Chat with MBA Admissions — April 14, 2011
Thanks for joining us to talk about the Rady School and our MBA program. We look forward to your questions.
Can I take more than 2 classes each quarter? Would this enable me to obtain my degree faster?
FlexEvening and FlexWeekend proceed at slightly different paces. For both, the core curriculum is grouped into cohorts. Therefore, you are working through those courses in an order that makes educational sense, with the same class of people, in study teams. This allows you to develop strong relationships with classmates, and it’s also a very important support group as you get back into school. After you begin to enroll in electives, we do see students accelerating their programs by adding additional courses, or perhaps doing an Independent Study project with a faculty member. Probably 10-15% of the FlexEvening group completes program requirements in less than the "normal" 10 academic quarters.
I received an email about a scholarship opportunity for people interested in the FlexWeekend MBA. What about the FlexEvening students? Are there any scholarship opportunities for them?
The Emerging Leaders Fellowships are specifically targeted to FlexWeekend. We do also have a small pool of funding for merit-based fellowships for the FlexMBA more broadly, which includes both Evening and Weekend.
I've taken the GMAT twice, and I can't seem to get in the 500-600 range. What advice would you give me in order to improve my score and make my application more competitive?
You'll want to look at the component parts and identify where you're having difficulty. Then, look at ways to enhance your foundations in that area. If your quantitative score is low, for example, you may not have adequate math preparation (in which case, we would suggest you find a community college where you can do a math readiness assessment and then enroll in a course or two). On the other hand, if you were fine at math as an undergrad and are just very rusty, a prep course or studying on your own using the free materials at MBA.com may be the right tactic. The same goes for if your verbal score is low.
What are some of the internship opportunities?
Internships are typically something that our Full-Time MBA students are interested in. They are usually of much less interest to working professionals in our FlexMBA program. Full-Time MBAs almost all take on full-time internships during the summer between the two academic years of their program. Our career center does also get many postings of part-time projects; and we do see some of our Flex students interested in taking such projects on as a means of facilitating career transition. Our placement report is up on our website if you want to look at what internships Full-Time MBAs took for the summer - it's a broad range of industries and functions.
Is it possible to begin as a flex student and switch to full time at some point?
We look at transfers between program formats on a case-by-case basis. We want to make sure that any shift makes educational sense, as well as personal and professional sense. The three formats of the program proceed through the core at different paces. Therefore, ensuring you are able to gain the full Rady education is critical. We have made these transfers in every direction—most often we see requests for movement between the Flex formats. For example, we have had students who started as an Evening, got a great new assignment in the Bay area and moved to Weekend, flying in to complete the program. We also have had Full-Time MBAs whose summer intern employers really wanted them to stay working full-time and who transferred to Flex.
If I am currently in an MBA program at an accredited school, and have completed a semester of core classes, would you accept them as transfer credit to the full-time program (if the subject matter and units are comparable)?
Our faculty review these requests on a case-by-case basis. Their decision-making is based on reviewing specific syllabi of the courses as well as your grades. It is also based on subject equivalency and overall equivalency of the rigor of the courses and the program in which you are enrolled. Transfer of credits is fairly rare. Waivers of specific core courses that allow you to take additional electives here at Rady to complete your program is slightly more common. This applies for Flex and Full-Time.
I am a naturalized US citizen. I graduated several years ago. I have a B.S. in Industrial Mechanical Engineering, I studied in Mexico. I have been working for 13 years in San Diego. Which specific requirements do I need to comply with (besides the GMAT test and the proficiency language test) in order to be accepted in the weekend program?
You will need to complete the regular application, which includes essays, resume and recommendations, and transcripts of your undergraduate work. We would not expect your background to mean there to be any requirements beyond the usual ones. In terms of English proficiency testing, it doesn’t look like you need it. If you'd like to consult individually with a member of our admissions team, please email directly to firstname.lastname@example.org
Since the Flex program is geared towards the working professional, would you say that work experience is weighed more heavily than say, test scores, when considering applicants?
