ADMISSIONS CRITERIA

We rely on your academic records and test scores to assess your ability to succeed in the Vanderbilt MBA program. The ideal candidate has earned at least a four-year U.S. bachelor’s degree or its equivalent from a top-quality college or university. We admire a demanding course load in any field of study and a consistent record of high performance, and we welcome applicants who have taken courses or completed degrees in graduate or professional programs other than business administration. In recent years, admitted applicants offered admission have had an average undergraduate GPA of 3.4 and GMAT score of 690. Most incoming students find that substantial work experience enables them to understand new concepts more fully and apply them more quickly. They are able to make more relevant and meaningful contributions to the learning community and can realize a greater return on their MBA investment with access to more and better career options. Full-time postbaccalaureate work experience is strongly recommended but not required. No minimum amount is specified because we believe that exceptional candidates are able to prepare themselves for graduate management education through competitive internships, student and community leadership and other developmental experiences.

In recent years, nearly all Vanderbilt MBA students have had at least one year of full-time work experience and 90 percent have worked three or more years before enrollment. We look for students who can work well with others, seek opportunities to manage projects and lead people and consistently exceed expectations. While our flexible curriculum allows students to explore various areas of study, we expect our applicants to have invested a considerable amount of time into determining their career goals. Applicants should try to attain work experiences that will build the right transferrable skills, laying the proper foundation for business school and the post-MBA career. We do not require a certain type of experience—work in all fields, military duty, volunteer service and involvement in community and extracurricular activities give our students the ability to share unique perspectives. We evaluate your experience via your résumé, interview and letters of recommendation.

Our students have a balanced approach to life, a history of accomplishment, a sense of social responsibility, an entrepreneurial spirit and outstanding potential for leadership in business and society. We believe that everyone is diverse in some perspective. By fostering diversity of nationality, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, educational and professional experience and personal backgrounds and goals, we can enhance the Vanderbilt MBA experience for everyone. Applicants should be aware of their strengths and weaknesses and how they can add value to the learning experience of others. Vanderbilt is a community that gives back. We look for students who have made a difference through their involvement and leadership in academic and professional associations, civic and religious groups, and extracurricular and recreational activities. We hope your essays, recommendations and interview will reveal personal qualities that fit the Vanderbilt MBA culture: integrity, professionalism, diversity, curiosity, open-mindedness, team orientation, cooperation, ambition, motivation and excellence.

APPLICATION INSTRUCTIONS

Complete all data fields on the online application. Please submit your application only when it represents your best effort, and only after everything is complete. Take the GMAT or GRE (GMAT is preferred) and TOEFL, PTE Academic or IELTS, if required, before submitting your application, so that you can include your scores. If you have already taken your required tests and sent your score reports to Vanderbilt, your scores will automatically be verified by Vanderbilt. Verified official score reports are required to complete your application. Submitting an incomplete application may significantly delay the processing and review of your file. It is your responsibility to notify us of any scheduled retake or future test-taking dates, so we can know when to expect updated scores. For international educational requirements, click here.

TRANSCRIPTS

You will be required to upload a copy of the transcript from every college or university you attended. If you are offered and accept our offer of admission, you will be required to mail official transcripts from each institution you have attended, if you have not done so already. You must provide at least one final transcript that proves successful completion of a four-year U.S. bachelor degree or its equivalent. If you have not graduated and your conferred degree will be issued later, please wait to order a copy of your official transcript. Official transcripts must show the date that the degree was conferred and the degree awarded. (Refer to the International Supplement for a list of degrees that we consider acceptable.) Please submit a copy of the diploma for any earned university degrees that are not explicitly specified on an official transcript. If a cumulative GPA is not specified on the transcript for each degree earned or institution attended, please have your registrar’s office include an explanation of the grading scale. If a cumulative GPA cannot be converted to a four-point scale, leave the field blank and we will evaluate your academic record accordingly. Non-U.S. students should leave this field blank if the degree was not obtained in the U.S.

When requesting an official transcript, either at the time of application or upon your acceptance of an admission offer, you will request this from the registrar's office of each institution you attended. The registrar must send the sealed, official transcript to you in a sealed, unopened envelope that you will send to:

Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University
PMB 407833, 2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833

If your college or university will not send an official transcript to you, the registrar can send one directly to the Center for Data Management address above. Official transcripts will be verified prior to your enrollment.

