Is Business School Required? Considerations for Enrolling in a Graduate Program

A degree may open the door to a variety of opportunities and diverse career paths. The degree programs offered at CTU will not necessarily lead to the featured careers. This collection of articles is intended to help inform and guide you through the process of determining which level of degree and types of certifications align with your desired career path.

As professionals look for opportunities to advance their careers, many may find that graduate school is a good way to develop the critical skill sets necessary to prepare for the next step in the business world. In fact, companies in a wide range of industries see the importance of hiring Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree graduates. According to a 2016 poll by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 96% of responding employers agreed that hiring business school graduates creates value for their companies. Additionally, the job outlook for MBA graduates continues to improve. In 2017, 79% of employers expected to hire MBA graduates.1

Deciding on Graduate School Enrollment

In order to pursue professional goals, it may be necessary to gain advanced knowledge and master a range of business principals and management techniques. Graduate business school programs are commonly designed for professionals who seek to develop leadership, communication, analytical and technical skills as well as soft skills, such as team leadership and an enterprising outlook towards business.

With a focus on the latest developments in a respective field, students may have the opportunity to broaden their understanding and develop competencies across many business functions. Upon completion of a degree program, students may develop the knowledge and skills that can be useful as they prepare for current and future employment roles.2

What to Expect When Enrolling in a Graduate Business School Program

To be accepted to either an MBA or Doctor of Business Administration (DBA) program, potential students may be expected to fulfill admission requirements, which can vary from program to program. With each degree enrollment, valid transcripts are required, including a corresponding grade point average (GPA).

Also, some degree programs may require the completion of an admission essay. If the program requires an essay, details outlining the writing and submission necessities will be sent. Students may be asked to write admissions essays highlighting their personal and professional goals. Other topics might include special relationships or feelings about a program, real-life success stories, as well as short and long-term goals.3 Also, it may be necessary to submit a letter of recommendation from a colleague or former professor to assist with a program application.

Additional enrollment requirements of graduate business programs can include the following:

Master of Business Administration

MBA programs tend to feature a general core business requirements, as well as additional concentration-specific classes, should a student choose a specialization. These programs may require an official transcript to verify completion of a bachelor degree and in some cases an eligible GPA from an accredited institution.

Students can be required to complete over 40 credit hours, including a certain number of hours spent on core classes and concentration courses specifically related to the area of interest or industry. Also, a final capstone course may be required to apply the skills a student has learned in his or her core and concentration classes.

Students can also be required to provide proof of English proficiency, including such as TOEFL, IELTS or other English proficiency assessment results, prior to admission.

Doctor of Business Administration

A Doctor of Business Administration degree can feature multiple concentrations. Each program may require more in-depth qualifications, including an official transcript verifying completion of an accredited bachelor’s degree program, as well as the accompanying GPA. Doctoral students may also be required to set an interview either on the phone or in person with a doctoral program representative.

Doctoral programs may require 90+ credit hours of instruction, including hours devoted to core classes and additional concentration credits. DBA students may also need to complete a sequence of doctoral research courses. To make a DBA degree more relevant or well-rounded, students may also have the option of taking elective courses.

In addition to these outlined requirements, and similar to MBA prerequisites, non-native English speakers can be required to provide proof of English proficiency before admission will be granted.

Talk with a University Admissions Advisor

During the admissions process, a student may be able to connect with an Admissions Advisor, in-person or by phone, to speak further about goals and their decision to pursue a degree. Students can use this opportunity to learn more about the program and what life might be like while earning a graduate degree.

Personal or real life related inquiries may also assist students in the decision-making process. These questions can include family or work obligations or financial aid opportunities. Many admissions programs are ready to assist and address any concerns students may have about continuing an education.

GMAT Scoring and MBA Program Acceptance

If a verified Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) score is provided, students may have the possibility to bypass certain prerequisites to earn a degree faster. The GMAT is intended to assess the most relevant skills to a graduate program prior to enrollment, including analytical, writing, quantitative, verbal and reading skills. This test provides a consistent, objective measure of skills comparable across applicants, regardless of their place of birth, current location and other factors. There are various opportunities available to help prepare for taking the GMAT. These options include online prep courses, one-on-one tutoring and practice tests. 4

While some schools require a certain GMAT score for admission, some universities, such as CTU, are open admission schools. This means students may only have to complete specific required courses and satisfy admission requirements to be considered for enrollment in a graduate degree program.

Approaching a Graduate Business School Interview

During the admissions process, students may be asked to conduct an interview either in person or on the phone. Students can take this opportunity to speak about their goals, highlight past experience and explain why they are considering graduate school. The focus of this interview varies depending on the area of interest.

For a successful interview, preparation is key. According to Forbes, it is important to focus on the crucial pieces of information that need to be relayed and creating a mental checklist for each topic that is addressed. Listening can be important to properly address and expand on the questions of your interviewer. Preparing a list of questions, including specific interests or potential activities, can be valuable. This interview can also be a great opportunity for potential students to gain a better understanding of the program.5

Is School Accreditation Important?

The accreditation of a graduate school program can be an important factor to consider. Some degree programs, such as the MBA offered by Colorado Technical University, are accredited by the Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). ACBSP accreditation focuses on recognizing teaching excellence, determining student learning outcomes and a continuous improvement model.6

When Is the Best Time to Apply?

Many graduate programs are designed to help students pursue a degree without putting everyday life on hold and offer enrollment opportunities multiple times throughout a year. It can be important to think about how a program might fit into a family or professional lifestyle and what may need to change to accommodate a graduate-level program. Students may be forced to juggle coursework, discussion posts, group meetings and other school-related events with outside commitments.

Fortunately, there is additional help available. To support students transitioning into graduate school, Academic Advisors, such as those employed by Colorado Technical University, can assist with any questions and considerations relating to graduate degree programs. CTU also provides innovative technology and experienced faculty to support students in completing graduate-level degrees once enrolled.

Learn more about CTU’s business degree programs and other educational offerings.


1. “2016 Year-End Poll of Employers Report.” Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). Accessed July 6, 2017. http://www.gmac.com/market-intelligence-and-research/research-library/employment-outlook/2016-year-end-poll-of-employers-report.aspx.
2. “Master of Business Administration (MBA).” Colorado Technical University. Accessed July 6, 2017. http://www.coloradotech.edu/degrees/masters/business.
3. “Former Admissions Officer Shares How MBA Applicants Can Stand Out In Their Essays.” Last modified July, 16, 2012. Accessed July 6, 2016. http://www.businessinsider.com/how-to-write-personal-statements-for-mba-students-2012-7.
4. ““The GMAT Examine Advantage.” Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC). Accessed July 6, 2017. http://www.gmac.com/gmat-other-assessments/about-the-gmat-exam/the-gmat-advantage.aspx.
5. “10 Tips For Acing the MBA Interview.” Last modified January 8, 2013. Accessed July 6, 2017. https://www.forbes.com/sites/mattsymonds/2013/01/08/10-tips-for-acing-the-mba-interview/#355c8f8277ed.
6. “Accreditation.” Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs (ACBSP). Accessed July 6, 2017. http://www.acbsp.org/?page=accreditation.

For important information about the educational debt, earnings, and completion rates of students who attended this program, go to www.coloradotech.edu/disclosures. CTU cannot guarantee employment or salary. Not all programs are available to residents of all states.
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