MBA 101 Guide


Recently I had been asked by a friend to talk about my MBA experience, and after a 2 hours long coffee chat, I realized that I had much more information to share. I went back home and I started to compile in an email my different favorites, links and information that I had collected along this almost three years process. This guide is an expansion of the email I send that night to my friend.

The MBA 101 Guide is a compilation of links, information and directions broken down in 4 major phases. The initial introspection phase is a compilation of reading on career assessment, the second investigation phase is a collection of links about MBA programs, the next step is a very generic guideline on the application process itself, and finally the last part, the education part, is about the learning in an MBA experience.

The MBA 101 Guide covers the following questions:

  1. What do I need?
  2. What is an MBA program?
  3. Benefits & Drawbacks from doing an MBA?
  4. Which program, what format and where?
  5. How do I read MBA rankings?
  6. What can I expect from an MBA?
  7. What are the physical constraints?
  8. What are the financial considerations?
  9. What are the impacts on my lifestyle?
  10. How to apply?
  11. How to GMAT?
  12. Recommendations?
  13. How to Interview?
  14. The Final Choice: which one?
  15. What do you learn?

1. What do I need?

Before investing over 100,000 in a lengthy and time consuming education, your current situation could be improve using other means, and you might want to evaluate all the other possibilities before committing to the MBA journey.

A Masters in Business Administration opens many doors to an advanced management position and many other great career opportunities. However, is not necessary to have an MBA to have a successful career, and the process is definitely not for everyone.

How do you determine if you need an MBA?

  • Jobs that require an MBA: Some careers require an MBA after a couple of years of working experience, including investment banking, private equity, hedge fund management, and high end management consulting.
  • Jobs that don’t require an MBA: There are also many great jobs that do not require an MBA. In fact, a recent Business Week article, Is the MBA Overrated?, stated an interesting fact concerning the CEOs of the companies that comprise the S&P 500: Only 146 of the 500 executives reported having MBAs.
  • Quicker Advancement/Greater opportunity: An MBA opens doors that otherwise may not have been open to you, or at least, the door would not have been open to you as quickly. Many times an MBA can also raise your career ceiling. An MBA can similarly, give you a better chance at getting hired quickly if you are between positions or if you relocate, being consider as atruly international passport on a resume.
  • Changing careers: An MBA is a great way to enhance your marketability and make an easier transition from your current line of work into management consulting, banking/financial, general management or another business related field. Often people with different backgrounds are highly sought after by top MBA programs because their experiences are highly valued in the marketplace.
Some of the below links could help you to answer the main question of this section:
What do I need in my career to achieve my goals?

  • You can go through different workshops and online games at to evaluate your career development.
  • is good virtual source to find out what your MBTI type. You might what to do an online test, or you could prefer doing the test. You also might want to have a final explanation of what does it really means at
  • "Personality Type in Leaders: What Works" is an interesting article about what Leader-Type is more common in the business world.
  • The Princeton Review also proposes a career quiz, which in 24 questions, gives you details about your interests and work style and, after a free registration, a list of careers that match.
  • The online game, based on Dr. John Holland's theory, proposed by the University of Missouri Career Center, help to classified yourself in one of the six groups.
  • Personal DNA is a new kind of personality test which is free, fun, fast and accurate. The test has been designed by a team of professional psychologists. It employs innovative answering techniques, allowing for increased accuracy and an enjoyable process.
  • gives you a very quick overview of the different steps in your career and helps you in your career development.
  • Management Articles by Lyndsay Swinton, summarized in his management articles, tips, techniques and skills on everything from stress management to business fun and games, all in the straight-to-the-point style you've come to expect from “Management for the rest of us”
  • Herzberg's Motivation-Hygiene Theory, Alderfer’s ERG theory, Maslow's hierarchy, David McClelland’s theory, or Theory X and Theory Y can help you to understand and then define what is important to you in your lifestyle and career.
  • has some writings on career self-assessment worth been checked out.
  • The Social Style Model is a tool for understanding your basic behaviors and the impact you can have on others.
  • The WSJ has a full section on Career Planning Guide.
  • is great for researching career opportunities. It has company and industry profiles, insider guides and all sorts of career search tips.

Career Counseling

  • The American NCDA (National Career Development Association) has a complete section for Graduate Student
  • The Australian Association of Career Counselors has a couple of white paper online for your review, but nothing mind blowing I have to say.
  • can help you to follow Pre-MBA Self-Assessment Checklist
  • Science's Next Wave is the oldest science career magazine on the web, and has an entire section on career development

Book Recommendation

Questions to answer

  • What skills and experience do I possess right now?
  • What field would I like to work in the future?
  • What lifestyle do I want in my life?
  • Where do I want to live my life?
  • What salary fits my desire lifestyle?
  • What career progression exists in order to achieve my goals?
  • How will I progress in order to achieve my goals?

2. What is an MBA program?

A Masters of Business Administration (MBA) is a post graduate degree in business, and is view today as the unique worldwide international business program, and is considered to be a major step towards a successful business management career.

Most degrees are obtained with the purpose of advancing your career prospects and job opportunities. The same is the case with an MBA degree; the only difference being that an MBA degree is considered as the most valuable post graduate degree in the world and has exciting career opportunities. People take the MBA program in order to further their careers in their current jobs or to get a better job on the basis of their MBA degree.

Even within your existing company and in your current job, you can notice the difference in your career prospects pre-MBA and post-MBA. With an MBA degree under their belt, employees have a whole new world opened up to them and are elevated to managerial positions on the strength of the additional abilities and knowledge gained through the MBA program.

The value of the MBA, however, is not limited strictly to the “business” world. An MBA can also be useful for those pursuing a strictly managerial career in the public sector, private industry, government, and other areas. MBA programs can provide graduates with the preparation and practical skills needed to excel in management and leadership positions.

The MBA is currently the most popular professional degree program in the world. Today there are over 2,500 MBA programs offered worldwide. First introduced at American universities in the early 1900s, MBA programs have evolved in order to keep up with the demands of the times.

An MBA program in the United States typically is of two years duration. But across Europe, where the MBA course was first introduced in the 1960s, the program is usually of 1 year duration and can sometimes be completed in as less as 10 months.

Most MBA programs are taught in English, and are therefore attractive to international students wishing to study abroad. Many institutions in non-English speaking countries offer MBA programs in English, as well as in the country’s native language.

Since its inception, the MBA program has evolved tremendously and is following 3 trends: shorter programs (less expensive, more intense), structure diversification (part-time, EMBA, online, evening-MBA, weekend-MBA, modular programs, international programs, distance learning programs) and internationalization (double degrees, partnership, cross continent).

