The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a professional degree that integrates leadership, management experiences and team projects. As a business school graduate, you will emerge highly trained and broadly trained to assume positions in a wide variety of business settings — from corporations and health care to nonprofit and entrepreneurial arenas.
What do business schools look for?
Experience is a key factor in selection of applicants for most schools.
Some business schools will accept students directly from an undergraduate program, or with less than two years of experience. However, the more competitive graduate programs in business are typically looking for two-to-four years of professional experience. They are very willing, however, to consider experience from a range of industries (corporate, nonprofit, entrepreneurial or government service, for example).
You can still be a competitive applicant without “traditional” business experience. Schools will look to see that you have the quantitative, analytical, teamwork, leadership, communication and other skills that predict for success in an MBA program.
Schools vary in curriculum, specialty areas, teaching methodologies and overall atmosphere. It is important that you consider a number of factors before you begin the application process. In addition to the reputation of the school and published ranking, you should consider other factors that may contribute to your overall satisfaction with the program or school:
- Academic environment
- Career development and employment options
- Quality of life issues
- Financial requirements
There are a number of places online where you can get more information about business careers and MBA programs. A great place to start may be the MBA.com website.
The Application Process
Applications may be reviewed as early as October and November, and there may be two or three application rounds with final deadlines in March. Every school will provide information about deadlines and procedures on their website.
It is in your best interest to apply early, as many admissions decisions will be made prior to the official deadline. The popularity of the MBA has created a very competitive atmosphere, such that it has become increasingly important to submit applications early for the greatest chances of success in being admitted.