Kelley-Manchester Global MBA entry requirements

Entry is competitive and we take a holistic view when we evaluate candidates. We’re looking for the most talented MBAs with the highest potential.

We’re not just looking for candidates with the most experience or the best test scores. We use a wide variety of criteria to evaluate applications, including academic credentials, fast career progression, leadership characteristics and entrepreneurial talent. We also assess your potential to contribute to and enhance your class’s professional and cultural diversity. 

We will refer to all elements of your application when we assess you: application form, essays, references, CV/résumé, degree and professional qualifications, admission test score, English level and interview. Each element will be assessed against the criteria below and decisions are made by consensus by the MBA Admissions Committee.

If you have any questions about our entry requirements, please contact our admissions team: +44 (0)161 275 7212

Intellectual ability / achievements

MBA programmes are intellectually demanding and require 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 MBA presents. We use two main criteria to assess intellectual ability.

We require a strong undergraduate degree result (UK bachelor or international equivalent as recognised by UK NARIC from a recognised university.

Grade required
Degree 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. We expect candidates to be in the top 25% of their class.

Degree subject
We consider candidates from any subject discipline however they should be numerate with the ability to think critically, logically and integrate ideas, and have a good awareness of economic and international affairs.

Additional qualifications
Postgraduate, specialisation and professional qualifications can strengthen an application and compensate for a weaker performance in the bachelor degree.

We use an admissions test to provide an additional assessment of intellectual ability. All MBA applicants, regardless of nationality, education and professional background, are required to take an admissions test and achieve a satisfactory score.

Kelley-Manchester MBA candidates are required to achieve a satisfactory result on one of the following admissions tests:

  • The Manchester Admissions Test (MAT)
  • GMAT®
  • GRE®

Manchester Admissions Test (MAT)

If your preference is to take the Manchester Admissions Test (MAT) you will need to select ‘Request MAT’ when completing the admissions test section of the application form. After submitting the application form, we will provide you with further details and your personal login to take the test.

The Manchester MBA Admissions Test (MAT) has been created specifically to assess candidates for the Manchester Business School MBA programmes. The test has been devised from the original research of Manchester Business School faculty. The MAT is an online test which has three sections, takes 60 minutes to complete and does not require any preparation.

Section 1: Characteristics of Business Success (psychometric questionnaire)
Section 2: Business Numeracy
Section 3: Business Statement in English

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.

Assessing GMAT/GRE scores

The GMAT or GRE score is only one of our admission criteria. We take a holistic view when evaluating applications and the admission test score required will depend on the strength of the whole application. A very high score does not necessarily give a stronger chance of admission and a below average score does not automatically eliminate a candidate. However, we need to ensure the candidate has the intellectual ability to complete the MBA programme successfully.

You should be aiming for a score 600+ or the equivalent in the GRE. Although we do not state a minimum score, it is rare for us to admit a candidate with a score below 500 without asking for further proof of competence. We look for a balanced score on all parts of the GMAT.

If you have taken the test multiple times we will take into consideration the highest score achieved. We do not average the scores. We only accept test scores that have been taken less than five years prior to the start date of the MBA programme.

Professional experience

The 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. When assessing a candidate's professional experience, we are looking for the following.

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

Strong CV/résumé

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.

Success on 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 Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint is essential. We look for evidence that you have, or can develop these competencies.

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 international teams or environments. International exposure is also valued by post-MBA employers. The Manchester Global Part-time MBA provides considerable advantages if you are seeking an international career.

Entrepreneurial experience and creativity (within your own business or a corporate environment) are highly valued. 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 class, thereby enhancing the stimulating learning environment of the MBA.

Soft skills

A candidate's suitability to benefit from the MBA and their aptitude/potential as a future business leader also requires strong 'soft' skills and self-awareness. We are therefore looking for the following.

Team working skills are essential for success on the MBA. We are looking for candidates who can demonstrate the qualities of a team player, i.e. 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, show respect for others, and work in the best interests of your MBA teams and project clients.

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

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, and openness to change and personal growth. We are looking for people who are willing to share and learn from the experience and ideas of others, and who are able to accept and value constructive feedback from MBA colleagues, project supervisors and company representatives.


The 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.

If English is not your native language you are required to prove your competency. English competence is assessed throughout the admissions process considering:

  • Application form and essays
  • Manchester Admissions Test (MAT), GMAT or GRE
  • Evidence of previous formal study in English
  • Evidence of using English as a regular form of communication for work
  • An interview if requested.

If after assessing your application we need more evidence that your English ability is strong enough to be successful on the MBA programme we may ask you to take one of the recognised English language tests: IELTS, TOEFL (iBT), PTE Academic, CPE or CAE (Cambridge).

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,
  • 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 us before submitting an application.

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