FlexMBA Admissions Chat — March 3, 2011
Thanks for joining us to talk about the Rady School and our FlexMBA program for working professionals. I look forward to your questions.
I’ve been doing a lot of research into local MBA programs, and I’d like to hear more about what sets your program apart from SDSU’s part time program.
Rady is fundamentally focused on educating leaders for innovation-driven organizations. We are interested in how innovation reaches the marketplace — where do good ideas come from, which ideas are worth pursuing, how can managers and leaders move innovation forward, whether in established or emerging companies and industries. Our curriculum reflects our interest in innovation and our focus on developing leaders.
How is the evening program different from the weekend?
Our FlexEvening and FlexWeekend programs have the same fundamental curriculum — a strong core designed to provide you with the foundations for business decision-making in conditions of uncertainty, a capstone project sequence focused on innovation, and an elective curriculum that’s more than half your program. The Weekend program is not a shorter curriculum and includes as many elective choices. The real differences are in the schedule format.
I would like to find out what professions your students are currently working in. Also, what is the weekly work load of your program and how manageable is it with a full time job?
We’ll take these one at a time. Students in the FlexMBA reflect the industry mix in San Diego. Although, we do have students who come from elsewhere for the program, particularly for the FlexWeekend format. We see significant interest from individuals in the technology sector and the health/life sciences sectors, both of which have been real drivers for innovation and economic development here. We also see students from alternative energy and defense, from financial services, consumer products, and international trade. The mix and diversity of industry backgrounds really adds to the educational experience for everyone.
In terms of time commitment and juggling work/life/school, the very best would be to talk with current students about the time commitment. We’re happy to have you visit class and interact with students. Evening and Weekend students are enrolled in different numbers of classes in any given quarter, and your own academic background will make a difference in which courses are more challenging. What all our students say is that it’s an adjustment to come back to school, but they make that adjustment successfully and learn a great deal. The study teams we have in the core curriculum are a key support both in learning and in juggling work/life/school.
I want to join the Rady MBA program in Jan 2012? Do you have a spring start?
At this point, we have only Fall quarter matriculation to our MBA program. The core curriculum is designed and sequenced to ensure your learning — winter quarter classes build on knowledge gained in Fall. If you can join in fall, there is still plenty of time to apply.
I’m interested in the evening program, are there any other kinds of funding available besides just student loans?
Rady has a small pool of merit-based fellowship funding for the FlexMBA program, and all applicants will be considered for this. You should also look at whether your employer provides any kind of educational benefit: even if this is small, it is a benefit and we encourage prospective students to check.
We also know that some students are able to negotiate additional funding from employers. This can happen based on your contributions and your employer’s view of how those contributions might grow because of your MBA education. If you think such a discussion is something you might do, we’re happy to talk with you individually and provide any assistance in preparing for that discussion.
Could you share more information about typical class participation — do most professors adhere to lecture-based learning, or are case studies the normal mode of learning? Are students generally very participatory in class?
Students are very participatory in class — faculty especially comment on our FlexMBA students. What often happens is that you learn something, go back to work, use it, and then come back to class wanting to talk about that. Faculty will use a range of class methods, really depending on the nature of the material. A first term course in managerial economics, an important foundation for other courses, is bound to have more lecture than a marketing class that uses lots of business case studies and has a higher amount of class discussion. An elective in which a project is a major deliverable will be different from both of those.
At the moment, I want to stay in my particular career. But, I may want to switch in the future. In your opinion, can a part-time program versus a full-time be beneficial down the line if I do move in a different career path?
Part-time vs. full-time is a very individual decision — and we’d be happy to have you come talk to us. If you want, in the short- to intermediate-term to build on an existing career, taking on more responsibility and growing within your current organization or others in the same industry, the part-time allows you to maintain and enhance your existing network and your knowledge of business issues in this area and begin to build new skills and experiences that might ultimately be part of a change. If you want major career change in the short- to intermediate-term, the Full-Time program allows you to explore more, to develop a portfolio of internships and projects that point in your new direction. The degree of change, your certaint, and timeline are factors you’ll want to consider.
After I complete the core classes on Tues/Thurs evenings, do I have many electives available on those evenings, or will I need to attend on Mondays and Wednesdays? Weekends?
There are always elective choices on Tues/Thurs. We do spread them out to other evenings, though, in order to maximize your choices. Rather than run two popular electives against each other on Tuesday, we’ll put one on a Wednesday night. You’ll always have choices in the schedule format you chose, but on a space available basis we do open electives in the other formats to interested students. A FlexEvening student might pick a Saturday class, or a FlexWeekend student might choose a Thursday night because the topic is of high interest.
I only have about 3 years of work experience, is the flex program right for me? I don’t think I can quit my job just to go to school, so I would need to do both. What do you suggest?
The FlexMBA has no minimum work experience requirement, and we do believe that individuals at various career stages can have good reasons — career and personal — for choosing a part-time MBA study. What we want to understand is why now is the right time for you to return to school, and how will the experiences you have had enable you to add value to the educational experiences your classmates will have here at Rady.
What if I can’t take the GMAT until closer to the end of May? How does that impact my chances of being accepted into your program?
The application includes a place for you to let us know when you will be taking the GMAT. We can’t do a full evaluation of your file until we receive your score, but if your application is complete, with all the other pieces (transcripts, recommendations, etc) submitted, we can move fairly quickly once your scores have arrived. I’d encourage you to complete and submit the application, so we know you’re in the pipeline and know when we’ll receive that final piece. Every year, we see some great candidates as we get towards the end of the cycle — and we always have found room for someone who really ought to be a Rady MBA.
I noticed your deadline dates end on June 27th for Flex applicants — is this when you no longer guarantee to evaluate each applicants file for admission?
We continue to evaluate applications on a space-available basis, and have in past years received applications well into summer. We are charged to matriculate a great class of people who will learn well together and grow together, not to fill every seat in the room. So, we really do each year find a small number of people who apply a little late and are great fits with the Rady program.
For those of you who are thinking now about applying for fall and are worried about the timeline: you really are not “too late.” We do, particularly for the FlexMBA, see that individuals begin to think about school because of specific drivers in their work or personal lives, and that waiting another year to start school when you know you want/need it sooner doesn’t really make educational or career sense. I’d advise opening up the online application, starting on the parts you do yourself, and then work out a timeline for completing the various pieces that are needed. If a discussion with a member of our Admissions team on managing the process would be helpful, please email us and we'll set up an appointment.
These have been great questions! Clearly you’ve been thinking about graduate management education, and how it will enhance career growth. We know that a chat like this is only going to provide basic information, so we do very much encourage you to talk with us, visit a class, and interact with current students.
Thank you for joining us today. If you have further questions or would like to come visit us, please contact MBA Admissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.