  • The Open Directory Project (DMOZ) is the largest, most comprehensive human-edited directory of the Web. It is constructed and maintained by a vast, global community of volunteer editors, and has a full section on MBA.
  • has also a full page on what is an MBA


  • Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB). The AACSB covers business schools worldwide, and is consider as the most recognized accreditation in the world.
  • The United States also has six regional accreditation agencies as members of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA): Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSA), New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASCSC), North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC)
  • Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP) accredits smaller, private American schools, and the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE)
  • Outside the United States include the Association of MBAs (AMBA), a UK based organization that accredits MBA, DBA and MBM programs worldwide
  • Council on Higher Education (CHE) in South Africa
  • The European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) is responsible for the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) for mostly European and Asian schools
  • The Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA) in Europe

3. Benefits and Drawbacks from doing an MBA?

In the United Sates alone, in any given year, there are close to 300,000 MBA aspirants pursuing the MBA degree. Taking into account the thousands of students who take the MBA program all over the world, there surely must be something of great value that the MBA degree offers you. But is it really as worthwhile as it seems?


An MBA degree provides you with innumerable career opportunities in various fields. It is especially beneficial to get jobs in high level positions such as managerial and executive level jobs. Whether you are looking to further your career in your existing job or are looking to change your job and start your career afresh, an MBA degree can be very valuable in either scenario.

The value of an MBA degree, on the whole, cannot be denied. But more importantly, anyone who has an MBA degree, or anyone who is in pursuit of one, has to determine how the degree can benefit them and should ask them selves what the value of an MBA is to THEM individually.

You can do this by assessing how an MBA can help you in your chosen field and in jobs for which you have an aptitude. If an MBA can enhance your business skills and make them better suited to your particular profession or career choice, then it can be invaluable to you.

The MBA gives you a KNN value proposition, the order and weight is up to any individual
  • Knowledge: The MBA program and business schools give you valuable knowledge about business and all its related aspects. You learn about business strategies and concepts, and how to use these skills in practical life and in day to day business operations. An MBA degree involves also rigorous training, assignments, reports, presentations, and group projects, all of which give you the necessary abilities to handle real-life business situations.
  • Network: The alliances that you form with your classmates and the network that you create and inherit is deemed as one of the most important and valuable things that an MBA program can give you. The associations formed during the course are invaluable and can be drawn upon for years after the MBA degree has been achieved.
  • Name: The school name on your professional passport, called résumé or CV, you decided to associate with, will be your key for success in the business world. On acceptance, you will endorse the school brand name and values. This important decision will help you all your professional life to jump over hurdle that may come on your way.

According to by Josh Kaufman “Business schools don’t have a monopoly on worldly wisdom. If you care more about increasing your effectiveness at work than a diploma and a few lines on your resume, the Personal MBA is for you.” If you prefer reading over learning in class, and you want an MBA for just the knowledge, you better look for the same price for a 1 year vacation on a Caribbean beach with your 100+ books you should read, it will certainly less expensive.

Is it really as worthwhile as it seems?
It is up to you to decide

4. Which program, what format and where?

Once you have worked out your personal and career objectives, you would be provided with a focus that you can use for which type of MBA program and which courses you want. Should you wish to become a strategy consultant on graduation, then the program content, the school you go to and its reputation will need to go towards achieving your goal.
MBA programs last from between one year for the shortest full-time course to five years for the longest part-time course. All programs that you take will involve a major time commitment. You must make sure you could give that commitment.

Then you should look at the type of MBA program and the course content and work out if it matches your needs. The first MBA program that was ever created was a full time course where the student needed to attend business school every day and most of the courses were compulsory. MBA programs are victim of their own practice. Today in order to satisfy different market segments and to differentiate themselves from competitions in this profitable business (“Business Education”), schools propose a vast variety of format, size and location:

  • The Two Year MBA programs take place over two academic years (18 months) and are consider the norm in North America. The two-year programs are usually four semesters, spread over two academic years, with a three- or four-month break for an internship. The first year includes core courses required of all MBAs. The second year allows for functional specialization (a specific concentration of study and elective courses). Students enter with a reasonable amount of prior real-world work experience and take classes during weekdays like other university students.
  • The Accelerated MBA programs are a variation of the two year programs. They involve a higher course load and less "down time" during the program and between semesters, for example, with one rather than three to four weeks vacation between semesters.
  • The Part-Time MBA programs normally hold classes on weekday evenings, after normal working hours. Part-time MBA programs are designed for working professionals. They usually last three years or more and target working professionals, who take a light course load for a longer period of time until the graduation requirements are met.
  • The Executive MBA (E-MBA) programs have been developed to meet the educational needs of managers and executives, allowing students to earn an MBA in two years or less while working full time. Executive MBA (EMBA) programs are geared toward enhancing the careers of working executives, many of whom are company sponsored. These programs are for professionals who are already specialists in a field or industry and need to hone their general management skills to continue up the corporate ladder. EMBA participant typically have a higher level of work experience (often over 10 years), and come from every type and size of organization (profit, nonprofit, government), and vast a variety of industries. In response to the increasing number of EMBA programs offered, The Executive MBA Council was formed in 1981 to advance executive education.
  • The Distance Learning MBA programs hold classes off-campus. These programs can be offered in a number of different formats: correspondence courses by postal mail or email, non-interactive broadcast video, pre-recorded video, live teleconference or videoconference, offline or online computer courses. Check school's accreditation before undertaking distance learning coursework.
  • The Dual MBA programs combine MBA degree with others (such as an MS or a J.D., etc) to let students cut costs (dual programs usually cost less than pursuing 2 degrees separately), save time on education and to tailor the business education courses to their needs.

One of the most important benefits in doing an MBA is the network you gain as soon as you cross the entrance door. And most of the time the most diverse, and dense network is from the city the MBA was tough. Therefore, the only thing you have to keep in mind while choosing the location of your MBA program is where is the Alumni Network most dense. If Europe is the place you want to work in, you better choose a European school. If US is the place you want to work in, you better choose an American school. If you are sure you want to leave in Vancouver and not move out the place, you better choose the local MBA in UBC instead of any other school, even over a more prestigious school in the US/Europe.

Only a handful number of schools (maybe 2 or 3) have a star power and could outcast temporally any local MBA. Which one are these … check the next post. Although I am too sure about that anymore.

Choose the school where you want to work after!

Where to get information on MBA programs?