Vanderbilt University does not admit applicants seeking a second MBA degree or a similar graduate management degree, regardless of where the first was obtained. Exempt from this policy are graduate management degrees that were earned at a college or university outside the U.S. in order to satisfy the four-year U.S. bachelor's degree equivalency requirement. Also exempt are master’s degrees that focus on a specific functional area of business (such as accounting, finance or management information systems), as long as it does not offer a broad general management curriculum typical of the MBA degree.

If an official or unofficial transcript is not in English, you must provide a notarized English translation from a certified professional and upload it with the original transcript or copy. If your university retains the only official copy of your transcript, a duplicate copy certified by an officer of the university is acceptable. Although we are familiar with the educational systems and grading scales of many countries, applicants who have studied at a university outside the United States may want to describe their relative academic performance and achievements (such as scores on entrance exams, class rank, academic honors, etc.) in an additional statement.

GMAT OR
GRE SCORES

The GMAT or GRE is required of all applicants, and the GMAT is preferred. The GMAT was developed as a test of the skills widely used in the first-year general core of MBA program work; therefore, your study of GMAT problems will help you build and refresh critical-thinking skills specific to your success in the program, well beyond the limits of the application requirement. Our admissions team is happy to advise you on study tips for GMAT prep, and you can learn much more at mba.com.

The GRE is considered on a personal case basis. For example, in cases where prior graduate study or a joint degree program requires the GRE, or where the GRE provides additional insight, we may accept or request a GRE in place of/or in addition to the GMAT. 

We review your overall highest test score. Some candidates take the test more than once to obtain a higher score.

If you last took either test more than five years ago, you must take it again, as scores are valid for only five years. You should take the GMAT or GRE before submitting your application. You must self-report your official GMAT or GRE test score with your application. This will speed the processing of your file. Your application will not be considered complete until your test scores have been verified. Contact GMAT or GRE with questions about their tests. Please request that the testing agency send your official scores to:

Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University (Institution Code 1871)
PMB 407833, 2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833

RÉSUMÉ

Please upload a current professional résumé that highlights your educational background, work experience and any other activities, interests or hobbies that are significant to you. Your résumé should be one page in length and in a format that you would present to a prospective employer. Use the detailed work history section in the online application to provide more information.

ESSAYS

Your essays give us great insight into your personality and your other unique qualities. You will submit the required essay with your online application. Please note word or character limits for additional essays. Use a font size of 10 to 12 points.

Essay One. While business school is a time for exploration, we do expect you to have a strong sense about why you want an MBA and what you hope to do once you graduate. Applying to business school is an introspective process, and we want to make sure you have a good sense for what you want from a program, where you hope it will lead you and why Owen is well suited to help you attain your goals. In addition, you should understand what skills you possess that will be transferrable to another job or industry.

Optional Essay. If necessary, you may provide an additional statement to explain poor academic performance, weak test scores, significant gaps in full-time employment, lack of recommendation from your current or most recent supervisor, academic misconduct or anything else that you think is important for the Admissions Committee to know about you that is not already addressed elsewhere in your application. Please use the Optional Essay space in the online application.

Video Essay. The video essay is a required component of the online application. Our goal in asking you for a short video essay is to be able to get a glimpse of the authentic you, speaking without a script. The video questions are easy to answer and you should not be nervous about this. You will have time to prepare and to record your answer. Just follow the instructions on the application.

LETTERS OF RECOMMEND-
ATION

You must submit two recommendations from supervisors familiar with your work. If you are not at liberty to disclose your plans to a current supervisor, you should provide an explanation in the optional essay and request a former supervisor, client or vendor to complete a recommendation. If you have little or no full-time work experience, you should obtain recommendations from supervisors of part-time work and internships, or a professor with whom you have closely worked.

Recommendations from friends, family members, acquaintances and other sources unable to evaluate you in an objective academic, professional or extracurricular context are not appropriate and may detract from your overall application. (If your recommender is not an English speaker, he/she may write a letter of recommendation in his/her native language and have it translated by a professional translator. The original letter, the translated letter, and a certification by the translator should be combined into one document and uploaded by the recommender into the online recommendation system. Please note that this uploaded document is acceptable to us in necessary cases but our preference is for your recommender to complete the online recommendation form itself.)

Your recommenders can submit your recommendations securely online to us. Instructions will be included in an email sent to each recommender after you enter the person’s contact information in the Recommender section. Recommenders will also have an option to complete a paper-based recommendation form if they choose not to complete an online recommendation. You must complete the top portion of the paper recommendation before giving it to the person recommending you.

All paper-based recommendations must be submitted by you in unopened envelopes, with the recommender’s signature across the sealed flap.

