Dear Mentor:

What BA do I need for a top MBA?

I am an American who would like to pursue my MBA at a top university. I need to know what universities offer a BA program that a top MBA school will accept.

Planning for Success, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Dear Planning for Success:

To answer this question, let us first look at what motivates top MBA schools and how this influences the kind of candidates they admit into their programs. Top MBA schools are recognized as such because they produce outstanding business executives. To remain a top MBA school, the school would admit only those candidates who exhibit high potential for success as an executive.

To assess your potential for success, the school is looking for a demonstrated pattern of success in progressively challenging situations. The school uses many parameters to accomplish this, of which the name of your undergraduate school is one. No doubt, doing undergrad from a prestigious school would certainly help you. It is an important indicator; nonetheless, it is one among many. Top MBA schools do not have a list of select schools from which they admit their candidates.

Other parameters for assessing future success include: your academic performance, your performance on GMAT (Graduate Management Aptitude Test - a standardized entrance exam), your work experience and achievements, your interests and activities beyond school and work, personal essays, letters of recommendations, and so on.

So what does all this mean to you? Well, you should do your undergrad from the most prestigious and highly ranked school possible, regardless of what you wish to do beyond your undergard. And during your undergrad, keep in mind the other criteria as stated above for the MBA schools.

No matter where you end up doing your undergrad, you can do certain things to improve your chances for getting admitted to top MBA program. We outlined this information in an earlier column: How do I get into a top MBA program?

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