MBA Requirements: What Colleges Look For?

As a business professional seeking to move up the corporate ladder, you are probably always seeking ways to develop yourself in your career. You may attend conferences, brush up on your knowledge via industry blogs and publications, or you may go as far as to look into advanced higher education, like an Master of Business Administration (MBA). Before you apply to an MBA program, it is worthwhile to learn what the MBA requirements are, and how you can actually get into the program of your choice.

Each program has slightly different criteria, but overall certain trends emerge. Across the nation, MBA programs have developed common expectations of what they want in each new student. From academic requirements to diversity, students who want to pursue an MBA should try to fulfill as many of the following criteria as possible.

Academic Potential

Potential applicants to any MBA program should have a record of academic success. Although a 4.0 is not always necessary, a candidate should have at least a 2.5 on a 4.0 GPA scale as a bachelor’s degree graduate. Colleges and universities use this academic history is used to forecast your future capabilities within an MBA program. For students who brought their grades up drastically in the last half of their undergraduate degree, GMAT scores can also play a large factor. International students will have to have strong IELTS or TOEFL scores if English is not their native tongue.


In the world’s largest cultural melting pot, diversity is a must. MBA programs want to have students who come from diverse ethnicities, cultures, socio-economic statuses and locations. Diverse educational experiences, genders, goals and professional history are also taken into consideration.

Quantitative Skills

Running a business requires strong quantitative skills. To prepare students for the real business world, MBA programs want to make sure every student that enters and leaves the program is strong analytically. Statistics and other mathematic courses may be required prior to entering any school.  Different universities have different score requirements, but most will necessitate high quantitative scores on their GMAT and in undergraduate classes.

Personal Attributes

As future leaders in business, students should exhibit integrity, community involvement and creativity. Part of being successful in the world of business involves being able to communicate effectively with others and working as a team. Since a school cannot visibly see you when they first review your application, they must use your extracurricular activities to piece together your personality. Volunteer activities and campus involvement can help to paint a picture for the admissions team about who you are as a person and what you can bring to the university.

Leadership Ability

Your professional competence and character is an integral part of what a university wants in a new MBA student. It matters because the majority roles of business managers in real life necessitates that leaders become models of integrity. Strength under difficult circumstances, strong personal convictions and good judgment are key aspects of being a good leader. As an institution, an MBA program wants students that are committed to leading their peers competently and effectively. To ensure that all students show signs of good leadership skills, MBA programs uses criteria that encompasses all of your personal and professional life as well as any extracurricular activities.

Who you are and your specific skill set matter to an admissions department. No two students share the same wealth of experience so each program has to look at each application on its own merit. By developing leadership qualities, quantitative skills, diversity and good grades, you should clearly understand MBA requirements and how to enhance their chances of getting into a quality MBA program.

About the Author: This article was written by a guest author to, a network of online degree options for prospective college students.