Spotlight On: Michael Lincoln, Director of Graduate Admissions

What sets the Berkeley College M.B.A. program—and its students—apart?

Michael Lincoln is Director of Graduate Admissions at Berkeley College. He is a nationally ranked 5K runner and the coach of the Berkeley College men’s and women’s cross country teams. Before joining Berkeley, he held several positions in corporate sales. Mr. Lincoln has an M.A. from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and a B.A. from California State University, Northridge. 

Mr. Lincoln discusses the best M.B.A. candidates, and what makes the program different.

The types of students who make the best candidates for the M.B.A. program:

We are looking for students who have a strong business acumen and did well during their undergraduate studies. We have, however, had many students do very well in the program with little prior business experience. In fact, some were not even business majors in their undergrad programs. We have a lot of Psychology, Criminal Justice, and Legal Studies majors who have excelled in our program. 

In addition, we have nurses, doctors, legal aids, and attorneys, who have little business experience. The reason they want an M.B.A. is that they want to be entrepreneurs and open their own companies in their current fields.  I am excited when I see a candidate who has shown success in the real world through promotions, career advancements, and ambition. Yes, grades are important, but for someone that graduated ten years ago, it may no longer be relevant. We had a student apply who graduated seven years earlier with a less than stellar GPA. But her resume told a different story. She went from an administrative assistant to a district supervisor in those seven years. Now that is someone we want in our program. We are also interested in career changers, and entrepreneurs looking to better themselves with an advanced degree.

What makes the Berkeley College M.B.A. program different?

The Berkeley College M.B.A. program is special because it follows the unique teaching and learning philosophy of all of Berkeley’s programs. We provide hands-on learning from professionals in the field. They have exceptional academic and corporate backgrounds. Each have built their corporate credentials in diverse industries, and have undertaken numerous management roles and responsibilities throughout their careers. As a team, they have a broad range of business experiences and analytical perspectives on contemporary issues that prove to be invaluable to our students. Also, we have small classes where students can interact with their professors and fellow classmates.

What makes Berkeley College graduate students special?

The one thing that I notice about our graduate students is they have an “extra gear.” Let me use a running analogy to explain. Top runners will push themselves to the point of exhaustion in practice and in races because they want to win. Business is very much like that. People that are driven to succeed are willing to work exceedingly hard and despite numerous obstacles and failures, they always seem to finish first. It’s my job to identify good M.B.A. candidates. I begin my review by looking at transcripts, but I also look for people that have that “extra gear” and want to be successful in life. This translates not only into a successful M.B.A. student, but also into the workplace and life.

The views and/or opinions in this article are those of the individuals interviewed. The academic achievements and/or employment outcomes described in this article are specific to each individual and are not a guarantee of similar results for past or current students. For up-to-date and detailed information, please visit and view our catalogs at