GMAC Common Letter of Recommendation (LOR). For regular full-time day MBA applicants, we are happy to offer you and your recommender the use of a Common Letter of Recommendation template which can be used for MBA applicants applying to multiple schools rather than having to submit separate letters for each school. The GMAT Common LOR template is available for reading purposes in six other languages (Simple Chinese French, German, Korean, Spanish and Italian). You should let your recommenders know about this option. Instructions on using the LOR is found on the GMAC site.

TOEFL, IELTS OR PTE SCORES

We will waive your TOEFL report requirement if you have earned an undergraduate degree in a country where the official language is English (not just an English-speaking institution or country where English is spoken) or have lived and worked in an English-speaking country for the past two or more years. If you do not meet these requirements, the TOEFL is required for admission. A TOEFL waiver is automatically granted if a candidate scores 90 percent or higher on the verbal component of the GMAT or GRE. If you last took the test more than two years prior to the date of application, you must take it again because results are valid only two years. You must take the TOEFL, IELTS or PTE before submitting your application so that you can record the scores in the application. You must upload a copy of your official TOEFL, IELTS or PTE score with your application and submit the official test score to Vanderbilt University at this address:

Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University
PMB 407833
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN
37240-7833

Your application will not be considered complete until your test scores have been verified. You should not submit an application until you are satisfied with your test results. We prefer not to hold applications while waiting for new scores. Our institution code is 1871 for the IELTS and TOEFL. When choosing the department, please proceed as follows to ensure your scores are reported to Vanderbilt. Please select “Graduate,” not "Undergraduate," as the type of test you are taking. A drop-down menu will then ask you to choose the “Department.” Choose the last option in the drop-down menu and click on “Any Department Not Listed.” 

You can contact ETS with questions about the TOEFL here, or by calling 609-771-7100, Monday-Friday, 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM, ET.

Contact information for the PTE Academic can be found at pearsonpte.com, and for IELTS, email ielts@ieltsintl.org.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION

APPLICATION FEE: There is a $175 fee for the MBA program application.

PRELIMINARY FINANCIAL STATEMENT: This additional information is required of applicants who are not U.S. citizens or permanent residents. For details, see the International Supplement.

JOINT DEGREE APPLICANTS: Complete both the MBA application and the application required by the other school to which you plan to enroll as a joint degree student. Please be aware that our joint degree partners have their own admission and application policies, procedures and deadlines that may differ from those of the Vanderbilt MBA program. The MBA Admissions Office is not responsible for credentials needed by another school or program, and we do not have access to information pertaining to your application status at the other program. Note that while we accept the GRE exam in certain cases, we do NOT accept either the LSAT or the MCAT in lieu of the GMAT.

DEFERRED ADMISSION AND REAPPLICATION: The Vanderbilt MBA program may offer deferred admission on a case-by-case basis. If admitted to the program in a year in which you choose not to enroll, you must request approval for a deferral. Financial aid is not guaranteed from one year to the next. If you are reapplying, please use the same login credentials you previously used. Some of your previous application data will transfer into your new application.

MAILING SUPPLEMENTAL MATERIALS: We recommend that you keep copies of everything you submit to Vanderbilt for the duration of the application process. Please mail any supplemental application materials not submitted electronically to:

Center for Data Management
Vanderbilt University
PMB 407833
2301 Vanderbilt Place
Nashville, TN 37240-7833

APPLICATION STATUS: You can check your status at any time by logging into your Application Status page, keeping in mind it may take a short time to process applications.

EVALUATIVE INTERVIEW: Regardless of your status in the application process, we encourage you to request an evaluative on-campus interview. Visit our website for details regarding interviews. You may request an interview during a weekday visit to campus or in conjunction with an open house weekend. We may offer interviews in other cities where we are traveling, by invitation only. Check our travel calendar for dates and places. Webcam interviews are offered by invitation only after an application has been submitted.

ADMISSION DECISIONS: All Admissions Committee decisions are final, and applicants will be considered for admission only once in any given academic year. The Admissions Committee reserves the right to deny any applicant, rescind any offer of admission or dismiss any enrolled student if any part of the application is inaccurate, misrepresented, falsified or otherwise untrue.

QUESTIONS: Please contact us if you have any questions. The MBA Admissions office is typically open Monday-Friday 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM, U.S. Central Time. You can reach us by sending an email to mba@owen.vanderbilt.edu or calling us at 800.288.6936 or 615.322.6469. We appreciate the time and effort you will put into applying to business school. We look forward to receiving your application. Good luck!