Chat with MBA Admissions — April 26, 2011
Thanks for joining us to talk about the Rady School and our MBA program. We look forward to your questions.
How many Korean & Chinese students are at the Rady School?
In our Full-Time MBA program, we typically have 35-40% international students. Asia is most strongly represented in that group. We see students from China, Taiwan, Japan, Korea, as well as elsewhere in the region. In our FlexMBA program for working professionals, we usually see some professionals from other countries who are working in San Diego on professional visas, as well. It does make for a great learning environment and network.
I was wondering what counts as valuable work experience.
We don't have a specific kind of work experience (or amount) that we're looking for. What we'd like to understand is what you learned or gained from whatever experience you have, what you have contributed to the organizations you've worked, what you've achieved, and how all this will enable you to be a contributing member of your class and the Rady learning community. There isn't a "right" kind of experience.
Do you offer any international business classes?
In core classes and many electives, faculty will deal with the global elements of business as part of the broader subject. Business is global, and a completely US-domestic focus just doesn't prepare you for real issues and real problems. We do have a few classes that focus on international issues including our Global Business Immersion, which involves a study tour to an international location.
How are leadership classes taught?
All classes involve a mix of pedagogical methods. This is really based on the material that is the focus. All classes included significant teamwork and involve some degree of case study and class discussion. Leadership will also include use of some self assessment tools, as well as some structured group work, role-playing and/or simulation.
Which location(s) does the study tour take place?
This changes from year to year. This past spring break, a group went to China to study the Chinese financial markets. It was led by a finance faculty member with extensive expertise in this area. This coming year, a group will head to India - the subject focus for this trip is under discussion right now. In addition, our International Business Club typically organizes 1 or 2 trips—these aren't for academic credit and include a high percent of time on cultural and vacation type activities. Also, an IBC group went to Brazil this year.
I saw that the GMAT will be waived for someone with a Ph.D or M.D. My friend has their Ph.D in Biochemistry. Do they still need to take the GMAT?
A waiver of the GMAT will be considered for an applicant who has completed a doctoral degree in a technical, scientific, or quantitatively-based discipline at an accredited U.S. Institution. We're more than happy to look at your friend's transcripts and advise them from there.
Do you still have scholarships available for new students, especially international students?
Rady has a small pool of fellowship funding, and all applicants are considered for this funding.
I've looked into the entrepreneurship program. Some might say that it doesn't take going to grad school to open up your own company and that an MBA is related to working for corporations. However, after going over the brochures your office sent me, I do believe that it would be beneficial. Can you please tell me if I have the right idea and any other aspects of the MBA program which might help?
Rady is really focused on innovation and how innovation moves to the marketplace. This is clearly relevant for entrepreneurs. Our alumni also tell us that it’s relevant to many roles in existing companies, where continuing to be innovative is critical for success (and indeed, in a tough economy, for survival). We strongly believe that applying the core disciplines of business to decisions about innovation improves the potential for success. There are a lot of ideas out there –whether you're an entrepreneur or with an existing company. You can't pursue them all. Therefore, making good decisions early is critical.
I am aware that the Full-Time MBA program deadline is May 16, 2011. Does the GMAT need to be completed with the application or can that be submitted after application?
The GMAT score can be submitted after the application. Our Admissions Committee will review your application once it's complete – i.e. when we've received your GMAT score.
In a recent Rady newsletter it was mentioned that accreditation would be complete this fall (Fall 2011). Was this an error? Previously, it was stated that accreditation would not come until Fall 2012. I contacted Admissions on this, and they too saw the newsletter, but did not know if the update was accurate.
We're in the final stages of AACSB accreditation, and based on the signals we're now hoping/expecting good news before the end of 2011. We have moved very quickly through this process and have had nothing but positive signals at each stage of review. UCSD is fully accredited, and while AACSB accreditation is an important step, it actually has no direct impact on your degree.
I have an adequate TOEFL and GMAT score, but I am studying English at the UC Davis Extension Center. I’m really interested in the Rady MBA program. When do I have to send in the official scores? Before the deadline or after the deadline?
