5 Myths About MBA Program Admissions

There are plenty of falsehoods out there about admission processes to MBA programs. So you can get clear on fact from fiction, here are the most common myths debunked. 

You need to already work in finance, consulting or business to be accepted

Some people believe that you already have to come from a strong finance, consulting or business background to be considered for an MBA – this simply isn’t true. It is true that an MBA can help to prepare you for following a career path within these areas, but you certainly do not have to be already qualified or working in these areas when you apply for an MBA. You also don’t need to have the intention to work in finance, business or consulting to be accepted for an MBA. Where you choose to work and how you use your qualification is entirely your choice. MBA institutions such as Hult International Business School look to admit a vast range of people from different backgrounds, with different goals, ambitions and uses for their qualification.

It all rests on GMAT scores

Good GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) scores do not guarantee open entry into an MBA program. Likewise, another falsehood is that anyone hoping to apply for an MBA should not take a GMAT more than once, as graduate programs impose limits on how many times a potential student can take admission tests. This isn’t true however, as you can submit the highest score you have received from taking a GMAT to apply for an MBA, no matter how many times you have taken the GMAT. One way to avoid having to take it multiple times is to sign up for GMAT test preparation courses before actually attempting it. It is also worth bearing in mind that your admission for an MBA program will also depend on the quality of your written essays, impressive recommendations and your resume. While a high GMAT is a positive strength, your MBA application doesn’t depend on it entirely.  

Your recommendation letter must come from a company CEO

Some applicants trying to get into MBA programs believe that they need recommendation letters from the highest possible source (i.e. from a company CEO), in order to be accepted on a business degree course. However, keep in mind that a letter from a CEO will not be worth much if the person writing the letter hasn’t worked with you directly. When asking for recommendation letters, ask those who have worked with you closely and have good things to say about your performance. Ideally, the letter should come from someone who is senior to you, but who can also vouch for your professionalism from an angle of personal experience.  

You already need to be well connected in business

This is a very common myth which simply isn’t true – getting an MBA isn’t based on ‘who you know’. You don’t need connections in high places to have admission into a top MBA program. Your chances of success in admission are going to depend on a combination of your GMAT scores, resume, recommendations letters and submitted written work. That said, a little networking never does any harm, and if you are coming from a place of work that already has a connection with your intended business school, you will be looked upon favorably. Rest assured however that there isn’t one route to success based on who you know. 

Examples of leadership must only come from a corporate environment

As part of your business degree application for an MBA, an institution will ask you to provide instances of when you have demonstrated effective leadership. This can be difficult if you have never been in a corporate management position before, but when developing your response, try to provide as many specific instances as possible from your academic and professional background to date. It is simply not true that an institution will only look favorably on examples of leadership that took place in a corporate environment. Assess the following when thinking of examples:

  • Have you ever been in a role where you had to solve a problem?
  • Have you ever handled a situation to the point where it didn’t need to be escalated to management?
  • Have you ever managed to get the best out of someone with a poor attitude to their work?
  • What do you do to motivate other people?
  • Have you ever mentored or supervised junior staff or students in academia?
  • Have you ever overcome personal problems or fears?

Giving examples based on the above are all strong instances of leadership, and none of them require basis in a corporate environment in order for your MBA application to stand out.  

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