Skip to navigation | Skip to main content | Skip to footer

Full-time MBA entry requirements

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

It's not just about having the most experience or the best test results. Our requirements assess many factors, including your education, career progression, and leadership and entrepreneurship qualities. To ensure that our cohorts are as diverse as possible, we recruit from diverse cultural and professional backgrounds.

During the MBA admission process, we will review all aspects of your  equally (your application form, essays, references, CV, degree, professional qualifications, admission test score, English level and interview). Our MBA admissions committee will assess each element against the MBA eligibility criteria below and make a decision. We hope to welcome you to soon!

If you have any questions about our admission requirements, please contact our friendly team.

Start your application >>

Intellectual ability and achievement

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.

It is a requirement to take an admissions test, normally GMAT or GRE. We are currently accepting The GMAT™ Online exam and  GRE® General Test at Home in addition to the regular tests.   

Professional experience

The Manchester MBA develops strategic business knowledge and international perspective, and provides training in leadership and managerial skills. It is designed to build on previous professional experience, therefore it is important that our MBA candidates have good, relevant experience in order to fully contribute and benefit.

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 / 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. We also 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 18-month Manchester 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

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 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:

  • 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
  • You have successfully completed an academic qualification deemed by UK NARIC as equivalent to at least UK Bachelor’s 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

  • 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. 
  • 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.
  • 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. 
  • CPE or CAE (Cambridge): Grade C. Valid for life
  • Indian Standard X11 Certificate: 65% in English


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.