We always look at each person who applies as an individual. We're looking at three broad areas. Test scores and prior educational records help us ensure that you're academically and intellectually prepared for graduate management study. Your essays, resume, recommendations, the admissions interview tell us about two areas: (1) why an MBA, why Rady? There isn't a "right" answer, what we want to understand is why now is the appropriate time for you to undertake an MBA and why is Rady the best place. This is really about understanding your self-evaluation and your thinking. And (2) what personal attributes do you possess that will make you a great Rady MBA—a real member of the learning community here. For working professionals in Flex, your work experience is clearly key in these second two areas.
Can I take a heavier class load than typical in the Full-Time program to graduate a quarter early?
The Full Time MBA program has a residency requirement of 6 quarters, and the capstone project sequence - Lab to Market - concludes in the final quarter. Any shortening of that would require of revision of your academic plan, faculty approval here, and a petition to the UCSD Office of Graduate Studies. So, it is possible if there were truly dire or compelling circumstances. On the FlexMBA side, we have specifically structured the curriculum and the timing of that capstone project to allow 1 quarter acceleration. One further comment - once you have been admitted to Rady and have chosen to attend, we are very committed to helping ensure that you are able to complete your program and graduate. That's why we have allowed various transfers between programs, why we work with individuals who have personal or family circumstances that might require a leave of absence or a deceleration of their program.
How much is tuition for the Flex program? What exactly is included?
The Rady MBA is a 92-credit program, and current FlexMBA fees are $950/credit (subject to change, of course). These fees are assessed each quarter based on the number of credits you are enrolled in. They will differ depending on whether you're choosing Evening and Weekend and then on whether you enroll in additional electives. That fee structure was put in place to allow that flexibility to accelerate or decelerate (as opposed to a flat fee/quarter that then can create barriers to flexibility). Beyond instruction, Flex fees include all course materials and textbooks, parking costs on campus, catering for class evenings or weekends, and lodging for class weekends and for the FlexEvening residentials.
Do you offer any type of financial aid?
There are merit-based fellowships available for the FlexEvening and FlexWeekend programs, as well as the Emerging Leaders Fellowships which is specifically targeted to FlexWeekend. In addition, UCSD's Financial Aid Office works directly with our FlexMBA students with educational loans. Information and links to their site are on our website. We also encourage all FlexMBAs to look at whether your employer has any form of educational reimbursement program as part of your benefit program. Such programs may be small, but they are a benefit and we encourage you to make use of them.
Why do the evening and weekend students pay the same? If the evening students aren't staying in the hotel, wouldn't their tuition be less?
Nearly the entirety of student fees support instructional costs. It also turns out that the extra lodging costs for Weekend are also balanced by the higher meal costs for Evening students, for whom dinner is provided on all class evenings, and the higher parking costs due to the more visits to campus. So close to a wash—and such a small piece—that differentiation in fees is not very useful. A single fee also means that an Evening student taking an extra elective on a Saturday is not suddenly paying two different fees.
Just a comment on food, lodging, since it's come up: these are program elements that certainly have a "convenience factor" attached to them - but they are, more importantly, designed to enable the development of a community. Instead of arriving at 6:30pm for class, FlexEvening students arrive earlier, eat dinner with classmates and work together to prepare for class, complete a project - or have time to sit with a faculty member or see the career advisor.
Do you have a specific GMAT score/ range acceptance/rejection criteria?
No, we don't have any specific minimum. We are looking at all the component parts and then looking at each in combination with your prior education. So if your quantitative score is on the lower end, we'll be looking at what quantitative courses you've had and what your grades in them were. If your verbal is low, we'll be looking at what courses might have involved reading and writing. Our goal in reviewing these is really to ensure that you are going to be successful in the core. If you think there is anything additional we should consider regarding your academic preparedness that is not reflected in your GMAT or your transcript, do use one of the optional essays in the application to tell us about this.
Thank you so much for answering my questions. I feel a little bit less intimidated and very motivated!
We know that a chat like this may help answer a few questions—but by no means is it enough information to make a decision about going back to school or about attending Rady. We very much encourage you to come visit a class, interact with current students in the program format you're considering, and continue to talk to us. Thanks for joining us! If you have any further questions or concerns, please don't hesitate to contact the admissions office directly: MBAadmissions@ucsd.edu.