MBA requirements and statement of purpose -
Master of Business Administration: Getting started

MBA requirements vary based on university and country
The prerequisites for enrolling in an MBA degree program can often be quite different. Admission requirements can vary – whether marginally or substantially – between countries, and even between universities in the same country. We will restrict our focus here to the admission criteria in German universities and will also provide you with a guide to writing your statement of purpose.

**This is just general information and does not apply to the WHU MBA Program specifically.**

Formal MBA requirements for enrollment

The admission requirements for the Master of Business Administration have been increasingly tightened in recent years, resulting in a higher rate of rejection. Universities always have both formal and personal requirements that must be met by those applying to their MBA programs. Important formal requirements for admission include a degree from an officially recognized university and between one and five years of professional experience. These MBA requirements reflect the fact that the program is designed as advanced training for professionals and that most of those enrolled are completing the MBA on a part-time basis. Thus, most universities place a greater emphasis on applicants’ years of professional experience than on a previous degree.

Language proficiency and other relevant skills

Those who pursue their MBA in Germany have to complete a large part (at least one-third) of their studies in English. This is why English language proficiency is an important prerequisite. The language skills of an individual applicant can be assessed by means of specific language tests (TOEFL/IELTS), with a specified score required for admission into the program. (Read more about TOEFL and IELTS here.)

Besides the pure language tests, some universities also require the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test), which allows for objective statements about the applicant. The exam assesses analytical skills and logic. Here too, applicants must achieve a specified score to qualify for admission into the program.

Additional hurdles along the path to enrollment

In addition to all the previously mentioned admission requirements, many universities also conduct their own exams for applicants. These are developed within the context of an assessment center. The MBA applicant might need to be interviewed by the admissions committee, for example, or carry out and present a project together with other applicants. This gives the admissions committee a more comprehensive impression of the applicants and their ways of communicating. Some universities also request a letter of recommendation. This includes a qualified and yet personal assessment from a former supervisor or professor in regard to the applicant’s suitability to fill a management role.

The full package: Personal criteria also play a role

Many universities, including WHU, give special attention to promoting great diversity in terms of culture and professions. Applicants are assessed by the overall impression they make, so it is important for them to present themselves well. Besides the formal prerequisites (hard skills), attention is also given to personal criteria (soft skills). Thus, it is useful for applicants to highlight their personal skills and strengths and to point out what makes them different than the other applicants. This can be done in the context of a statement of purpose, which universities typically require as a formal part of the application.

Your statement of purpose: Show the admissions committee what makes you special

The statement of purpose is intended to answer the core questions of why you have chosen a particular degree path and why you have chosen the particular university. The statement should also describe your personality, qualifications, and experience, enabling the admissions committee to get a better idea of you and of why the university should accept you. The challenge here is to express yourself in a clear and concise way, without beating around the bush or getting off track.

The structure

The statement of purpose is comparable to a formal cover letter and should contain your own contact details as well as the address of the university. The date of the letter and a reference line should also be included. Then comes the main content, which is best formatted like a school essay: with an introduction, the main body of the letter, and a closing.

  1. Introduction
    In the introduction, you can start by sharing a little about yourself and then briefly state the reason for the letter. Keep this part as short as possible.
  2. Main body
    The main body begins with an explanation of why you are applying for the MBA degree. It also expresses why you chose this particular university. You can also use this section to outline your goals and expectations relating to the MBA program. You can highlight the qualifications that you bring with you – those that will help you reach the goals you have set for yourself – and perhaps point out what makes you different from other applicants.
    The statement of purpose is the stage on which you can emphasize your strengths. But take care not to simply present these points as a list; always include examples and specific achievements. This makes your statements more credible and shows that they are based on experience.
  3. Closing
    It is sufficient to end the letter by stating that you look forward to a response and then closing the letter.

General tips

  • The statement of purpose should not exceed two standard pages.
  • Find out about the university’s specific requirements ahead of time.
  • Make a good impression by avoiding the use of empty phrases.
  • It’s better to get to the point rather than using flowery language.
  • Point out specific facts that particularly interest you about the university.

An MBA program demands considerable motivation, discipline, endurance, and team spirit. Before pursuing an MBA degree and beginning the program, it’s important to carefully consider all the requirements involved.

While application to the WHU MBA Program does not require a statement of purpose, we do have our own admission requirements. To find out more about our Online MBA, Full Time MBA or Part Time MBA, get in touch with our MBA Recruiting Team.