What are the Entry Requirements for an MBA? U.S. vs Europe

An MBA (Master of Business Administration) is one of the most sought after programmes among students worldwide. MBA programmes will teach you about finance, marketing, economics, sociology and many other disciplines so you will be able to take a holistic approach to global business management. Since an MBA is so versatile, they are almost a guarantee for career success and a must for most global companies looking for knowledgeable managers.

Whether you choose a two-year full-time or part-time MBA, an executive MBA, or an online MBA, this will be a life-changing decision. One of the first things that prospective MBA applicants check are the entry requirements, which are different depending on each business school, especially if we compare those in the U.S. with those in Europe.

View MBA courses in Europe

Below you can find some of the most common entry requirements of business schools in Europe and the U.S. They can be used as a rough guide so you have an idea what to expect and how you should prepare.

MBA entry requirements in the U.S.

Common admission requirements for an MBA in American business schools are:

  • A four-year Bachelor’s degree from an accredited U.S. institution or its international equivalent
  • A minimum of two to three years of work experience, depending on your responsibilities
  • Resume
  • Personal Statement
  • Two letters of professional recommendation
  • Proof of English proficiency (TOEFL is most common required - minimum scores: paper-based: 550 – 600 and computer-based 213 – 250)
  • GMAT score over 600 (probably the most important)

Find out more about GMAT scores required by top American Business schools and which MBAs accept candidates without a GMAT.

Although some business schools may accept candidates without any work experience, they will give priority to those candidates that have a professional background. The admission board will take internships into account, but usually, this kind of experiences are considered supplementary.

Top universities in USA offering MBA programmes

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MBA entry requirements in Europe

The main admission requirements for an MBA in a European business school are:

  • Minimum 3 years of full-time experience
  • A Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • GMAT, GRE or pass an admissions test
  • International study or work experience
  • English language certificate (knowledge of a second language is a plus)

Minimum score accepted for English exams are:

  • TOEFL – IBT: 89 – 94 / paper-based: 577 – 587
  • IELTS – 6.0 or 6.5
  • Cambridge Advanced – 142 to 210
  • Pearson Test – between 59 and 63

In the case of some universities/business schools, successful professional accomplishments will be considered more valuable than the actual length of your work experience. So, if you are really confident with what you have achieved in your career, this shouldn’t stop you from applying to an MBA if you only have two years of work experience, for example.

As you can see, European business schools tend to be more flexible in terms of entry requirements, but on the other hand, the admission process may be considered less transparent.

Popular destinations for an MBA in Europe

Top universities in Europe offering MBA programmes

Online MBAs in the U.S. and Europe

Don't forget you can always look for online MBAs. There are plenty of good options from universities in Europe and the U.S. Here are just a few examples:

Getting accepted to an international MBA doesn’t have to be a chore

Being an ideal candidate for a business school is not impossible or complicated, it simply involves a little more work. Do your best at your GMAT and English exams and carefully check the additional requirements for your desired MBA programme. Don’t forget to be persuasive and sincere about your study motivation and get good reviews from your past employers and teachers.

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Master in Business Administration (MBA)
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