Professional MBA

PMBA Admissions Process and Criteria

Admission to the Cox PMBA program is highly selective with the Admissions Committee seeking a diverse group of candidates demonstrating the following attributes:

  • Significant professional experiences
  • Strong academic capabilities, leadership potential, and interpersonal and communication skills
  • Personal qualities such as maturity, integrity, self-confidence, and motivation
  • A strong commitment to learning and achievement
  • Resume

    Your resume outlines your career progression and highlights significant accomplishments. It demonstrates that you can communicate with brevity in a business-oriented format. Take time with your resume and use it to reveal your personality and strengths. Where possible, quantify your achievements rather than letting your resume simply be a job description.  We also enjoy seeing what organizations you have been or are a part of both professionally and personally, so make sure to include your volunteer and other experiences outside of your job.  

  • Essays

    The MBA Admissions Committee uses your essays to evaluate several aspects of your candidacy. Your essays tell us a great deal about your career aspirations and what has shaped your life to this point. They also demonstrate your written communication skills. Candidates often ask if they should utilize the optional essay. If you have a unique experience to share with us that is not reflected elsewhere in your application, or if you have work gaps, academic problems or other issues that you would like to address, you should take advantage of submitting an optional essay. Otherwise, please do not feel pressured to submit the third essay simply to fill space.

  • Educational Experience

    We require an undergraduate degree for all MBA applicants, and our students come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds. We do not require any particular classes as prerequisites.

    For the application itself, you are welcome to attach unofficial transcripts. If you are admitted and matriculate into the program, you must submit an official transcript either in physical or electronic form. Cox reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission should any misrepresentation occur. Please note that we cannot accept copies, scans, or opened copies of official transcripts. 

    Physical Format
    For physical transcripts to be considered official, they must be sent directly from the issuing institution in a sealed envelope to the following address:

    Via Postal Mail:
    SMU, Cox School of Business
    Graduate Admissions                                                
    P.O. Box 750521                                                    
    Dallas, Texas   75275 

    Via Courier Service (FedEx, DHL, etc.):
    SMU, Cox School of Business
    Graduate Admissions
    James M. Collins Executive Center
    3150 Binkley Avenue, Suite 300
    Dallas, Texas 75275

    Electronic Format
    If your institution provides an electronic delivery service, secure PDFs of transcripts may be sent to the MBA Graduate Admissions office at

  • Work Experience

    The average Cox PMBA candidate has an average of 5-8 years of full-time post-undergraduate work experience. We strongly recommend you accurately highlight your key accomplishments in your resume. We expect your work experience to demonstrate your ability to work in teams, solve problems, resolve conflict, and manage people and projects. Please note your progression within a company as well as the responsibilities you have on a daily basis.

    Prospective candidates often question the widespread practice of only evaluating full-time post-undergraduate work experience. Most top programs, including Cox, believe the skills and competencies you develop as a full-time employee, with your undergraduate career under your belt, are quite different from those you experience as an intern or a part-time worker. While undergraduate internships and part-time jobs are valuable, recruiters will mostly focus on your accomplishments post-undergraduate.

  • GMAT, GRE, And Executive Assessment

    SMU Cox accepts a GMAT, GRE, or Executive Assessment score taken within the last 5 years.  We do not have a preference.  We suggest looking at the tests and taking a few practice ones to determine which you prefer before taking that exam.  We accept the Executive Assessment exam for candidates that meet the following criteria:

    • 7 or more years of full-time post-undergraduate work experience, or
    • Have already completed a masters degree

    If you are planning to submit the Executive Assessment in place of the GMAT or GRE, please contact a member of our admissions team to ensure you fully meet the above criteria.

    The Executive Assessment is specifically designed to evaluate the business school readiness of seasoned professionals.  The assessment focuses on skills that are critical both at work and in a part-time MBA program: higher order reasoning, critical thinking, analysis, and problem-solving.  Because it was designed specifically for experienced professionals, it requires modest preparation, takes only 90 minutes to complete, and includes flexible rescheduling options. The test is administered by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), creators of the GMAT® exam. Learn more about the Executive Assessment by visiting

    SMU Cox accepts unofficial copies of scores in the application, however if admitted and matriculated into the PMBA program, you are required to submit official GMAT/GRE/EA scores. Cox reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission should any misrepresentation occur.

    For 2022 entry terms, SMU Cox will continue a test-optional policy for all MBA and Specialized Masters programs. For the benefits of taking a test, click here to learn more.

  • TOEFL/IELTS/PTE Requirements

    Students whose native language is not English qualify for a TOEFL/IELTS/PTE waiver if they have lived in and worked in the US or a country where English is the official language for at least two of the last four years, hold an undergraduate and/or prior graduate degree from a college or university where English is the official language of instruction, or scored at or above the 80th percentile on the verbal section of the GMAT or GRE.  Please contact our office if you have further questions.

    SMU Cox accepts unofficial copies of scores in the application, however if admitted and matriculated into the PMBA program, you are required to submit official TOEFL/IELTS/PTE scores. Cox reserves the right to rescind an offer of admission should any misrepresentation occur.

  • Professional References

    The Cox MBA Admissions Committee requires applicants to submit two references that can be contacted to provide insight into your leadership skills, professional development and why you would be a great addition to the Cox community.  Please note that we do not require Letters of Recommendation but only the names and contact details for two references.

  • Interview

    Once your PMBA application is completed, submitted, and reviewed, the MBA Admissions Committee will issue you an interview invitation if you have satisfied all the requirements. The interview is an important part of assessing candidates for admission to the SMU Cox PMBA program. Personal interaction gives you the opportunity to present key aspects of your background, personality, and career aspirations not easily communicated in writing.

    Interviews generally last about 30-45 minutes. You can expect the interviewer to ask you to clarify points in your application, discuss your desire to join our program, and to talk about your post-graduation interests.  This is also a great opportunity for you to ask any questions you have about SMU, Cox, or any aspect of the program.

Next Steps

Questions? Not sure which program fits your needs? Reach out to our team.