The MBA Application is another key part of the admissions process. the information in the application will form the school overall impression of you. The tips below will assist you in developing a more competitive application:


For many applicants, the essays are the most challenging parts of the MBA application. Keep in mind that essays also allow candidates the opportunity to distinguish themselves, and a well-told story is often the most vivid thing that an admissions officer will recall at the end of the day. Most programs require between two and four essays, and offer an optional essay to provide the applicant with an opportunity to provide other pertinent information that was not captured in the rest of the application (such as resume gaps or low GPAs). Questions vary from school to school and year to year, but certain themes are common.

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Letters of Recommendation

MBA programs generally require applicants to obtain two or three letters of recommendation. Most programs require recommendations from individuals who can evaluate the applicant’s professional performance as well as their managerial and leadership potential (i.e. former or current supervisor, previous employer, client, etc.). It is important to request these letters early and to provide any information or support recommenders might need to provide strong letters.

Academic Transcript

Official copies of transcripts from all undergraduate and graduate studies will be required. MBA programs look for students with records of high academic achievement, but they do not generally favor applicants with academic backgrounds in business. Universities often have significant lead time before sending out transcripts or only send them out on certain dates, so it is important to make such arrangements well in advance of the application deadline.

Resume/Work Experience

For obvious reasons, work experience is probably the most crucial aspect of an applicant’s MBA application. Most students will have at least two years of work experience, and an average of four to five years for those in full-time programs. Executive MBA and accelerated MBA programs expect applicants to have even more experience. Work experience does not need to be in a traditional business discipline (e.g. management, finance, accounting, etc.). However, an applicant’s professional background should demonstrate leadership potential, career progression, the ability to take calculated risks and a rigorous work ethic. Some applicants are admitted to MBA programs straight out of college, but these applicants tend to have unique life experiences and an exceptionally high level of academic achievement to demonstrate their potential.

Personal Data Form

Completion of a personal data form is typically required as part of the application process to an MBA program. The purpose of this form is to capture biographical information in order to provide a high level view of an applicant's background.

Application Fee

Each MBA application will require a processing fee, usually from $100 to $250. These fees add up quickly when submitting applications to multiple schools, but compared to tuition or the return on investment that MBA graduates will receive for the rest of their lives, they become a minor factor in the decision-making process. The financial aspect of the decision to apply for an MBA should depend on a return-on-investment calculation, not application fees. Additionally, current employees or veterans of certain organizations, such as branches of the U.S. military, Teach for America and Americorps may be eligible for an application fee waiver. Contact a school admissions officer to learn more about opportunities for a fee waiver.

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