Most MBA (Masters in Business Administration) programs consist of a set of required core courses (typically, accounting, economics, finance, marketing, and statistics) and electives. Often electives include a cluster of courses in one specialized area (e.g., finance). Many graduate business courses, including some of the core courses, require good analytical and quantitative skills. In preparing to make yourself an attractive applicant to a top MBA program, you should develop your abilities to think quantitatively as well as write effectively. In addition, it is very unusual for the most competitive MBA programs to admit applicants without at least two or three years of work experience.
Admissions committees will review your academic background, GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) score, work experience, application essays, letters of recommendation, and interview. Your application and supporting documents should include evidence of your ability to perform well in analytical and quantitative courses. Most business schools place considerable weight on your prior work experience, and good schools typically require at least two or three years of employment following graduation from college.
Most programs aim to enroll a class with diverse academic backgrounds. Thus, many programs have few, if any, specific requirements. In particular, neither an undergraduate degree in business nor an economics major is necessary. As you select your undergraduate courses, you should consider the following:
Most highly regarded business schools expect two to five years of work experience following graduation from college. Work experience is required because it helps students better appreciate course material and contribute more insightfully to class discussions. Admissions committees use letters of recommendation from business colleagues to help assess your potential for leadership and your ability to work as part of a team.
Business school deans of admission stress that no one type of business experience is more valuable than any other. The most important consideration for your work experience is that you choose something that you do very well. Your work experience gives you an additional opportunity to demonstrate your ability to set and achieve goals that are important to both you and your organization. The academic preparation expected by employers varies by employer and position. Most employers expect a graduate from a liberal arts college such as Hamilton to be broadly educated, a good writer, and an articulate speaker. A student who seeks a job in investment or commercial banking or in management consulting should have a high overall GPA and a strong record in quantitative courses. For such a student, the Career Center recommends accounting, a year of calculus, introductory economics, statistics, and a course that includes material on financial markets.
Your scores are good for five years. You should consider sitting for the GMAT in your senior year if you think that your quantitative skills might deteriorate after you leave Hamilton.