Once you have made the decision to undertake an MBA and where to study, the next step is to apply to the program or programs of your choice. Actually applying for an MBA can be a lengthy and complicated process, with many specific requirements that need to be satisfied in order for you to qualify for an MBA program, and there can be many steps in the actual application process itself.
You need to think of the application process almost as part of the program itself and remain organized at all times in order to not lose track of what stage you are at in that process.
Your first starting point in preparing your application is to look at the marketing material of the school or schools you are interested in. Many will have a specific MBA brochure, or section on their website dedicated to the MBA, detailing everything you may want to know or need to know in order to ensure your application is targeted.
Your first point of contact within this marketing material should be the schools’ entry requirements. If you don’t match up to these it will be extremely difficult for you to convince the school that you should be accepted.
Most schools will have a minimum undergraduate GPA that is a prerequisite of all applicants. In addition, many schools with MBA programs will also have a minimum work experience requirement, which could range from between three and five years’ work experience within a related field of business or particular role. Schools will also have their own requirements for scores on the GMAT and GRE and vary in as far as which test they may require and what scores they would accept.
After you are happy that you meet the entry requirements in order to be eligible to apply for the MBA program, you will need to look at the actual application procedures. These will be detailed in marketing brochures or on the MBA pages of the school’s website. You will need to read the instructions for applying in detail and ensure you understand each stage of what is expected of you before you commit pen to paper or tapping in your information. Give yourself a checklist of what you need to do and at what stage so you can ensure that you have ticked everything off by the time you reach the application deadline if there is one.
There are a great many documents that you will need to submit to your chosen school. If you haven’t already done so, you will need to identify a testing center and take the standardized tests that form part of the requirement for entry.
You will need to make arrangements for transcripts of college credit from your undergraduate education to be sent to your chosen school. You will need to make contact with your college’s Registrar’s Office or get in touch through the school’s website to request the transcripts, which can be sent to you to forward on or directly to the schools you are looking to study with.
If you are in employment and especially if work experience forms part of the pre-entry requirements for your program, you may need to make contact with your company to ask for letters of recommendation. These don’t have to be from your current employer alone; you can seek references from organizations you have worked for in the past with whom you have a good relationship and who you consider would give you some good and positive feedback to endorse your application.
If those you make contact with to ask for recommendation letters are happy to do so, you will need to ask them to send the letters on official letterhead paper directly to you.
Lastly, but most importantly you will need to include an up-to-date version of your resumé with your application. Think about creating a new specific resumé to accompany your MBA application as you will hopefully be able to steer the information you include toward what is expected for the program. In addition, when it comes to being interviewed for the program, you will have a ready-made check sheet in front of you, or to remind you of your achievements and to help you to focus your answers.
Most schools will want you to complete your application online, so you will need to find the relevant section on the school website and create a profile. You will most likely be required to complete a statement as part of your application, in addition to including details of your academic achievements and work experience. This is your opportunity to demonstrate your reasons for wanting to do an MBA and where you see yourself in the future once you are successful in your endeavors.
The statement allows you the chance to inject some personality into an otherwise paper-driven exercise and to really ‘speak’ to the admissions adviser who will be reviewing your application.
Before you commit your information however, it is a good idea to have a dry run at it, so that you can order your thoughts and make sure it reads well and in a consistent style, especially if you complete this section of your application over a period of time.
When your statement and all other sections of your application are complete, check over what you have written and ask someone else to do the same on your behalf. It really helps to get a second opinion on your efforts in case there is something that has been staring you in the face that you’ve obviously missed. Once you are satisfied, make sure that all your transcripts and your test scores have been forwarded to your chosen school.
Only when you are satisfied that you have covered everything should you press the submit button and send in your application.
Your application will then be subject to the sifting processes used by the admissions department, to either match you or not to the required undergraduate GPA and GMAT scores to determine whether or not your meet the minimum requirement for entry. As you have already ascertained that your academic achievement does match, you will hopefully be in with a good chance of being invited to attend for an interview.
If you are lucky enough to be invited for an interview, you should feel satisfied that on paper at least, you are a good candidate for the program and that you have passed the ‘first test.’
The interview process now ensures that the school chooses the correct students for their program according to not only their academic prowess, but their personality and ‘fit’ with the institution and its ethos.
Handled correctly, an interview situation is a great opportunity for you to make a mark and to leave a lasting impression that will allow you to really distinguish yourself from the pack and to show your potential.
The interview is also an opportunity for the school to ask you about the information on your application as well as to find out more about you as a person and your ability to communicate in a stressful situation, demonstrating skills that will stand you in good stead for the rigors of the program you are hoping to undertake.
Find out about the SBBCollege MBA Program.
Further MBA reading:
- Rachel S, BSBA, SBBCollege Graduate 2013