What are the requirements for getting into a top ten MBA program without any job experience?

<p>Hello everyone.</p>

<p>I'm currently an undergrad student and would like some advice on how I should prepare myself for getting into a top ten MBA program. I am going to apply in a few years, so I have some time to enrich my CV and hopefully turn myself into a potential candidate for the top ten programs.</p>

<p>I also have some specific questions that I would like you to answer.</p>

<li>Are there different criteria based on which the value of an MBA program is determined? The first few Google results showed lists that have very different programs listed in their top ten, some of which seemed non-existent (or placed very low) in other lists.</li>
<li>Is it true that an MBA would not be of much value to me if I have no prior job experience?</li>
<li>What activities should I participate in to make myself more worthy of getting into a top ten MBA program? Should I participate in internship programs offered by various companies, for example? Or would academic degrees like ACCA/CFA etc. be more helpful?</li>
<li>How important is ECA for getting into a top ten MBA program? If it is important, is there any specific sort of ECA that will make my CV stand out more?</li>
<li>I would also like a 100% scholarship. How do I ensure that they grant me that?</li>

<p>Please ask me for information that I may have left out but is necessary to advise me on the matter.</p>

<p>Thank you.</p>

<p>Ahna, I think you’re approaching this question from a narrow, egoistic point of view. An MBA program is intended to provide professional training and credentials to students who have already demonstrated the aptitude and attitude that will make them into innovative and successful business people. The more practical experience you have, the better able you will be to demonstrate your aptitude and attitude. The admissions committee also wants to know what you would contribute to their program, not just what having an MBA degree might do for you. Trying to short-circuit the application process without your having already acquired work experience puts you at a severe disadvantage compared to students of equal college credentials but 4 or 5 years of work experience.</p>

<p>In addition, a significant part of any MBA program is your interaction with other students in teams and on projects. The more you can bring and share from your work or life experience into the MBA program the more you will contribute to other students’ learning. </p>

<p>Take a good look at the applications from several MBA programs. Look at the essay questions. In fact, just list the topics of all of the required essays from 4 or 5 of these programs. Could you write those essays now, as an undergraduate student? Notice how much they focus on your life experiences, decisions, difficulties overcome. Notice how they ask you to show how you’ve demonstrated leadership or innovation at work.</p>

<p>For example, here are the essays for just one such MBA program (University of Michigan). Notice that questions 2 and 3 refer directly to your career. If you don’t have a career, or prior work experience, you are going to find it very difficult to write persuasive essays.</p>

<li><p>Introduce yourself to your future Ross classmates in 100 words or less.</p></li>
<li><p>a. What about your professional experiences has led you to determine that business school is the right next step? (150 words)</p></li>

<p>b. As you have researched MBA programs, what actions have you taken to learn more about Ross and what has led you to believe that Ross is the right MBA program for you? (150 words)</p>

<p>c. What career do you plan to pursue after business school and why? (150 words)</p>

<li><p>Describe a time in your career when you were frustrated or disappointed. What advice would
you give to a colleague who was dealing with a similar situation? (400 word maximum)</p></li>
<li><p>Optional question: Is there anything not addressed elsewhere in the application that you would like the Admissions Committee to know about you to evaluate your candidacy? (300 word maximum)</p></li>

<p>But even with 3-7 years of full-time, post-graduation work experience, financial aid partially depends on one’s academics. By that time one should nail the GMAT (700+)…</p>

<p>You want a full scholarship to an MBA program without any work experience? Without work experience, you already put yourself at the bottom of the pack; scholarships are awarded to people with exceptional credentials. And in the professional master’s world, grades and test scores are not the only credentials that matter.</p>

<p>Yes, it’s true that an MBA would be of little value to you without job experience. It’s a management degree, and nobody wants to hire a manager with no experience.</p>

<p>Yes, there are different criteria for ranking an MBA. Every ranking has their own criteria, and every ranking system has their methodology posted somewhere on the webpage. When you look at a ranking look it up. The ones that are most widely looked at for MBA programs are U.S. News & World Report, Forbes, The Economist and BusinessWeek.</p>

