What to do before you apply for an MBA
Before you apply for an MBA program, it’s worth learning about what actually goes into an MBA application form. According to the admissions team at Goethe Business School (GBS), there are a few things to be aware of before beginning the process.
“Before you start your application, make sure that you meet the minimum eligibility criteria,” the school advises. “That includes post-undergraduate work experience, language proficiency, and fulfillment of the necessary credit points in your [previous] university degree.” (00:19)
If you’re planning on studying abroad, a visa is the first thing you should think about. Before applying for the program of your choice, research the visa requirements for your intended country of study and leave yourself as much time as possible to apply for one.
“Usually the German authorities will not issue a student visa for part-time programs,” the GBS team adds. “Even if you qualify for a visa, it may take a long time to process your application. You should settle all relevant visa matters before [starting] your application.” (01:55)
What goes into an MBA application form
Here are the main sections you can expect to see in an MBA application form:
- Personal details such as name, address, age, email address, and mobile number
- CV or resumé including academic history and work experience
- Letters of recommendation from employers and/or academic contacts
- GMAT or GRE test score
- English language test score
Let’s take a closer look at a few of those components.
Work experience and English language requirements
One of the first things to bear in mind for your MBA application is the program’s work experience requirements. The GBS admissions team expects MBA applicants to have more work experience than business master’s applicants, so make sure yours is up to scratch before applying.
As the school says, “Qualified candidates for the Master of Finance program should have a minimum of one year’s work experience and MBA candidates should have a minimum of two years’ post-undergraduate work experience.” (02:17) Depending on the program, a certain industry experience may be required.
Something that is consistent throughout most MBA applications is the requirement for excellent English language skills. These are global programs taught from a global perspective, so a high level of English is a must. Elisabeth Takkenberg, Senior Manager of Recruiting & Admissions at GBS, outlines the minimum level of English that they expect.
“As our programs are entirely taught in English, you are required to provide proof of a minimum upper B level English to guarantee successful program participation. You can upload proof of your successful language test in your application,” she explains. (04:28)
It’s important to be aware of the types of English language tests that are accepted at each business school, so check with the school before you take a test. At GBS, only exams taken in the previous two years are accepted. Again, this requirement differs at each school, so it’s best to check specific requirements with each school you’re applying to.
“We accept a number of English language tests including the TOEFL, the TOEFL Home Edition, the [IELTS, the ELLT], and the Cambridge certificate of proficiency in English. It is important that your test results are [not older] than two years old when you submit your application,” Elisabeth adds. (04:44)
Why the essay is such an important part of the MBA application form
Perhaps the most important part of your application is the MBA essay section. It’s your chance to stand out and communicate to the school why you would be a good fit for them. According to Meike Pizzini, Senior Manager of Recruitment and Admissions at GBS, a strong essay could even make up for weaknesses in other parts of your application.
“We would like to know more about your personality and your motivation to apply for the program, but also about your career goals and your life,” she says. “An essay is an excellent opportunity to stress your own strength and interests, but also to explain potential weaknesses or even gaps in your resume.” (07:05)
“Keep in mind that self-reflection is an attribute that we are looking for in each of our candidates,” she adds. “A well-written essay could make up for a lack of professional work experience and even help with your GPA score.” (07:33)
These are some of the typical sections in an MBA application form, but remember that the requirements will be slightly different at each school. Research them thoroughly before applying and you will put yourself in a better position when the time comes to apply. Good luck!