Want to know how to get an MBA? Earning an MBA degree can be an intense but worthy pursuit for professionals looking to add significant value and skill to their careers. Getting an MBA is about more than scrolling the MBA rankings for the top program. It means deciding what MBA program is right for you, knowing how to ace the MBA application and how you can make the most of this specialized master’s program. In this blog, we’ll explore what you need to know about MBA programs, how to choose the best one for you, how to apply to MBA programs and what your program will include.

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Article Contents
7 min read

How to Get an MBA: Is it Right for You? How to Get an MBA: How to Choose the Right Program How to Get an MBA: How to Apply and Program Requirements How to Get an MBA: Your MBA Timeline and Curriculum How to Get an MBA: Helpful Resources FAQs

How to Get an MBA: Is it Right for You?

Before you jump into how to get an MBA, you need to first ask yourself whether an MBA program is the right step for you. You can ask yourself why do you want to pursue an MBA, and whether it will help you achieve your professional and personal goals at this point in time.

An MBA, or master’s in business administration, is a unique graduate studies program. These types of programs are becoming increasingly popular and sought-after. An MBA is an excellent choice for some because it can add undeniable value to your career, your professional skills and your personal growth. An MBA is specially designed to train professionals for leadership and management positions. An MBA attracts one of the most diverse crowds of applicants, from new graduates to mature and non-traditional applicants.

MBAs typically attract early to mid-career professionals with at least some work experience who want to advance their knowledge of business or grow their careers. An MBA program introduces you to advanced roles and concepts of business, from business strategy, operations management, finance and economics and more. MBA jobs are often leadership and managerial positions, including C-suite, directors and VP positions. Still other applicants might use an MBA to change their career paths to a new field.

However, you need to decide if an MBA is worth it for you. An MBA can help your career progression, opens up more job opportunities and the chance for a higher salary, as well as allow you to move into more specialized fields or positions. On the other hand, an MBA is costly and demands a not insignificant time commitment to complete. How long it takes to get an MBA depends on the type of program you choose, but no matter what, it’s a program that demands dedication.

To get the most of your MBA program, the first step in how to get an MBA is to choose the right MBA program for you.

How to Get an MBA: How to Choose the Right Program

Choosing the best MBA program for you depends on a number of factors. You might think it’s worth your time only to explore the most elite programs at top business schools or only look at the best MBA programs in the world. However, these programs, while excellent, might not work for you. On the reverse, this doesn’t mean the easiest MBA programs to get into are inferior or not worth applying to. An MBA program is not one size fits all.

You should carefully consider the cost of a program, the required time commitment to complete it, your own professional goals, your learning style and what your expectations are.

Here are some of your options when it comes to MBA programs:

Once you’ve chosen the best MBA program for you, it’s important to review the common MBA requirements and learn how to apply and how to get accepted to MBA programs.

How to Get an MBA: How to Apply and Program Requirements

Applying for MBA programs is as straightforward as applying to any other graduate school program. Most MBA programs have an online application you’ll need to fill out and submit directly to the school.

If you’re applying to MBA programs in the US, you can also apply to most MBA programs through the BusinessCAS, a centralized application service specifically for graduate management education programs, run by Liaison. This can save you some money on application fees if you’re applying to multiple schools, and it keeps all your documents organized. Applicants to MBA programs in Canada must apply directly to the program of their choice.

Before applying to any MBA program, be sure to check the complete admission requirements of the program. An MBA application can be extensive, and it takes some serious time to gather the necessary documents, write the required essays and put together the strongest possible application.

The most common MBA program requirements are:

  • Transcripts/GPA
  • GMAT
  • Prerequisite courses
  • MBA essays
  • MBA resume and work experience
  • Recommendation Letters
  • MBA interview

We’ll look at each of these in more detail, including how you can ace them to create the strongest possible MBA application!

1. Education Requirements

A majority of MBA programs, just like many graduate programs, require you to have a bachelor’s degree. Some programs will make an exception if you have equivalent work experience. For example, a program may accept 3 years of undergraduate schooling and a minimum number of years of work experience in lieu of a completed 4-year undergrad degree. Some programs will accept mature applicants without an undergraduate degree with 10 years of professional work experience.

Note that you don’t need an undergraduate degree in business or a related discipline to apply for an MBA. These programs accept applicants from all fields and industries, from business to science to the arts to the humanities. There is no strong preference for any major at MBA programs, although you may need to complete prerequisite coursework to be eligible to apply.

As far as your GPA goes, some programs will set a minimum requirement for eligible applicants. If you want to present a competitive GPA and get into some of the most competitive MBA programs, you should aim to have a GPA of 3.4 or higher.


The GMAT, or Graduate Management Admission Test, is a common requirement for MBA programs and serves as another academic indicator of success for admissions. Many MBA programs also accept the GRE, or Graduate Record Examination, so you can decide between the GMAT vs GRE when applying to most MBAs.

It’s important to book your GMAT test date well in advance and invest in some solid GMAT prep, since this is not an easy test! Earning a good score can help you get into top MBA programs and give your application a nice boost.

3. MBA admission essays

MBA admission essays are one of the most unique application components. They can come in a few different forms, from an MBA statement of purpose, to an MBA personal statement or personal essay, to the MBA video essay, an essay format which is becoming more popular among graduate programs.

