Applying for an MBA in the US? Here's what can get you through
A degree in business studies is a prestigious achievement. After all, every student graduating in this area of education steps into the career world with a polished management skills. With tens of thousands of students from within America and outside vying to enter the best B-schools in the US every year, here is a checklist on how to successfully join a life-changing B-course in the US.
Top specialization choices
Specialization has run deep with B-schools offering specific management courses in various arenas. However, the most popular MBA subjects include Operations Management, Finance, Accounting, Human Resource Management, Human Behavior, Organizational Behavior, Marketing, Information Systems and International Business.
Popular admission criteria
The most important criterion when applying to a B-school in America is the GMAT score. Apart from this, management schools take note of your academic record, work experience, recommendation letters, extra-curricular activities and evaluate your personality based on group discussions and personal interviews which are part of the admission procedures. Here's a checklist of the important criteria to gain admission into B-schools in the US:
- GMAT Scores: The Graduate Management Aptitude Test or GMAT needs to be taken by every MBA aspirant. The top B-schools often absorb only those students who have scored above 700 in GMAT.
- TOEFL scores: The paper and internet based TOEFL exam tests an applicant's expertise in American English. This is especially important for students from non-native English speaking countries.
- GPA Scores: A great GMAT score and a poor GPA can be an absolute ruiner of your efforts to get into a good B-school. The top B-schools in the US prefer students with a minimum GPA of 3.
- Work Experience: A candidate with two or more years of work experience climbs up the preference ladder of gaining admission into the top B-schools in the US. These applicants are aware of the leadership and management skill requirements in the corporate world, which gives them an edge over applicants with no work experience.
- Recommendation Letters: Most B-schools in the US expect applicants to submit at least two recommendation letters from the professors of the educational institution that they studied in and/ or from their employer. These letters must highlight the applicant's improving excellence in the area of study that he/she wishes to study an MBA. They need to highlight all the positive aspects of the applicant to improve the chances of being considered for admission.
- Statement of Purpose: This is a very important document that needs to be drafted and submitted by the applicant. The statement of purpose needs to explain in very clear terms the applicant's reason to study a particular management subject. The admission board reads this letter very carefully for consideration to the management course.
- Extra-curricular activities: If you are a management degree aspirant, then it is a necessity to be an all-rounder. Only great academic scores will rarely get an applicant into a management school. The admission boards of B-schools in the US keenly look for your participation in extra-curricular activities as these activities help them assess the applicant's strengths and expert sectors clearly. At times, the admission board may find an applicant more suitable for a management specialization different from their chosen one, which may be recommended during counseling sessions.
- Group Discussion and Interview: While some B-schools prefer passing chosen applicants through both these rounds of screening, some others prefer just the personal interview round to finalize on their next batch of management students. The group discussion process helps the admission board understand the level of participation and understand leadership traits in the various shortlisted applicants. The personal interview round then helps the board assess the applicant's knowledge of the subject he/she wishes to specialize in, level of confidence and leadership skills. This round is possibly the most effective one for students to create a positive and lasting impression on the admission board to earn entry into the B-school of their choice.