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Applying For An MBA After An Undergraduate Degree. What Steps Do I Need To Take?

Sarah Campbell, senior assistant director of MBA recruitment and admissions at Fisher College of Business, answers your Applicant Question of the Week.


Thu Mar 21 2019

It's time for another Applicant Question of the Week at BusinessBecause!

Every week, we give you the opportunity to ask one of our chosen admissions experts anything you want to know about getting into business school. One question each week is chosen for our expert to answer.

This week, our question comes from Obadiah Kaukalak, who wants to know more about the application process.

His question is answered by Sarah Campbell, senior assistant director of MBA recruitment and admissions at The Ohio State University, Max M. Fisher College of Business.

Applicant Question of the Week:

Dear BusinessBecause,

I will soon be finishing my bachelors degree, what are the steps I need to take to apply for an MBA?

The Answer:

As an undergraduate student, it’s a really good idea to prepare and/or sit for your entrance exam (GMAT/GRE). These scores are valid for five years and it will be much easier to prepare for a standardized test while you are a student compared to when you are working a full-time job after graduation. Starting early on this application requirement gives you time to achieve a competitive score that’s reflective of your abilities without rushing your test preparation and time to take the test again if necessary.

I also encourage you to speak with the Admissions team at some of your target schools to figure out exactly what they are looking for in candidates in terms of work experience. Be intentional with your professional experience. Go into your first professional job trying to learn as much as you can, grow as much as possible, and get involved in as many projects and responsibilities as you can handle. Your breadth and depth of experiences will help you contribute to the classroom discussion when you return to business school and easily apply what you’re learning in class to real-world situations.

Most MBA candidates have between two – six years of full-time, professional work experience before coming back to school so make sure your time away from school is setting you up for success.

Set a savings plan. If you know you will be going back to pursue your MBA, start preparing your budget now. There are a lot of funding options available but most are merit-based and there will be living expenses you’ll need to account for.

As you gain work experience, you might decide that you love the field you’re in or you want to change industries completely. The MBA can help you pivot or advance your career but you’ll want to know why you’re looking to pursue your MBA. Think about your personal and professional goals and how they transform over the course of your pre-MBA career. Talk to mentors and leaders within your organization. Network with folks in industries and positions you’d like to hold one day.

If possible, visit schools and speak with representatives. As you get closer to starting your MBA program, you’ll be faced with a big decision – putting your career on hold to invest in yourself for the next two years. Make sure you have explored all of your options, have a good idea of your non-negotiables or top factors (social impact project, flexibility in curriculum, location, faculty, class size, diversity, career outcomes, etc.) and be familiar with what the class profile looks like.

Be self-aware but be confident.

Ask an Admissions Expert a Question!

Next week, you'll have the opportunity to ask your applicant questions to Leila Murat, MBA programs business unit director for NEOMA Business School.leila

Leila is responsible for developing marketing and recruitment strategies across both MBA and the Global Executive MBA programs at NEOMA Business School and was previously assistant director of EMBA admissions at INSEAD. This is a great opportunity for prospective students with questions regarding both MBA and EMBA programs.

Got a question you'd love Leila to answer? Submit your question on our TwitterFacebook, or LinkedIn pages, send us an email to, or simply post a comment below!