Chat with Rady's Military MBA Students — January 18, 2012
Welcome! We're so glad you could join us today. RoDeece Dean and Patrick Kelly are starting to answer your questions and will post them soon. Please feel free to post your questions now.
I was just wondering what your typical day is like.
Patrick Kelly For the Full-time students, we have an average of 3hrs of classroom time per day, Monday thru Thursday (They do a good job of leaving Friday completely free). In addition to that, we have a 1hr TA-led review session for most classes.
Patrick and RoDeece, what are your military backgrounds and what made you decide on the Full-Time program at Rady?
RoDeece Dean I am an active duty Navy Supply Corps Officer. The Navy is sponsoring my education, and I will return to full-time service after graduation. My military career started at the U.S. Naval Academy where I earned my Computer Science degree, then on to various training programs (Navy Dive School, Nuclear Power Training, Supply Corps Training, Jump School, etc), in addition to tours in USS GARY (FFG 51), U.S. Fleet and Industrial Supply Center Yokosuka, SEAL Team 5, and Naval Surface Forces U.S. Pacific Fleet.
I decided on the Full-Time program because I was selected to participate in the Civilian Institutions Program, which basically allows my two years to be treated as a shore tour. I think it would have been more difficult for me personally to manage a full-time military career and the FlexWeekend program.
Patrick Kelly I left Active Duty last spring as a Captain in the Marine Corps after 9 years as an F/A-18D WSO. I was stationed at Miramar, Iwakuni, and Al Asad when I was flying. My last tour was as the Air Officer for 3/3 in Afghanistan.
For the Flex program, what is the average out of class time commitment to study/reading/project in an average week?
MBA Admissions Time commitment outside of class is definitely subjective. It truly depends (especially the first quarter) on how long it's been since you were in school. Time management is different for different people, so it could be almost like another full-time job going to school, but it definitely improves with time.
Other than the GI Bill, have you taken advantage of other financial programs to cut costs on tuition, books, etc.?
Patrick Kelly I am using the Post-9/11 GI Bill (I receive 100% benefits since I have >36months). With the new changes last year, it covers all of the tuition since UC San Diego is a public school. I also receive San Diego BAH (which is about $2000/month) and an annual book stipend. My costs are all covered really well by the GI Bill, so I haven't needed any additional financial aid.
RoDeece Dean With regards to financial aid, I do have access to the GI Bill, but because the Navy is sponsoring me, I don't have to use it. My tuition is covered, I receive a book stipend, and I also receive my regular pay and allowances. I have to serve three additional years in the military after graduation in return for Navy sponsorship.
What tools worked best when it came to studying for the GMAT?
RoDeece Dean I used a Kaplan course, which I think helped improve my score modestly. In retrospect, I think I might have had the same improvement with a good prep book instead. Ultimately, the time you put into GMAT preparation is what matters most. Some people do better in a structured environment, and others are able to be successful through self-study.
What kind of GMAT Scores are considered competitive for admission?
MBA Admissions As part of Admissions, I would say that there's a competitive range that differs depending on the program format. Full-Time MBA's tend to have a range of 640-740, and average about a 680. We definitely see a lower range for the incoming Flex program, simply because it's usually been a longer period of time since they completed their undergraduate degree. On average, we see the lower 600's for incoming flex students. It's balanced out by their years of work experience.
Has utilizing the GI Bill been a smooth process at Rady and how much of the costs does it cover?
Patrick Kelly See my earlier post for the cost coverage breakdown (let me know if you want more detail). It has been an extremely smooth process. I filled out the initial application online at va.gov before school started. I then submitted a one-time form with UC San Diego once I received my approval from the VA. Now, I simply get a one-page form signed before each quarter and that's it.
How many vets are in your class?
RoDeece Dean Sean and I are both active-duty officers, sponsored by our respective services (Sean is an Army Major, and I am a Navy Lieutenant Commander). Patrick and Paul are former military officers, using their GI Bills (Patrick is a former Marine Captain, and Paul is a reservist Navy Lieutenant).
In regards to applying and admissions, were you interviewed prior to being accepted? How did you tie your military experience to the questions?
Patrick Kelly I was interviewed by Kate Mickle prior to being accepted. I leveraged a number of specific past experiences in the Marine Corps to answer many of the questions. I think the most important part is ensuring that you portray you experiences as having general appeal rather than an overly specific military objective.
RoDeece Dean I was interviewed by Margie Frazee (Director of Admissions). I was able to discuss the leadership opportunities I have had from my time as a Naval Officer, and more specifically during my tours in Iraq. One of the key comparisons that I was able to draw was the challenge of leading men and women with more military experience than I had as a junior officer (Chief Petty Officers, NCOs, etc), and how it is relevant to the business world, since some MBAs tend to be younger than their new coworkers after recruitment.
What do you like most and least about the program?
Patrick Kelly The thing I like most about the program is its unbelievable connection to the San Diego business community. Every week (literally every week) Rady either hosts or provides free seats to networking events in San Diego. Last month I attended a CONNECT event that hosted the head of the US Patent Office. Next week, I will be going to a breakfast with the San Diego Venture Group. I am committed to San Diego for the long haul, so these opportunities have been invaluable to me. I can't think anywhere else that could provide these resources. The thing I like least about the program is the construction (but the new building should be finished soon).
RoDeece Dean I enjoy the classroom discussions and new concepts most. I learn new things in every class, and I really feel like I am becoming more and more competent with regards to the business world. The interaction with the other students is also great, and I am constantly amazed at how bright and talented the cohort is. I am also not a fan of the construction, and wish that parking were not as much of a time sink as it sometimes can be.
How have you found the course work (ie Finance, accounting, stats)? Did you take any classes or prep before starting at Rady to help you prepare?
RoDeece Dean My academic preparation was limited to my GMAT study, as well as my undergraduate experience. As a Computer Science major, I had a math and science heavy course load, which helped prepare me for some of the concepts. My experience as a Supply Corps Officer has also been relevant to Finance and Accounting. In general, it is important to do the course reading and always come prepared for class. The material is delivered much more quickly than I was used to as an undergrad. Picking up complex concepts quickly is an important trait for success.
Patrick Kelly I think it would be extremely beneficial to begin reading the Economist, Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, or some type of business related publication. There is a lot of jargon in the community, and the more exposure you get now, the more it will sink in later.
What about exams? Are mid-term/final exams the norm for most of the classes?
RoDeece Dean Yes, mid-terms and finals are the norm, but not across the board. Last quarter, our 4 courses included2 take-home mid-terms, 1 open-note mid-term, and 1 closed book mid-term. We had 1 final group paper, 2 open-note finals, and 1 closed book final.
MBA Admissions You'll find that as you get out of core classes, there will be less traditional midterms/exams. It will be more project-based.
Besides the fact that it's in San Diego, why did you choose Rady? Have you been happy with your decision?
Patrick Kelly Since I had/have no plan to leave San Diego, the choice for me was between working (probably defense contracting) and going back to school. I am extremely pleased with my decision. The GI Bill has offset my costs, I have had a much more enjoyable work-life balance, the academics have been invigorating, and I am confident that I can transition to just about any industry (not just defense). As I previously posted, the connections that Rady has with the San Diego business community is incredible and I have been leveraging that as much as possible.
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.