MBA (Business School) Application Overview

The length of the application process varies for each person, spanning anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. The application is a presentation that articulates a clear vision of you, your strengths and weaknesses, your experiences and objectives and the various difficulties you have surmounted throughout your life.
We recommend the basic step-by-step itinerary to a successful application:

  • Study for the GMAT/TOEFL (for non-native English speakers)
  • Take the GMAT/TOEFL (for non-native English speakers)
  • Gather application forms
  • Figure out which schools are ideal to apply to. Research potential fits, visit campuses, talk to students and alumni. Schedule an informational interview with an admissions officer if possible
  • Update and refine your resume
  • Solicit recommendations
  • Write application essays for schools you chose to apply for
  • Complete and gather other application items - personal information, resume, short-answer questions, transcripts, etc.
  • Proofread and polish application with an intense focus on all details
  • Send in applications according to deadlines
  • Prepare for interviews

MBA (Business School) Essays

Essays are your best chance to distinguish yourself among candidates applying to top business schools. Take this part of the application seriously, and think a lot about how you want an admissions board to see you. Brainstorm various strategies and pick the one that will best present this image.
Since professional experience is considered important by admissions committees, you should spend at least a couple years gaining job experience in the marketplace before applying. Throughout your essay, depict your professional experience as a unique and captivating one. Very few students admitted to business schools have less than two years of professional experience, but more than one might expect do come from backgrounds that might surprise some. By playing up these aspects of your professional experience that are unique, you emphasize experiences that surpass the work someone working in finance or consulting does in their first couple years on the job.

Undergraduate GPA

Your undergraduate GPA plays a smaller-than-expected role in an admission to business school. Of course, graduating with honors helps, but even if your undergraduate career was less than spectacular, a top business school will still admit you if you present a convincing case. Your essays can elaborate on the reasons why you will have a successful experience at business school, and demonstrate your intelligence through a high GMAT score.

Letters of Recommendation & Interviews

The last parts of a business school applications are the letters of recommendation and interviews. Both function similarly to the essay: they provide a space for you to convince an admissions board of your candidacy's worth. Being personable or having convincing recommendations from noteworthy individuals can each make a marked difference, and distinguish you from the candidates you are competing with for admittance to business school.

Where to Apply

From the US to Asia to Europe and other locations, you have a number of business school options. We recommend that you consider where you want to be before beginning the actual application. Schools have their own particular atmospheres, particular climates, geographies, cultures, in addition to having unique curricula, expertise, and ranking. Before simply applying to highest-ranking schools according to U. S. News and World Report or Business Week or the Financial Times, take a moment and consider the following questions.

Where would you like to spend a few years? Often the pursuit of prestige or the attempt to be accepted at the highest ranked school possible (though important in some respects), gets in the way of selecting a school that is right for you. What areas would you like to specialize in? How do you learn best? Do you prefer teamwork to working alone or vice versa? Are there individuals at a particular school with whom you are interested in interacting? What are my chances of getting in?

Take time to consider your options. For example, Joanne is interested in the following criteria: (1) class size, (2) rank, (3) curriculum, (4) length of study, (5) location (East Coast), and (6) expertise in finance. In order to measure her options in an organized fashion, she selects several business schools and inputs their characteristics in a chart.

You should weigh carefully what a school offers both academically and environmentally. This may require some degree of thought and research as to how MBA programs are related to your professional and personal inclinations.

We do not recommend applying to too many programs. The crafting of too many applications can act as a hindrance on your own ability to create customized applications for each program. In addition, every application incurs a financial cost. However, how many is too many will vary from applicant to applicant.

When to Apply

As a rule, apply as early as possible. At most schools this will increase your chances of admittance. Many schools have very few spots available for the third round of admissions.

Some schools make available the numbers of applicants they accept per round. You may want to inquire into such statistics to help you determine when is the best time to complete your applications.

If you have already submitted applications to MBA programs and were not accepted at the schools you wanted to attend, you should consider applying again. In fact, re-applicants tend to have a better chance of admittance to B-School than first time applicants. But in order to reapply successfully, you will have to reconsider how you want to present yourself to the admissions committee.