  • The best place to start your research about MBA is certainly the Business Week business school web portal. It is very detail and well updated on regular basis. It also gives you applications deadlines, and most importantly some real feedback from participants in the forum section and blogs directory (personal favorite).
  • Among all the great things that Accepted is running, the best functionality is probably the online chat with various admission committee members are doing on regular basis.
  • Clear Admit has been in the MBA admission business (and yes, it’s a very lucrative business) for quite a long time. The site has a well deserve and important web traffic due to its clear, detail and pertinent comments on each program. Recently Clear Admit took advantage of the Wiki technology to enhance the ongoing dialogue between past applicants and future candidates. The Wiki is intended to serve as a repository of information learned by applicants as they progress through the MBA admissions process.
  • Getting into a Top 5 MBA is a document that has been prepared by a group of graduates of various top US business schools, now working for an international strategy consulting firm. It is intended as an information resource for people who are considering applying to business school.
  • Which MBA online had a lot of controversy and should be taken with a pinch of salt.
  • You might have to face the difficult reality of getting an US Visa or to have to deal with US immigration, and you might want to check your position before starting the full battle.
  • Kennedy Research report on Strategy consulting firms....might be interesting reading.
  • On the Canadian MBA: Ivey is unarguably the most prestigious and well-known name, Harvard of Canada, the strongest alumni network of all, the best school for GM/Consulting, low cost of living in London (Ontario) BUT has a reputation of having a poor career services and poor quantitative skills. Rotman is the most prestigious school for Finance, location advantage, perhaps the best faculty BUT doesn't prepare candidates very well for Consulting. Queens is a 1 yr, good visibility in Canada BUT the class very different from other schools because of the science and tech background requirement and thus lacks the diversity that a typical program should have. York has a good value for money very high due to very low cost BUT no other advantage as such. McGill is cheap. Number of applications for the full-time MBA in 2004: York (1367); Rotman (1110), McGill (674), Ivey (580) and Queens (313)
  • Infozee is a very detail web site to crawl through to get a good general sense of what a MBA could be.
  • Personal MBA will help you as well to get in, stay in and get out of Grad School.
  • Foreign MBA was originally designed by foreign MBA students to help all non-U.S. citizens in pursuing their goals through an MBA it has grown into an independent online resources for everything related to the MBA
  • MBA Info is the a comprehensive MBA program database, containing details of 2,400 MBA programs, from more than 1,000 universities, Business Schools & Management Colleges, throughout 100’s countries.
  • MBA Global Net is a global business network for MBA professionals and a proven recruiting resource for corporations and start-ups.
  • MBA Depot is a free online community that aims to ease information overload and provide networking and collaboration opportunities for MBAs and like-minded individuals.
  • Whitefield Consulting Worldwide is a management consultancy specializing in business education, careers, and recruitment. The firm operates and runs the mba4success Business Education News Network.
  • MBA Association is also a comprehensive and growing MBA portal, offering a multitude of information and services, including career management, discussion forums, articles and downloads.
  • The Official MBA Guide - Search the comprehensive database to find vital information on MBA programs that best meet your graduate education needs, and rank programs on criteria important to you.
  • The mission at MBA Prep Advantage is to ensure that you receive a thick envelope indicating acceptance into your top MBA school
  • MBA is the Graduate Management Admission Council's Web site, and it's a great place to get consistent, useful information about M.B.A. programs. It also has great advice on choosing the right school and career
  • MBA Jungle has for mission to inform, entertain and provide tools to master the GMAT
  • STUDYlink MBA Worldwide, is the only website that is fully endorsed by The Association of MBAs and is its official online supplier of information about MBA opportunities.
  • The MBA Career Service Council (MBA CSC) - A global association for graduate management career professionals.
  • MBA Zone is an online community and complete resource for all phases of the MBA experience.
  • MBA Buzz plot out MBA applicants by school, and organize them by round, status, age, GPA, etc. Each data point is clickable and will take you to the user profile
  • Business Finance Magazine proposes online solutions for finance executives.
  • Family Business Magazine is a Family Business, founded in 1989, is the magazine published for and about family-owned companies.
  • The MBA Association of Germany meet the Intellectual Capital, in German language.
  • Characteristics of the Top Business Schools: Applying to multiple schools can be a daunting task, and everyone should have a backup plan in case they don't get into their first choice. Here are some guidelines for analyzing the differences between the top programs, based on interviews with graduates of nearly 20 top US business schools.
  • John put together 2 pages to translate in plain English the Jargon learn at an MBA school
    Business Administration (MBA) Graduate School Directory
  • Are you wondering how many MBA applicants have been accepted, waitlisted, or dinged (rejected) by top U.S. business schools? can find out in running some stats by school and by candidates.
  • Official MBA Guide runs by an American unicorn.
  • Business Week Forum, Student Wharton Forum, Chicago GSB Forum and Yale Forum could be a very interesting source to discover the school of your dream.


  • MBA blogs aggregator, MBA League, is place where you can spend also many hours surfing through the personal life of the MBA student of your choice.
  • Full MBA experience from a Ross graduate in a Blog, with an interesting on what differentiate Ross from other schools
  • This article appeared in the Stanford MBA Admissions Newsletter, and is useful both in terms of understanding the perspective of one of their Admissions Officers and in gaining more intimate knowledge of the program and its character.
  • It’s quite rare to have a Blog from an HAAS MBA student, have a pick at Chunky Pitbull's, an MBA blog, submitted at the last minute in 2004. Otherwise if you want some information about the Berkeley school of Management, email the Haas Student Ambassadors ( and ask them to put you in touch with a current student.
  • Doing an MBA is a decision that has to be done carefully and Christian Schraga blog did a good job at pointing out some of the flows of doing an expensive education.
  • Over a period of ten months (8/2002 - 6/2003), Tad Holbie had maintained a detail Blog of his business school application experiences. Having been admitted to Ross Business School, I am sure that his story could help those who are in the process of applying to business school, in providing a sense of the process, timing, and difficulties involved at each step.
  • Another fellow who detailed his journey whom I recommend to read is Dave. I don’t know where or if he did an MBA, but his blog is definitely a place that source of lot of information about Business Education.


  • is a global career and education network providing the platform for educators and employers to target meet and select the best qualified candidates from around the world.
  • is a great place to received key insights into the application process and was able to network with admission representatives and alumni. It was founded in 1993 and has hosted more than 165 MBA events in 28 countries.
  • The MBA Global Career Forum organized every year an online event.


5. How do I read MBA rankings?

“If you can’t measure, you can’t manage!”

The conclusion so far is that organizations which produce the most well-known rankings do not have any consensus about the “best” business school. Rankings may be useful when one wants to compare MBA's on specific criteria, but does not give an overall rating to choose from.

Most rankings guides include only a select group of schools, rather than ranking all schools, and it's not always clear how this initial group of schools has been selected. Many rankings surveys ask deans, corporate recruiters, executives, and students to make lists of what they consider to be the top schools.

Where to find good rankings of MBA programs and Business Schools?

