Entry requirements for the Full-time MBA

Entry is competitive - we look to admit the 'right' Manchester MBA person and are looking for the most talented candidates with the highest potential, not just those with the most experience or best test scores.

We take a holistic view when evaluating applications, paying particular attention to academic credentials, fast career progression, leadership characteristics and entrepreneurial talent. We assess your potential compared to peers to contribute to and enhance the diverse professional backgrounds, cultural profile and experience of the MBA class, as outlined in our MBA admissions strategy.

We use a wide variety of criteria to evaluate applications. The requirements below are assessed using all the application elements: application form, essays, references, CV/ résumé, degree and professional qualifications, admission test score, English level and interview. Decisions are made by consensus of the MBA Admissions Committee.

Full-time MBA entry requirements

Intellectual ability / achievement

Good undergraduate degree or international equivalent

The MBA programme is intellectually demanding and requires you to quickly absorb and analyse new material and apply it in a fast-moving environment. We need to be confident that you have the ability to rise to the intellectual challenges the programme presents. We require you to have a strong undergraduate degree result (UK bachelor or international equivalent as recognised by UK NARIC) from a recognised university. Qualifications vary by country and university, however we normally look for the equivalent of a first class or upper second class honours result in the UK system and expect you to be in the top 25% of your class. Postgraduate, specialisation and professional qualifications can strengthen your application. We consider candidates from any subject background, however you need to be numerate with the ability to think critically, logically and integrate ideas, and have a good awareness of economic and international affairs.

Satisfactory GMAT® and GRE® or MAT score

All Full-time MBA applicants, regardless of nationality, education and professional background, are required to take an admissions test. Please review the Full-time MBA entry requirements for details.
Full-time MBA candidates are normally take the GMAT, however we also accept the GRE.

Candidates who will be attending an interview/assessment day in person on-campus in Manchester can request the option to take the Manchester Admissions Test, instead of GMAT or GRE. This request will be granted at the discretion of the MBA Admissions Committee.

GMAT® and GRE® 

GMAT and GRE are standardised admissions tests which are used by the world's leading business schools.

The test score provides us with additional information to compare applications from around the world reasonably objectively. We take into consideration country or regional norms in the distribution of GMAT and GRE scores and also compare scores within industry sectors.

The GMAT or GRE score is only one of our admission criteria - we are looking for the 'right fit' for the unique Manchester MBA and use all of the admissions criteria to make a decision. A very high score does not necessarily give a stronger chance of admission and a below average score does not automatically eliminate a candidate. You need to have a balanced score on all parts of the GMAT. You should aim for a score 600+. Although we do not state a minimum score, it is rare for us to admit a candidate with a score below 500. The middle 80% range for the class is usually 550 - 700.

We will take into consideration the highest score you have achieved. We do not average the scores if you have taken the test more than once. Please note, we only accept test scores that have been taken less than five years prior to the start date of the MBA programme.

How to report your admissions test score

Please select the appropriate option on the MBA application form and include the details of your score. If you have not yet taken GMAT® or GRE® you can still submit your application, however you must include your test date in the admissions test section of the application form. We may decide not to make a preliminary decision until we have your score.

After submitting the form upload a copy of your official score report directly through the online MBA Apply Portal.

We need to be able to verify your score therefore if you have not already made your official test score report available to Alliance Manchester Business School, please do so.

How to report your official GMAT score: Sending your official GMAT score 
GMAT: Our institution code is N1C-XL-39
We are listed as University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School - MBA, Full Time - Manchester

How to report your official GRE score: Sending your official GRE score 
GRE: Our GRE Designated Institution (DI) Code is 1433 
We are listed as University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School MBA

Manchester Admissions Test (MAT)
If you will be attending an interview/assessment day on-campus at Manchester Business School and would like to take the Manchester Admissions Test (MAT) instead of GMAT or GRE, please select ‘request MAT’ when completing the application form. This request will be granted only at the discretion of the MBA Admissions Committee.

Professional experience

Minimum of three years of post-graduation work experience with strong consistent career progression and achievement

The Manchester MBA involves the development of strategic business knowledge and international perspective, combined with training in leadership and managerial skills. The MBA is designed to build on previous experience gained from having worked within organisations, therefore it is important that our MBA students have good relevant professional experience in order to fully contribute and benefit from the programme.

We normally require at least three years full-time work experience after graduation (from completion of your undergraduate degree to commencing the MBA).

  • Current class average experience: 6 years. Average age: 29 years

Entry is competitive - when assessing your suitability to benefit from the Manchester MBA and your aptitude/potential as a future business leader, we are looking for the following:

  • A strong CV/resume showing; a good level of responsibility, consistent and ideally fast-track career progression, strong achievements for the length of your career to date demonstrating impact in your organisation and higher than average performance in your industry sector or function compared to your peers.
  • Leadership/management experience and potential including some or all of the following:
    • Management/leadership of teams/colleagues
    • Client relationship management
    • Financial/budgetary responsibility
    • Project management/leadership
    • Managing across different parts of an organisation
    • Decision making, contribution to strategy

The majority of candidates come from business, finance, engineering or entrepreneurial backgrounds, however we are interested in candidates from any sector. We have admitted successful MBA students from many non-traditional business sectors, including military, healthcare, legal, leisure/sports, and the creative arts and have alumni working in successful careers in many non-traditional business sectors.

