Getting into Vanderbilt MBA - Scholarships, Entry Criteria and Application Process

In the third part of the Interview Series with Christie St-John, the Director of MBA Admissions at the Owen Graduate School of Management, we find out the entry criteria, application process, and scholarship opportunities.

Q) What are the various criteria for scholarships? Is there a separate application? How many scholarships are on offer for the latest class?

Because we are a private university, our scholarships are funded by alumni or corporate friends. Each donor may request that the scholarship be limited to certain students. For example, a woman who plans to work in finance, an engineer who will focus on technology advancements, a student with a military background, etc.  The one requirement that they all have in common is “merit."

For that reason, we examine the undergraduate transcript and the GMAT scores of each candidate, the work experience and projected career path and interpersonal skills. Candidates who are at or above our “average” may be awarded a scholarship. There is no separate application and students will learn about their scholarship award at the time they are admitted.

Vanderbilt awarded need-based or merit scholarships in the range of 15,383 - $72,212 to 62 students (one third of the class) for the Fall 2017 class.

What are the entry criteria for the Full-time MBA program?

First, a bachelor’s degree from an accredited four-year university or the equivalent. We want candidates who have strong academics so that they will succeed in our program, which is highly quantitative.

Second, their test scores vs. the undergraduate grades. We evaluate the undergraduate transcript and the GMAT score. Work experience is necessary for success in the job search.

Employers who hire MBAs expect them to have the necessary “real life” experience plus business education to start to work immediately. We discourage candidates with no work experience from applying to the MBA because they risk being disappointed. They would be better served by enrolling in one of our one-year programs, such as the Master of Science in Finance, the Master of Accountancy or the Master of Marketing. These are designed for people just out of undergrad with some internships, or little to no real world experience.

Mean GMAT Score:
Mean Undergraduate GPA: 3.3
Mean Work Experience: 5.2 Years
Class Size: 172

Who should join Vanderbilt Full-time MBA?

In addition to strong academics, we look for candidates who have good interpersonal skills and some leadership or people management skills. We do not expect them to oversee a huge division of a company, but even a small group needs a leader! We really want candidates who are curious, open-minded, who want to learn from others and teach others what they know.

What is the application process for joining Vanderbilt MBA?

We require one essay relating to the career path and current skill set and a short paragraph pertaining to international experience. Then there is a video essay which we hope will show another side of the applicant. The questions on the video essay are not difficult, and we hope the candidates will relax and have fun with them. Two letters of recommendation from current or former supervisors or clients are required, transcripts of all undergraduate work, a resume plus an employment history, and the official GMAT or GRE scores and TOEFL score if required. The application is not complete without the official score report.  

For the interview, any candidate who comes to campus for a visit may request an interview, and that will be granted. For candidates who do not visit, we review the application to be sure the candidate is viable and someone who would succeed in our program. Those applicants will be invited to interview either when we are in their city, or we will conduct a live video interview. About 75% of our candidate pool does get an interview invitation.

Learn more about Vanderbilt MBA

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