How to apply for an MBA: A complete guide for first-time applicants

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The MBA (Master of Business Administration) is a postgraduate degree equivalent to the Master’s degree, offered to individuals seeking to learn management techniques that will give them a competitive edge in the 21st century. An MBA degree trains students and professionals from diverse backgrounds like engineering, business, politics, arts and humanities, and more, to become leaders in their respective field. Based on your interests and career goals, such as finance, business management, entrepreneurship, marketing, analytics, technology, human resources, and supply chain/operations, you can also choose from specialised learning areas where you will be afforded opportunities to learn a variety of market knowledge in a niche sector. MANCOSA discusses how you should go about applying for an MBA programme.

Everything you need to know about starting your MBA application process

MBAs are unique in that anyone with previous undergraduate education can apply. Applicants with experience in any field, whether related or unrelated to management sciences, are eligible to apply. For instance, CEOs of many Fortune 500 companies have MBAs but come from backgrounds in engineering, accounting, health, and computer science (top MBA, 2021). MBAs typically study a variety of commerce subjects and are intended to assist managers in running different departments within their organizations.

MBA requirements: Find out if you qualify

Most MBA programmes require applicants to have several years of working experience, hold an honours degree, with a postgraduate diploma or a four-year undergraduate degree. Proof of prior work experience or business ownership (if self-employed) is usually required along with a copy of official identification, academic transcripts and an up to date Curriculum Vitae.

Documents you need to submit for an MBA

You will need to submit your full academic records for your undergraduate degree and honours degree. You will also need to submit a referral motivation and a letter of recommendation.

Letter of Motivation

Your motivation letter reveals why you are interested in pursuing an MBA, discusses your career goals, and highlights your written skills in communication. You should articulate the response to the question clearly or promptly, be succinct and precise, and emphasize your interest in the MBA programme and school.

Letter of Recommendation

By presenting the admissions committee with additional knowledge about yourself through a recommendation letter, you elaborate on your qualifications and suitability. Recommendation letters may come from employers, superiors, colleagues, or professors. Make sure the writer is someone who is well aware of your successes, rather than someone who has an important title or role that you hope will impact your application. The recommendation letter should illustrate your professional skills and experience while supporting your suitability for the MBA.

The MBA application process

There are four steps to applying for an MBA.

  1. The initial query – follow our application instructions and we will send you a detailed portfolio of the documents required so that you can prepare and collate the material you need within the required deadline
  2. Entrance examination – you will be required to undergo an assessment examination to evaluate your suitability for the programme. Sometimes, we can forgo the examination based on your academic results.
  3. Interview process – if your examination or academic results are deemed acceptable, you will be invited to interview for the programme. A panel of academics will discuss your reasons for wanting to complete the programme.
  4. Final confirmation – this is when you will either receive an acceptance offer from MANCOSA or a declination. Should your initial application be unsuccessful, we strongly advise that you brush up on your skills by taking a postgraduate diploma or certificate and try again in a few years.

Start your MBA studies with MANCOSA

The Management College of South Africa (MANCOSA) offers a prestigious and competitive distance learning MBA that spans over 1.5 years and is consistently ranked as one of the leading MBA programmes in the country. Fast-track your career with a master’s degree. Visit our MBA information hub for more information about how you can register for our programme.

Sources Consulted:

  • – The Top 10 Fortune 500 CEOs with an MBA, accessed 9 August 2021
  • – 10 Very good reasons to do an MBA Degree, accessed 9 August 2021
  • Business Tech – The average salary from an MBA in South Africa vs other qualifications, accessed 9 August 2021