  • Financial Times [Worldwide]
    Every two years, the Financial Times ranks MBA programs based on over 20 factors, the most heavily weighted of which, at 20% each, are the current salaries of each school's graduates and the percentage of salary increase "from the beginning of the MBA to three years after graduation." This ranking is considered to be the most international ranking of all.
  • The Economist [Worldwide]
    The Economist put IESE suddenly on the top a few years ago. This makes the ranking less credible. This was due partly to un-audited data, where IESE reported average starting salary of over $150,000 at the same time the schools own website sited an average starting salary post completion of the program of under $70,000. Since that time, the ranking from the Economist had less impact on the MBA planet.
  • Forbes [Worldwide]
    Forbes ranks MBA programs according to their average return on investment "by comparing the cost of attaining an MBA--foregone income and tuition--to the prospect of a bigger salary." Alumni from each of the schools provide pre- and post-MBA salary information that Forbes uses to make these calculations.
  • Wall Street Journal [US Centric]
    Each year, the Wall Street Journal ranks business schools that are accredited by the International Association for Management Education, as well as any foreign schools that are recommended by its panel of "business-school deans, business-school associations, recruiters and career-services directors." The rankings are based solely on the opinions of MBA recruiters, who are asked to rate schools on a ten-point scale for each of 27 criteria having to do with the quality of each school and its graduates.
  • Business Week [US Centric]
    Business Week publishes rankings for full-time, part-time, and executive MBA programs every two years. (Updates to ranked schools' profiles are published yearly.) Business Week's rankings are based on a combination of student and corporate recruiter surveys (each weighted at 45%), and an "intellectual capital component," which measures "school's influence and prominence in the realm of ideas" (weighted at 10%).
  • US News & World Report [US Centric]
    Each year, US News & World Report ranks full-time and part-time graduate business programs accredited by the AACSB International. According to their web site, full-time programs are ranked according to the program quality assessment by peer academics, program quality assessment by recruiters, mean starting salary and bonus, at-graduation job placement rate, job placement rate three months after graduation, mean GMAT of new entrants to full-time program, mean undergraduate GPA of new entrants to full-time program, and the proportion of applicants for admission to the full-time program who were rejected. Part-time programs are ranked "solely on the basis of nomination by business school deans and MBA program directors. Schools that receive seven or more nominations are ranked, listed in order of the number of nominations received."
  • The Consus Group [US Centric]
    While many business school rankings fluctuate wildly from year to year, TCG's methodology produces a stable, accurate picture of America's best business schools over a long period of time. The Consus Group uses a different methodology to compile its annual business school rankings, based on Published Rankings from large institutions, Selectivity, Salary, Placement and Yield. Even if you don't like the methodology, TCG gives you an historic of large rankings over the past 10 years.
  • WHICH MBA ranking‏ [Student Centric]
    To qualify for inclusion in the Economist Intelligence Unit rankings, the schools with full-time MBA programs that responded to their survey had to meet various thresholds of data provision, as well as attaining a minimum number of responses to a survey gauging the opinion of current students and alumni who graduated within the last three years.

What do the rankings mean something?
It depends. If you are looking for what is the best MBA, and I am looking at it from a financial point of view only, then Forbes is probably a good starting point for you, if you prefer looking at the international aspect, FT is your lead, from the USA, BW will do. But overall you can not have a ranking of ranking. What you have to look at are the following in the different ranking:

  • Constistancy: If your school is in all the rankings
  • Trend: The trend over the past 5/10/20 years
  • Long Tail: The alumni Network size
  • Quality Learning: The quality of teaching (PHD, Ratio, undergrad…)
  • Quality peers: The quality of the intake (GMAT, diverse, average age…)

How to interpret them? From my point of view, the classification below is what I observe from different rankings, meeting with alumni, visiting schools and reputation in the business world:

US Leaders

US Underdogs

• Harvard University
• Stanford University
• University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
• Columbia University
• University of Chicago
• Northwestern University (Kellogg)
• MIT (Sloan)

• Dartmouth (Tuck)
• Duke University (Fuqua)
• NYU (Stern)
• UC Berkeley (Haas)
• University of Michigan (Ross)

Non-US Leaders

Non-US Underdogs

• London Business School

• ESADE - Spain
• HEC - Paris
• IE Business School - Spain
• IESE - Spain
• Indian School of Business
• Queens University - Canada
• SDA Bocconi - Italy
• University of Cambridge (Judge)

  • Scorecard is an interactive alternative to standard business school rankings. Using information from hundreds of top schools, Scorecard allows you to ‘weight’ key criteria such as Return on Investment, Strength of Faculty and Diversity of Student Body to create a personalized ranking tailored to your unique requirements.
  • Martin Schatz, Ph.D., in “What's wrong with MBA ranking surveys?” proposed to enlighten all of us on ranking and the purposes of them.
  • is a Spanish website that compile all the list of the different MBA ranking in the world

6. What can I expect from an MBA program?

Students preparing to attend an MBA program often wonder what MBA classes they will be required to take and what these classes will entail. The answer will of course vary depending on the school you attend, as well as your specialization, but, there are a few specific things you can expect to get out of the MBA classroom experience.

A General Business Education
The MBA classes you will be required to take during your first year of study, or the first part of your MBA, will most likely focus on major business disciplines. The MBA core curriculum offered at most business schools includes combinations and variations of the following courses: Accounting, Business Strategy, Economics, Finance, Human Resources, Organizational Behavior, Marketing, Manufacturing and Production, Operations Management, Statistics and Technology and Information Systems.

While most business schools consider core classes mandatory in the first year of MBA study, or first part of your MBA, other schools are more flexible, and let you have an opportunity to choose elective courses during your first year of business school. Choosing electives that will support your specialization or major is almost always a good idea. Also, make sure that you will be able to schedule core classes in your second year.

A Chance to Participate in Class
No matter which school you choose to attend, you will be encouraged and expected to participate in MBA classes. In some cases, a professor will single you out so that you may share your opinions and assessments (Call Calling). In other cases, you will be asked to participate in classroom discussions, and others you will have to work with your designated group for project assignments.

Hands-On Experience
Most MBA classes provide an opportunity to obtain real hands-on experience through the analysis of case studies and real or hypothetical business scenarios. Students are encouraged to apply the knowledge they have acquired in real life and through other MBA classes to the current issue at hand. Above all, everyone on the class learns what it is like to work in a team-oriented environment. Business Case Studies,, The Times 100 Case Studies, Schroeder Inc, and Usability Case Crawler are some site that can give you some free Case Study material.

Your Second Year of Business School
There is a world of difference between the second year of business school and the first. To start with, the workload is quite a bit lighter. You also have the advantage of knowing what is expected of you, and how long it takes you to complete class assignments and other requirements.

Year Two Business School Coursework
You should have completed most of the core curriculum during the first year of business school. Whatever has not been completed will need to be taken care of by the end of year two. Second year business school students who have mastered the broad-base core curriculum will focus on taking elective classes in their area of specialization.

Other Year Two Activities
Most of the anxiety felt in the second year of business school directly results from the need to find a job. If you chose your business school carefully, you will have plenty of help. If not, it will be up to you to recruit an employer.

Social Life
There is a life outside the classroom, and depending which school you attend to, you might find that the outside classroom life is more intense that the inside one. Among the most classic activities, graduate students tend to continue their passion, so be it sports, IT, or their own specialization. You should investigate the clubs from each school you selected and find out what are the most important activities they are doing (oversees job hunting treks is becoming a standard nowadays).

Questions to ask yourself

  • Does this course give me the experience I am looking for?
  • Does the syllabus include topics that are relevant to my chosen career?
  • What electives does the program offer and am I interested in them?
  • Is the content of the course suited to my needs?
  • Do I have the required aptitude to successfully finish the course?
  • Does the program offer practical training and real life experiences as well?

Now if you really want to know what you can expect from an MBA program, why don't you visit an MBA classroom for a couple of hours, most of top MBA propose this free service for potential candidates.

