Neal Robertson is the MBA Recruitment Manager at Essex Business School. In this blog, he talks through the MBA application process and shares some top tips for a successful application.

The Essex MBA is designed to foster future business leaders with a creative, innovative and ethical spirit, empowered and enabled to solve today’s business challenges. This AMBA-accredited flagship management programme is like no other Masters course at Essex.

Our MBA students are talented, ambitious and full of energy. They possess an entrepreneurial spirit which will be cultivated at Essex. If you think this describes you then you’ll need to show us when you make your application. Here’s our guide to navigating the MBA application process and ensuring your application shines!

1. Familiarise yourself with the entry requirements

The MBA is designed for existing business professionals. Therefore, you will need to have a minimum of three years of work experience, post-graduation. But it’s not all about the number of years served, your time in work should have provided you with the experiences, skills and ideas that will ensure you can make a valuable contribution in the classroom, which is something we’ll be assessing after you apply. Experience in managing people, budgets and projects will all help, as will evidence of career progression.

We’re also pleased to see applications from entrepreneurs who are already running their own businesses. Again, you’ll need to have been doing this for a minimum of three years post-graduation and will need to have developed substantial skills and experiences along the way.

To be considered as a ‘standard’ MBA applicant, you’ll also need an undergraduate degree, in any subject, which is equivalent to a UK 2:2 or above. If you don’t have this then you’ll need to meet an increased work experience requirement instead, which means you’ll need five years of experience and this will have to be at managerial level. As a non-standard applicant you’ll also need to write a 2000-word essay outlining a range of business situations that you have experienced and identifying what you have learnt from them.

If English isn’t your first language, then you’ll also need to meet our English language requirements.

2. Write a great personal statement

All MBA applications must include a personal statement. The University has produced a guide to writing a personal statement which we recommend you refer to.

An MBA personal statement should tell us why you think an MBA is the right programme for you. Remember - it’s very different to most Masters programmes! What will your MBA mean for you and your future?

And don’t forget to tell us why you’ve chosen to apply to Essex, as not every MBA is the same. Perhaps you share our belief in responsible and sustainable business, are really keen to study a specific module or have been inspired by a piece of our research. If so, tell us!

You should also explain how work and other experiences will help you to succeed on your MBA, including how you’ll be able to contribute to discussions, workshops and other activities in the MBA classroom.

3. Don’t forget to attach your CV

In order to assess your work and other experiences we need to see an up-to-date CV. Just like when applying for a job we’ll need your CV to include full details of your current and previous work experience.

For each professional role your CV should include:

  • Company name
  • Job title
  • Dates of employment
  • Details of your role and responsibilities
  • Skills required or learnt in the role

Your CV should also include details of your previous academic education as well as any other qualifications, training courses, volunteering or entrepreneurial projects you’ve been involved in.

4. Ace your interview

If your application is successful at the first stage then you’ll be invited to attend an interview. This will be conducted online as a video call and we’ll email you a link to our booking system so you can choose a time slot that works for you.

Here’s what you can do to prepare in advance:

  • Research Essex Business School and The Essex MBA programme
  • Read through your CV and personal statement
  • Think about the information you most want to share with us
  • On the day, find a quiet spot to ensure we can hear each other
  • Test your equipment in advance (for example your internet speed, audio and video)
  • Double check the time of your interview (our booking system and confirmation emails will normally show the time in your local time zone)
  • Be on time (follow the link we send you five minutes early, then wait for your interview to start)

Once your interview has started you might find the time goes very quickly. We allocate 20-25 minutes for each interview and there’s a lot to cover.

To make the most of your time you should:

  • Focus on the question you have been asked
  • Be clear and succinct in your responses
  • Convince us that Essex is the right choice for you and that you are the right choice for Essex
  • Try not to repeat too much information from your CV or personal statement

We’ll aim to leave time for any questions you may want to ask, so make sure you have a note of these. We recognise that it is equally important during the interview for you to gain the information you need to decide if the Essex MBA is the right next step for you and your career.

Time to apply

So that’s it, our top tips to making a successful application to The Essex MBA programme. When you are ready you can make your application online.

Following these tips will also maximise your chances if you are hoping to receive a scholarship to the programme. We’ll use your interview, personal statement and CV to assess self-funding applicants for the Essex MBA Dean’s Award which offers the best candidates generous fee discounts.

If you have any remaining questions about the application process you can email the MBA Recruitment Team.

Find out more about The Essex MBA