Getting into Northeastern’s Online MBA: A guide to navigating the admissions process

Jul 21, 2023 | Online MBA

Finding the right school to complete your Master of Business Administration (MBA) can be challenging. With the recent decline in MBA applicants, however, it's important to remind working professionals that they shouldn’t be afraid to apply to high-quality online MBA programs—such as the one offered by Northeastern University.

“It's a very understandable concern, particularly if it's your first time going back after your undergrad,” says Matthew Foster, Director of Northeastern University's Online MBA program at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business. “You can see our application requirements and evaluate how well you stack up against those requirements.” 

If you want to take advantage of the benefits of completing your MBA at Northeastern, and want the flexibility of an online program, here's an overview of the steps to navigating the admissions process. 

Ready to apply? Request an application fee waiver today!

How long is Northeastern’s Online MBA admissions process?

The time it takes you to go through the admissions process is difficult to pinpoint since it's dependent on a variety of factors. However, if you're well-prepared, you can significantly cut down the amount of time it takes.

“Completing the actual application form will take you a half an hour as long as you have all your information available,” says Foster. “I personally have found that many students are surprised at how long it takes to get their application rolling—particularly if someone is applying for their first time since undergrad.”

The application is just one step in the process, however. As a result, it’s important to apply early to ensure you have enough time. “In my professional opinion, I would start two months prior,” advises Foster. “Give yourself a couple of months.”

According to Foster, this is because it can take a lot of time to get application materials, including:

  • Your official transcripts
  • Professional letters of recommendation
  • Personal Essay

There are several external factors that can affect the delivery of these items. For example, “The person you want a professional recommendation from might be on vacation for the next two weeks,” explains Foster. “In the case of international students, you need to be mindful of the time it takes to get your credentials evaluated and translated into English.”

"Completing the actual application form will take you a half an hour as long as you have all your information available."

Admissions requirements for Northeastern’s Online MBA program

To ensure you're able to go through the admissions process quickly, and increase your chances of being admitted, you should review the admissions requirements for Northeastern’s Online MBA program.

Here’s a closer look at what materials you’ll need to successfully complete your application.

Undergraduate degree official transcripts

The first step is to make sure you've completed your undergraduate degree. Northeastern requires applicants to have earned a 3.0 or better GPA during their undergraduate studies.

If you didn't earn a bachelor's in a business field, however, you can still get into the program. According to Foster, subject matter isn't as important as the degree completion and the cumulative GPA.

While unofficial transcripts are accepted for initial application, Northeastern requires a copy of your official transcripts within 30-days of the program start date. This is something you'll need to request from your university, and can't send yourself. “It is only official if we get it directly from the university,” says Foster. “And in most cases, it's through electronic clearing houses.”

For international students, transcripts must be in English and on a 4.0 GPA scale. If not, applicants must have an evaluation through an NACE member organization.

Demonstrable command of English

All students need a strong command of the English language. International students need to demonstrate a strong verbal and written proficiency with additional application materials. According to Foster, this means they need to complete the necessary tests to demonstrate English proficiency.

“Students who completed their undergraduate degree at a school where English wasn’t the primary language, or didn't work in an English speaking environment for two plus years, need to provide applicable exam scores with their application.”

Some examples of the exams you can take include:

Ultimately, applicants should ensure they're well-equipped with the necessary English skills to learn and communicate effectively in an online environment.

Strong essay

The next step is to ensure your essay is well-written. “The committee wants to hear about your journey, work, and unique experiences,” says Foster. “There's a lot of creative license in the way a student approaches that also informs the admissions committee.”

This essay is an opportunity to demonstrate your knowledge, writing prowess, and commitment to learning. “My expectation looking at these is this is your best work,” says Foster.

Professional letters of recommendations

You'll also need to obtain two letters of professional recommendation. “This can't be from friends or family,” says Foster. “It should ideally be from supervisors and work colleagues.”

These recommendations also need to come from professionals you've worked with following completion of your undergraduate studies. This can be a common roadblock for applicants who are hoping to include internships and other work experience years prior to their undergraduate degree. However, it’s important for the Northeastern’s admissions team to learn about your professional reputation outside of your academic years.