If you’re writing an MBA admission essays be sure to look up the MBA essay topics or prompts so you can start brainstorming your answer. It’s also worth practicing your video essay delivery on camera a bit so you’re comfortable and confident behind the lens.

Your essays are one of the most important qualitative aspects of your application, and they help you stand out from a crowd of other applicants who may have similar work experience, academic records and reasons for pursuing an MBA. Your essays help your application be truly unique, so it’s important to put thought and effort into them.

4. Resume and work experience

MBA programs typically want to admit applicants who have both work experience and a track record of career progression. The best way to demonstrate both is through your MBA resume. This is different from your typical job search resume in that it is tailored to MBA programs. It should highlight your diverse work experience and show that you are committed to professional development and growing your career. Remember though: your MBA resume should be ONLY 1 page! Be selective in what experiences you choose to highlight and how you detail them so you can make the most impact with the space you’re given.

For some programs, there is a minimum for years of work experience you’ll need in order to apply. Pay attention to the dates on your MBA resume and make sure the timeline is clear!

5. Recommendation Letters

Your MBA recommendation letters are another piece of the admissions puzzle. They can be written by current or past employers, but your referees should be someone who has acted as your direct supervisor and can accurately and positively speak to your work ethic and professional skills. You can submit letters from your professors, volunteering supervisors or even long-term clients, but be sure to check the program requirements and regulations on submitting them.

6. MBA interview

Lastly, your MBA interview may be the most important part of your entire application, but also the most nerve-wracking! MBA interview prep is essential to get familiar with the process and learn how to answer tricky MBA interview questions.

Just like a professional job interview, it can decide whether or not you get accepted to an MBA program, so you’ll need to ace it. MBA interviews are typically used to evaluate the strongest applicants to a program, so if you’re invited to interview, this is a positive sign. Take the time to do some solid prep, including practicing your interview answers with a mock MBA interview.

Here’s how to prepare for an MBA interview and one of the most intimidating MBA interview questions!

How to Get an MBA: Your MBA Timeline and Curriculum

An MBA program typically takes 2 years to complete, although this timeline can be extended for part-time programs or online programs. Or, it may be shortened if you enroll in an accelerated program.

Your typical MBA program involves completion of required coursework, elective courses that diversify and enhance your degree, and usually completion of an MBA internship and other extracurricular and professional activities.

No matter the length, your MBA schedule will have several key components, from the instruction style to the core coursework to the extracurriculars.

How to Get an MBA: Helpful Resources

Getting an MBA takes a great deal of hard work, from the application stage to completing your courses and looking for post MBA jobs. Luckily, there are resources out there you can use to make the journey to an MBA a little smoother. Here are a items that can help you get your MBA:


1. How do you get an MBA?

To get an MBA, you’ll first need to research and choose the best program for you, depending on your career goals and current position. From there you can apply to MBA programs, so long as you meet the admission requirements. Most MBA programs require you to submit your transcripts, GMAT scores, resume, a statement of purpose or admission essays, letters of recommendation and attend an MBA interview. Some programs also have additional requirements, including a minimum number of years of work experience.

2. What GPA do you need for an MBA?

Some MBA programs list minimum GPA requirements for admission, while others don’t. In general, a good GPA to get accepted to an MBA program would be at or above 3.4. MBA programs can be extremely competitive, especially at top business schools, so the higher your GPA, the better, though it is possible to get into an MBA program with a low GPA.

3. What GMAT score do you need for an MBA?

Most MBA programs require you to take the GMAT, or sometimes the GRE. What is a good GMAT score will depend on the program, as they will evaluate the scores of accepted students to determine what they consider a competitive score. Check the average accepted score for individual programs so you know what to aim for when taking the GMAT or GRE.

Remember that there are MBA programs that don’t require the GMAT or GRE, and there are even online MBAs with no GMAT requirement.

4. Which bachelor’s degree is best for an MBA?

MBA programs accept a wide diversity of students, from all backgrounds and fields. It is not necessary to have a bachelor’s degree in business or a related field to apply to an MBA program, and most programs do not have a strong preference for a certain undergraduate area of study.

5. How difficult is an MBA?

An MBA, while not the most academically focused program, is nonetheless quite demanding. MBAs are usually intense programs, involving both coursework and professional work. The difficulty of an MBA typically comes from the large time commitment it requires, although certain courses may prove more or less difficult for you depending on your skills and experience.

6. How useful is an MBA?

MBAs can be extremely useful for the right individuals. They can provide more job opportunities, lead to higher salaries, help applicants move up into higher managerial and executive positions or even help you switch careers.

7. What are the disadvantages of an MBA?

An MBA may not be the right choice for you because they do tend to be expensive, they demand a significant time commitment and the return on investment may not be worth it for you, depending on why you are pursuing an MBA. If an MBA will not significantly help your professional goals or develop your managerial skills, it may not be worth pursuing. 

8. Can I get an MBA as a non-traditional or mature applicant?

Yes. MBAs attract some of the most diverse applicants, including many non-traditional and mature applicants. Because MBAs are designed for individuals in their early to mid-career, mature and non-traditional applicants are just as common as new grads. 

To your success,

Your friends at BeMo

BeMo Academic Consulting 

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