Full-Time Two-Year MBA

Criteria and Application Tips

SMU Cox is a diverse microcosm representative of the world’s best and brightest minds. By design, we recruit students with diverse educational backgrounds, work experiences, and personal aspirations and who are all strongly committed to advancing their careers.

Your application, supporting documents, and personal interview are very important in the selection process. We hope that you will provide us with the most complete and honest picture of yourself.

Your complete application will contain the following components:

  • Online application
  • Professional résumé
  • Essays
  • GMAT or GRE score taken in the last five years. *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.*
  • Prior undergraduate and graduate degree transcripts
  • If applicable: TOEFL, or IELTS score from the last two years *Optional for 2022 entry terms*
  • Two professional references (names and contact information only, no letters)
  • Please note we do not have an application fee

Admission to SMU Cox is highly selective. We seek candidates who demonstrate the following qualities and characteristics:

  • A strong potential for success in today's global business environment
  • Demonstrated analytical capabilities
  • Leadership experience
  • Interpersonal and communication skills
  • Outstanding academic achievement and potential

Tips for Completing the Application Process -
Read the following tips under each application element found on the left-side menu bar.

  • Work Experience

    Candidates are required to have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience; however, most admitted students have between three and six years of work experience after completing their bachelor's degrees. We strongly recommend you accurately highlight your key accomplishments in your resume and discuss your career progression in your essays. Most admitted students have work experience in which they have demonstrated the ability to work in teams, solve problems, resolve conflict, and manage people, projects, and budgets. Please note your progression within a company as well as the responsibilities you have on a daily basis.

    Prospective MBA candidates often question the widespread practice of only evaluating full-time post-undergraduate work experience. Most top MBA 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 internships and part-time jobs during college are valuable, MBA recruiters will largely focus on your accomplishments after college, which will impact the types of job offers you receive.

  • Resume

    Your resume outlines your career progression and highlights significant accomplishments. It demonstrates that you can communicate with brevity in another business-oriented format. We are looking for a one-page, results oriented resume that shows the impact you have had on the various organizations you have worked for. You should highlight your work experiences, extra-curricular activities, and education.

  • Educational Experience

    We require an undergraduate degree from all MBA applicants and find our students come from a wide variety of educational backgrounds.

    If your degree was not obtained in the United States, you should apply with the equivalent type of degree; if you are unsure if your degree qualifies please work with an evaluation service for an assessment. If your original transcripts are not issued by your university in English, a certified translation will be required along with the original document in the school's official language. For students who attended an international institution - please note that we do accept the 3-year undergraduate degree as equivalent.

    We will thoroughly assess your undergraduate transcripts (and, if applicable, transcripts from any graduate degrees earned) to obtain an understanding of your educational credentials. We will look to see what types of classes you took and how well you did in them. We do not require any particular classes as prerequisites, but like to see students with some quantitative coursework.

    Attaching Transcripts to Your Application


    For the application itself, you are welcome to attach an unofficial transcript. If you are admitted to the program, you must submit an official transcript; which can be mailed in or emailed. For 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:

    Cox School of Business                                                  
    MBA Admissions                                       
    P.O. Box 750521                                                    
    Dallas, Texas   75275 

    Via Courier Service (FedEx, DHL, etc.):

    Cox Graduate Admissions
    James M. Collins Executive Center
    3150 Binkley Avenue, Suite 300
    Dallas, Texas 75275


    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

    GMAT, GRE and EA

    The majority of applicants to the Full-Time MBA program submit results from the GMAT, but SMU Cox accepts the EA, GRE and GMAT. The Admissions Committee will focus on your highest total score as we review your overall candidacy. The Admissions Committee does not have a preference on which test you take, so we encourage you to take the exam on which you will perform best. Keep in mind that some careers and industries do prefer one exam over the other, so if you have questions about which exam you should take, you can contact the Admissions Team at mbainfo@smu.edu.


    Students whose native language is not English may choose to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). TOEFL scores are valid for two years. Our TOEFL institution code is 6660.

    The IELTS may be taken in place of TOEFL.

    If your score report is more than two years old, it is no longer valid. We do not accept any other score reports other than what is listed above.

  • Essays

    The 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, and also demonstrate your written communication skills. Be sure to take time to think about and carefully craft your essay responses.

    The essay questions for the Fall 2022 application cycle are as follows:

    Full-Time Two-Year MBA and J.D./MBA Candidates
    1. Please describe your immediate post-MBA career goals, including the target industry, sector, and/or organization. Why are you interested in pursuing a career in this particular area? (250 word limit).

    2. Each candidate is unique.  Please outline your top expectations for your MBA program and why SMU Cox would be a great partner in assisting you to achieve your professional development and career goals (250 word limit).

    3. One of the three pillars of the SMU Cox MBA program is Data Analytics.  We are committed to helping all students develop skills in data analysis and to further develop an analytical mindset.  Please answer one of the following prompts (500 word limit).
          a.  Please describe how you have used data to solve a complex problem, including how you communicated your solution to others.
    If you have limited experience with analytics or quantitative work, please use the following question:
          b.  Explain how you are prepared to succeed in a quantitatively rigorous program.

    Masters of Arts dual degree candidates (MA/MBA):
    1. How do you plan to make an impact on the arts/non-profit community and how specifically would your graduate education help you do so? (250 word limit)

    2. Tell us about a time in the past three years your opinion about an arts/non-profit organization was changed and how. (250 word limit) 

    Optional Essay:
    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. We strongly suggest you identify any issues upfront and address them here rather than wait and disclose them in person. If none of those situations pertain to you, please do not feel pressured to submit the supplemental essay simply to fill space.

  • Interviews

    Interviews are by invitation only. We use the interview to get to know you and learn more about your background before making a final decision, which means it is an important part of assessing candidates for admission. Personal interaction gives you the opportunity to present key aspects of your background, personality, and career aspirations not easily communicated in writing. It also gives us an opportunity to hear about your career goals, why you want an MBA, and how you believe a Cox degree will help you in your career.

    Please note that we are only offering virtual interviews at this time due to COVID-19*

  • References

    The Cox MBA Admissions Committee does not require applicants to submit letters of recommendation. Instead, we ask you to submit the names (with applicable contact information) of two people who could serve as professional references if needed during the review process. We will only contact those individuals if we have questions about your background that are otherwise not answered in your resume and essays. We will only contact references after notifying you so you can give your reference advance notice that we will be contacting them. The best references are those who know you in a professional capacity, such as current or former supervisors. 

Next Steps

Have a question? Join us for an upcoming event to learn more about our MBA programs.