MBA Admission Criteria

When applying to an MBA school, an applicant is well-advised to be aware of the program’s admissions criteria. These are the test scores, grade numbers, required classes, and experience a school expects from candidates applying for a master’s degree. Such requirements vary from school to school, but most MBA programs look at the same criteria when judging a candidate.

Most schools require a transcript of a candidate’s undergraduate record. This will show the school several things. First, it will show a student’s GPA. It also will be a record of any prerequisite courses. For example, some schools require applicants to have completed a course in statistics or economics. In addition, the school knows the university ranking of the school the candidate attended and can compare the GPA with the academic strength of the school. A transcript is a general requirement at all MBA schools.

Candidates for MBA programs should take the GMAT before they begin applying to schools. A GMAT score is good for five years, so the test can be taken long before one begins to apply to schools. All schools accept GMAT scores, and most of them require one. Few schools have a minimum GMAT score that is required in order to be accepted into their programs. The class statistics of a particular school, however, often include an average GMAT score. Foreign students often must take the TOEFL or the IELTS (International English Language Testing System) to demonstrate their English language proficiency. Most schools post their minimum TOEFL score on their websites. If a student comes close to the score but falls just below it, many schools will admit the student but require that he or she take an English course before the semester begins.

Work experience usually is considered a strong factor in admitting MBA students. MBA programs are for career-oriented people. Those who have made strides in a particular field before applying to graduate school demonstrate a commitment to business as well as some business acumen. Many schools recommend, but do not absolutely require, two years of full-time work experience from their applicants.

Last, MBA schools are interested in a candidate’s intangible personal qualities. These may be judged in a variety of ways, but the most common are personal, professional, and academic recommendations; application essays; and in-person interviews with admissions staff and alumni. These are very important opportunities for students to stand out from the pool of applicants.