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What Are the Different Types of Business School Prerequisites?

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  • Written By: K. Testa
  • Edited By: C. Wilborn
  • Last Modified Date: 09 August 2019
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Business school prerequisites can differ based on geographic location and a variety of other factors. Ideally, you should first decide what type of business degree to pursue, and whether it will be in person or online. While each institution has its own admissions policies, business school prerequisites in the U.S. typically include completion of high school and an undergraduate degree or some related educational training, passing the Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT®) or other entrance exam, and having relevant work experience and extracurricular activities. When you submit an application for business school admission, you typically submit paperwork documenting your experience, often followed up with a personal interview.

While there are a number of graduate degrees available in business, perhaps the best known is the master's degree in business administration (MBA). Many aspiring business school students pursue undergraduate degrees in fields such as accounting or finance. Some business school prerequisites, however, do not mandate an undergraduate degree in business, and many schools accept students with diverse academic backgrounds. Often, having relevant post-degree work experience is a more important prerequisite for applying to business school than one's undergraduate major.

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Testing requirements vary by country, but in the U.S., for example, most business school prerequisites include passing the GMAT®. Some business schools have their own admissions tests in addition to, or instead of, this test. Non-U.S. students might have to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL®), and some schools require the Graduate Record Examination (GRE®); these two requirements are typically in place of the GMAT®. Test preparation is available via tutors or self-study, in order to help you achieve the school's required minimum scores.

A formal business school application usually consists of the following components: undergraduate transcripts, relevant exam scores, and letters of recommendation, whether academic or professional. Additional examples of business school prerequisites often include a personal essay and a current resume. In addition to work experience, extracurricular activities are also valuable. Most schools like to see evidence of a well-rounded individual with a variety of interests and talents.

An interview is another of the business school prerequisites you are likely to encounter. It is usually helpful to know not only your own reasons for wanting to attend business school, based on your personal goals, but also to be familiar with the school and to know how it is a good fit for you. The admissions committee will want to know what makes you unique, and what you can personally contribute to the program. Certain business school prerequisites might depend on the applicant's level of experience. For instance, someone applying for entry right out of an undergraduate program usually has different admission prerequisites than a seasoned professional applying to a weekend executive program.

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