What are the MBA Prerequisites?

Earning a Master of Business Administration can help you double your salary over the coming years or make even more money, but you must make sure that you understand all the MBA prerequisites associated with the program you want to enter. Those prerequisites go beyond the simple application that you must submit before enrolling. You may find that you need to take a few lower level courses before taking graduate school courses in math and statistics or that you need to show the work experience that you have on your resume. Though prerequisites vary between programs, most have some similar requirements of new students.

College Degree

If you think that you can just walk into a business school, enroll in an MBA program and start the next fall, think again. These programs are highly competitive in nature, and hundreds of students apply for just a handful of spots in some of the top schools. Before you even think of applying, you must have a college degree. While a degree in business is not mandatory, you do need to present a transcript that shows you took a handful of business classes in management, marketing, finance, international business and similar topics.

Related: What is the MBA Admissions Cycle?

Required Courses

Even if you have a bachelor’s degree in business, you may still need to take one or more prerequisite courses before starting an MBA program. As each college and university has the right to name all its courses and create requirements for its programs, you may find that some of the courses you took do not match the prerequisites necessary for starting the MBA program. After looking at your transcript, the school will let you know if you need to take any lower level courses first. Some business schools will actually let you take those courses in the summer and start the MBA program in the fall with all the other new students.

GMAT Score

The application that you submit to the business school of your choice will likely ask for the score you received on the GMAT. You will then need to contact the testing board and request that it send an official copy of your score to that school. It takes around three hours and 30 minutes to complete this test, which consists of four different sections. In addition to math and reasoning sections, it also tests you on your reading comprehension and writing skills. The score you receive is valid for a period of five years.

Work Experience

Though work experience isn’t necessarily a prerequisite for entering an MBA program, you generally need to submit your resume and include any jobs you held while in college or since you graduated. That work experience may be worth more to colleges than the MBA prerequisites like a high score on the GMAT or letters of recommendation are. Shawn O’Connor recommends that you find ways to hide or cover gaps in your resume through the use of extracurricular activities, programs on campus or even volunteer work that you do.

MBA programs are highly competitive and often have prerequisites in place for new students. Before you send off applications to the top business schools in the country or in your state, make sure that you know about any potential MBA prerequisites associated with those programs, including required courses or exam scores.