The best way to increase your chances of success is to improve your application. This could mean diversifying your work experience or preparing for and retaking the GMAT, a very important factor in MBA admissions, or it could mean choosing different individuals to write recommendations for you. If you applied late the first time, applying again and early significantly increases your likelihood of admittance.

Manhattan Elite Prep's MBA Admissions consulting team is made up exclusively of graduates from top Ivy League schools. Our team is ready to carefully guide you through the admissions process.

MBA (Business School) Program Materials

When you request information, we advise you to request not only a brochure but also a course catalog if possible. This will enable you to gain a deeper sense of the school's academic offerings and what it focuses on. Then you can compare that to other schools you are interested in attending. Some of this information may be accessible online. Some schools offer CD-ROMs with such information. In general, we recommend that you get as much information as possible so that you will be able to make as informed a decision as possible with regard to where you apply.

Visiting the school is perhaps one of the best ways to make your decision. When visiting, we recommend that you take this opportunity to speak to current students, tour around the campus and make detailed observations. Can you imagine yourself studying there?

Part-time students may have the opportunity to take a course before enrollment. This may be a good idea especially if you are uncertain of whether you want jump into an MBA at this point in life.


The following questions may prove useful in more casual or exploratory conversations with students, alumni, faculty and recruiters as well as in your interview.

  • What kind of impact has your MBA had on your career?
  • In what ways does the material you studied in school assist you in your position?
  • Are you confident about hiring people who attended your program?
  • Were your professors approachable and open to student contact?
  • In terms of administrative support did you find the school supportive? Did you and your classmates find positions easily?
  • What were the other students in your program like?
  • What are those most challenging experiences during your MBA years?

You should also inquire about the following areas:

  • Internship Opportunities and Job Placements
  • Recruiting Companies & Industries
  • Salary Potential and Ranges
  • Reputation in the Business World
  • Variety of Career Options - Sectors and Mobility
  • Long-term Career Path
  • Short-term Career Opportunity

In your consultations with admissions committee members, students, faculty, and alumni, you should also try to determine how helpful the alumni network is and the types of opportunities offered by their alumni.

MBA (Business School) Books & Forums

There are a number of books out there that offer suggestions as to how to engage in the process of applying for an MBA. Most of these books only brush the surface of MBA experience and potential MBA programs. However, these books may offer some assistance in familiarizing yourself with the process and the reputation of certain schools.

One good way to learn about MBA programs is through large MBA forums organized by various organizations. For example, TopMBA offers World MBA Tours all around the globe. Going to a forum is an excellent way to improve your knowledge of the MBA admissions procedures, to encounter representatives from schools, to meet other interested students, to simply gather brochures, application materials for programs that interest you, and to directly ask school admissions staff specific questions.

In addition, schools host their own information sessions in various international cities where you can directly speak with school representatives, attend seminars, get an interview, and familiarize yourself with the school's philosophy and interests.

MBA (Business School) Funding Options

One of the most difficult aspects of the MBA decision is money. How in the world can you afford it? We in general advise you to apply for any scholarships you happen to be qualified for and then devise a plan for funding your MBA once you know how much money you have available to you and where you have been accepted. An MBA in the US can cost up to $60,000 a year. But you have options. To support yourself and cover some of your own expenses, you should consider part-time work. Summer internships between your first and second years are often very well-compensated in terms of helping you save up for your cost. There is a tremendous number of scholarship opportunities overlooked every year as well.

Most MBA students take out loans. Counting on the greatly increased earning potential after completion of the MBA, students tend to find loans the simplest funding option. Federal loans are the best type of loan you can get. You may take out no more than $18,500 from the Federal government per school year and the rest will need to come from private institutions, such as Citibank, Access group and the GMAC.

The financial aid offices of the schools you are applying to are in general quite helpful in assisting students in locating the best option for them. Scholarships, grants, and part-time work are all options to help finance your MBA.

Admissions Consulting Registration & Payment

For more recent admissions success stories, please visit Student Admissions Testimonial page.

For more information please email us at

To make payments for our Admissions Consultation Services, please visit our Admissions Consulting Page.