7. What are the physical constraints of doing an MBA?

In addition to becoming familiar with professors, students, and academic subjects, you will be expected to absorb an incredible amount of material right from the start.

If the business school you choose to attend offers a core curriculum, you can expect to complete approximately 70% of the required coursework in the first year.

Depending the school you choose, you will most likely be enrolled in at least four core classes in the first year. Each class will last an average of two hours, and will take place twice per week, leaving a fifth day open for individual or group study. The first year of business school is mainly about academics (you will get into career prep in the second year).

However, you will also have to chase the internship road for the job hunting in the second year. Recruiting for summer positions usually occurs in January, February, and March, but may begin as early as October of the previous year.

An MBA program is very intense, dense and sometime draining. You will not only have to surf on the forefront of the business knowledge but also master the team work concept while investigating your new career objectives.

If you doing at the same time as a full time job, while being involve in your own family, you might sign yourself for sleepless night for a lengthy 2 years. The outcome might not be what you expect to be in the first place. Make sure you size the amount of physical effort you have to do in your daily MBA life: commuting, travel, working or family business.

You need to assess if a particular MBA program is feasible in terms of:
  • Does the structure suit you?
  • Is the program in your area or will you need to travel daily?
  • Whether you can do the full-time two year course or you need a shortened course.
  • Are the timings of the course suitable for you?
  • Are you free to join the course on its start date?

8. What are the financial considerations of doing an MBA?

Getting an MBA can be expensive. This is why anyone interested in the degree needs to consider the payback.

Unfortunately, the MBA doesn't come with any guarantees. There will be no promise of higher earnings when you apply or as you are nearing graduation. That said, it is likely that you will earn more with an MBA than without one. Recent MBA graduates reportedly make 35 percent more than those without the degree (source: The Princeton Review).

Of course, the amount you make will depend on a number of things, including where you work upon graduation, as well as your job title. Even the business school you attend will play a part in determining your salary.

It isn't unusual for many MBA graduates of Harvard, Wharton, and Stanford to start out with six-figure salaries and five-figure signing bonuses. Graduates of smaller, less prestigious schools may not be as lucky, but they will still have an MBA. And the bottom line is this: climbing the corporate ladder is much easier with a degree than it is without one.

Financial Value of an MBA
That said, an MBA degree from one of the top business schools in America could set you back by up to $100,000. This is by no means a small amount and is indeed one of the largest investments that you are likely to make in your life. So you need to ascertain the return on investment on the amount that you are likely to incur in pursuing an MBA and see if it is financially valuable to you.

If you are looking at Forbes ranking, the average Return on Investment in around 3-4 years. Calculate all the costs that are involved in pursuing an MBA, namely application fees, program fees, tuition costs, interest on any loans, cost of materials needed, travel costs related to training etc, test fees, and any other miscellaneous costs that you may incur. Once you have estimated the cost of your MBA, you need to factor in the opportunity cost of doing an MBA, and then you can assess the benefits of an MBA in terms of increased salaries, better wages, and more career opportunities to evaluate the monetary value of your MBA degree.

This is what all applicants to an MBA program need to ask themselves when they apply to any school to be admitted into their MBA program. Remember that the admissions officers and those professionals, who process your application, are also asking themselves if you will make a good candidate for their MBA program.

It’s not rare to guess-estimate that the total cost of an MBA is roughly twice the price of the total tuition of the MBA.

Return on Investment

  • Statistics you need to know about the value of the Executive MBA degree
  • GMAC survey reports: like an MBA ROI, or the Value of an MBA, Recruitment Corporate Report, or an Alumni Perspective Survey. Disclaimer: the GMAC is the institue that manage the GMAT test.
  • ROI is not the acurate way at evaluating a project since it does not incorporate neither the time value of money nor the opportunity cost. You better look at NPV, or doing an Cost-Benefit analysis instead.
  • If you want to calculate your ROI depending your MBA program, BW build a tool that will let you compare between schools
  • While the average salaries and bonuses of the Class of 1992 paint a broad portrait containing every swath of income median sums provide an additional level of detail. Half the respondents from each school made above the median, and half below.
  • Hobsons AMBA Scholarship is an annual book that register all Grant Support for student, a giant directory of Funding Sources.
  • Rotary International can provide financial help
  • In USA, FastAid, FinAid, are the 2 great source of information for loans
  • The Sallie Mae Company primarily provides federally guaranteed student loans originated under the Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP) to US citizens, and offers comprehensive information and resources to guide students, parents and guidance professionals through the financial aid process.
  • Bourses Internationalistes Celanese Canada (BICC) offer fellowships of $10 000 to Canadian for study outside of North America
  • Scholarships for study in France may be obtained through the Cultural Services of The French Embassy.
  • French Fongecifs give advice and help people taking a career break to plan and finance higher education.
  • Upon AMBA accreditation, UK citizens may apply for financing arrangements set up by AMBA
  • The Sainsbury Management Fellowship Scheme - enables young engineers of high career potential to undertake MBA courses at major international business schools. Since 1987 the scheme has supported about 195 engineers. Funding is made available to UK engineers via the Royal Academy of Engineering.
  • British Council
  • Commonwealth Scholarship & Fellowship Plan (CSFP)
  • German Candidates may apply to the DAAD
  • Fundacion Pedro Barri้ de la Maza offers scholarships to students from Galicia in Spain.
  • Funded by the European Commission, Alban Scholarships are specifically targeted at young Latin Americans wishing to complete their academic or professional education in Europe.
  • From Japan, have a pick at World Bank Scholarship
Ask yourself:
  • Can I afford the program fees?
  • Will the living expenses, travel costs, and other expenses involved in the particular program put an immense financial burden on me?
  • Will I have to borrow a loan to cover the costs and do I even want to?
  • If I do take a loan, will I be able to bear the interest on the loan and how long will it be before I can repay it?

Remember, Christian Schraga estimates that the ten year NPV of a top MBA program is (-$53,000). You can find his calculation of NPV (net present value) of full time MBA.

9. What are the impacts on my lifestyle while doing an MBA?

"Enjoy your life till you have one, because while there you life is gone"

Lifestyle change is the least topic that one candidate might envision during the decision process, but you should be convince that is the major issue that come along during the MBA experience. Let me tell you that the content learnt at business school is at most interesting, but never difficult. If you consider yourself as a poet, don’t panic, you will be able to master the 2 equations I barely saw at the corner of the blackboard one day when I came late in class. And if you still don’t want to see number, give it to your finance guru teammate to do. He or she will be happy to crack down a financial model like in the old days.

No the major concern you will have to face is the lifestyle change from post ex-undergraduate, almost debt free, settle down life with maybe a house and car, eating at restaurants and party like tomorrow will never end, to a strange graduate life.

Expect to sleep where you can in the middle of the day, mastering your newly acquired power nap skill; or work a lot on topic you never heard before and you will never hear again; or eating pizza at crazy hours, and chasing the best coupon deal in town.

Your healthy lifestyle is gone, and you will have to make sure that balancing your life while pursuing an MBA program is on top of your priority list otherwise you are not going to enjoy your life for 2 years. Here is a compilation of testimonies from Mc Combs graduate students if you don’t believe me.