<p>Some business schools are doing deferred enrollment programs now for college seniors who know they want an MBA but want experience before they start. Harvard has the formal 2+2 program - you are accepted, you go work for 2 years (or more, they’re pretty flexible with deferments) and then you return later after you have some work experience. Stanford also has deferred enrollment, and they seem pretty encouraging of college seniors to apply, although almost always under deferred enrollment. Do understand, though, that some top business schools never admit students without work experience. I remember looking at the class profile of at least one, and perhaps two, business schools where no class members had 0 years of experience.</p>

<p>Getting into a top MBA program after undergrad (which is very rare, mind you) is predicated on near-perfect grades and top-notch leadership experiences. It’s going to be the latter that really sets you apart. I would try to do at least two internships in the summers before you apply (second summer and third summer). Extra-curriculars that allow you to exercise your leadership experience are a good idea - but nothing small potatoes, as you will be competing with people who directed million-dollar projects outside school. So student government, homecoming committee chair, the coordinator of THON, Panhellenic president. Two or more of these things increases your profile as a student leader on campus. I think SGA is probably the one that pops up the most.</p>

<p>Basically, you need to make yourself an exceptional, phenomenal student, the kind that people raise an eyebrow at and wonder how this 22-year-old was able to do all this stuff, still maintain a 3.6+ GPA and score a 700+ on the GMAT, and sleep. That’s because even working adults with 4-5 years of experience STILL need to be exceptional to get into top 10 business schools - which often have acceptance rates in the single digits - so you’re really trying to do the improbable.</p>

<p>Also, make sure you have a Plan B for the very real chance that you 1) don’t get in anywhere or 2) you get into a school but only on the condition that you work somewhere else for a few years.</p>

<p>Also, forget about the idea of getting a full merit scholarship. That just does not happen. Some business schools may give partial scholarships, but expect to finance the majority of your MBA through loans. An exception is if you are African American, Latino, or Native American - then you can apply through The Consortium and they offer full merit scholarships to the majority of their scholars.</p>

<p>Thank you everyone for taking the time to answer my questions.</p>

I never really researched it, but I have always been told that it is much easier to get scholarships for a Masters program than for a Bachelors program. And I know someone who got a 100% scholarship at University of Rochester for a Bachelors program about a year ago. So I thought that getting full scholarship for a Masters program wouldn’t be impossible.</p>

<p>So it would be more fruitful to get a deferred admission than to try and get in right after completing undergrad? If so, what qualifications should I ensure I have by the time I complete my undergrad to successfully get a deferred admission at a top ten program?</p>

<p>We don’t have any of those four things (student government etc.) where I am at. So I can’t even attempt at accomplishing any of them. What else can I do to prove my leadership skills?</p>

<p>Speaking of where I am at, does it matter where I am doing my undergrad from for getting into a top ten program? Do they discriminate between people who are from Ivy League schools and people who are from schools that have abysmal rankings?</p>

<p>Since most people seem to be doing their MBA after having done a job for a few years, do they leave the job when going for MBA, or do they remain enlisted in their respective companies as unpaid employees? This is something that I am worried about, since I am not in the USA or Europe and would have to leave my job if I wanted to opt for deferred enrollment.</p>

If it is academics that play the major part in getting me a full scholarship, I can keep working on that. Repeated attempts at GMAT should help me to get a good enough score.</p>

<p>Speaking of GMAT, do they let undergrad freshmen sit for it, or is it necessary that I complete a certain number of courses before sitting for it?</p>

I see. Work experience would really help to get into a top ten program. Maybe I’ll go for deferred enrollment then.</p>

<p>I really want to use all of my potential and make my career as good as I possibly can. So I am trying to understand what I should be focusing on for the next four years in order to be able to do that. Getting an MBA seemed like the next logical step after getting a BBA, so I am exploring how to get the most valuable MBA.</p>

<p>Thank you.</p>

<p>GMAT scores are valid for 5 years. While, technically, undergrad freshmen can write it, their validity may expire before they get the work experience that will make a MBA a realistic option. If you get a promotion at work 2-3 years down the road, then you can think about writing the GMAT.</p>

But I would apply for the MBA program in my senior year, which is three years from now. Does the score need to be valid only when I apply, or does it still need to be valid when I actually attend the MBA program? I’m talking about deferred enrollment.</p>