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Applying to a Master's in Business Program

Business Graduate School Requirements

Application & Essay | Transcripts & Recommendation Letters | Test Scores & Résumé

There are a variety of steps involved in applying to a master's degree program. Most programs will require the following items:


Every graduate program requires an application. There is usually a fee to submitting your application. This fee covers the various aspects associated with the review of your application materials. The fee may depend on the location of the school, whether the intuition's control is public or private, the size of the school and its student body, and the apparent prestige of the university.

Entrance Essay

Most programs require that you submit an essay or statement of purpose with your application. The school will provide a set of requirements that will outline a topic and specify a length for your essay. For instance, you may be asked to write 1-2 pages describing your career goals and how you feel pursuing a graduate degree in business will help you achieve these goals. Here are a few things to keep in mind as your plan your essay:

Never plagiarize an essay you find on the Internet or in a book. However, it is okay to look at samples in order to stimulate ideas and refine your format. There are many books that provide tips on writing your entrance essay. Visiting your local bookstore or searching online to examine various styles and suggestions is a good place to start.

Follow the Directions
As you review the requirements for the essay, it is important that you follow these directions precisely. This means that if there are a maximum number of pages or words allowed it is imperative that you do not exceed this limit. If you are applying to more than one school, you have to be much more organized in preparing your essays in order to be sure you fulfill each school's requirements. You will likely have to write several versions of your essay depending on the requirements of each school. This can become very time consuming, so be sure you double check your application deadlines and give yourself plenty of opportunity to write high-quality essays.

Prove You Can Write
Be sure you "show-off" your writing skills. Entrance essays can be tedious reading for admissions officers, so keeping them interesting is a high-priority. Therefore, essays should follow a standardized format, your paragraphs should be complete and compelling, your sentences should flow together nicely, and your words should speak from the heart. Your entrance essay is just another opportunity to show the admissions committee that you will be a successful student.

Proof Read Thoroughly
Don't ruin your chances for admission with costly grammatical errors. Make sure you have others read your essay for spelling and punctuation down falls.

Be Professional
The appearance and tone of your essay is extremely important. Do not use hard to read fonts or colored type. If your application requires a printed version of your essay, invest in a high-quality paper and print job. The overall tone should be respectful and professional.

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Transcripts & Recommendation Letters


These are pretty straight forward. An official transcript is an unopened copy of your records from the schools you have previously attended. The primary area to be aware of here is the cost, especially if you are applying to several schools.

Recommendation Letters

It is likely that the schools you apply to will require one if not three letters of recommendation. Although letters of recommendation are usually the last thing an admissions committee reviews, it is still important to be sure they are going to add strength to your application. Most schools will have individuals who are writing a recommendation letter submit it directly to the school, therefore, be sure you trust this person to write accurately on your behalf. Your best writers will likely be direct supervisors who can attest for your professional abilities and past professors who can defend your academic skills. Be sure to provide those who recommended you enough time to write your letter. At least a week if not longer is appropriate. Most letter writers will want to see a copy of your resume, so completing a final resume in a timely manner is important. And lastly, thank you cards are always appropriate.

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Test Scores & Résumé

Test Scores

As with many post secondary educational degree, some master's degree programs require a certain score on a standardized admissions test. The first thing you will need to do is find out which test your degree program requires and the minimum score that must be obtained for admission. Most standardized tests charge a fee for you to take the test. You must register and pay for the exams in advance, as test centers only allow a limited number of students per session. Many business schools require that your application includes a standardized test score such as the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or the GRE (Graduate Records Examination). You can register for these tests online at the following websites:

> Register to take the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test)

> Register to take the GRE (Graduate Records Examination)

Most standardized testing organizations will provide test takers with official practice materials to help you prepare. These materials, some of which are free, typically review the topics covered on the tests, as well as include sample questions, practice quizzes, and full-length exams with actual questions from previously administered tests. These types of practice materials can be accessed from the GMAT and GRE websites.

In addition to the materials provided by the testing organizations, there are a variety of test preparation materials produced by other organizations. There are even classes available to help you prepare. You can purchase books and study guides online and in bookstores. Most of these publications are very similar and give you a chance to practice from a wealth of materials.


Most master's level programs, particularly MBA programs, are looking for some level of professional experience. Some MBA programs require a certain number of years of experience prior to participation in the program. Your resume doesn't have to be anything drastically different than you would provide to a potential employer just be sure it is current. There are no special formats or requirements other than what is generally accepted by business. This is your opportunity to show your work experience and professionalism.

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