Impact on your Lifestyle
  • Will I be able to balance work and studying?
  • Will I have to give up my job?
  • How will a particular course affect my family life?
  • What will be the impact on my family and friends?

You won’t be able to see your old friends, and maybe your family if you are oversees for quite sometime. This could be very overwhelming if you are not prepare for it. Beware, and make sure you are up for the challenge.

Ready? Jump?

Once you have asked yourself the above questions in relation to the different MBA programs that may interest you, you can determine which of those programs is best for you and positively addresses all the areas in which an MBA program can impact you.

Most people want to go in for an MBA program that is offered by the Top Tier business schools and which have the highest ratings. If given a chance to enroll in such a program, they jump at it without considering how it can affect them, and later have to live with the consequences. Although an education from the top business schools cannot be compared to other programs, you have to decide which course is best for you according to your guidelines.

If you choose to enroll into an MBA program just because it is THE best one available, but are unable to stay with the program or complete the course, then even the best of programs will not do you any good. So determine which program is best for YOU and then make the most of it.

Remember that MBA are a professional degree and you will go back to your professional life soon enough. Before jumping into a program, you have to evaluate the industries you are interested in, what are the business field you want to work in later on, and what kind of company would I like to work for (own, small, mid-size, MNC, government)

If you are up for the jump, let move to the next section.

How do I get into the MBA program that I want?

10. How to apply?

Some people strongly believe to an unique application, some believe in a diversify portfolio. I guess the answer is yours.

If you think that you are interested in one and only one school, you might want to show it in your application, even though you might have to retry next year.

If it’s one of many, the framework for all the application pieces are usually the same and consists of basic biographical information and a brief history of your academic and professional accomplishments to date. You submit this portion of your application usually online now in one and unique application.

Who is eligible for these programs?
MBA and Accelerated MBA
While most schools and educational institutions that offer MBA programs have their respective criteria for getting into an MBA course, the two most significant factors that are common to most schools and MBA courses are:

  • Age and Experience: The average age of students applying for the MBA is about 26-30 years. Most of the schools require to have around 4-5 years of work experience before joining the program. Since experience is usually believed to come with age, those under 25 are generally not accepted for an MBA program (except maybe for Stanford).
  • GMAT Score: Although a good GMAT score is not a guarantee anymore for getting to an MBA program, it does better your chances tremendously. Nowadays, having a GMAT score over 700 is important if you wish to get into the Top Tier MBA schools.


  • Age and Experience: The average age for E-MBA is much greater since the minimum experience requirement is around 10 years of experience. In E-MBA average age is around 35-40 years old.
  • GMAT Score: The GMAT is not necessary yet for E-MBA program

Other MBA (x-MBA)

  • Age and Experience: These new program are very much flexible regarding age.
  • GMAT Score: The GMAT is not usually in the same range as the MBA

MBA Admissions Process
To understand the admissions process, you have to look at it from an admissions officer's point of view. Each year the staff tries to assemble a well-rounded class consisting of people from a broad range of work backgrounds. It's important that they assemble a diverse group because projects will be more successful and students will learn more if their teammates can contribute their own unique perspectives, and complement their common knowledge.

The admissions staff faces a tricky challenge, in putting together a diverse class because the vast majority of applicants to top programs come from finance and consulting, worked at the most prestigious firms, had good grades as undergraduates, and have stellar GMAT score, making the competition in their categories extremely tough.

If admissions officers were to select candidates strictly on the basis of GMAT scores and undergraduate GPAs, their student bodies would be comprised almost entirely of people from finance and consulting backgrounds, which would make for pretty bad class dynamics.

The goal of the admissions people therefore is to try to have an average age range around what the school target, an as well balance as possible female/male ratio, and an even equally number of people coming from finance, consulting and industries (rest of the world).

Namely, if you come from a finance background, you will, for the most part, compete only with other finance people for the limited number of finance spots available. If you are a consultant, you will compete with other consultants. Although there are no strict quotas for each category, the final numbers are amazingly consistent from year to year regardless of the number of finance or consulting people who actually apply.

So the overwhelming number of applicants from a few categories coupled with the need to bring together a diverse group, forces admissions committee to pit consultant against consultant and investment banker against investment banker.

What does it means for me?
Investment banking and management consulting are probably the most competitive categories. Virtually everyone who works in those fields needs to go to B-school in order to move up in their industry. Admissions people use the last 1/3 spots to broaden the classroom and add some depth of experience to the group. You will need some marketing people, some people from technical backgrounds and some non-profit people. Every class has a few lawyers, architect and doctors along with some real unique profile chance, people with tremendously unique experience that will be valuable to their classmates. But even in this category this is a tough fight.

Essay Strategy
In writing the application essays, your strategy should be to highlight the unique experiences you've had (both on the job and in your personal life) that you believe will be valuable to your classmates, while bringing depth in the specific expertise you belong to.

Make sure that you are sincere and your story stay together all the way until your receive your acceptance letter. Have a story and tell it well in the essays, make it compliant to your goals and your beliefs. The essay that is required with the application should be written sincerely and should be so compelling that the person who is reviewing your application finds it difficult to put your essay down. Write them over and over, until you can not stand them anymore, which the time to give it to friends, of former MBA grads to read and comments on them.

Today most of the schools have their application process online, and you just have to download their form and submit on time. If you application is solid, it doesn’t matter at which round you apply. If you application is average, the sooner the better.

Remember that only as little as 20% of all applications received by MBA schools, are considered further for the next stage in the admissions process. Make sure that you do the best possible job with your application to go on top of the pile.


  • The application process could be very brain draining, and depending on your proficiency in the Shakespeare language you might find the Essays Writing 101 crash course from helpful.
  • Applications Milestones to keep in mind the big picture
  • During the admission process you will also have to face multiple interviews with maybe current student, alumni or member of admission committee. McKinsey list some tips and common mistakes to help you in your case interview process if you have to face them.


11. How to GMAT?

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is a test that has been produced by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), and is used to help business schools in making admissions decisions. The GMAT test is taken by students who are applying for admission to either MBA or other graduate management programs.

The GMAT test is given in English only, and it tests analytical writing, quantitative, and verbal skills. In the United States, the GMAT test is a computer-based test.

The GMAT test is a computer-adaptive test. This means that the multiple choice questions in the quantitative and verbal sections are adjusted to the ability level of the test taker (if you get the question, the next question get harder). Because the computer test system will not advance to the next question without answering the current question, all questions must be answered. In cases where the answer is not known, it is better to make a guess. It is also imperative that all test questions are completed.

