apply for the MBA.


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