25 MBA Prep Resources for Aspiring Applicants

When you’re ready to get serious about pursuing an MBA degree, you’ll want to gather as much information as possible to prepare for the endeavor. With that in mind, we’ve compiled a handy list of 25 MBA prep resources that covers every major facet of the MBA application process.

MBA prep resources

We believe business school is a substantial investment in yourself and your career. May these comprehensive MBA prep resources help orient you as you take those first steps toward applying to a top MBA program.

1. Why an MBA?

Before you can start targeting business schools or determining your application strategy, you need to make a critical analysis of whether an MBA is the right next step for your life and career. This post can help.

Why Do You Want an MBA?

2. Timing Your MBA

How much work experience do you need before applying? When is the “right” time to go to business school? There is no one-size-fits-all answer. But these posts can clarify the issue.

MBA prep resources

Work Five First or Dive Right In?

Readiness Check: 3 Questions for Younger Applicants

How Do You Know if You’re Ready for Business School? 

3. School Research and Campus Visits

While there is only one MBA degree, no two MBA programs are the same. From curriculum structures to size and location, each program is unique in its blend of resources across a continuum of options.

How Important is a Campus Visit in MBA Admissions?

B-Schooled Podcast Episode 7: School Selection and Program Strengths

Evaluate MBA Career Services When Selecting Possible B-Schools

4 Fail-Safe Ways to Research MBA Programs

Why Your MBA Short List Should Include Dream, Target and (Maybe) Safety Schools

4. What Does the AdCom Want?

The admissions committee focuses on four specific areas when evaluating your MBA candidacy. The good news is, you can stand out in these aspects no matter where you’ve worked before or what background you have.

coronavirus admissions updates

What Does the AdCom Focus on When Evaluating Your Candidacy?

Character Prevails for Harvard & Stanford Double Admits

Advice From Former MBA Admissions Officers

5. GMAT and GRE

Although the GMAT has been the Gold Standard in MBA admissions for decades, the GRE is also now widely accepted and a great option for certain candidates. Partner with SBC’s best in class GMAT and GRE experts and increase your score significantly. We’ve got all of the test and MBA prep resources you need.

The GMAT and Your MBA Application Strategy

Why Can’t I Score Above 700 on the GMAT?

Client Case Study: How the GRE Can Complement an Unconventional Applicant

6. Low or No-Quant Applicants

Elite business schools warmly welcome applicants with undergraduate degrees in the humanities. However, these candidates will need to prove to the admissions committee that their relatively minimal academic experience in quantitative subjects won’t be a hindrance once they hit those core courses.

Overcome a Low Quant Background in MBA Admissions

B-Schools Looking for More than Just “Quant Jocks”

7. Retaking the GMAT or GRE

MBA prep resources

At SBC, we advise all clients to go into the process assuming they will take the test at least two times. If you score well the first time, great! But don’t worry if you don’t. The admissions committee looks favorably upon applicants who retake the test to improve their score.

Know When to Retake the GMAT

The Pros and Cons of Retaking the GMAT or GRE

8. GPA

Your undergraduate GPA is one part of your application you cannot change. Review the class profiles at your target schools to see what is the average GPA. You can see them quickly by clicking on the school links within our Application Cheat Sheet.

3 Ways to Offset a Low GPA When Applying to Business School

Don’t Ignore a Low GPA in B-School Applications

9. Trouble Spots and Red Flags

MBA prep resources

We’ve worked with many flawed MBA candidates who successfully gained admission to the world’s top business schools. If you were already perfect, you probably wouldn’t need to get an MBA, would you? Mistakes, failures, and problems can lead to valuable personal growth.

Mitigate Red Flags in the MBA Application

MBA Admissions: Learning from Failure

A Lesson for MBA Applicants on Owning Up to Past Mistakes

10. Improving Your Candidacy

If you plan to apply to business school in the upcoming admissions cycle, you may think it impossible to improve your MBA candidacy in such a short amount of time. Not true! You can take action in three important areas right now.

Improve Your MBA Candidacy Now for Fall Applications

Quick Fixes to Improve Your MBA Application

Focus on These 5 Areas for Admissions Success

11. Should You Specialize or Generalize?

Whether you choose to be a generalist at business school or to specialize your MBA degree depends heavily on your career’s end goals.

Should You Specialize Your MBA Degree?

We Need More Specialized Generalist MBAs, Citi’s Bruce Schlein Tells FT

MBA Specialization Vs. General Business Skills: Vault Weighs In

12. MBA Essay Advice

The MBA essays are perhaps the most anxiety-producing part of the business school application.  One of the best MBA prep resources you can find are our Tuesday Tips posts. SBC has specific recommendations for each of the top MBA programs under the “Tuesday Tips” links section of the blog.

MBA Essay Advice for Entrepreneurs

Write a Winning MBA Personal Statement

MBA Essay Advice for IT Candidates

3 Unconventional Steps to Writing Great MBA Essays

13. Thinking and Writing About Career Goals

career goals essay

For most applicants, career exploration is the impetus for considering an MBA, and the majority of programs will spend time evaluating your career goals for realism and passion.

How to Write a Great Career Goals Essay

How Specific Should Post-MBA Career Goals Be?

