In this blog, we share the best MBA rankings that will help you choose the right MBA program for you. In addition to researching MBA requirements and mission statements of the schools you want to pursue, you must also assess how these MBA programs can help your career and professional goals. Check out our lists of the best MBA programs in the US and Canada below!
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MBA Rankings: Your Top Choices in the US
Our MBA rankings are based on the average salary graduates of these schools receive. While other factors like MBA acceptance rates, GMAT/GRE scores, as well as work experience, matter when it comes to selecting the right program for you, you must also consider how a school can affect your life and professional career post-graduation. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council, 55% of domestic MBA applicants look for a salary increase or a raise when they pursue an MBA program, which is why we chose salary as the criteria for organizing our MBA rankings. So, if you're looking for MBA rankings that will help you in the long term – check out our list!
MBA Rankings: Your Top Choices in Canada
These are the average salaries of grads of the top 10 MBA programs in Canada.
Keep in mind that these numbers change every year. You should know that pursuing an MBA for financial gain only is probably not the right approach. Even though the schools we list above are considered the best MBA programs for increasing your salary or getting a raise, you should also consider their admissions requirements and statistics. The rankings we provide can help you assess which program can get you to where you want to be in terms of your compensation and we will guide you on how to use these rankings to choose your top schools below.
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How to Use Our MBA Rankings to Get Accepted: a Step-by-step Guide
Striving for a high salary is great, but there are many other factors that will affect which schools you CAN and SHOULD pursue. Here’s our guide for helping you pursue the best MBA programs for you.
Step 1: Research Each School
The schools we list above can help you navigate which MBA programs in the US and Canada you want to check out before you apply. You should certainly review other programs too, but if the salary increase is one of your goals – and this is common – then you can start with the programs we include in our article.
Research the school’s profile, mission, goals, faculty, curriculum, placement rates, and other program aspects that you are interested in. Find out whether the school meets your goals and whether it can provide the right path to your career plans. For example, if you are an international applicant, perhaps you want to secure a job position outside of your country of origin. If a program is not capable of providing you with this option, you should probably look for others. On the other hand, if you are a domestic applicant to MBA programs in Canada or the US and want to secure a position that would allow you to travel and work internationally, then look for MBA programs that have a track record of helping their grad with this goal!
You will most likely find dozens of programs that align with your goals, which is great! You will have a large pool of options that you can narrow down further using the steps below.
Step 2: Make Sure You Meet GPA and GMAT Requirements
Now that you have a list of schools that can help you achieve your career expectations, you can focus on the MBA requirements of each school and see if you qualify. Remember, MBA acceptance rates in Canada and the US are highly competitive. Commonly, MBA programs will use any excuse, including the GPA and GMAT or GRE scores, to weed out applicants in the early stages of the admissions process. This is especially true of highly prestigious programs like Harvard or Stanford Business Schools which get thousands of applicants this year.
Does this mean that GPA and GMAT are great indicators of your abilities? Does this mean that applicants with higher GPAs and GMATs will be better students or workers? Not necessarily. GPA is usually considered an indicator of your academic abilities, and so is GMAT. And while MBA programs pay a lot of attention to other requirements like work experience and recommendations, you should at least meet the GPA and GMAT requirements of the schools where you apply. You do not want to give programs any excuses to remove you from the competition. So, look for programs where your stats meet the requirements.
Keep in mind that GPA and GMAT can sometimes be reviewed in tandem. This means that a slightly lower GPA can be compensated by a very high GMAT score, and vice versa, so you can apply to programs where one of these stats is slightly lower than expected – but only slightly! So it is possible to get into MBA with a low GPA, but you must have a very high GMAT to outweigh it.
Tip: if you already wrote the GMAT or GRE and are not satisfied with your score, consider applying to MBA programs that do not require GMAT or GRE. They are few, but they exist!
Step 3: Acquire the Right Work Experience
Academic achievements are important, but work experience plays a huge role in your journey to MBA. You can certainly apply for MBA while unemployed but you do want to have some impressive work history at the time of application!
Unlike many other professional and graduate programs, MBAs put a lot of emphasis on your time and experience in the workforce. Consider this: you usually do not need work experience to get into grad school. While it’s important to have some clinical experience before medical school, it’s not a strict medical school requirement. Law schools will not expect you to have work experience either. But MBAs are different.
MBAs are looking for applicants who have solid work experience and want to continue to grow as professionals in the workforce. They want to see what you can do and have accomplished in the workforce via your MBA resume, MBA admissions essays, and your answers to MBA interview questions. Your grades and test scores are only a very small part of your application – your work experience and results are so much more telling! This is why many MBA applicants are considered "non-traditional" grad school applicants since most choose to pursue MBA after considerable work experience. They are already often established in their chosen fields and now want to learn and grow in the MBA program to reach new heights in their respective fields.
If you’re a recent grad, you need to make sure that you gain at least 2 years of work experience in total. They do not need to be consecutive, but your work experience needs to add up to 2 full years. Plus, it’s going to be difficult to set any professional goals without work experience, so do not apply to MBAs without this important requirement.
Step 4: Reflect on Your Accomplishments
Before you even start your application, it’s important to understand what MBA programs look for and how you can prove that you’re the right candidate. In addition to researching each school individually, noting their mission statement and goals, as well as their GPA and GMAT requirements, remember this important MBA application rule: showcase results rather than skills.
