Getting Your MBA? Here’s a List of Requirements To Meet
An MBA offers some of the most in-demand training available. Find out what MBA requirements students need to meet to graduate.
Published August 5, 2022
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- MBA programs feature up to 60 credits of core courses, electives, and concentrations.
- Students in MBA programs gain valuable experience and build relationships through internships and networking.
- Academic and career advisors help students meet MBA degree requirements and find employment.
Business degrees and careers span many disciplines and industries and represent some of the most popular choices for students and professionals. With an MBA degree, graduates have access to many of the most competitive and in-demand positions in the business world.
While the MBA requirements differ by school, prospective students need a bachelor's degree at minimum for entry into an MBA program. Many schools also require applicants to meet minimum GPA and standardized test score requirements. Programs may require professional experience for admission as well, particularly for executive MBAs.
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Ready to start your journey?
Here we look more closely at the admission requirements. We also examine the MBA degree requirements, including coursework, concentrations, and internships. While you can find a specific list of graduation requirements in your program outline, knowing what to expect from these programs might help you when choosing and applying.
Admission Requirements for a Master's in Business Administration
The requirements for MBA admission may be more challenging than a standard master's program. Schools may require minimum 3.0 GPAs, prerequisite business courses, and relevant professional experience for entry. To meet these requirements, prospective students should begin thinking about their applications early, ensuring they gain all components beforehand.
Fill Out an Application
Prospective students should learn about different MBA programs before beginning applications, such as understanding the program types, concentrations, and expenses. Once they select an ideal path and confirm they have met the MBA requirements for admission, they can fill out an application. At the graduate level, learners often apply through each school's online portal.
Submit Test Scores
In addition to the MBA GPA requirements for admission, many schools require applicants to submit adequate GRE or GMAT scores. These tests evaluate a student's writing skills, verbal reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. To improve their chances at admission, applicants can take GRE prep courses in advance.
Ask for Letters of Recommendation
Letters of recommendation are usually very important to the admissions process. They provide schools with insight about applicants from professionals who know them personally. For an MBA degree application, candidates typically submit 1-3 letters from employers, business teachers, or school counselors.
Most MBA degree applications include essay requirements, which provide schools with personal information about the applicant and insight into their written communication skills. Candidates can enhance their writing by reading MBA essay tips and practicing by answering common MBA essay questions.
Submit Official Transcripts
All applicants must submit official transcripts with their applications to prove they meet the minimum GPA requirements. Not all MBA programs award transfer credits, but transfer students may receive credit and reduce their study times and costs. Transcripts also provide information about course prerequisites, which the best bachelor's degrees for MBAs tend to satisfy.
Complete Interview Process
Some MBA programs require applicants to complete an interview as part of the admissions process. Prospective students can increase their chances of success by practicing their interview skills. The style of these interviews vary, but they often look like job interviews. Candidates explain what interests them about a program and why they are a good fit for it.
MBA Course Requirements
Every program has its own MBA degree requirements that students need to finish to earn their diploma. For example, degree-seekers must complete between 30-60 credits in the program by taking a mix of core and elective courses. Some examples of fixed courses may include marketing, leadership, and statistics.
To ensure they can access the courses they need, students should try to map out their schedules early, working with an advisor if needed. Learners should also pay attention to their progress and maintain the required grades in each class. They should know how to calculate a GPA to best understand their grades.
Choosing an MBA Concentration
Prospective students may get the choice between a specialized or general MBA. Concentrations can significantly impact their studies and career outlook, so degree-seekers should choose wisely.
To make the best decision, learners should look at the differences in MBA concentration salaries and employment outcomes. Many of the most popular MBA concentrations come in disciplines that offer substantial growth opportunities and salary potential.
An MBA's core curriculum features the foundational courses in the program, which include courses that provide learners with basic knowledge they can build on. Core courses vary by school and MBA degree type, but they often include the major business disciplines, such as economics, marketing, communication, and finance.
Core courses typically fall in the first few semesters of an MBA program. This allows students to complete their primary studies before branching out with electives and specializations. If degree-seekers find they are behind, they can usually pick up extra courses to meet the MBA degree requirements without investing too much extra time.
