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How to Get into Business School

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Have you reached a crossroads in your career and aren’t sure where to go next? Are you looking for a new profession or want to bring your idea for a business to fruition, but aren’t sure how? If so, going to business school for an MBA might be your best next step.

An MBA gives you a deeper understanding of practices and strategies that can enhance your leadership skills and grant an advantage in career advancement. Business schools provide opportunities to network with other professionals and alumni, creating valuable connections and job opportunities. If you are a prospective entrepreneur, business school is where you gain the knowledge and skills needed to start and grow your business. 

Business schools offer a variety of specializations, allowing students to focus on and gain expertise in specific areas of interest. It’s also an opportunity for personal growth, as you’ll be exposed to diverse perspectives and challenged to think critically and creatively.

An MBA is the foundation for a wide range of roles in nearly every industry, but requires a lot of work and personal investment. If you are ready, here is your guide on how to get into business school.

What Qualifications Should You Have?

Admission to business school requires meeting specific criteria that vary depending on the school and program, but typically you will need the following: 

  1. Undergraduate degree: Most MBA programs require applicants to hold a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution.
  2. A competitive GPA: often at least a 3.0 or 3.5 on a 4.0 scale.
  3. Standardized test scores: Many business schools require applicants to take the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) or the Graduate Record Examination (GRE). Scores on these standardized tests help the school evaluate your potential for success in a graduate business program. Other test options may include the Executive Assessment, LSAT, MCAT and DAT though these are not as prevalent as the GMAT and GRE.
  4. English proficiency: For non-native English speakers, many business schools require proof of English proficiency, usually through a test such as the TOEFL or IELTS.
  5. Work experience: While schools do not often state a minimum number of years of professional work experience, there is a strong preference for candidates that have real world work experience.
  6. Essays and letters of recommendation: Applicants are usually required to write essays explaining their motivations for pursuing a business degree, their professional goals, and why they are a good fit for the program, among other potential topics. Letters of recommendation from current or former supervisors, and possibly former academic connections, tell admissions about your character and potential for success.
  7. Interviews: Admissions teams conduct interviews to evaluate you on a personal level, assess your communication skills, and clarify information in your application. 

It is important to note that admission criteria vary among different business schools, and it’s always best to check the specific requirements of the schools you are considering.

Steps of the Application Process

Getting into business school is a competitive and challenging process, but with preparation and attention to detail, you can increase your chances of being accepted. Here are some steps you can follow to help you get into business school:

1. Research schools

Start by researching the MBA programs you’re interested in attending, making sure that they align with your career goals and academic background.

2. Prepare your application

Make sure you have a strong academic record, a high GPA, and a well-rounded resume that demonstrates your leadership and achievements.

3. Take a standardized test

Start preparing for the GMAT or GRE early, and aim for a high score. Practice tests are helpful, and you can retake the exams if you don’t hit the mark. 

4. Get letters of recommendation

Choose recommenders who know you well and can strongly vouch for your abilities and character.

5. Write your compelling essay(s)

Your essay is an opportunity to tell the admissions committee more about your background, goals, and why you want to attend their business school.

6. Submit your application

MBA programs have different timelines for their admission rounds, so make sure you are ready by the correct deadline. Before you hit submit, make sure to double-check that all the required materials, such as transcripts, essays, and letters of recommendation, have been included.

7. Prepare for interviews

Practice your answers to common interview questions, and get comfortable with talking about yourself and your achievements. Don’t forget to dress appropriately!

Remember, getting into business school is a competitive process, and you may not get accepted to your first choice. However, by following these steps and preparing in advance, you can increase your chances of being accepted and achieving your goal of earning an MBA. 

Christina Griffith
Christina Griffith is a writer and editor based in Philadelphia. She specializes in covering education, science, and history, and has experience in research and interviews, magazine content, and web content writing.