Think Through Your Post-MBA Career Goals

14.  Volunteering/ Extracurricular Activities

The admissions committee wants to recruit students who have passions and interests outside of work. Your volunteer efforts and hobbies provide insight into what kind of person you are, and show that you care about the wider world.

improve your MBA candidacy

Do This if You Have No Extracurriculars

B-Schooled Episode #4: How Important are Extracurriculars and Community Service

Coronavirus MBA Volunteering Ideas

15. MBA Resume

It’s unlikely you’ll be able to use the current version of your resume for your business school applications. In fact, you’re probably going to want to spend a significant amount of time on a complete resume overhaul. But, the extra work you put into revising it could be what makes the difference between a ding and an interview offer.

Focus on Career Progression, Results for a Successful MBA Resume

Highlight International Experience on Your Resume

Write a Killer Resume for Business School

16. Choosing and Advising MBA Recommenders

So many people think choosing a well-known or prestigious individual will be the ticket to acceptance at the b-school of their dreams. The key when selecting recommenders is to think about their placement in your life. Help them write the strongest letter possible on your behalf.

MBA admissions success

Dos and Don’ts for Choosing MBA Recommenders

Avoid Choosing the Wrong Recommenders

What Makes a Great MBA Recommendation Letter

17. MBA Interview Tips

If your application has made it past the first hurdle and you receive an interview invitation, you’re in an enviable position. Ample preparation is the key to success, and these specific tips can help. If you need more guidance, check out one of SBC’s popular MBA prep resources, our MBA interview prep services.

MBA Interview Tips to Help You Knock It Out of the Park

The 5 Hardest MBA Interview Questions and Tips for How to Answer Them

Do You Play Nice with Others? Advice for the Group or Team-Based Interview

How Not to Tank Your MBA Admissions Interview

18. Waitlist Woes

updates on your candidacy

While few candidates celebrate landing on the waitlist, don’t give up hope. First of all, waitlist status by your target school is a good sign. You’re someone they would like to have in the class, but something is holding up a final decision.

Waitlisted MBA Applicants are Still in the Game

SBC Scoop: Waitlist Management

On a B-School Waitlist? Do These 3 Things Right Now

19. Rejection and Reapplying

After pouring your heart and soul into the arduous MBA application process, if your status changes from hoping and waiting to officially denied, it can seem like the end of the world. Here’s what you should do next.

MBA prep resources

B-School Rejection Recovery Plan

Do This, Not That, if You’re Reapplying to Business School

Should You Reapply to a B-School That Rejected You?

Successful Reapplicant to Harvard Business School, Stanford GSB

MBA Reapplicant Success Story: From 24 Apps, 19 Dings to 1st in Class at Emory

20. Advice for College Seniors

Deferred MBA Admissions programs targeting college seniors are now offered at many of the elite MBA schools. Whether you plan to apply while in college or want to take the right steps now to apply in a few years, these tips are for you.

visit the campus

College Senior MBA Programs

HBS 2+2 Program for College Seniors: How to Get In

Do These 7 Things Now if B-School is in Your Future

21. Targeted Advice for Military Applicants

Military MBA applicants tend to blow other candidates out of the water, figuratively speaking, because they have a wealth of experience to draw from at a very young age. That said, coming from the armed forces rather than a civilian career path prior to business school can give rise to certain difficulties when drafting an application.

Sorry Military MBA Applicants, There’s No Manual for B-School Research

Great New Resource Guide for Veteran MBA Applicants

Push or Pull? The Decision to Leave the Military and Pursue an MBA

22. Social Media Considerations and Background Checks

More and more often, members of the admissions committee will check an applicant’s social media profiles before making a final admit decision. Make the most of this opportunity! But, stay honest about your experiences and interests.

Social Media Tips for MBA Applicants

Use LinkedIn to Bolster Your MBA Profile

Background Checks in MBA Admissions

23. Paying for the MBA

As MBA applicants look to funding their MBA education, finding and applying for scholarships, fellowships, and loans is an important next step.

How to Pay for Your MBA

You Got into B-School…Now How Do You Pay for It?

MBA Scholarship Trends at M7 Schools

24. The ROI of an MBA

An MBA is a long-term financial investment, so here are three questions to ask when trying to decide whether going to business school makes financial sense: Will the degree result in a significant salary bump? Will the degree help me switch careers? Will the degree help me get to a leadership position faster?

Maximize the ROI of Your B-School Decision: Are You Thinking Deep Enough?

What to Consider When Thinking About the ROI of an MBA

Does an MBA Pay Off? Ask Paul Ollinger

25. Why Work with an Admissions Consultant?

Tough competition drives many MBA hopefuls to weigh the benefits of working with a consultant to help them stand out amid a sea of equally amazing applicants. Find out the real Benefits of Working with an MBA Admissions Consultant.

Also, you can read Crush the GRE’s evaluation of SBC’s services and learn why they ranked us the #1 MBA admissions consulting firm in 2020.

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We hope you take advantage of all the MBA prep resources SBC has to offer. These links represent just the tip of the iceberg for each of these topics, and we invite you to explore all of the areas that interest you here on our SBC news blog.

If business school is something you’re considering for the future, get in touch today for a free, no-strings assessment of your MBA candidacy. Learn more about how working with SBC can help you make your MBA dreams come true.

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Harvard HBS, Stanford GSB and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Erin, who was Assistant Director of MBA Admissions at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) and Director of MBA Admissions at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business.

Meet Andrea, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at Harvard Business School (HBS) for over five years.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.

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