Applying For The MBA As An Older Applicant

An application timeline from, leading MBA admissions consulting firm

How To Shine In Your MBA Application

The MBA application can be confusing and tedious. With so many aspects taken into consideration, applicants can often be overwhelmed by the process of applying for an MBA.

Kristene Quan, a writer for Macleans, recently published a step-by-step guide to putting together an MBA application that shines.

A Minimum GPA of 3.0

Quan says when it comes to the MBA, most b-schools require applicants to have completed at least a bachelor’s degree.

And many b-school’s would like to see a minimum GPA of 3.0 to be considered for the program.

“We’re, of course, going to expect them to have scores that are above average so they can demonstrate that they’ll be able to survive academically, because it is quite a demanding program,” Keum-Yeo Brochet, associate director of recruitment and marketing at McGill University’s Desautels Faculty of Management, tells Macleans.

It’s also important to note that average GPAs at the most elite b-schools increase over time.

Between 2012 and 2016, the average undergraduate grade point average rose at 18 of the top 25 schools ranked by P&Q.

When it comes to GPA, admissions committees look for more than high grades.

“A great GPA is not the only thing that admissions officers care about,” Betsy Massar of MBA admissions consulting firm Master Admissions tells P&Q. “It’s also the quality of that GPA. A student who has a lower-than-average GPA for a school in a subject like applied math or chemistry is still going to get a good look. Everyone knows not all majors and not all courses are equally difficult. If you have just an average GPA but took courses in really difficult subjects like physics, you shouldn’t worry. It’s really about how much you challenge yourself.”


Like GPAs, average GMAT scores for the most elite b-schools tends to increase over the years.

According to P&Q data, only seven schools in the top 50 have seen a drop-off over the last five years.

Hayley Milliman, of PrepScholarGMAT, says to be considered for the top 20 b-schools, you’ll generally need a GMAT score of 700 or above.

The best way to position yourself for success on the GMAT is to give yourself enough time to prepare.

“You don’t want to be cutting it too close to the deadline, where stress builds up and you just can’t think straight,” Beth McKenna, graduate student recruitment officer at John Molson School of Business, tells Macleans.

Work Experience

The general rule of thumb is to have at least two years of work experience prior to applying for an MBA.

Yet, many applicants average five years of work experience. Experts say the type of work experience you have matters.

“It’s a bit of a cliché, but we always say that you learn as much from your peers as your professors,” Desautels’s Brochet tells Macleans. “So the type of work experience that the students bring into the cohort matters a lot to the class discussions they’re going to have, or what they’re going to be able to contribute to when they’re part of team projects or presentations.”

Experts suggest applicants take the time to putting together a strong resume that will showcase their work experience.

“I feel like candidates leave a lot on the table with respect to the resumé. They spend so much time and effort on the GMAT and the essay, then they sort of just throw together whatever they have for a resumé,” Leigh Gauthier, assistant director of recruitment and admissions at the Rotman School of Management, tells Macleans. “I feel like there’s a huge opportunity to really showcase what you’ve done at work by creating a professional, accomplishment-based resumé.”

Sources: Macleans, Poets & Quants, PrepScholarGMAT, Poets & Quants

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