The GMAT test consists of three sections.
  • The first section of the test is the Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA). The AWA consists of two writing tasks. The first is an analysis of an issue, and the second task is the analysis of an argument. The Analytical Writing Assessment is always found at the beginning of the GMAT test, and test takers are given 30 minutes to complete each writing task.
  • The second section of the GMAT test is the quantitative section. This section tests the knowledge of arithmetic, elementary algebra, and common geometry through questions on data sufficiency and problem solving. There are 37 multiple choice questions in this section, and test takers have a maximum of 75 minutes to complete these questions.
  • The third section of the GMAT test is the verbal section. This section has 41 multiple choice questions, and the questions test reading comprehension, critical reasoning, and sentence correction. There is a maximum of 75 minutes to complete this section of the examination.

In addition, there will be pretest questions mixed in to these sections of the exam. These questions will not be identified as pretest questions, so it is important to answer all questions as best as possible. Pretest questions are not scored. Examples of all of the types of questions that may be seen on the GMAT test can be found online at GMAC’s website.

The verbal and quantitative sections of the GMAT test have scores that range from zero to 60. These raw scores are then converted to an overall “total” score that ranges from 200 to 800. Two thirds of all test takers will have a total score between 400 and 600. The scores in the verbal and quantitative sections are determined by several things: the number of questions answered, if the questions were answered correctly or incorrectly, and the level of difficulty of the questions answered, as well as the statistical nature of the questions.

The Analytical Writing Assessment is scored by two independent essay readers. These readers score the AWA on a scale from zero to six, and the scores from each reader are averaged to come up with an overall sore. The overall score ranges from zero to six, in half point increments. If the scores from the independent readers vary by more than one point, an expert essay reader is used to help determine the final score. The score from the AWA does not impact the total score for the verbal and quantitative sections.


  • If English is your second language you will have to sit at the TOEFL as well. If you to try the want to sample TOEFL tests, download the PPTFL10.exe, unless you would prefer the online ones from Mickey.
  • is the best starting point for you to understand all about the TOEFL
  • offers some free sample paper test
  • At, all software contents are guaranteed, not free, but the packaging and color of packaging may not be exactly as shown on the webpage.
  • helps you to assess your strength and helps you practice better through their online tools
  • How to Ace the TOEFL, using this expensive step-by-step study guide

GMAT Links


  • The Official Guide for GMAT Review
  • Kaplan GMAT 800”, by Kaplan
  • “Arco teach yourself the GMAT CAT in 24 hours” by Stewart, Mark A
  • “Everything you need to score high on the GMAT CAT, computer -adaptive test” by Martinson, Thomas H.
  • “GMAT CAT: answers to the real essay questions” by Stewart, Mark A
  • “Graduate admissions essays: write your way into the graduate school of your choice” by Asher, Donald.
  • “How to get into the top MBA programs”, by Montauk, Richard
  • “How to write a winning personal statement for graduate and professional school”, by Stelzer, Richard J.
  • “Perfect personal statements”, by Stewart, Mark A
  • “Which MBA?: a critical guide to the world's best MBAs”, by Bickerstaffe, George
  • “Words for smart test takers”, by Stewart, Mark A.

12. Recommendations?

Letter of recommendations are part of an application to address two main things in the MBA application process. The first aspect is obviously to have a direct feedback from senior business persons who had a personal business relation with the current candidate and who could, anonymously, provide some influential information in an application. In other words, futures peers (recommenders) will be the best person to judge another on their potentials. “Could it been one of us?” is the main question that recommenders will have to answer for the school.

But the second objective is a less obvious one. “Could the candidate able to manage up?” Usually, business leaders are not approachable people with an extremely packed schedule. The question for candidate will be to first identify the potential recommender, then to ask (and sometime this situation is tricky), to communicate, to help and finally to manage their deliverable. This difficult tasks, while being in a weak position, will help to asses how one candidate can influence powerful business leaders on a tight deadline.

Don’t be foolish and think that bad recommendations can not impact your profile, because they do impact!

Who should I ask my recommendations from?
Don't get a Name from a Brand Name Company. There's nothing wrong with having a recommendation from Jack Welch himself, but only if he really knows you personally. The most common mistake applicants make with respect to the letter of recommendation is getting one from a hotshot at work or from a brand name. The admissions people are not impressed by your boss's boss's title, and they are regularly bombarded by generic recommendations from celebrity business people anyway. So don't send them another. You better find someone who really knows you, can add something to your application, who knows you well, preferably someone who works with you daily and can provide personal insight into your character, leadership skills and way of working. In reality, the job title of that person is meaningless to the admissions committee.

One last obvious tip, pick someone who can write and is a former alumni of the school!

How to ask?
Sometime companies do not judge that an MBA is useful in a professional, and will neither encourage (financially), nor recommend any potential hot shot leader to move out of the company. In that case you better look outside the company for recommendations, or even change company before envisioning applying. The MBA journey can take a long time before receive the welcome email. You might want to have few advice conversations before asking your boss for a recommendation. Annual review is a good place to squeeze the 3 letters career killer acronym to your boss before asking for recommendation.

Having a diverse set of business leader for recommenders is also a very wise decision. That will give the selection committee a long term perspective, a deeper understanding of potentiality and finally give also a wide angle of your personality.

What to ask?
Writing about someone else is never fun, so imagine when you don’t have any incentive of doing so. You better prep your recommender on what you want them to write about. Have your recommender discuss specific details of the jobs you've done. Detailing specifics, a specific common project, will shed more light on your personality than will mouthing vague platitudes "I think he is very good in his job, and could be a great leader one day."

Most will also ask your recommenders to jump through a lot of hoops, filling in grid boxes and writing evaluations. Because recommenders don't usually have time to do that much work, it's a good idea to give them one very comprehensive summary of your self.

The classic question your recommender will face during the process:
  • How long and in what context have you known the applicant?
  • What are the applicant's principal strengths/weaknesses?
  • How does the applicant's performance compare with peers?
  • How does he accept constructive feedback?
  • Please provide detailed comments on the applicant's degree of self-confidence.
  • Comment on the applicant's ability to work with others, including superiors, peers and subordinates.
  • Comment on the applicant's maturity.
  • Would you enjoy working for the applicant?
  • Discuss applicant's leadership abilities and group skills.
  • How would you describe the applicant's sense of humor?
  • In what ways could the applicant improve professionally?
  • In which areas could the applicant exhibit growth or improvement?
  • What aspect of the applicant would you most like to change?
  • Comment on the applicant's business ethics.
  • What do you think motivates the candidate's application to the MBA program?
  • What is your overall assessment of the applicant's potential for success as an effective and inspiring upper-level manager?
  • Any additional useful information that could help understanding better the candidate (accomplishments, managerial potential or other personal qualities)?

Whatever you do, don't let your recommender question your leadership or communication skills. If he or she completes the grid boxes, make sure he or she gives you high marks in those categories. The whole point of business school is to develop leaders and that means you have to communicate well, and convince people of your point of view.

Should I do it myself?
It's easy to spot writing habits. One can usually tell when a set of essays and an accompanying letter of recommendation have been written by the same person. The voice, the diction, and especially the errors of grammar and style are all unique identifiers. Even though admissions people may not be professional editors, they will catch applicants by noting their unique phraseologies.

