Approximately 15% of Wisconsin School of Business graduates attend graduate school directly after graduation and nearly 50% of graduates expect to pursue an advanced degree program within 5 years of graduation.

Attending graduate school is a big commitment and needs careful consideration. Unlike undergraduate education, graduate school is a specialized, in-depth education within your chosen discipline. Graduate level education may or may not be the best option for you.

Things to Consider:

Is an MBA right for me?

Although MBA programs vary, most require candidates to have 3-5 years of professional full-time work experience before applying. Learn more about MBA degree programs:

Official MBA Guide

Bloomberg Businessweek B-School News

Research Programs

Take the time to learn about which program is right for you. Meet with faculty and current students. Tour the campus if possible. Ask for information about what graduates of their program go on to do after graduation. Understand what material you will be learning in the class room. Research the length and cost of the program as well as available financial assistance. Understand the reputation of the program and faculty. Begin your research at, and Peterson’s.


Most graduate and professional schools require test scores for admission. MBA programs usually require the Graduate Management Admission Test GMAT. The Graduate Record Exam GRE is required by many academic programs (master and doctoral degree programs). Other tests are required in specialized fields such as the LSAT for law school and the MCAT for medical school. The TOEFL English proficiency test is for international students.

The Application

Candidates must complete an application form and will have to submit official transcripts from all institutions attended. Remember, there is usually an application fee you must pay to each school to apply to.

The Essay

As part of your application, most graduate schools give you an opportunity to elaborate on your background in a personal essay. The content of your essay will be defined by the guidelines outlined on the application. Some programs will provide little structure, allowing you to choose the aspects of your background you wish to highlight. For others you may be asked to respond to specific questions. The essay is your chance to elaborate on your understanding of the discipline, your academic endeavors, and ideas for future career directions.

Letters of Recommendation

Letters of recommendation are required for almost every graduate school application. Although it can vary, generally, you will be asked for three letters. The best letter writers are those who know you well and can provide an evaluation of your ability to perform and succeed at the graduate level. It is best to request letters when your work habits, skills and interests are fresh in the writer’s mind.

Financial Aid

Financial aid is available for many graduate programs. Common types of financial aid include company tuition reimbursement programs (companies pay for part of tuition costs if employee stays with organization for certain length of time), assistantships (receive reduced tuition fee for campus-affiliated work assignment), fellowships (awarded for research projects), loans (available through government programs and private sources) and scholarships (awarded based on merit, financial need, area of study, etc.)