What should you know before applying to a full-time MBA in the UK? | TopMBA.com

What should you know before applying to a full-time MBA in the UK?

By Chloe L

Updated Updated

Sponsored by Warwick Business School 

An MBA is designed for future leaders who are looking to take the next step in their career. This may be to increase your future earning power, move into a managerial position, or change industries. 

If you’re considering applying to a full-time MBA at a UK business school, the application process can seem quite daunting at first. However, it’s not designed to catch you out, but to help you demonstrate your passion and commitment to the programme. 

TopMBA spoke to Magda Brown, Business Development Manager at Warwick Business School (WBS) to find out more about what you should know before applying for a full-time MBA in the UK. 

Do your research and reflect on your reasons for choosing that particular business school  

At MBA level, you must tailor your application to specifically fit the school and the programme you’re applying for. While researching the MBA, take some time to reflect on the school’s values and ethos and consider whether these align with your own.  

“The Selection Committee will want to understand why you’re applying specifically to Warwick Business School and what made you choose our programme above all others,” said Magda.  

For example, WBS is looking for ‘Change Makers’ who challenge the norm and share their core values of: 

  • Curiosity  
  • Openness  
  • Restlessness  
  • Excellence 

During the 12-month Full-time MBA programme at WBS, candidates will develop both personally and academically to become ‘Change Makers’.  

With international travel, unlimited coaching, in-depth work with leading companies and a peer group drawn from a wide range of different industry sectors and cultures, the MBA is incredibly diverse and will challenge you to become a competent, socially aware leader.  

In your application essay, consider how studying this specific MBA will help you reach your career goals and aspirations, so the school can clearly understand your motivations for studying there. This will also help you focus on what you’re looking to achieve by studying this programme. 

Prepare for and take any necessary tests (such as the GMAT or GRE) before applying  

Many business schools in the UK accept both the Graduate Management Admissions Test (GMAT) and Graduate Record Examination (GRE) test scores as part of their application.  

While you can sometimes submit an MBA application without a GMAT or GRE with the intention of completing it later, a high score in one of these two tests will strengthen your application.  

“If you want to increase your chances of getting shortlisted for an interview, we recommend you take the test before applying,” said Magda. “It will not only speed up the application process, but it will also increase your chances of getting an offer.” 

Similarly, if you are an international student and English is not your first language, you may need to take an English proficiency test as part of your application, such as the TOEFL or the IELTs. The results of these tests are valid for up to two years. 

“We would encourage you to take one of the recognised language tests before applying, however you can submit your application without a language test and provide it later, if necessary” said Magda. 

You will be marked against several core competencies 

When applying for an MBA at a UK school, you will often be marked against several core competencies. While these competencies may differ from school to school, in each case they will reflect the core values of the MBA.  

For Warwick Business School, these competencies are: 

  • Strategic thinking: You can think broadly and strategically, demonstrating sound commercial acumen 
  • Creativity: You are open to new ideas, experiences and learning opportunities. You will show clear analytical thinking, getting to the heart of complex problems and identifying innovative and creative solutions 
  • Drive for results: You have a strong focus on delivering a high-quality service or product. Seeks opportunities for self-development and career advancement. You manage pressure effectively and cope well with setbacks 
  • Personal impact: You can communicate and network effectively and successfully persuade and influence others in a confident and relaxed manner 
  • Leading others: You initiate action, give direction and take responsibility. You support others and show respect and positive regard, putting people first. 

“There is no requirement to satisfy all of the competencies, but they may help you structure the content of your application,” said Magda.  

MBA admissions teams are looking for candidates eager to make a positive change 

Business schools are looking for passionate candidates who are eager to use the skills and knowledge from their MBA to have a positive impact on the world.  

Warwick Business School is looking for candidates who are driven, passionate and eager to expand their knowledge. Candidates must be open to new ways of thinking and to having their own thinking challenged. 

Magda said: “Whether you want to change the world or simply a point of view, we’re here to support and motivate you to unlock your full potential and achieve your ambitions. We are looking for Change Makers. Being a Change Maker is a mindset and a way of approaching the world. We believe that Change Makers see the bigger picture, challenge the norm and have the drive as well as the vision. 

“It’s important that you stay open and respectful to new ideas and new viewpoints. We’re all here to learn from each other and engage in a positive debate.” 

Demonstrate this in your application, giving examples of how you have initiated a positive change, whether this is at work, in your community, or as part of an extracurricular group.  

Use examples from your work experience to enhance your application 

Most UK MBA programmes require you to have at least three years of full-time, postgraduate work experience before you can apply. This requirement is there to ensure that you will be able to make a valuable contribution to class discussions and group work, drawing from your own experience and benefiting from the experiences of others. 

“At WBS, we use a very practical approach to teaching, so relevant experience will ensure that you can not only contribute to the class work but also apply what you learn in the real world,” explained Magda.  

When writing your application, reference specific, relevant examples from work experience and extra-curricular activities to differentiate yourself from other candidates.  

“There’s no requirement for managerial experience but giving examples of key achievements relating to your experience helps to give the admissions team a good picture of who you are and what you can achieve,” said Magda.  

By studying an MBA at WBS, you will have opportunities to expand on your experience, working on client-based projects which will enable you to develop your practical consultancy, stakeholder management and influencing skills.  

This article was originally published in . It was last updated in

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