You can submit your application without scores if you are planning to retake either of these tests. You'll see a place on the application to let us know that you are taking them. We will hold your application for evaluation when we do have your scores.
If I submit the application in early May, when do I expect to know the result?
Typically, it takes approximately 4-6 weeks to receive a decision. However, at this time, students are receiving their decisions faster than that.
Can you shed some light on the return on investment in a Rady MBA?
There are a lot of ways to answer this question. So, let me say a bit; then, you can send another question. I do think this is a pretty individual question, which you'd think about differently if (1) you're looking at the Full-Time program or the FlexMBA for working professionals, (2) if you're interested in a very significant career change or are building on existing expertise and experience to make the next step. Our alumni tell us that the Rady MBA changes the way they think about business and about decision-making and gives them the confidence in their abilities to make major steps in their careers. Sometimes they talk about this directly in terms of changes in compensation - more often they focus on changes in scope or impact in the roles they take on. What you want to think about is where you're headed and how far would you like to go.
I fully understand UCSD is accredited (I live and work here in San Diego) but it is my desire to receive my MBA from a Tier 1 school. I certainly would like that to be here in San Diego rather than other areas of the country, if possible. Will the accreditation and subsequent rankings of the MBA program effect admissions standards in either direction?
Not in any fundamental way. We've been working at a level of excellence (in all dimensions) in line with "top" schools from day 1. Our faculty and dean have all come from top institutions and have expected to have - and have taught in line with - the student population they saw at other institutions. We do think that having AACSB accreditation may increase our applicant pool more than what we've already been seeing which certainly could have some impact.
What should I aim for on my GMAT exam if I would like to attend Rady?
If you're looking at the Full-Time MBA program, I would recommend looking at our class profile. This is especially helpful as it gives the averages (GMAT, gpa, etc) of the incoming class for fall 2010. You can find the profile here: http://rady.ucsd.edu/mba/fulltime/profile/
I am from mainland China. As far as I know, around 11 Chinese students have already been admitted for Fall 2011. I know the student body size of Rady MBA program is relatively small. So if I apply now, how much chance will you admit more Chinese students? Shall I try later for the next year? Thanks.
We always continue to look at applicants on a space-available basis, so if you see Rady as a top choice and are interested in fall, I'd certainly suggest you apply.
Is there a certain amount of applicants that are accepted for each program?
We expect to have an entering class of 55-60 for our Full-Time MBA program, and entering cohorts of 40-45 for the FlexEvening and FlexWeekend MBA programs. In all cases we have some elbow room. We’re more focused on matriculating a great class of individuals who will learn well together than on filling seats.
What is the usual cost, just an estimate, for the trips mentioned?
This is a little hard to provide. Trips have had different lengths and different destinations. This past year, the 1-week to China involved about a $1600 program fee, plus travel costs to and from China.
Can we have an example of any student projects?
There are TONS of student projects, in class and out of class. This fall we had a course in advanced business planning projects, with teams working on projects from outside organizations. These included a marketing-related project for HP, a project from one of our local research institutions on spinning out a company based on research done there, and a project from a VC firm that involved an industry sector analysis for an area of technology of particular interest to the firm.
Does your office have an open house or information session that you recommend I attend? I live in Ontario, California, so it's only a couple of hours away.
Absolutely. We definitely recommend attending an information session, as well as perhaps participate in a class visit. You can see a list of our upcoming admissions events here: http://rady.ucsd.edu/mba/admissions/events/. Click on the individual event, and you can register to attend. Depending on which program you're interested in, we have a variety of ways to gather information: On campus info sessions, off campus info sessions (for students interested in the FlexMBA program), as well as virtual information sessions.
If I take the TOEFL next May and the GMAT in the end of June, will this be too late for admission consideration?
Again, we continue to evaluate applications on a space-available basis. We always see some amazing people who apply late in the cycle.
What would you say is the single most important thing I can do to prepare myself for an MBA?
