It’s common knowledge that getting into an MBA program is no easy task. If you are looking into furthering your business education, it’s important to know exactly what is expected of you. Preparing and applying for MBA programs is much more involved and rigorous than applying to undergraduate programs. You’ll need to determine how you stand out amongst your peers, and figure out what makes you qualified to join the program of your choice. MBA students are admitted based on their ambition and unique experiences, but there are a few blanket qualifications that every MBA candidate should have.


A History of Leadership

This is a bit of a given, but it cannot hurt to be stated. Those who are looking to be Masters of Business Administration should inherently be individuals who want to pursue leadership roles in the business arena. In order to see success in any MBA program, of any level of prestige, you will need to be a person who is not only comfortable leading, but one who is invested in the continued development of their leadership abilities.  Make sure that your resume totes a few different leadership positions that you’ve held.


Lacking in leadership roles?

  • Start working with some local non-profits. Getting to a board-level leadership position would obviously take significant investment of time that you probably don’t have. That’s okay; aim to head smaller projects or plan events that you can lead.
  • Tutor or mentor the youth. This is a great space to build your leadership skills while having a direct, positive impact on others.
  • Create something of your own. Invest your time and resources into your own business project. Start some small freelancing projects or a small non-profit. Remember, the more impressive the project, the more impressive you’ll be on your business applications.


A Knack for Finding Solutions

Be armed with examples of how you’ve found solutions in difficult situations. Everything in your MBA program and beyond will rely on your thought processes and your ability to analyze a situation, think outside of the box, and come up with a viable solution. The admissions committees that will be reviewing your applications will want to know that you are solutions-oriented; they will want evidence that you can not only come up with a plan, but that you can follow that plan through the entirety of its execution.

Melissa Ko is the Managing Member of Covepoint Capital Advisors, LLC and serves as the Chief Investment Officer of its flagship, the Covepoint Emerging Markets Macro Fund. Please visit, and to learn more!