Chat with MBA Admissions — January 1, 2012
Hello and Happy New Year! I hope that everyone enjoyed their holiday. We are reviewing your questions and will begin posting responses shortly.
For the Lab 2 Market program -- Do all MBA students participate in this program?
Yes, this is considered one of the core classes of the Rady MBA program. The class is three quarters long, and begins in the spring of your first academic year.
Are there specific concentrations within the MBA program with a certain number of electives to fulfill, and/or is there a limit to the number of electives an MBA student may take?
Students are able to tailor their MBA experience to their professional interests, and are not required to declare a specialization. However, we find that students often focus on a particular area of interest (e.g. finance, operations, etc.) when choosing their elective classes. The Rady MBA is 92 credits in total, and more than half of the credits are from elective classes.
I am a graduate in biomedical sciences and my only work ex has been teaching undergrads for 1.5 yrs. I want to know if that would be good enough for my work experience requirement.
We do not have a minimum requirement for years of work experience for admissions consideration. The experience that you mentioned is something that the Admissions Committee would definitely want to know about. When reviewing applications, we are using a holistic approach - meaning that multiple factors are taken into consideration when reviewing an applicant's credentials.
Besides the schedule of the programs, are there major curriculum differences in the Full Time vs. the FlexMBA programs?
The curriculum and faculty who teach classes are the same for the Full-Time and Flex cohorts. As you mentioned, the major difference is scheduling. Additionally, we find that our Flex students to have a bit more work experience than the Full-Time students, although there is a wide range of experience levels across the three cohorts.
I'm interested in getting my MBA, but I'm completely lost on how to apply and the cost.
It sounds like you're at the very beginning of your research regarding MBA programs. With regards to the application, I would start by checking out the information on our website: http://rady.ucsd.edu/mba/admissions/apply/. You can find the application checklist and deadlines there. Cost for the full-time MBA program can be found here: http://rady.ucsd.edu/mba/fulltime/costs/.
I would also check out the following website to give you a lot of helpful tips regarding the GMAT and various MBA programs: www.mba.com.
Does it matter to the admissions committee if you have been working in the science industry vs. the business industry?
Absolutely not. In fact, the curriculum at the Rady School was specifically put together with the idea that our students were not coming to us with a business background. With the industries here in San Diego, we get quite a few students with a science background. So, you would be in good company.
Can you let me know how big the class sizes are?
We typically seat about 60-65 students each fall. Your first year will consist of taking core classes, and everyone in your class will take the same classes. So, your largest class won't be any larger than your whole cohort. When you get to your electives in the 2nd year, your class size will decrease.
Do you know if there is any difference in getting an MBA vs. a PhD in Business in terms of what jobs you can get after completion of one of the programs?
The choice of MBA vs. PhD in Business mainly pertains to what kind of job you would like after graduating. The PhD is geared towards individuals whose main interests are research, academia and teaching; whereas MBA graduates usually get jobs in industry.
Are interviews a required part of the admission application?
Yes. Interviews are by invitation-only, and everyone who is admitted will have had an admissions interview.
So, it is not required to have more work experience to apply to the Flex program? - Also, do all of the classes for the Full Time Program take place during the day on weekdays? Do any of the classes/elective classes take place in the evenings?
We don't have a specific work experience requirement for any of the program formats. However, we see a pattern for the people who apply to the flex programs, as opposed to the full-time program. On average, FlexEvening students tend to widely vary but have about 6 years of work experience. FlexWeekend students tend to come to us with 10 plus years of work experience. Full-Time classes tend to be Monday through Friday, either in the morning or afternoon. Electives for full-time students will usually follow the same format. However, full-time students are allowed to take electives in the flex format. So, you could potentially have electives in the evenings or Saturdays.
I am confused about the deadlines. What is the difference in submitting the application in February or April?
The Rady School does rolling admissions, so you should think of the deadlines more like guidelines. Students are encouraged to submit their application as soon as they feel comfortable doing so. We will review your application as soon as it's complete (e.g. has all letters of recommendation, GMAT scores, transcripts, etc). We receive great applications in the beginning, as well as towards the end. We're looking for great applicants regardless of when they apply.
Have there been instances where you have admitted people in the program with 1 year or less of work experience in their fields?
Yes, we have admitted some exceptional students who came to us straight from graduating with their undergraduate degree. It's a small percentage, but we won't hold your lack of work experience against you if the rest of your application shows that you would be a great fit here.
From your point of view, how would you prepare for an interview?
Interviews for the Rady MBA are unlike that of most other business schools. Our interviews are more of a "conversation" than a standard business school interview. We already have a great deal of information about our applicants from the documents and data in their application file. The interview is a chance for us to delve into the specifics of an applicant's background, allows us to get a sense of communication skills, and helps us determine whether you are a good "fit" for the Rady community.
In regards to internships and mentorships, are either required or offered through the program?
Participating in internships and mentorships are not a requirement. However, it's HIGHLY recommended that you participate in both. Our Careers team will work with you from the beginning and provide numerous opportunities for you to network with the business community and mentors.
Are there any opportunities to study/work abroad internationally through the program?
Yes, there are opportunities for international trips sponsored by our International Business Club, as well as faculty-led trips (for academic credits) throughout your time here. The next faculty-led trip is to India - the last one was to China. Our student-led trip went to Brazil last year.
It seems that the program focuses on innovation and technology. Does that mean you prefer candidates with those kinds of backgrounds (IT or venture etc) or plans to work in those fields?
Because of the nature of the industries here in San Diego, we tend to have many applicants with backgrounds in technology or life sciences. However, diversity in the student body increases the richness of the educational experience for all students. We have had very successful students who come from liberal arts/humanities backgrounds, etc. Innovation is a quality that can be found in any industry or company -- from book publishing to wireless medical devices.
What would make a great recommendation letter? Do they have to come from people who have a business background?
We suggest that recommendations come from an individual who knows your academic or professional accomplishments, as well as your leadership potential. It's helpful to sit down with your recommenders and discuss your future goals, as well as provide them with a copy of your resume as a reference. The background and title of recommenders are not as important as how well they know you in a professional capacity.
Where would be the best place to talk about our work experience in the application?
The application essays provide you an opportunity to discuss situations that would bring your work experience into play. There's also optional essays where you can discuss anything else you feel we need to know - it's a place for you to mention anything else that you didn't have a chance to in the other essays.
What would you stress as the most important factors that an applicant can showcase in their essays?
I would say that both quality of writing and content are important. Sometimes it's helpful to have a peer read your essay responses and see if they can guess what the question was - that way you're sure that you've answered the question being asked.
Thank you for joining us today. We hope this was helpful for you, and we welcome you to contact us directly with any further questions at MBAadmissions@ucsd.edu.