Professional skills and competencies

Success in the MBA programme and your future career also depends on other work related skills and competencies e.g. analytical skills, numeracy, negotiation, presentation, problem-solving, reasoning, creativity, ability to generate ideas etc. Good knowledge of MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint are also essential. We look for evidence that you have, or can develop these competencies.

International exposure (valued)

Although not an essential requirement, international exposure can add a competitive edge to your application. Our MBA has a strong international focus and we are looking for people with an international outlook. We look favourably on candidates who have experience of living and working in other countries, working in international teams, or working in international environments. International exposure is also valued by post-MBA employers. The 18-month Manchester MBA provides considerable advantages if you are seeking an international career.

Entrepreneurial experience (valued)

Entrepreneurial experience and creativity (within your own business or corporate environment) are highly valued in candidates. Candidates with the ability to innovate are often strong contributors during the MBA programme and alumni involved in entrepreneurship can contribute significantly to society and communities. We look to admit candidates with the ability to perceive opportunities and contribute ideas to the MBA class, thereby enhancing the stimulating learning environment of the MBA.

We offer a number of scholarships for entrepreneurs who have a strong background in entrepreneurship, demonstrating exceptional achievement, ingenuity and innovation creating and running one or a number of successful or growing business venture(s).

Soft skills

Strong team player

Team working skills are essential for success on the MBA. We are looking for candidates who can demonstrate the qualities of a team player and are innovative and effective contributors with the ability to work constructively and collaboratively in international teams. We expect you to be able to communicate opinions and ideas clearly and honestly with respect for others and be motivated to work in the best interests of your MBA teams and project clients.

Excellent communication skills

Communication, interpersonal and relationship management skills are also essential for success on the MBA programme and in senior level business careers. We therefore place a strong emphasis on these key requirements in selecting the right candidates. We expect you to be highly articulate, with strong communication skills in English (see English requirements below) with the ability to share your experience and express your ideas in the classroom and student groups, and in written reports and presentations.

Emotional intelligence and personal qualities

We look for candidates who are mature, motivated, energetic, ambitious and enthusiastic, with strong personal values, social awareness, sense of community and integrity.

In addition to intellectual ability, experience, team working and communication skills, key requirements are; leadership characteristics, emotional intelligence, self-awareness, self-management, openness to change and personal growth. We are looking for people who are open to share and learn from the experience and ideas of others and are able to accept and value constructive feedback from MBA colleagues, project supervisors and company representatives.


English qualification (if applicable)

The Manchester MBA programme requires considerable competence in all aspects of English language; speaking, writing, listening and reading. The MBA programme incorporates a considerable number of written assignments, essays and project reports for assessment purposes, for which strong written English skills are essential. Team work and projects also require strong spoken English and presentation skills.

You are not required to take an English language qualification if:

  • a. You are a national of one of the 'majority English speaking' countries listed below: Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Canada; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; USA
  • b. You have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least UK Bachelors Degree or higher from one of the following countries: Antigua & Barbuda; Australia; Bahamas; Barbados; Belize; Dominica; Grenada; Guyana; Ireland; Jamaica; New Zealand; St Kitts and Nevis; St Lucia; St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago; UK; USA.

All other applicants are required to take one of the English language qualifications listed below. English communication skills will also be assessed interview and throughout the admissions process.

Minimum English language test requirements

  • a. IELTS: Overall 6.5; with 6.0 in listening, writing, reading and speaking without exception. Test date must be no more than 2 years prior to the start of the MBA.
  • b. TOEFL (iBT): Overall 90; with 20 in listening, writing, reading and speaking. Test date must be no more than 2 years prior to the start of the MBA. Please note we do not accept the computer-based or paper-based TOEFL tests.
  • c. PTE Academic: Overall 59 - 65; with 59 in listening, writing, reading and speaking without exception. Test date must be no more than 2 years prior to the start of the MBA.
  • d. CPE or CAE (Cambridge): Grade C. Valid for life
  • e. India Standard X11 Examination: 65% in English

Admission route for applicants who do not have a degree

If you do not have a degree it may be possible to gain a place without the specified formal academic qualifications. Your application will be considered through the accreditation of prior learning (APL), which may be certificated or experiential. Credit is allocated for evidence of achieving appropriate and assessed learning outcomes, rather than for experience itself. We can consider your application if:

  • You can demonstrate high levels of achievement, exceptional career progression and significant management experience in a leadership position or,
  • You have an excellent track record as a successful entrepreneur

You need to show alternative evidence of intellectual ability e.g. strong school results, professional training courses, non-degree business qualifications. A strong GMAT score and/or strong performance on the Manchester Admissions Test will be required.

We advise you to discuss your circumstances with the relevant admissions staff before submitting an application.