What To Know Before Applying For An MBA

applying MBA program

Before applying for an MBA, every student should be aware of a number of key considerations. First, are you bringing enough work experience with you to the table? Different MBA programs require different work experience prerequisites, and some ask for more than two years with a business or finance company. Have you gathered your references? Are you well-prepared for your upcoming GMAT exam? Do you plan to study full-time, or attend a parttime MBA program and work while you study? Do you know precisely which specialization you plan to take once you’re accepted? Once you’ve answered these questions, you are well on your way to beginning a rewarding academic journey. Below, you’ll find a few tips on how to prepare before you apply. 

Pre-Application Credentials 

An MBA will open many doors, but you have to take the first step. Find out what kind of pre-application credentials your school of choice is looking for, and then find the right person to write you a letter of recommendation. 

Most MBAs ask for over two years of work experience, so perhaps you can consider a manager or CEO you’ve worked for to provide such a letter. If you’re applying to a top school that is AACSB accredited, why not seek out a business person who went to a school with the same accreditation to write the letter for you? 

GMAT Scores Matter 

A strong MBA application requires very careful and diligent planning. Your GMAT score will be one of the first things your prospective school looks at. This exam assesses your writing, reading, verbal and analytical skills and most MBA programs require a score over 600. 

Candidates have the best likelihood of achieving top scores on their GMAT through proper coaching, and completing many practice tests before the day of the real one. And because it’s a standardized test, most locations will offer the opportunity to retake the test if you don’t get the score you were hoping for the first time around. 

Thus, planning well in advance increases your likelihood of scoring high. A strong GMAT score will put you at the top of the list of contention when you apply, but you will only earn top marks if you plan ahead and book your test well in advance. 

Find The Right Specialization 

In addition, you want to consider a program that provides you the specific options you’re looking for, especially if you’re looking to diversify your portfolio. Consider a school that offers several different specializations as part of their MBA. 

The Lazaridis School of Business& Economics, for example, offers a great deal of specialization options and even an MBA geared toward entrepreneurship in particular. Specializing in a field within your MBA requires completion of a minimum of four elective courses in one of the following fields: 

• Entrepreneurship 
• Accounting 
• Financial Management 
• Marketing 
• International Business Management 
• Operations Management 
• Strategic Management 
• Organizational Behaviour & Human Resource Management 
 Supply Chain Management 

Before you apply for your MBA, make a list of schools that you feel will fit best with the direction you intend to take. Deadlines for consideration into the Lazaridis School of Business & Economics, for example, begin as soon as February 1 for the part-time program in downtown Toronto, while admissions are due April 6 for full-time study in Waterloo. 

If you want to make your application count, get a head start on the application by knowing your dates, choosing a specialization, preparing for your GMAT, and securing a strong letter of recommendation.


I hope you enjoyed this blog post about what to know before applying for an MBA program at a top business school.

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