I don't know if I can do just one. As you're considering and applying, I think the critical element is self-reflection. You should really look at your goals and your vision of your professional impact. Think about how an MBA (and more particularly a Rady MBA) will help you achieve those goals. We certainly know that these can change and that being in school is naturally an exploration. However, an MBA is an investment of your time as much as of money. You do want to be thinking about what return you're hoping for and talking with many people at the schools you're interested in about this. Once you're certain you're headed to school, I really advise starting to explore: particularly if you're looking at possibilities for career change, just beginning to read business news, to pay attention to new areas. This can help you ensure that you'll make the most of your time here.
Can you talk about some of your student success stories?
Some great news we received today is that one of our alumni was just named CEO & President of a biofuels company! That said, I see success at every level. When our career center director and I talk to companies, we hear them saying that every Rady hire they've made has been a good one. We certainly see Flex alumni who have moved significantly inside their companies even during the program. Every year I hear stories of promotions even in the first few quarters of the program.
Is it possible to apply after the last deadline?
After the last deadline, we will accept applications on a space available basis. So, if there's still space available in the various classes, then we will continue to accept applications.
Whether or not we're still accepting applications will also be posted on our website (in the deadlines section).
What significant entrepreneurs and or VC's contribute to class curriculum? (local or otherwise)
We have a whole network of individuals who help us. The Rady Venture Fund and the Venture Capital Management course (a course that lets students get involved) has a whole network of advisors, an investment committee, and a group of co-investors. Our Lab to Market project sequence has a separate network of advisors/coaches who also provide advice and guidance for student projects. These include successful entrepreneurs and VC and angel funders, but also experts in various areas (IP law, the FDA and clinical trials, product design, etc).
Is there an option to pay as you go? What payment options do I have if I don't want to take out student loans?
Fees are charged on a quarterly basis, and UCSD has a plan which allows you to break that into monthly payments. That's something you set up directly with the UCSD student billing office.
This summer I will be going to an officer candidate course for the Marines. Does UCSD have any affiliation with the Marine Corps in San Diego?
We don't have a formal affiliation, but we always have currently serving members of the military in our programs. Typically, this is in the FlexMBA, although we have had students sponsored into the Full-Time MBA. Some of these students are preparing for further movement in their services. Others are looking at a timeline for leaving service and are preparing for a career transition. I'd also note that we've been very successful at working with currently serving members of the military who find their situations changing. We had three people deployed this year, and the "flex" in the FlexMBA has been useful for all of them.
I am taking my GMAT in June. Would this make my application late for fall admission?
We do continue to look at applications on a space-available basis. It is helpful if you submit your application when it is ready and use the space provided to let us know when you will be taking the GMAT.
I am currently enrolled in an MBA program in my country but did not complete it because I want to continue with the Rady MBA program. Will my prior MBA education help me get accepted to your program?
UCSD Office of Graduate Studies has a general policy of not enrolling individuals for any degree program if they have already received the same degree elsewhere. I think this is something we will need to consult with you individually about. Please contact MBA Admissions, so we have sufficient information to give you an accurate answer.
Is the deadline different for international students?
The application deadlines are the same for domestic and international students.
I understand that interviews can be done over the phone for students that cannot make it to California. If invited for an interview, would it be wise to fly over so that I could physically meet the admissions team?
If invited for an interview, we also offer the option of interviewing through Skype. That way, we can still interview you “face to face.”
Is there anywhere I can reference the network of entrepreneurial and VC advisors? I'd like to gauge their ‘wow’ factor. PS, I very much liked your answer. - Venture Capital is of a particular interest of mine which is also why the entrepreneur program is also appealing.
We haven't got this all listed publically in one spot, but we'd be happy to talk with you about your particular areas of interest and see what additional information we can provide. I would say that I think from an educational standpoint, "wow factor" is less useful than commitment. What I particularly like about our network is that many (many) of these are people who are here often, regularly interacting with students and providing advice. We certainly have wow factor participants. However, they are more likely to be here once every 18 or 24 months to speak. This is great, absolutely, but as a student a good bit of value is gained by the successful mid-range serial entrepreneur who is here 2 or 3 times a year to take appointments with student project teams and share his knowledge/expertise/perspective based on his successes and failures.
Thank you everyone for joining us this afternoon. We enjoyed answering your questions, and look forward to speaking with you again. If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact us directly at: MBAadmissions@ucsd.edu