In your application components like MBA resume and even MBA personal statement, make sure to indicate the concrete results of your work. This will require some brainstorming. When you sit down to write your resume, jot down what you accomplished in your jobs. For example, you increased sales conversions by 30% or you decreased bugs or errors in a website by 50%. Give concrete numbers and facts that would showcase your skills. This will certainly make you stand out.
Step 5: Submit Strong MBA Essays
Your MBA resume will outline some of your most relevant work accomplishments, while your MBA admissions essays should tell the story of why you want to pursue an MBA and what it can help you achieve. Most importantly, MBA essays give you the opportunity to outline your accomplishments outside of work, such as MBA extracurriculars, personal achievements, hobbies, setbacks, and other events or experiences that showcase qualities valued by MBA programs.
MBAs can require a variety of essays: MBA personal statement or MBA statement of purpose, MBA diversity statement, MBA motivation letter, and more. Each essay will have its own MBA essay prompt and length requirement.
The truth is, essays are a really great way to demonstrate your suitability. Not only will you be able to showcase your communication skills and self-awareness, but you will also be able to create a full picture of your journey to an MBA. While your GPA, GMAT, and resume will showcase results in academia and the workplace, your essays will be able to fill in gaps that stats and numbers cannot demonstrate. For example, is your GPA a little lower than necessary? Your essay can address this setback and tell the story of what it took for you to get where you are. Just make sure to take responsibility for your setbacks and showcase what you learned from experiencing these obstacles.
Or maybe you have a non-work experience that showcases your leadership qualities and teamwork. Maybe you were a captain of a sports team for years or led your college debate team to victory. It might be difficult to fit this into a resume, so an essay can be the perfect opportunity to share this experience!
While it may be a difficult and time-consuming task, writing your essays may be the best chance for you to impress and stand out among hundreds and thousands of applicants. Most applicants will have a strong GPA and GMAT; most applicants will have work experience, so you may need to use other aspects of your journey to be a memorable applicant! The essays are a perfect opportunity to share these events! Use them to show your diversity and well-roundedness.
Step 6: Get the Right Recommendations
MBA programs look for leaders and team players. This combination of qualities can be difficult to come by. You may have a difficult time assessing how to demonstrate both of these qualities – that's normal. It's hard to be objective with regard to yourself. This is why MBA recommendation letters are so valued by admissions committees. They are meant to be objective assessments of your suitability and your potential. People who have experience working with you and managing you see qualities and skills you may be even unaware of!
The schools in our MBA rankings are some of the top schools in the US and Canada. They need to see whether your impact in the workforce has been positive. Your letters should come from supervisors and managers who have seen you do the work, who know your work very well, and who have had the chance to see your potential. You want to get really strong support from your referees, so choose only those who show enthusiasm to provide you with a letter of recommendation.
A very important note about this MBA requirement: make sure you submit the right letters for your circumstances. Read the program’s requirements very carefully. If they require 2 work references from everyone, do not submit a reference from a professor whose class you took. As we already discussed, academic strengths are important but work experience is vital. If you are applying to MBA, make sure to have letters from your work supervisor or manager ready for submission.
Step 7: Prepare for the Interview in Advance
According to the latest statistics, your MBA acceptance chances after the interview go up as high as 50%-75%. For example, your acceptance chance to Haas School of Business becomes higher than 75% post-interview! This means that your interview performance is incredibly important. And MBA interviews are not for the faint of heart, so you should really start preparing before you even get an invite.
Many students question why the MBA interview prep should start before the invite arrives – wouldn't it be a waste of time? Not at all. If you followed our guidelines above, your application should make an impression on the admissions committee enough to invite you to an interview. So once you submit your application, start on your interview prep right away. This does not mean that you have to start rehearsing your answers or stressing out about what you're going to wear, but you should start slowly researching the kind of interview your schools of choice conduct. For example, find out which interview format they use. Is it an MMI? Is it a panel interview? Is it a traditional one-on-one?
The interview format will affect the kind of MBA interview questions you research and plan for. Check out tricky MBA interview questions, and common interview questions, and talk to current MBA students to learn what you can expect. Start brainstorming your answers. This will really help you when you get your invitation.
Once you do get the invite, start practicing your answers in realistic interview simulations. Sign up for MBA interview mocks and practice with a professional who can point out your areas of improvement.
1. What is the highest-ranked MBA program in the US?
The Georgetown University McDonough School of Business is the highest-ranked MBA program in the US based on the average salary of its graduates.
2. What is the highest-ranked MBA program in Canada?
Queen's University has the highest-ranked MBA program in Canada based on the average salary of its graduates.
3. What GPA do I need to get into MBA?
You should have at least a 3.0 GPA to be eligible to apply, but to be a competitive applicant, you should aim for a 3.5 at least.
4. What GMAT score do I need to get into MBA?
You should aim for a score of 680 and higher to be a competitive candidate.
5. Do all MBA programs require GMAT/GRE?
No, there are some programs that do not have this requirement.
6. What are the most common MBA requirements?
Most common MBA requirements include GPA and GMAT, resume, personal statement and other application essays, recommendation letters, work experience, and interviews.
7. How does it take to complete an MBA degree?
It usually takes about 2 years, but there are accelerated programs and part-time programs.
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