Elective courses fall outside the core program. They may be complementary or interdisciplinary, allowing learners to explore different disciplines and applications. The specific electives available depend on the school, program, and student. Some electives require prerequisite training.
Students can apply different strategies when choosing electives. For example, they may pick courses that interest them or provide them with a break from the rigor of the MBA. They might also choose electives that develop specific and useful skills.
Work and Internship Requirements
Internships are integral to the MBA degree requirements in most programs. Internships allow learners to gain practical experience, apply their program training, and test out potential careers during their studies. MBA degree-seekers might pursue internships with large and reputable organizations in their desired industry to get their foot in the door or receive a respected reference.
Landing a business internship can be daunting, but students often have many resources available to them. Program advisors and career services professionals can help, and many organizations recruit interns directly out of MBA programs. Check the program curriculum outline to find internship details.
Networking and mentorships in an MBA program attract many students to this degree. Current and aspiring business professionals build relationships that may aid them in finding jobs after graduation and long into their careers. MBA schools and programs not only encourage networking but also regularly run networking workshops and events for students.
Networking can aid degree-seekers during their studies as well. College mentors help them focus, offer suggestions for projects, and provide program and course navigation advice. MBA students can network with their peers, their school's alumni, and industry professionals at various school functions.
Preparing for Graduation
Meet with an Academic Advisor
Academic advisors assist students with many aspects of their training, including preparing for graduation. For example, learners can ask an advisor if their course schedule and grades put them on track to meet the necessary MBA degree requirements.
Degree-seekers can set up a meeting to go over their current and upcoming classes and transcripts. Advisors can help them register for the courses they still need for graduation and set them up with the appropriate academic support if they need to improve their grades.
Apply for Graduation
The graduation process varies by school. Students may need to apply to graduate in one of their final semesters, which initiates the school's process of verifying that they met all required components. In other schools, learners simply need to notify the school of their plans to graduate once they are eligible.
When required, graduation applications ensure that the aspiring graduate understands which requirements they still need to complete. Students may even need to attend a meeting with an academic advisor to go over the requirements and submit the application.
Start Your Career
In the final year or semester of their training, MBA students should start laying the groundwork for their future employment. Learners can meet with career services professionals to look through any MBA career opportunities and gather contacts of organizations who may be hiring. They should also update their resume and practice interviewing techniques.
Many schools host networking workshops and job fairs that students can attend and meet with recruiters. Mentorships and internships are also extremely valuable in helping students prepare for the workforce.
Frequently Asked Questions About MBA Requirements
How long does it take to get an MBA?
The time it takes to earn an MBA degree depends on the school, program, and student. Typically, these programs take 1-3 years to complete. Program length varies by student schedules, course loads, and transfer credits.
Some business schools offer accelerated MBA programs, in which students complete courses in condensed sessions. Programs with extensive internships might extend a program's length.
Is an MBA worth it?
An MBA degree can lead to some of the most desirable positions in the business and financial sector, including senior-level and management roles. The corporate recruiter survey from the Graduate Management Admission Council found that a projected 91% of hiring managers planned to hire MBA graduates in 2021.
Furthermore, Payscale reports that the average annual salary for MBA graduates was $92,000 in July 2022, exceeding the annual mean wage of $58,260 for all occupations in May 2021. The exceptional applicability and earning potential helps justify the higher costs of an MBA.
Is work experience required to get an MBA?
Work experience is required for an MBA at some schools but not all of them. Competitive programs may use experience as an admission requirement to ensure that all students have first-hand knowledge of how businesses operate. This can increase the networking and peer-to-peer engagement within their classrooms.
Using experience as a requirement may also help graduates access leadership positions after completing their MBA degree. The experience level required for admission depends on the program type. General MBAs usually require 3-5 years of experience, whereas executive MBAs require 5-10 years.
Should I choose an MBA concentration?
An MBA concentration can make a major difference in a student's experience and post-graduate outcome. Concentrations can determine what courses students take, particularly in later semesters. They can also help learners carve out a career path and field specialty.
Before choosing an MBA degree concentration, learners should consider their interests, strengths, and experience. They might investigate which business specializations lead to the fastest-growing or highest-paying careers as well. Pursuing a concentration in an in-demand field can prepare students for more career opportunities after graduation.
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