Is An MBA Degree Right For Someone Without A Business Degree?

When you apply for an MBA program, there’s no hard and fast rule that you will get selected.

While it might seem that your educational background matters, what matters more is your knowledge and the admission essay that you submit.

Additionally, each business school has its own set of requirements when it comes to taking applications for an MBA degree.

Minimum qualifications for applying for the degree can vary, and so can the requirements of your work experience. Generally, a bachelor’s degree is the minimum degree requirement for applying to an MBA program.

If you don’t have a business degree, or haven’t majored in business studies, it will not hinder your aspiration to get an MBA degree.

However, you might need to complete a course in accounting, mathematics or business studies, before you can start the main course. This depends on your field of study, your MBA concentration and the pre-requisites of your institution.

One of the main reasons why MBA students get selected to their program is because of their critical and analytical thinking. So, if you don’t have a business degree or background, but possess analytical thinking, you can always apply for an MBA degree.


While it might sound strange, the majority of MBA degree holders do not always come from a business background.

Business schools generally try to enroll a set of students from diverse backgrounds. And that doesn’t mean ethnicity, but professional background and culture. This is why when you interact in student groups in top rated business schools, you learn more from your peers.

A proper MBA program is one, which helps students grow their analytical and leadership skills. While it helps students learn about different systems and business processes from their course mates, it also helps them understand real – world situations.

How NOT Having A Business Major & Having An MBA Can Help You?

Students who have a bachelors degree in non – business majors come from different backgrounds. This makes their skills much more diverse. Many companies prefer non-business majors with managerial and leadership skills compared to business majors.

This is because their business might be in a technical, medical, research or other field, where they need a manager who has hands on experience, along with managerial skills.

When you pursue an MBA degree coming from other business backgrounds, you are enhancing your chances of earning a promotion and moving up the career ladder, while doing what you love to do.

An MBA degree provides you with corporate level training, which helps you to pursue upper management positions or work as an analyst or program manager, with a significant salary hike.

The coursework and the concentration that you undertake builds your decision making, people management and financial management skills, which is critical to any industry and any managerial positions.

Common Prerequisites For An MBA Program

Now that you know that you can come from a non-business background and have an MBA degree, let’s have a look at the pre-requisites for an MBA program. Remember, these are only basic pre-requisites.

Any institution where  you seek admission will have their own set of regulations to fulfill. Read the admission regulations, before you take part in the admission process.

Bachelor’s Degree

Since an MBA is an advanced degree, nearly all business schools require you to have a bachelor’s degree in any field or domain from an accredited institution. You would also need to provide official transcripts to prove your degree and experience.

The main reason why an MBA program requires a bachelor’s degree is to check your previous academic  performance and your knowledge. However, you can get an MBA even with a major in fine arts, literature, computer science or even education. It all depends on your admission essay and filling up the pre – requisites of the institution.

Core Classes

While you can be admitted without a business background, you need to make up for the lost knowledge, especially if you are coming from a non-business background. So, you might need to take a few core classes to be on par with your peers.

Some of the common subjects include

  • Statistics
  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Business studies
  • Mathematics

The core classes that you take depend on your MBA concentrations. So, speak to your career or course advisor once admitted to know which core classes you should opt for.

Minimum GPA

Even when you don’t come from a business background, most business schools will put a minimum GPA as the requirement. While the GPA varies from institution to institution, you need to have at least 3.0 as your GPA in order to qualify for an MBA program.

Sometimes you can make up for a lower GPA with a high GMAT score or other work experiences.

Test Scores

Another determining factor when it comes to getting an MBA degree is the test scores. You need to qualify by taking a GMAT or GRE and have a qualifying score (as per the business school’s prerequisites) to be admitted.

The admission offices consider GMAT score as an important metric, and also uses it as a predictor in your academic and career success.

Final Words

In addition to the above prerequisites, your business school might ask you for additional work experience or admission essays. Moreover, there might be a personal interview session to gauge your skills and background.

Whatever might be the case, you can always get an MBA degree if you are planning to move to a managerial position even without a business background. It all depends on your career aspirations and your perseverance.