In It to Win It: MBA Prep Programs

What can you do to get a leg up for MBA admissions? The same thing these super bendy, super attractive ballet dancers did to up their chances of getting into the American Ballet Company — do a prep program!

I can vouch for how amazing these prep programs are — I’m a proud graduate of the Forté Foundation’s MBALaunch 2014! Through Forté, I went from being clueless about MBA applications to knowing how to select schools, articulate my goals, and craft my story. I met monthly with a small group of fellow applicants and Forté-selected mentors, and Forté created an online platform so we could connect with admissions directors, admissions consultants, and students at our programs of interest. It was an amazing experience and had a huge impact on my admissions success.

Now that you know much I loved Forté MBALaunch, you’ll be thrilled to know that there are several other amazing pre-MBA prep programs out there! (NOTE: They focus on underrepresented applicants, so click through to see the eligibility requirements.) Intrigued? Read on!

A Quick FYI

Most of these programs have applications that mirror business school applications — you’ll need to submit your resume, write essays, and possibly even send in recommendations. Check each program’s site for more information about their specific requirements and deadlines. Many of these programs start up in the fall or winter, so if you’re applying this year, they might be too late for your timeline.

Also note that they have program fees, since they’re resource-intensive. I absolutely thought my investment in Forté MBALaunch (and later in admissions consulting) was totally worth it — as someone without a business background and without a huge MBA presence in my work and social lives, it was invaluable to have the support network and perspective that Forté provided me. Want a second opinion? Check out this great piece by Kofi Kankam of Admit Advantage about the value of Forté MBALaunch that applies to all of these MBA prep programs.

The Programs

The Consortium for Graduate Study in Management — The Consortium is an organization committed to increasing the representation of African Americans, Hispanic Americans and Native Americans in American business schools and corporate management.

As a Consortium Fellow, you will be able to apply to up to six business schools through a single streamlined application. You will also be eligible for a full-tuition fellowship and be part of the Annual Orientation Program & Career Forum before you begin your MBA. Legends have been told of Fellows receiving internship offers at the Orientation before starting school!

NOTE: From what I know of The Consortium, they offer the opportunity to apply through them for a common application between schools, but they don’t offer the same coaching process as these other programs, but they do offer strong development and networking opportunities once you apply to schools. These dates are when you would be submitting your Consortium application to the schools you’re interested in and actually applying (not for pre-application training).

  • For MBA Class of 2018 (starting school in fall 2016)
  • Eligibility: Demonstrate commitment to The Consortium’s mission
  • Test Scores: GMAT or GRE
  • Not location-based
  • Application Available: Mid-August 2015  |  Early Deadline: October 2015  |  Traditional Deadline: January 2016
  • Application Fee: $150 – $600 (depending on how many schools you plan to apply to)

Forté Foundation MBALaunch — Forté Foundation is a non-profit consortium of leading companies and top business schools working together to launch women into fulfilling, significant careers through access to business education, opportunities, and a community of successful women.

Forté MBALaunch for Women is a hands-on 10-month program that provides guidance, resources and ongoing feedback on the business school application process including a one-day launch event, monthly webinars, peer group meetings, and feedback from experienced advisors. As an MBALauncher, you will also have discounted or free access to events like Forté’s educational and inspirational summer MBA Women’s Leadership Conference, which I attended at UCLA last year!

  • For MBA Class of 2019 (starting school in fall 2017)
  • Eligibility: Ladies only
  • Test Scores: Not required
  • Locations: Boston, Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles, London, New York, Toronto, Washington DC
  • Application Due: November 2015
  • Application Fee: $25  |  Program Fee: $500

Forté Foundation MBALaunch On Demand — A self-paced development program for women intending to pursue an MBA degree. Presented by top business school representatives, test prep companies, and industry experts, Forté MBALaunch On Demand provides a variety of perspectives on GMAT preparation and the business school application process.

  • For MBA Class of 2019 (starting school in fall 2017)
  • Eligibility: Ladies only
  • Test Scores: Not required
  • Not location-based
  • Application Due: Rolling (final deadline likely in June 2016)
  • Program Fee: $350

MLT (Management Leadership for Tomorrow) — MLT equips high potential minorities with the winning playbook and personalized coaching that allows them to reach their full leadership potential and maximize their community impact.

MLT’s MBA Prep Program offers Black, Hispanic, and Native American young professionals disciplined, proven guidance for the rigorous business school application process and time-tested strategies for maximizing the business school experience and accelerating your post-MBA career. MBA Prep provides each Rising Leader with a personalized playbook and one-on-one coaching from an MLT coach to maximize their success in business school and beyond.

  • For MBA Class of 2019 (starting school in fall 2017)
  • Eligibility: Identification as African American/Black, Latino/Hispanic and/or Native American
  • Test Scores: GMAT 500+  |  GRE 300+ with 60% or higher verbal
  • Not location-based
  • Application Available: July 15 2015  |  Round 1 Due: September 2015  |  Round 2 Due: November 2015
  • Application Fee: $95  |  Program Fee: $750 ($250 refundable after successful completion)

Riordan MBA Fellows — The Riordan Programs at UCLA Anderson School of Management provide leadership and management training to diverse individuals all over the country. The MBA Fellows Program develops tomorrow’s leaders by providing a transformational experience through the use of mentors, educational workshops and community service.

The Riordan MBA Fellows Program seeks talented individuals with strong academic backgrounds who demonstrate leadership skills and who have had limited exposure to graduate-level education. Riordan offers GMAT prep, networking with sponsor companies, community service events, conferences like the Diversity MBA Admissions Conference, and other opportunities to engage with adcoms and strengthen your application. As a Riordan Fellow, you’ll get the chance to bulk up your community service track record and have opportunities to take leadership roles within the program.

  • For MBA Class of 2020 (starting school in fall 2018)
  • Eligibility: Demonstrated leadership skills and community involvement
  • Test Scores: GMAT Diagnostic 450+ (once accepted)
  • Location: Based in Los Angeles with mandatory sessions at UCLA Anderson, but open to all of US
  • Application Available: January 2016  |  Round 1 Due: March 2016  |  Round 2 Due: June 2016
  • Application Fee: $50  |  Program Fee: $600

Image courtesy of Columbia Pictures.


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