Before starting your research for the best business schools and the MBA degree requirements, it’s important that you ask yourself, “Why do you want an MBA?” This will help you to put into perspective all the time, effort, and money you will need to reach your goal.
In addition, set up your criteria (part-time, full-time, etc.) when choosing the right program for you.
These are some of the things that you should consider when developing your MBA spreadsheet or checklist:
- What kind of MBA scholarships am I eligible for?
- Does the MBA program have an international focus?
- Does it offer study abroad opportunities?
- How much time will you need to study for the executive assessment test, GMAT or GRE?
- And many more questions…
Organizing Your MBA Application
A helpful tool to organize all the information as you do your research is using a spreadsheet to catalog the programs that you are interested in. Include the school, location, tuition, test scores, application fees, financial aid, and any other information that you deem important. Not every website has clear information about the program or even all the details that you have to know, so a spreadsheet will come in very handy.
The Application: MBA Degree Requirements
Most MBA programs will require you to have a 4-year degree and some level of work experience.
- A full-time MBA program will require at least 2-5 years of work experience.
- An Executive MBA program will require at least 10 years of work experience.
- MBA Resume
- Letters of recommendation
- Time off approvals
- A few hundred dollars for the application fee for your application to be considered.
- And other materials (based on each individual school)
Recommendation and Approval Letters
Most schools want you to have one to two recommendation letters. When deciding who to contact to give you a glowing recommendation. The number one thing you need to keep in mind is…
Does this person know me?
Although it may be impressive to have a vice president or CEO of your company write a glowing recommendation letter. Admissions panelists want to get a recommendation letter from someone who truly knows you, versus someone with an impressive title.
Plan ahead who are you asking for letters of recommendation (at least two) and if possible, have a backup.
If you are planning to apply for the Executive MBA program, a letter of approval from your boss might be needed. Most times this letter is needed before you interview for the program.
MBA Essay Tips
You will want to dedicate as much time as possible to your essays; depending on the school, you can be required to submit up to 5 or more during the application process.
It’s very important to spend as much time as possible in these essays. My favorite approach is to create an outline and then gradually fill-in elements of the outline over time. This process took me 7-10 days per essay.
The result, you get well-thought-out essay responses that clearly demonstrates the amount of time and attention you placed into writing them.
Test Scores and Transcripts
The entrance exams required for an MBA program are the GRE, GMAT, or the Executive Assessment test (EA) test scores as well as undergraduate transcripts.
The Executive Assessment test
Most of the top Business Schools will require this test if you are applying for an Executive MBA program. If you haven’t taken it, or are not planning on doing so, make sure that the program that you are applying to doesn’t include it as part of the requirements. MIT, for example, doesn’t require the executive assessment test of this video. That may be changing for the entering class of 2020 and beyond.
To apply to an MBA program, you need to submit all of the transcripts from every university you’ve ever attended. Fortunately, there are a lot of ways to attain your unofficial transcript electronically.
There are some transcript clearinghouses such as National Student Clearinghouse and others that will allow you to send your official transcript directly to the school without touching it for a small fee.
MBA Program Duration
Sure, you will want to get your MBA degree as soon as possible, but most are 2-year programs even if you do them full-time. If you decide to go the part-time route, the number of days that you will have to go to classes will vary from school to school, but typically it’s Fridays or Saturdays, or a combination of both.
If you’re hoping to get a scholarship, it’s wise to apply in the first round to increase your chances of getting part or all of your MBA financed. Most MBA programs have very limited funds. This is especially true when it comes to executive MBA programs as some companies pay for a portion of the tuition.
If you go to the website of the program that you’re interested in, you might be able to find a template detailing the schedule that you will likely have for the full term. This will give you more insight into what you can expect and also help you decide if it is something that you are prepared for or willing to put in the extra effort.
As you can see, the road to getting an MBA degree can be a long one. But with the right help and guidance, this process can become much easier. Taking all of this information into consideration will help you craft the best MBA application you can to get a coveted spot in your dream school.