Deciding to pursue an MBA after your undergraduate degree is always a tough choice, and it certainly benefits from a long period of dedicated consideration. But after you know you want to become aMaster of Business Administration, the hard choice has been made; you can then focus on the best programs, options, and tracks available. Next on your horizon is the application process, which can often stall all but the most focused students. However, know that you can cut down on trepidation, confusion, and anxiety about the process simply by familiarizing yourself with various eligibility requirements in a systematic way. Knowing what you have to prepare, complete, and submit well before the deadlines will make the careful process of compiling your application a pleasure, rather than a painful scramble to meet a due date.
First off, what do the best MBA programs in the country require of prospective students? Some elements are more obvious than others: for example, for most schools you’ll need a solid, B+ average in your undergraduate courses, evidence of control of the English language, and letters of reference (both professional and academic, in most cases). For many MBA programs, you’ll also need to show evidence of full-time work experience, but for some co-op programs prospective students must not have too muchpractical work experienceif they want tobe eligible. As a more general degree, MBA programs also rarely demand a business background—the point of the degree is to explore all the essential components of the business world, not have a mastery of it to begin with.
Another more or less compulsory (or at the very least, highly recommended) component of the application is the inclusion of your GMAT results. The GMAT (or Graduate Management Admission Test) is a reliable way for MBA administrators to anticipate how you can handle classroom material. This exam tests you on analytical writing, integrated reasoning, problem solving and data sufficiency, and verbal skills, and is absolutely mandatory for students coming from other countries. To maximize your chance at entry in the school of your choice, you’ll want to score above 600–650 out of 800 (most students range between 400 and 600). Another way to maximize your chances at an optimal result is to enroll in a GMAT refresher or test prep course, which gives you individualized and group-based tutelage on all the key components of this standardized test (and makes you much more confident walking into the exam).
If you’re feeling overwhelmed about your application, you can often schedule one-on-one meetings with program representatives who can talk you through the process, answer your questions directly, and clear up any misunderstandings. Not all Canadian graduate schools offer such eligibility counseling, so know that if you’re offered a chance to register for an appointment, you’re probably dealing with one of the better, student-centric organizations that will take your issues seriously and treat you like a somebody.
Other common concerns of applicants involve financing a degree, but there are more options at your fingertips than you might think. Just as with an undergraduate program, OSAP loans (for fulltime MBAs only), student lines of credit from financial institutions, and school-specific graduate student scholarships and bursaries are available to you. Remember that personal income tax deductions and access to the RRSP Lifelong Learning Plan will also make your academic days easier. However you choose to finance your MBA, look for schools that provide multiple funding options and make the search for financial assistance an easy one.
One post-secondary institution that certainly ticks off all the boxes on this checklist—and offers one of Canada’s most prestigious MBA programs—is Wilfrid Laurier. To start compiling your graduate application, letters, transcripts, and to get a sense of this school’s eligibility requirements, head to Lauriermba.ca/apply-laurier-mba-canada. The sooner you get started your application package, and the sooner you schedule a time to collect reference letters and write the GMAT, the easier and smoother the process will be. An MBA is well within your reach; don’t let a simple application slow you down!