MBA (Business School) Application Overview

MBA (Business School) Application Process 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.

Registration Form: MBA Business School Admissions Consulting Services

Admissions Consulting Services at a Glance

Comprehensive Packages

  • Dedicated Pack - Includes Application Strategy, Essay Review, Resume Review & Mock Interview
  • Elite Pack - Prompt, 7-day access to educational consultant, Application Strategy, Essay Review, Resume Review, Unlimited Mock Interview

A la Carte Services

  • Essay Review - Options include Single Essay (up to 800 words), Mini Pack (Single Essay + Resume Review) and Essay Review for all essays from one or more schools
  • Application Strategy - 2 hour minimum consultation with our education experts to map out application process
  • Mock Interview - 2 hour minimum preparation with our education expert to prepare for upcoming interview with admissions office
  • Case Interview - 2 hour minimum preparation with our expert to prepare for upcoming consulting case or job interview
  • Rejection Analysis - 2 hour minimum consultation with our education expert to evaluate weaknesses in rejected applications and plan next steps
  • Waitlist Strategy - 2 hour minimum consultation with our education expert to evaluate weaknesses in a waitlisted application, and make recommendations for interim period
  • Scholarship Application Review - Our consultants will identify specific scholarships to apply for, work with you to identify strengths that correlate with the stated objectives of the scholarship and review the applications to ensure your chance of receiving the scholarship is as high as possible
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Prices & Registration: Admissions Consulting

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MBA Admissions Student Review

For my admission essays, my consultant provided his expertise on editing and structural arrangement of ideas and helped me product finished final products. I received admissions from both my dream schools which are top tier schools. Today, as I decide to join one of them. I cannot thank Craig enough for his services. He is very experienced and uses his experience to guide user on the right track as far as the flow of the essay is concerned. Well, this is besides the excellent editing skills he has. Thanks Craig! -Eric

To register or for more information please email us at more recent admissions success stories, please visit Student Admissions Testimonial page.

MBA (Business School) Admission Consulting Director: Tom Kania

Tom Kania has had over ten years of experience helping over 1,000 people from all over the world gain admissions to graduate business school. His admissions experience began when he served on the Admissions Committee for the MBA program for the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. During that time, Tom Kania read over 4000 applications and participated on the admissions decisions for over 7500 candidates. Tom Kania has a very high success rate of getting candidates into premier business schools including Harvard Business School, Standford GSB, Wharton, Columbia, Chicago and many others. His rates of admissions are usually 4-5 times higher than the stated acceptance rates.  His approach to graduate business school admissions comes from a personal marketing perspective where he strives to bring out the best that his clients can achieve. In addition to his admission expertise, Tom Kania is an expert in real estate finance and distressed assets portfolio management. He was recently chosen to be keynote speaker on distressed asset management at a World Bank conference in Ulaanbaarar, Mongolia and also serves as a consultant to many premier financial organizations including Citigroup, the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, CB Richard Ellis and the International Finance Corporation. He speaks four languages fluently and holds an MBA from Wharton and a BA from Columbia University.

Featured MBA (Business School) Admissions Consultant: Craig

Craig is not only one of our most outstanding GMAT instructors, he is also a long-standing Manhattan Elite Prep consultant and our Elite Consultant for all of the top graduate school programs. He has lived in Paris and taught English to business executives. His experience comes from advising business owners and delivering top notch admissions seminars. In Austin he is currently the branch office manager for a translation company. He holds an MBA in International Marketing from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. With his in-depth understanding of the admissions process, Craig is more than qualified to assist you in getting you into your dream school.

Featured MBA (Business School) Admissions Consultant: Cabral

Cabral, a 2003 Wharton MBA graduate himself, has successfully helped students gain admissions in Harvard, Wharton, Virginia, Stanford and various other MBA programs for more than 5 years. He began his admissions experience as a Graduate Assistant in the Wharton MBA Office of Admissions. As a member of the Wharton admissions committee, he reviewed applications, pre-screened potential admits, and served on admissions panels at recruiting events in various cities. In addition, Cabral was the Prospective Student Chairman for Wharton's African American MBA Association (AAMBAA) where he was responsible for essay review & mock interview services designed to increase admission rates and applications of minority students.  He has worked with Manhattan Elite Prep since 2007 helping both international and domestic clients (resume review, essay review, MBA interview preparation, short-listing, information sessions, etc.) and received great feedback on his thorough comments and insightful guidance.





Featured MBA (Business School) Admissions Consultant: Dilpreet

Dilpreet's resume boasts time spent at Morgan Stanley, HSBC, and Lehman Brothers-- to name a few--  all work experiences which, coupled with her high GMAT score, garnered her acceptance into top business programs such as Wharton, Booth, Insead, and LSE-- the latter of which she attended for her MBA. At LSE, she was highly involved with the Peer Review Program, bringing further insight to students who were already receiving top training as to how to make themselves look good on paper. Her patience, her commitment, and her highly personalized approach to each student set her apart from any other consultant. We are honored and excited to allow you the chance to work with Dilpreet.


Admissions Consulting Services Overview

Once you have decided to pursue an MBA, JD or other graduate degree, you have essentially completed the first step in the admissions process, and your motivation is a great precursor to success. But which schools? What are the next steps? How do you present yourself in such a way to truly demonstrate your strong drive and fit in your ideal school?

The admissions process overwhelms many applicants, especially busy, young business professionals with limited time in their schedules. Our individually-tailored guidance helps you successfully traverse the pitfalls of the application process. From your application essays to determining which school to attend, our admissions packages give you the expert advice and knowledge necessary to make the most educated decisions possible.

