Sunday, 2 November 2014

Applying For An MBA Program? Here Is What To Expect From The Process

So, you want to go back to school and get your MBA? That's great! But wait - do you even know how to apply for a master's program? Let's walk through what you need to have prepared beforehand and what you can expect throughout the process.

Each school's program is likely to have some small differences in what we are about to discuss, but there are definitely some standard procedures that you will encounter along the way to getting into a graduate program. The two largest components are the application process and the entrance interview.

The Application Process

The first thing is pretty obvious. You need a four-year undergraduate degree from an accredited U.S. college or its equivalent. Three-year bachelor degree programs from international institutions are usually acceptable. Additionally, you will be required to submit your GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) or GRE (Graduate Record Examination) scores. Most often, you will have had to have taken your GMAT or GRE within the last year when applying.
Anyone whose first language is not English or who attended a non-English speaking undergraduate college will have to submit their TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) score to validate their ability to learn in an English environment.

These are the three standard items that you will find for nearly all entrance requirements. However, there are many other usual suspects you should prepare in advance, especially if you are applying to multiple schools.

Besides your degree, you will often be asked for your official school transcript. Sometimes a student copy is acceptable for the application process, but you will eventually have to produce the official copy if you are accepted, so it is best to go ahead and have it available. Most applications require the submission of an essay as well. These can range in length and vary greatly on topic, but you can bet that they will test your knowledge and ability to accurately communicate advanced business concepts.

The admissions staff will also ask you to provide a copy of your most updated resume. Finally, there is usually a document for you to sign and return stating that you agree to specific policies of the program and institution, and it may include paying an application fee.

Once you get all of that together and send it in, if you are lucky enough to be screened through to the next round, you can ready yourself for the most grueling portion of getting into an MBA program.
The Interview

If you make it to the interview round, that means the institution has interest in accepting you, but it is by no means a guarantee that you are in yet. Like the essay portion of the application, interviews vary greatly between institutions. You can bet, however, that the person conducting the interview has studied your application closely and that the interview will be tailored specifically to you, your knowledge base and experience, and your qualifications for your program of choice. It is very much like a job interview in that you want to impress with your skill set, but it also important to simply hit it off with the interviewer. Some programs also require the submission of a post-interview reflection where you are required to discuss how you believe the interview went and what the appropriate next course of action should be.

If all that has not scared you away from applying for an MBA, then you should at least have a better idea of what to expect about the application and interview process. Good luck!

By Andrew S

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