Traits of a strong MBA applicant

As Master of Business Administration degrees become increasingly popular, the selection process remains competitive as universities strive to accept applicants with the greatest potential.

But what attributes make an applicant stand out from the crowd and ensures that they are set up for success in their studies?

The following traits are widely considered by universities as primary indicators of a strong applicant:


Quality MBA programs aim to develop the leaders of the future, so it is unsurprising that all respectable institutions require their applicants to display clear examples of their ability to manage and act as leaders. The exact nature of how these qualities are manifested is typically inconsequential and can be demonstrated through prior work experience, volunteering, sport, or a wide variety of alternative activities. While these requirements are set to ensure applicants are at a high standard, they also aim to guarantee that the cohort has varying backgrounds, further improving the overall learning experience in a classroom environment.

Communication skills

Going hand-in-hand with leadership, sound communication skills are absolutely essential when it comes to developing and growing as a successful leader or manager. Both verbal and written communication skills will be tested constantly throughout the duration of your MBA through course work and as you engage with a diverse range of fellow students. Displaying solid communication skills indicates that an applicant is likely able to effectively work within teams, foster positive relationships, and avoid the many potential frustrations caused by miscommunication.


As a program designed to help develop the skills needed to successfully reach senior management positions, applicants are expected to not only be incredibly motivated, but also have a realistic understanding on how a MBA will help them reach their goals. Simply stating you have aspirations to one day be a CEO is not necessarily enough to secure your place in a highly regarded MBA and it is far more likely that you will have to clearly identify how a MBA program will help you reach your goals. Individuals who not only have grand goals, but also the self-awareness to assess what they need to do to achieve said goals, will be highly regarded by most MBA recruitment panels.

Global awareness

Many organisations now operate as an integral part of the global marketplace, and as a result, MBA applicants are expected to have a conscious interest in the affairs of the world. By displaying your investment in current world events, interest in international travel or experience working overseas, you highlight the fact that you are going to be able to effectively tackle course work focusing on global businesses and issues. Additionally, understanding other cultures proves that you have the ability to be open minded and are more likely to be able to work in multicultural teams during your studies and in the workplace.

Community orientated

A considerable amount of the learning involved in a MBA takes place through in-class contributions from the entire cohort. By sharing personal experiences, fellow students are able to learn from each other and further broaden their perspectives on world issues and other industries. As this is such a vital part of the learning experience, many universities will aim to determine whether an applicant has the appropriate community spirit to get involved in these reciprocal activities. Applicants who can demonstrate a past history of volunteering or committing to community based projects are viewed favourably as it indicates that not only are they willing to participate in class, but are motivated to go above and beyond the bare minimum.

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