Choosing to return to school is a big investment, but know that the value of an MBA, JD or graduate degree from a top school is indisputable. Our services help you effectively present your strengths and hide your weaknesses. Through our one-on-one consultations with you, we create a roadmap to success together. Our consultants commit themselves to helping candidates put forth their best application. Our consultants will build strong relationships with you, the candidate, and will understand your nuances and gifts. They will help you present yourself effectively against stringent and selective admissions standards and criteria.

We specialize in assisting MBA applicants with

Professional Background

  • College Athlete
  • Entrepreneur
  • Finance / Consulting
  • Engineer / Scientist
  • Military Background
  • Nonprofit / Government
  • Unusual Career Path

Ethnic/Cultural Background

  • European
  • Latin American
  • East Asian
  • South Asian
  • African
  • Oceanian

Our Elite & Dedicated MBA (B-School) Application Packs Include

Our admissions packages offer all-inclusive advice and guidance throughout the entire admissions process. Our Dedicated Packages are individually designed to encompass individual objectives and aspirations towards getting into the school that will best prepare you for a successful future. A typical Dedicated Pack consists of the following elements:

  1.  Personal Assessment
  2.  School Selection
  3.  Defining Objectives/Goals 
  4.  Plan Application Roadmap
  5.  Application Assistance

    1.     Concise Selection of Profound Experiences
    2.     Convincingly Present Personal Strengths to Demonstrate Value
    3.     Formation of Compelling Resume
    4.     Construction of Convincing Essays
    5.     Collection of Persuasive Recommendation Letters

  6.  Refine your Application - Multiple Exchanges with Meaningful Feedback
  7.  Mock Interviews - Practices and Preparation for Effective Interviews
  8.  Guidance on Scholarship/Loan Applications
  9.  Acceptance and Preparation
  10.  Additional Guidance

    1.     Waitlist/Deferral Strategy
    2.     Re-application Strategy

Our Elite packages give you the most complete, end-to-end, comprehensive admissions consulting packages on the market. Like our Dedicated Packages, Elite Packages are tailored to fit your individual needs and goals. In addition, the Elite Packages give you:

  • Guaranteed to work with our most experienced and successful elite consultants
  • 7 day per week access to elite consultant in person or via Skype
  • Prompt turnaround of materials and responses
  • Access to the most recent database of essays, recommendations, resumes – all from people recently admitted to premier schools
  • Unlimited access to our interview question database and unlimited interview preparation sessions
  • Exclusive strategy session for getting noticed when visiting school or attending information sessions
  • Live online sessions via WebEx between you and consultant where both parties can annotate any documents and share a whiteboard
  • Unlimited access to the live WebEx online recordings related to your application for 3 months

Below you will find a comparison chart detailing the features of our two comprehensive admissions consulting packages, the Dedicated Package and the Elite Package.

Comparison of MBA (B-School) Application Service - Elite vs. Dedicated Packs

Elite vs. Dedicated Packs Comparison

Elite Package Dedicated Package HBS 2+2 Dedicated Package
Cost 1 School: $4000 - 2 Schools: $5000 - 3 Schools: $6000 - 4 Schools: $7000 - 5 Schools: $8000 1 School: $1900 - 2 Schools: $2800 - 3 Schools: $3700 - 4 Schools: $4600 - 5 Schools: $5500 $1900
Personal Assessment
School Selection
Defining Objectives/Goals
Plan Application Roadmap
Application Assistance
Application Refinement
Mock Interviews
Scholarship & Loan App. Guidance
Acceptance & Preparation Strategy
Waitlist/Deferral Strategy
Re-application Strategy
Access to Consultant 7 days/week Weekdays only Weekdays only
Elite Consultant - -
Turnaround Time for Materials 2-4 Days 4-7 Days 4-7 Days
Online Recordings for Application Tips - -
Access to Interview Question Database - -
Access to Essays and Recommendations - -
Live Online Editing w/ Consultant - -

Comparison of MBA (Business School) Essay Review & Resume Review Packs

Essay & Resume Review Packs Comparison

Single Essay Mini-Pack Basic Pack Advanced Pack
Service 1 Essay, 800 Words or Less Resume & Essay (800 Words or Less) or 2 Essays of 250 Words Each) All Essays & Resume for 1 School All Essays & Resume for 2 Schools
Price $150 $200 $450 $800
Grammar & Style Review
Advice on Theme & Content
Exchanges* Per Essay 3 3 3 3
Turnaround Time** 5-7 Days 5-7 Days 5-7 Days 5-7 Days
Cost for Additional School - - $350 $350
Cost for additional 800 words in same essay $50 $50 - -

*Three Exchanges include either phone calls, email exchanges or a combination; **3 day rush + $75; Weekend Rush +$100

Comparison of Add'l MBA (Business School) Admissions Services

Selected Admissions Services Comparison

Mock interview Case Interview Waitlist Strategy Rejection Analysis Scholarship Review
Service Interview Prep for MBA Admissions Interview Prep for Consulting job Interviews Increase chances of acceptance Review rejected applications to identify problems and minimize weaknesses Assess scholarship options and assist in application
Price $150/hr $150/hr $550 per school $550 per school $350 per school
Students MBA Applicants Consulting Job Applicants Waitlisted MBA Applicants Rejected MBA Applicants Scholarship Applicants
Included Interview Prep and Analysis Interview Prep and Analysis Application Review and Guidance Rejected Application Analysis Scholarship Search and Assistance

Admissions Consulting Registration & Payment

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