What Do I Need to Apply for an MBA and When Should I Start?

Get ahead in the MBA application process - learn about the required materials you need to start your journey toward a rewarding career. Don't miss our expert tips on how to prepare for success.

Lauren W.

By Lauren W.

Posted May 4, 2023

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The application process for MBA and Master's programs can be a daunting experience. Breaking it down into key components can help you navigate the process more efficiently. In this article, we'll discuss these crucial elements and provide advice on when to start working on them for a successful application.

The MBA application typically consists of six key deliverables:

  1. Academic Transcript
  2. Resume/CV (Work Experience)
  3. GMAT (or GRE) Score
  4. Recommendation Letters
  5. Personal Statement/Statement of Purpose
  6. Interview (by invitation, if offered)

For Master's programs, most institutions require the GRE instead of the GMAT and may request additional portfolio materials depending on the specific program. International applicants should also be aware that the TOEFL (or another English proficiency test) is generally required for admission.

More than half of these application components can be worked on at the time of submission, which means that even if your undergraduate academic performance was less than stellar, you still have ways to compensate – usually through strong GMAT or GRE scores.

Regarding when to start the application process, it's advisable to begin as early as possible with one of the critical elements: the GMAT or GRE. Test scores remain valid for five years, so even if you don't plan to apply immediately, it's beneficial to complete this step first. Some applicants choose to take the GRE soon after undergraduate studies, capitalizing on their familiarity with studying and test-taking. After gaining 4-5 years of work experience, they apply to their desired programs using those scores.

If you're unsure about your application timeline or just beginning to consider business school, we recommend allocating at least a year to prepare for the GMAT or GRE. The more time you have, the better your chances of achieving your target score. There's no disadvantage to obtaining your desired score earlier rather than later.

By understanding the essential elements of the MBA and Master's application process and starting early on critical components, you can increase your chances of success and pave the way to your desired program.

For further information and guidance on determining if you're ready to apply for an MBA, please don't hesitate to contact me for a free intro call, where we can delve deeper into your MBA application journey. Message me on my Leland coach profile to get started.

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