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Applying for MBA Programs in the USA

Our Speakers are Ms. Sonja M. Phongsavanh, Associate Director of Graduate Enrollment Services, Rochester Institute of Technology. Mr. Stephen Thewlis, Associate Director of Admissions for International Recruitment, Golden Gate University. Mr. Moon Chen, Senior Educational Advisor.

Applying for MBA Programs in the USA
Friday, September 29 2006 (2:30 PM - 4:00 PM)

Please note: Portions of this transcript have been edited for clarity

Host: (Ms. Sonja M. Phongsavanh)

Hello, I am Sonja Phongsavanh from RIT located in Rochester NY. RIT offers programs in Engineering, Business, Computer, and Arts.

 

Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)

I'm Steve Thewlis from Golden Gate University in San Francisco which offers programs in business, information technology, accounting & taxation and law. I've been an educational advisor for 35 years.

 

Host: (Mr. Moon Chen)

This is Moon Chen from American International Education Foundation. I am very pleased to be here chatting with you on the web.

 


Start of Chat


 

Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
Can you tell me the difference between the regular MBA and eMBA? Thank you.
A
The eMBA is usually a special program set up for executives in industry, those with significant work experience. A regular MBA does not require significant work experience. A regular MBA program also allows for the student to choose the courses. An eMBA is usually one set program. (2006-09-29 14:36)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
I would like to ask, what documents would I have to prepare to enroll in a MBA program in the US? I am a chemistry major who will graduate in June, 2007. I would like to study MBA in the US in Fall 2008. What are the criteria I would have to meet to apply to the top MBA programs (Good GMAT grades, good GPA, etc)
A
Most schools have similar requirements in terms of documents. You need TOEFL (or IELTS which more and more schools are accepting). You need the GMAT and good grades. Many schools use a pretty standard formula: They take your GPA (in the 4 point system) multiply times 200, add the GMAT and that total should come to (at my school--other schools may have higher requirements) 1050 or higher. For the top schools (Harvard, Stanford, etc) you are probably going to need considerably higher index and substantial work experience. (2006-09-29 14:38)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
1.想念MBA是否定需要工作經驗? 2. 大多需要多久的經驗較好 Is work experience required for MBA? If so, how many years do you recommend?
A
Some schools do require some work experience. Some do not. You should check with the university that you are applying to for the work experience requirement. (2006-09-29 14:40)
 
Host: (Mr. Moon Chen)
Q
如果想要唸MBA是不是一定都要工作經驗?
A
Not necessarily. But if you apply to top schools where is too much competition, it should be helpful if you have work experience. Generally, work experiences are not necessary, though some schools require certain years of work experience. (2006-09-29 14:42)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
Could you tell us that some students can use GRE scores to apply for MBA program? Is that real? Will it be trend to the future?
A
Some schools will accept either the GRE or GMAT for the admission application to the MBA program. Most however require the GMAT exam score for the MBA. Some universities will accept the GRE for the MS programs in Business. You should contact the universities you are interested in to see what they recommend. At this point in time, it does not seem to be a trend for universities to accept the GRE over the GMAT for MBA admission. (2006-09-29 14:43)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
I'm interested in the marketing field. Could you please explain a little bit about the MBA program in SF?
A
We have a couple of programs in marketing--the MBA with a concentration in marketing, but we also have MS programs in integrated marketing communications, public relations and database marketing. If you would like to send me an email (sthewlis@ggu.edu) I can send you detailed information on all those programs. For some people an MBA is not the best degree--what are your long term goals? If you want to work in a marketing firm, an MS might be a better (more concentrated) preparation for you. (2006-09-29 14:43)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
I've a supervisor and have 5 years work experience, I would like to know, if I don't have the AT, TOEFL scoure now, please suggest how can I apply the MBA program as soon as possible?
A
Most universities will require the GMAT and the TOEFL score for the application process to the MBA program. You will have to take these exams in order to apply for admission to the MBA. You could also investigate the executive MBA program to see if you can be accepted for those types of programs, however most programs will require at least 8 years of work experience. (2006-09-29 14:47)
 