Professional resumé

The final piece of your MBA application is a copy of your professional resumé. This is where you'll showcase your professional experience and highlight your professional recommendations.

Here are five tips for crafting a good grad school resumé:

  1. Tailor it to the program: Make sure you review the Online MBA's homepage and ensure the experience you highlight is the most relevant to the program.
  2. Highlight relevant experience: Beyond professional work experience, you can highlight internships and volunteer experience on your resumé to communicate your commitment and work ethic over a longer period of time.
  3. Demonstrate relevant skills: Make sure you consider what skills you've developed that will help you stand out and highlight them on your resumé.
  4. Highlight professional achievements: Certifications, professional training, and organizations you're part of are all valuable qualifications to include on your resumé.
  5. Format it well: Formatting is very important, so keep it to one page if you have a relatively short career span, and try to avoid any spelling or grammar errors or formatting issues.

Having a good resumé is essential in impressing the admissions team and increasing your chances of acceptance. With a well-developed roadmap of your professional experience, admissions can get an even better understanding of what you’re capable of in the program.

3 things you should know about Northeastern’s Online MBA admissions process

In addition to the application requirements at Northeastern, there are a number of benefits you should be aware of regarding Northeastern’s admissions process.

1. Offers a performance-based pathway to admission

If you’re worried about your chances of getting in because your grades aren't ideal, don’t worry too much. Northeastern evaluates applications in totality.

"I would go as far as to say most of my colleagues in the industry say that we're really looking for grit,” says Foster. “In many cases, the single measure of undergrad is not indicative of how successful students can be in the program, particularly if they have decades of industry experience.”

If this is a concern for you, students applying to Northeastern’s Online MBA program can opt into a performance-based pathway to admission. “If you don’t quite meet our requirements, but there's something that suggests you might have some grit and have a good shot of being successful, we're gonna give you an opportunity via a graduate certificate,” explains Foster.

The graduate certificates are courses from Northeastern's online MBA portfolio, “but it's a smaller bite of the apple,” says Foster. “It’s a great way for us to observe a student’s success in our program, as well as for the student to evaluate their progress,” says Foster.

This can provide a pathway to the Online MBA for students who aren't able to apply directly. “To me, taking a graduate certificate is a no-brainer,” says Foster. If students do well in the courses and apply to the online MBA program, “we very often welcome you into the full program.”

All of those credits transfer over to the program when you are accepted. “So there's no loss in time going this route,” says Foster.

2. Continues to be test optional

Northeastern University's D'Amore-McKim School of Business is currently test-optional and does not require applicants to submit GRE or GMAT scores. This eliminates a common roadblock for people returning for school, since it eliminates the time required to take another test before admittance into the program.

Many well-qualified students struggle taking the GRE or GMAT. Part of the holistic admissions approach Northeastern takes to online MBA applicants is evaluating students based on multiple factors—not a singular test score. This ensures that the program has increased accessibility and doesn’t reject applicants based solely on a test score.

3. Ensures a personalized admissions experience

Applicants for Northeastern's Online MBA are considered on an individual basis. “Our admissions support is very personalized,” explains Foster.

There are also several resources to support students during the admissions process. According to Foster, Northeastern provides:

  • Information sessions
  • Webinars
  • A dedicated team of student support advisors

This team of supporters “really act like a concierge service throughout your entire time at Northeastern,” says Foster. “Even prior to becoming a student, we have dedicated recruitment specialists who are there to answer questions and provide prospective students with information about the program.”

Start your career advancement with Northeastern’s Online MBA program

If you're considering pursuing an online MBA program, Northeastern is a great option. Its online program is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International—the highest standard of achievement for business schools worldwide.

Even if your grades aren’t as high as you’d like, it’s important to remember that Northeastern takes a holistic approach to admissions. “We're looking for as much information as we can possibly get that would demonstrate a student would be successful in the program,” says Foster.

If you're ready to take the next step and apply to Northeastern's Online MBA, complete the application fee waiver form to save $100 and become one step closer to advancing your career!

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