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Preparing for Online MBA Prerequisites - Tips for Success

Apr 13, 2011 Jennifer Williamson, Distance Columnist | 2 Comments

Every online MBA program is different—so your online MBA prerequisites will vary depending on the school. In addition, most prerequisites aren’t set in stone—because MBA programs often prefer to have the flexibility to consider the whole candidate, regardless of test scores or GPA. However, there are some common prerequisites that most MBA programs look for. If you want to enter an online MBA program, here are a few things you’ll need to do to give yourself a good chance.

Get a four-year undergraduate degree

There’s no set degree that’s required universally across all online MBA programs. However, if you major in accounting, finance, economics, marketing, or another business area, it helps. If you didn’t major in one of these areas, many MBA programs will require you to have taken classes in subjects such as economics or microeconomics, statistics, finance, or accounting. If you haven’t, it won’t necessarily mean you don’t get in—depending on the program—but it might mean that you’ll have to take additional coursework.

Get a high score on the GMAT

Most MBA programs don’t have an absolute lowest score in mind for acceptance. That’s because they want the flexibility to consider the whole candidate—including your academic record, professional background, and personal attributes and goals. However, a high GMAT score will help your application tremendously, particularly in the most competitive schools. Study hard for the test and do as well as possible.

Young Professional With Computer

Getting into an online MBA program isn’t easy—and many programs are highly competitive. You can give your application a stronger chance by knowing what the requirements will be going in.


Get some work experience

MBA programs do accept students straight out of a Bachelor’s program. However, many are very interested in applicants who have work experience that already demonstrates their potential for success. If you  have the right work experience, many MBA programs will waive other prerequisites including class requirements and high GMAT scores. Someone with strong work experience will often beat out someone with a high GPA and GMAT score for a seat in the best MBA programs, because they show they can already succeed—and they’ll bring up the program’s statistics for alumni success.

If English isn’t your first language, take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)

This test is required in most US MBA programs for any student who doesn’t speak English as a first language. It ensures your fluency and ability to handle course material delivered entirely in English. You’re especially likely to have to take this test if you’re an international student interested in enrolling in an online MBA degree program delivered within the US.

Get extracurricular leadership experience

If you don’t have a strong work history and you plan on applying to an MBA program straight out of college, you can strengthen your application by demonstrating management and leadership experience in an extracurricular setting. Become involved in a sports program, club, academic group, or some program that captures your interests—and try to work yourself into a leadership role. If the program is related to your business interests with an eye toward what MBA programs will find intriguing, this will help.

Know why you want to go to that school

Most MBA programs will want your graduate application to demonstrate your absolute fit for that program—as opposed to a different MBA program. They’ll want to know why their program fits into your career goals, and why you chose them rather than someone else. Be sure to research this and write it into a strong essay or long-form answer.

Know the holes in your application—and how to compensate

No MBA school application is perfect. Know what your weaknesses are and address them. If you have a particularly low GPA or GMAT test score, this could be something to address in your essay—always with a positive spin and an eye toward obstacles you’ve overcome and what you’re currently doing to rectify the situation. If you lack work experience that demonstrates business acumen and leadership skills, try to make up for that in your extracurriculars. It’s never too early to identify the weaknesses in your transcript and develop a plan to compensate.

Getting into an online MBA program isn’t easy—and many programs are highly competitive. However, you can give your application a stronger chance by knowing what the requirements will be going in. Bear in mind that every program is different—so check with the schools you’re considering for a more accurate list of your individual prerequisites. The earlier you do, the sooner you can start preparing.

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The Expert Over a year ago

Increasingly more college students and operating experts are obtaining attracted in the direction of an MBA diploma simply because this not just provides a useful diploma towards the resume but additionally assists in fetching a great occupation or promotions. Nice Blog!

Teacher Over a year ago

Thanks for the info! As a 10-year veteran middle school teacher, it's nice to know that my experience as a "leader" could help me get accepted as a future MBA student. I also like the fact that the score on one test is not the determining factor of being accepted.

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