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MBA Requirements and Applications

MBA Prerequisites

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

How Do I Get into Business School?

MBA Requirements

Finally! You’ve done your research and narrowed down your list of target schools. Now you’re ready to prepare your documents and complete your applications. All universities have their own distinct series of steps and requirements for admission, and depending on your major, these requirements may vary. Pay special attention to each school’s requirements and deadlines, and always reach out to an admissions counselor if you have questions.

Here are a few tips to help with the process:

The Application: Your “Virtual Introduction” to the University

Every graduate program requires an application for admission, many of which are completed entirely online. In addition, most schools charge a fee to submit an application, and costs will vary from one school to another.

The Essay: An Essay Will Most Likely be Required

Most programs require an essay with your application. Each school you apply to will outline a topic and specify the length of your essay. Think carefully and write thoughtfully. This is your chance to demonstrate your writing skills and let your personality (and “voice”) come through.

Some Important Dos and Don'ts:

DO review samples of other essays and review best practices for writing great essays.

DON’T plagiarize another essay or anything from another source.

DO follow the directions the school provides, particularly regarding page limit, subject matter, etc.

DON’T use the same essay for every school you apply to. Make sure your essay meets the unique requirements for each school—be creative, be thoughtful, be you!

DO start writing your essay well in advance of the application deadline to allow for revisions and editing.

DON’T write too casually or in slang terms. The tone of your essay is extremely important—be yourself but professional. Don’t use hard-to-read fonts or colored type.

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It’s Official: You’ll Need Copies of Your Transcripts

  • An “official transcript” is an unopened copy of your records from the high school or previous college(s) you’ve attended, and may be required as part of the application process.
  • Request these documents well in advance of the application deadline—they may take a few weeks for processing.
  • They can be sent directly to the school you are applying to, or they may be sent to you; but if they’re sent to you, they must remain unopened by you. Once they are opened, they are not considered official documents by the schools you are applying to.
  • There is also a nominal fee associated with requesting these official documents at most institutions.

Recommendation Letters? We Recommend You Follow These Tips

The application process may also require recommendation letters. Some schools may require one, others may require three. The school may require that these letters be sent directly to the school by the person who writes them, but each school has its own process and requirements.

  • Ask people who’ve had direct experience with you: coaches, teachers, counselors, mentors, or job supervisors. Choose people who can speak about your character, work ethic, dedication, and commitment.
  • In most cases, schools will not allow personal friends or family members to write recommendation letters for you.
  • Be sure to give those who recommend you plenty of time to write your letter.

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Test Scores & Résumé

Test Scores

As with many post-secondary educational degrees, 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 include a standardized test score, such as the GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) or the GRE (Graduate Record 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 Record Examination)

Most standardized testing organizations will provide test takers with official practice materials to help them 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.


Most MBA programs are looking for some level of professional experience, while some programs will require a certain number of years of experience in order to be considered for 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 in business.

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