MBA Admissions Glossary

Familiarity with MBA admissions terms will help you make knowledgeable and confident decisions, as you will have to consider all options affecting your MBA application. You will then need to read through this glossary list to learn more about the process and be able to make wise choices:


ACBSP (Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs) – ACBSP is an association that promotes educational standards in business schools. It evaluates MBA admissions processes, school curriculum, and other aspects of the MBA program.

Accreditation – This is the process of evaluating educational institutions to ensure the delivery of quality education and instruction. Business schools may carry multiple accreditation as there are many accrediting organizations. These may include the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, the European Quality Improvement System, and the Association of MBAs.

Association of MBAs – This is a UK-based accreditation organization that focuses on and approves quality MBA programs in the UK and in other countries.


B-school – This is a term used for business schools.


Company or Corporate Programs – These are private MBA programs offered to the employees of the company. These are specialized MBA programs that also have different admissions procedures because they cater to one specific group.


Distance Learning or Online Programs – These MBA programs use teaching methods, which are conducted online and often cater to professionals who cannot leave their present jobs to study. Distance learning programs are generally less demanding compared to traditional classroom programs. The requirements for admission are almost the same; however, not all distance learning programs require GMAT scores. Distance education may also be conducted through correspondence by regular mail, CD ROM and mobile learning, where students access learning materials through a mobile device or a wireless server.

Distance learning is sometimes preferred over traditional learning because it can reach the underserved population, it is not as costly as traditional education, and, most importantly, it offers new market opportunities and flexibility for students who are also working full-time.

Dual MBA Program – This program allows students to take two major fields of study under one program. This program combines an MBA degree with other degrees like MS or a JD in order to let students cut on cost, as it costs less compared to pursuing two degrees at the same time. There are dual MBA programs where students can earn both bachelor’s degrees and an MBA in four or five years.


Executive MBA – These are differentiated from regular MBA programs in that the former are designed for managers and executives who already have years of professional experience, while regular MBAs are designed for undergraduates with less experience. Admissions requirements also differ between the two. Participants come from every kind of organization or company, from profit to non-profit organizations representing various industries. EMBA programs are governed by the Executive MBA Council, which was formed in 1981.

ETS (Educational Testing Service) – It is a non-profit organization that is responsible for preparing the GMAT and TOEFL exams for applicants. These standardized tests are common requirements for MBA applications.


Focus of Study – Also called concentration of study, this refers to the method of choosing a particular course to focus on out of the wide range of management topics. This may be disclosed in the applicant’s statement of purpose.


GMAT (Graduate Management Admissions Test) – This is one of the essential requirements that measures the writing and quantitative skills of applicants for business schools. The minimum required score for GMAT is around 400-600. This is usually one of the ways through which schools filter their applicants.


FAFSA – This acronym stands for Free Application for Federal Student Aid. This form is submitted when applying for financial aid from the US government. The form is used to evaluate the need for grants and subsidized loans.

Full-time MBA – This is a type of MBA program, which can be completed in two years by full-time students. This provides business and management training and may have elective courses in other specialized interest. This is a preferred program for building a social network and contacts for future clients, mentors, partners, and recruits through internship.


Individual Projects – These are projects done individually and are designed to develop independence and creativity in decision making. These usually last from 1 to 8 days and may form a significant part of an MBA program.

Exchange Program – This can be a 4- to 8-month program offering MBA students the chance to study abroad, experience various cultures, and learn new languages. This increases the student’s marketability after graduation.

IELTS (International English Language Testing System) – This is a test that measures English language proficiency. Foreign students or those who are not native English speakers may be asked to take the exam for their MBA application.


Lecture Method – This is one of the methods of instruction for MBA programs and courses, which involves the oral presentation of the course material in an organized way. Oral presentations usually cover theories and examples. MBA students may be rotated between lectures and application. The lecture may require varied levels of student participation. The lecture method may also be combined with the case study method.


Modular MBA – A modular MBA program does not have normal class schedules as compared to traditional MBA programs. The course is contained on the modules, and sessions are fewer but longer compared to regular class periods. Admissions requirements for modular MBAs also differ from the requirements for traditional MBA programs.

MBA Rankings – This refers to the quality rankings of MBA programs. These may be performed by a number of independent ranking groups, which include professional organizations and industry watchdogs. Rankings are useful guides for students who need information in choosing the right MBA program for them. Rankings may also look at the information offered by corporate recruiters, compare the costs of different programs, and compare the quality of teaching. However, no two ranking methods are alike.


Online MBA – Online MBA is a degree that is obtained by studying online. This type of MBA program offers enhanced flexibility and allows students to study at their own pace and time. Lectures may be held online through web conference, and assignments may be submitted through email correspondence.

Open Programs – These programs do not have the same kind of requirements for traditional MBA programs. These are usually designed for those who do not meet the academic requirements but meet the required number of work experiences.


Pre-MBA Program – The pre-MBA program is designed for students who want to prepare for an MBA. These programs give students basic understanding of basic business concepts and practices essential to the standard business curriculum. It is a way to help a student prepare for the GMAT and TOEFL. There are many pre-MBA programs thatare aligned with actual MBA programs. This type of program will help one develop business as well as academic and cultural skills that are going to be useful in the business world. Pre-MBA programs differ in length, some lasting for a few weeks to a few years. Students can often work on their pre-MBA during their first two years in college. Curriculum is another aspect of pre-MBA programs. Some programs focus on GMAT and TOEFL, while there are programs that focus on developing skills in areas such as presentations, writing, communication, business, and content.


Statement of Purpose – Also commonly known as the admission essay or personal statement, the statement of purpose is another common MBA admission requirement. It must contain personal information about the applicant as well as outline his or her career goals. It should contain information about academic and professional achievements as well. The statement of purpose is used to determine the capabilities of prospective students in terms of critical thinking, analytical thinking, aims, and aspirations. Other schools call this a letter of intent. statement of intent, personal narrative, or an application essay.


TOEFL – Short for Test of English as a Foreign Language, TOEFL is one of the most common requirements for international students and non-native English speakers. This test determines the ability of the applicant to use and understand the English language in an academic setting. This test is administered all over the world and is a registered trademark of Educational Testing Services. It was first administered in 1964 and is now currently being used by schools, health institutions, government agencies, and other organizations. There is an Internet-based test and a paper-based test. The Internet-based test has replaced the paper and pencil test. However, paper-based exams are still used in some areas.

Two-year MBA – This is an MBA program spread over four semesters or more with co-op or international exchange. This is suited for students who are not working full time during the program and those who want to study the traditional way.

MBA programs are as competitive as they can be, only accepting applicants who have the best potential to succeed in a given program. If you are planning on pursuing an MBA degree, get to know the above-terms first to make the process of application and admission easier.