Host: (Mr. Moon Chen)
Q
我打算申請2007 Spring MBA.但是有些學校已過申請期限 可否繼續申請?
A
Application deadlines are varied from school to school. You may continue to try, because some schools stop taking application as late as late November or early December. (2006-09-29 14:47)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
I am a eMBA student, but I wanna transfer the class in campus, is it possible?
A
Not sure about your question. Do you want to transfer to another school? It's a little unusual to transfer from one school to another at the graduate level. Many schools don't accept many graduate course credits . So it's possible to transfer, but it might mean that course work you took at your first school would need to be repeated at the second school. You should check with the school you're considering to transfer (2006-09-29 14:50)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
Who would you recommend a MBA program to? What is MBA useful for? Thank you.
A
Many students earn an MBA degree to advance in their own field. For an example, an Engineer who would like to advance to management. Also earning an MBA to advance in the business field is suitable, working in business sector, government, financial planning, international business. These are areas where an MBA degree would be advantageous. (2006-09-29 14:55)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
請問推薦信的問題.學校比較喜歡與申請人怎樣關係的人當推薦人? A question about the recommendation letter - who would the school consider to be the most appropriate?
A
You should request recommendation letters from someone you have worked with either in research or in university or as an employer(supervisor or colleague). The recommender should describe who you are, how they know you and why you would be a good candidate for the MBA program. (2006-09-29 14:57)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
若已經畢業五年了,以前大學教授的推薦可以嗎? I graduated over 5 years ago, will a letter from a former professor work?
A
If you have still kept in touch with that professor in some work related or research related capacity then that will be fine. If not, then you should have letters from your employer. (2006-09-29 14:58)
 
Host: (Mr. Moon Chen)
Q
我的GPA很低,不到2.5,但GMAT有62x, TOEFL有24x, 4年工作經驗,這樣去申請前100大的MBA學校,機率大不大,會不會一開始就被刷下來了?
A
GPA is relatively important. Your TOEFL is good, but is not good enough to apply to top MBA schools. As to your GMAT, if your score on verbal exceeds 40%, it would be helpful. But I cannot tell for certain if you can apply to top 100 schools, because a score of 620 on GMAT is not enough. (2006-09-29 14:59)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
我打算申請 2007 fall.我想請問11月中開始申請,會不會太晚?還有是不是資料上要附上MGT和TOFOEL的成績呢?還是可以之後補寄呢? I plan to apply for fall 2007 session, do you think it's too late? Do I need the GMAT and TOFOEL or can I provide it afterwards?
A
Every school has different requirements in terms on deadlines, so you would need to check with the school. In general this is a good time to be making applications for next fall--especially at the top schools, and each school has different expectations about deadlines. Many schools have a document deadline and an application deadline--the application must be submitted at a certain date but test scores and transcripts can come later. (2006-09-29 15:00)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
Is recommendation letter required? (since I am a chemistry major, if it is required, should I ask my professors to write them for me or from work, if work experience is required) And also if I am graduating next June(2007) but I am applying for 2008 enrollment in MBA, should I ask for a recommendation letter before I graduate? THANK YOU.
A
You can have a professor write a recommendation letter if they can speak to why you wish to study an MBA degree. How will it improve your plans for the future? You can ask for the recommendation before you graduate. In my experience, the sooner the professor knows your plans and how quickly you will need the letter the better chance you have of getting in a timely manner. (2006-09-29 15:00)
 
