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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.

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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. 


Very strong English language skills are critical to academic success on your MBA, for contributing to the MBA group consultancy projects, and for your future career, especially if you wish to secure internship and full-time job opportunities in the UK. The English language requirements listed below are the minimum scores needed for admission, successful students typically demonstrate higher levels of achievement. We will continually assess your English level during the admissions process including the video assessment and formal interview.

Most applicants meet the requirement in one of the following ways:

Standard English Language Test

We accept the following English language tests:

  • IELTS Academic (UKVI and non-UKVI versions): Minimum overall score of 6.5, with at least 6.5 in the speaking and writing components and no less than 6.0 in reading and listening.
  • TOEFL iBT (centre-based): Minimum overall score of 90, with at least 22 in the speaking and writing components and no less than 20 in reading and listening.
    • For more information regarding TOEFL, please visit the ETS website.
    • TOEFL institution code 0757.
    • You must meet the entry requirement in one test; ‘My Best Scores’ reported by TOEFL will not be considered.
    • Please note that due to the Covid pandemic the University accepted TOEFL iBT Special Home Edition for 2022 entry – Please check if the University is still accepting this test for 2023 entry before registering for it.
  • Cambridge Advanced (CAE/C1 Advanced) and Cambridge Proficiency (CPE/C2 Proficiency): Grade C (old scale) or minimum overall score of 176, with at least 176 in the speaking and writing components and no less than 170 in reading and listening.
  • Pearson PTE Academic (UKVI and non-UKVI versions): Minimum overall score 59 with no less than 59 in each component.
  • LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B2 centre-based test (UKVI SELT version only): Minimum overall score 156, with at least 39 in all components. Please note: We do not accept the LanguageCert ESOL B2 online version or LanguageCert International ESOL SELT B1.


  • With the exception of CAE and CPE, test scores are only valid if they are less than two years old on the programme start date. This is a requirement for the UK Student Visa application.
  • We will need to validate your score. You should include the details of your score in the application form and request your score to be shared with the University of Manchester - Alliance Manchester Business School. This will enable us to verify your results online.

You are a national of, or have a degree studied in and awarded by, one of the following ‘majority English speaking' countries below (as defined by the UKVI for the Student Visa process).

  • Antigua & Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Ireland, Jamaica, Malta, New Zealand, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines; Trinidad and Tobago and USA.
  • Please note if your degree was studied in and awarded by a university in Canada, it must have been wholly taught in English (proof must be submitted)

Other English qualifications accepted

We also accept some English language qualifications from other countries, depending on the University’s assessment of its academic suitability. See here for information.

We accept the following qualifications with the minimum grades/scores listed:

  • International Baccalaureate
    • IB Lang A (English Literature or Language and Literature): Grade 4
    • IB Language B (HL): Grade 5
    • IB Language B (SL): Grade 6
  • IGCSE (First or second language) : Grade (4–5)
  • Indian Standard XII English (CBSE, ISCE, West Bengal): 80%
  • Indian Standard XII English (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat Boards): 85%
  • Hong Kong HKDSE/HKCEE (Post 2007): Grade 4
  • West African Education Council (WAEC) Senior School Certificate (SSCE): B3

Prospective candidates without a recognised degree may be considered based on alternative certified qualifications and experiential learning.

To be eligible, candidates must demonstrate their potential for success in the program through notable achievement s, strong career advancement, and substantial management experience in leadership roles or as accomplished entrepreneurs.

In lieu of a traditional degree, applicants are expected to provide evidence of intellectual aptitude, such as strong high school results, professional certifications, non-degree business qualifications, extensive training courses, and a demonstration of significant learning derived from professional experience and career progression, highlighting specialised knowledge in their respective business areas.

All candidates applying through the experiential route must undergo a formal interview conducted before a decision is made by the MBA Admissions Committee.

We strongly recommend that candidates discuss their individual circumstances with us prior to submitting their application.