Can I Get an MBA With Only a Liberal Arts Degree?

An MBA degree is an advanced business degree that can open many doors in the workplace. It can lead to careers in management, finance, human resources and operations. Many people are under the assumption that a business education is necessary in order to pursue this type of advanced degree. If you studied liberal arts and are interested in obtaining an MBA to help further your career, read on for tips on how to leverage your education and work experience to gain acceptance into an MBA program.

You can obtain an MBA with any kind of educational background. Because a liberal arts major provides a well-rounded education, a degree in any liberal arts discipline could easily qualify an applicant for entry into an MBA program. With a little focus and determination, obtaining an MBA is an achievable goal.

How to Prepare for Entry Into an MBA Program


The first step in applying for your MBA is to assess your background and education credentials. Undergraduate business programs generally teach practical subjects such as accounting, finance, economics and statistics. If you have no background in these subjects, the first step is to take additional courses that will help prepare you for graduate school entry.

If you are still in college, you can take business electives. Accounting, statistics and economics are a good start. If you have a little flexibility in your program, round out your education with classes in math and basic finance. For the best possible chances, aim for high grades both in your primary major and in your business classes.

If you are already out of school, consider enrolling in continuing education classes. Many community colleges and universities offer short programs in business and finance geared toward working professionals. You should sign up for some of these classes to help fill in any gaps in your education.

Experience and Recommendations

While you may be tempted to jump right into graduate school after obtaining your first degree, you should give it a little time. Most MBA programs will value a person’s employment experience, especially if their undergraduate degree is outside of the realm of business. This could work to your advantage if your degree is not in a technical or business field. If your degree is in English, for example, but you have worked in the sales department of your company for several years, you will stand a good chance of gaining acceptance when compared to a new graduate with no work experience.

Networking can also be very important. Stay in touch with former professors and advise them of your plans. Good letters of recommendation from your school and place of employment can help boost your application.

Internships and Summer Jobs

If you are a college student or new graduate and want to gain real-world experience, an internship or summer job can help you achieve your goals. To maximize your on-the-job experience, select an internship that would place you at the center of a busy department. For example, taking a job in human resources would introduce you to hiring, employee benefits, workplace safety and payroll. If you are creative, a job as an assistant in a busy marketing department can teach you about design, branding, event planning and business presentations. The hands-on training you receive on the job will be invaluable.

The GMAT

Once you have evaluated your education and experience, the next step is to take the Graduate Management Admission Test, better known as the GMAT. This exam is designed to test a graduate school applicant’s analytical skills, English language skills, math ability and reasoning. It is widely recognized by graduate schools throughout the United States and will gauge how prepared you are for advanced study. While it is not mandatory to take this exam, many programs will require it, so it is to your benefit to study hard and pass the GMAT with a high grade. For more information on the GMAT, the official website can be found at http://www.mba.com.

Write an Application Essay

Your application essay will help tie your experience and education together to make a strong argument for your admittance into an MBA program. This part of the process is where your liberal arts degree can shine. Because most college majors have a strong focus on writing, you should have little trouble constructing a professional and well-written essay that highlights your talents, knowledge and experience.

Obtaining a degree in a liberal arts discipline gives students a well-rounded education that can help them become successful in many roles in business. If you have concerns about your ability to gain acceptance into an MBA program, just consider the above advice, work on additional education and score high on the GMAT. Following the above steps will put you in reach of obtaining your MBA.