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Kelley-Manchester Global MBA entry requirements

Entry to this blended learning MBA is competitive and our admission process is designed to recruit the most talented MBA candidates from diverse professional and cultural backgrounds. Our holistic approach will evaluate every aspect of your application - not just your test scores. We will consider everything from academic credentials and career progression to leadership skills and entrepreneurial qualities. We hope we can welcome you to join the Kelley-Manchester Global MBA.

We will assess every element of your MBA application according to the eligibility criteria below, taking into account your application form, application essays, references, CV/résumé, degree and professional qualifications, admission test score, English level and interview. Our MBA admission committee will then make the final decision - good luck!

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

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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.

All applicants must take an admissions test. You can choose to take the Manchester Admissions Test (MAT), GMAT® or GRE®. You can select which test you prefer when you complete the application form. We will not assess your MBA application until we have received your admissions test result.

Manchester Admissions Test (MAT)

Most Global MBA candidates take the Manchester Admissions Test (MAT), which is designed and delivered by Talent Q. The MAT is completed online and you can take it at your convenience in your home, office or anywhere with a good internet connection.

You will complete three short assessments (verbal, numerical and logical). They do not require preparation and take around 45 minutes to complete.

We will provide you with a login and password to take the test after you submit your MBA application. The invitation will come from Please save this email to your contacts so that the invitation does not get delivered to your junk email.


GMAT and GRE require dedicated preparation to optimise your performance and you will need to register to take the test on a particular date in an official test centre. If you have already completed the GMAT or GRE, please enter your scores in the application form. If you are intending to take GMAT or GRE, you will need to enter your intended test date in order to submit the MBA application.

How will we use your result in our admissions decision?

The admissions test is only one of our admission criteria. We take a holistic view when we evaluate candidates and consider the ‘person’ rather than a score. We place more emphasis on your professional, academic and personal achievements; and your leadership and team-working skills. A very good result does not necessarily give a better chance of admission and a less strong result does not mean you cannot be admitted.

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 Kelley-Manchester Global 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).

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