Applying to MBA programs is an expensive and time-consuming process. Each school has its own admissions requirements and components you must gather and submit according to instructions. Be sure to check each program's admission web page thoroughly, and carefully follow the instructions.
Most MBA admissions expect to receive by a designated date the application, GMAT or GRE score, college transcripts, personal essay, list of activities and resume, letters of recommendation, and the application fee.
When to apply
Most traditional MBA programs begin in the fall semester, and the application season begins the fall prior. More flexible schedules may accommodate entry at several times throughout the year, each with its own application deadline. Some schools have rolling admissions, reviewing applications as they come in and cutting off applications after a certain date.
A relatively common application practice is to accept applications in two or three rounds with separate deadlines and notification dates. This practice cuts down on the time it takes for you to receive a decision.
Whether your program has one deadline or three, rolling admissions or not, it is best to get your materials in as early as possible. Early applications cut down on your competition and may make you eligible for additional scholarships and financial aid. To ready yourself for early applying, take the GMAT as soon as you decide to pursue an MBA.
What to submit
Most programs expect to see the following:
- A completed, signed application form
- GMAT score
- Transcripts of prior academic record
- Letters of recommendation, at least one from an immediate supervisor
- A personal statement - an essay usually explaining why you want to earn an MBA
- For some programs, additional essays
- Application fee
You may also have to send in documentation of state residency, financial aid forms, or other relevant information.
More people apply to MBA programs than any other post-graduate degree, which results in a large number of business-school graduates seeking positions. This fact poses a problem for business-school administrators who want to boast about their alumni's high employment rates. Therefore, MBA programs are much more likely to accept you when they see evidence of your future success. This support comes to them in your academic record and also conveyed in your personal statement.
Before you sit down to write your essay, outline your future plans. Define exactly why you want to earn an MBA and clarify specific career goals. The personal statement should not only convey what you have achieved so far, but it should also link your past accomplishments to concrete future goals, ones that require an MBA to fulfill. The essay is your chance to show admissions the unique contributions you can make to their program.