Most of you will have to work with your recommenders in crafting your letters, but don't write them wholesale, give a summary with key words you want them to use. At the very least craft your recommendations as a joint project. Even if your recommender would prefer that you write them alone, encourage him or her to do some of the work so the language will assure the reader that someone other than the applicant wrote the recommendation.

13. Interviews?

If your MBA application is as good as it should be, then you may be short listed for the interviews. The interview process varies dramatically from school to school. At some schools, your interview can make the difference between being accepted and spending another year at work. At others, it's meaningless and deserves no attention (Stanford).

Some schools are very aggressive about interviewing candidates (like Kellogg), some require that the interview be conducted on campus, and some schools (like Harvard) use it as way to asses the leadership skill of the candidate under a stressful environment.

If you feel you're not a good interviewer, practice. But if you feel comfortable meeting new people, then it will be a time for you to ask questions about the school. A lot of business leader have to meet new people daily as part of their jobs, so they get very good at interacting with strangers.

Should I Interview with an Admissions Officer or an Alumnus?
It's best to interview with someone on the admissions committee, but that isn't always possible. You shouldn't worry too much, though, if you end up having to interview with an alumnus or even a current student. That person will write up a report that will go into your file. Just try to get along with your interviewer.

A Few Pointers on the Interview

  • Whenever possible, interview with someone of the opposite sex.
  • Dress formally unless your interview is with an alumnus and he or she said so
  • Relax! Don't come off as stiff and overly formal.
    You want your interviewer to like you, so treat him or her like a friend.
  • Prepare your answers ahead of time.

Typical Interview Questions
The questions asked at different schools are often surprisingly similar. Virtually all of the interviewers cover the same topics. Schools use the interview to just add more fodder to the essays, to make sure there are no huge discrepancies between the essays and the interviewee, that you are a social person, and just get another data point.

  • Tell me about yourself.
  • Why do you want an MBA?
  • Why now?
  • Why this School?
  • Any questions for me?

Be sure to prepare a brief outline of your upbringing before going to your interview. It's easy to get lost and ramble into a long pointless diatribe when talking about your upbringing, so make your replies short and to the point.

Having your story together will help for a nice introduction, and help you as well to ease your welcome in the talk. A nice way to guide your interviewer will be to finish each answer with the obvious next question.

Tips for the interview:
Portray Yourself as a Team Player: Convey what you wish to get out of the MBA course, but more importantly, tell what you will contribute to it as well. Most MBA graduates consider their classmates and other students to be a big help during the course. So present yourself as a quality student and a valuable team member.

Be Sincere: Do not give answers to questions that you think the interviewer wants to hear. They can easily differentiate among students who are being sincere and those who just give the “expected” answers. So be honest about your expectations from the MBA course and why you have decided to pursue the particular program or school.

Prepare Yourself: Make a list of expected questions. Study the school before interviewing so you can ask informed questions about it. Knowing specific details about the program should convince the interviewer that you are serious about attending the school. Ask questions about his or her experience, a school club, or any other activities of the alumni association for example. Make sure you ask 3 pertinent questions, less is embarrassing, more is suspicious.

But Practice!

After two or three interviews, you feel like a piece of meat. Just remember that everyone has to go through the same process, and it’s a nice opportunities to ask question about an MBA experience to someone who has been through it.

Extra Interview questions

You have not enought yet, here is small list of questions that can happen during the interview. You might want to spend a couple of minutes for each of them and think what would be the answer that would give to the interviewer.

  • What is your biggest accomplishment?
  • What role do you see yourself playing on a team?
  • What other schools did you apply to and how will you decide which to choose?
  • Why an MBA?
  • Walk me through your resume...and why do you feel like an MBA is right for you given your experience to date?
  • What’s appealing?
  • What are your plans in the event that you are not accepted to any MBA programs?
  • What would your boss say is your biggest weakness?
  • What would your colleagues say are your strengths?
  • What makes you think you can succeed?
  • What companies would you like to work for? Why?
  • Do they recruit at this school?
  • Assuming you are a student here and you are set up in a group, what type of background would you want your group members to have?
  • What would your teammate say are your weakest and strongest characteristics?
  • What are you doing for the rest of the day?
  • If I were to ask your co-workers about you, what one thing would they say they least like about you?
  • What is a mistake you have made at work? Was it resolved? How?
  • Imagine it is your first day at this school. You are placed in a team with 4 other classmates. You are given a problem to solve. What role do you assume in that team? What contributions would you make to a group?
  • Since you are a little [older] / [younger] that most MBA students, how would you plan on pursuing an internship after the first year? How would you sell yourself to recruiters?
  • What would you like to be remembered for at this school?
  • What do you find the most difficult part of your current job to be?
  • If there was someone in your life that you could emulate whom would it be and why?
  • What motivates you?
  • Upon graduation from this school, what would classmates say about you?
  • Let's imagine that you are graduating from this school, what would I say about you?
  • Provide a creative name for a company and explain the product/service.
  • Discuss your career progression.
  • Give examples of how you have demonstrated leadership inside and outside the work environment.
  • What do you want to do (in regard to business function, industry, location)?
  • Describe an ethical dilemma faced at work?
  • Describe your career aspirations?
  • What are your long- and short-term goals? Why?
  • What is an activity you are involved in?
  • Why is it important to you?
  • Talk about experiences you have had at work.
  • Why did you choose your undergraduate major?
  • Discuss yourself.
  • What is most frustrating at work?
  • Describe a typical workday.
  • Have you worked in a team environment?
  • What were your contributions to the effort?
  • How did you choose your job after college?
  • What do you do to relieve stress?
  • It's two years after graduation, what three words would your team members use to describe you?
  • Describe a situation where you brought an idea forward and it failed.
  • How do you define success?
  • What would you do if a team member weren't pulling his/her own weight?
  • Why did you wait until now to apply to grad school?
  • Have you looked into getting a job in?
  • What type of research have you done into b-schools?
  • Why only schools in this area?
  • What makes you different from the rest of the applicants?
  • Why will you be an asset to this school?
  • What are your goals?
  • If the interviewer is a potential employer, and you have just graduated from this school, why should he hire you?
  • What is your biggest weakness?
  • If your friends were sitting in this room with us, what would they tell me about you?
  • Given your experience/background/personality, what do you think you can contribute to the school?
  • If you had 24 hours to do anything that you wanted, what would it be and why?
  • Describe a time when you failed - either a project or personal goal, etc.
  • Describe a time that you had to work with others on a project and what the outcome was.
  • What did you learn from it?
  • Picture yourself in 20 years, as an alumni of our school.
  • If you were at a reunion function and we were to introduce you, what would you want to be noted for?
  • What personal or professional or community achievement?
  • What is your dream job?
  • If you had a successful career after this school and were asked to come back to give a speech to current students, how would the Dean explain to the group why you had been chosen to speak and how would he introduce you?
  • What would you rate as the deciding factor to pick a school, if you got into everywhere that you applied to?
  • Why did you move around in your jobs?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of your application?
  • If you were not to get in what should you improve on for next year if you re-apply?
  • If you are accepted, will you be locked out of any classes?