Host: (Mr. Moon Chen)
Q
Reference written by school professor or company supervisor. Which one is much better for applying to MBA program?
A
Both of your academic and work performance should be recognized. References from school and companies are equally important. (2006-09-29 15:02)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
MBA畢業後,前途是否依然看好?是要待在美國工作,還是回國工作比較有前途? After I graduate with MBA degree, will it mean a better future career? Would it be better for my career to work in the U.S. or to return to my home country?
A
It's hard to answer. It would definitely be a good idea to take advantage of the opportunity to do the year of practical training allowed by government regulations after you finish your degree but before you return to Taiwan. Work experience overseas is usually an asset to any company here in Taiwan. (2006-09-29 15:02)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
What's the different of one year MBA and two year MBA, besides the cost? Thanks.
A
In general the one year MBA is more "intense". In considering any program you should look carefully at the courses that are required for the degree. Each school will have a slightly different program. The two year program may allow more time for internships and practical experience as part of the program. (2006-09-29 15:06)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
申請MBA,一定要有GMAT嗎? 謝謝.To apply for MBA, is GMAT required?
A
Most universities require the GMAT exam for the MBA program. Some may accept the GRE for the application process, but in general a standardized exam is required. You should consult with the university you are applying to for their recommendation. (2006-09-29 15:06)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
Some people say it's pretty difficult to finish the MBA academy. Probably you need to study very hard to graduate. Is it true?
A
I've never heard the term "MBA Academy". Can you explain more about what you mean? (2006-09-29 15:09)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavan)
Q
May I ask what's the age range of your MBA students? They are Full-time or part-time students?
A
The age range varies in the MBA program from university to university. At RIT, half of the MBA population is full-time and the other half is par-time. The full-time students generally start immediately after completing a BS degree as we do not require work experience. The part-time students tend to be older with families. So the average age for the full-time students will be around 22 to 24 and the average age for the part-time student is around 35. (2006-09-29 15:13)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
For graduate admission officers, is my postsecondary school performance significant? I mean, some grad. school such as Virginia requires me to send my post-secondary as well as secondary transcript to World Education Service for course by course evaluation. I do not know why they need my junior and senior high school grades?
A
Every school is different. In general most schools will look most closely at your post secondary work. Many schools do not care about secondary grades. But some other schools want to know about your entire academic history and verify that you have the full 16 years required for graduate-level admission. Some schools don’t have their own international transcript evaluation staff and so require an evaluation from WES or AACRAO--other schools will not accept the WES or AACRAO evaluation and want to do it themselves from the original documents. (2006-09-29 15:16)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
Thank you for your reply regarding the recommendation letter. I have two more. Is recommendation letter mandatory? (and since I have never worked with any professors on any research, who should I go to for recommendation? Or maybe I should tell a professor I trust about why I want to study MBA in the US and ask them for it?) THANK YOU.
A
Some universities require the recommendation letter for admission to the MBA program and some do not. So you may contact the university regarding their requirements. You do not need to work with a professor on research in particular. However if you have had conversations or interactions in the classroom and believe the professor would be able to give a clear understanding of your work and dedication, then that professor would be appropriate to write a recommendation letter. If you would like to explain to your advisor about your desire to earn an MBA degree, that is fine too. But before you go to the trouble, find out if the university you are applying to requires the recommendation letter first. (2006-09-29 15:18)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
It is heard that some MBA programs change a lot recently. Could you introduce for us? Thank you!
A
I haven't heard about big changes in MBA programs--most train you in a wide variety of areas--with a little accounting, a little HR, a little management. etc. Technology also plays an increasing role in business--but programs take a long time to establish at many universities and so don't undergo rapid change. (2006-09-29 15:18)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
What the most important criteria for the admissions committee, can you give some advice?
A
In general, the Admissions Officer is will be considering your university work in your BS degree. They will be looking for strong grades as well as a good overall GPA and an appropriate GMAT score (or GRE score if the school accepts that). (2006-09-29 15:22)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
If I choose the MBA programs in the big city, it means that I will have great opportunity to work in that area after I graduated? Thanks.
A
Yes. Most big companies are located in large metropolitan areas. If the school has internships and a placement office then it will be easier to find a position for your post-completion practical training in a larger city than in a university town in a rural area. (2006-09-29 15:22)
 
Host: (Mr. Moon Chen)
Q
課業壓力是不是很重很忙,沒有時間從事其他活動,必須只能專注在課業才行?
A
It all depends on what schools you attend and your own qualifications, such as academic achievement and English language ability. If you are an excellent student, you may find it not difficult to study at top schools. Otherwise, you should know the answer, I think. (2006-09-29 15:23)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
Do the top MBA programs require recommendation letters? Thank you.
A
Most likely yes, however it will depend on the school. For example RIT does not require recommendation letters for the application process to the MBA program. However, you should contact the school you are applying to find out what the requirement is. (2006-09-29 15:25)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
If I am planning to study in the US(MBA) and I am in my last year of university studies(chemistry) would you recommend me to take courses business-related? Thank you.
A
I think showing that you have some business background is not a bad idea. At my school there are 6 foundation courses that can be waived if you have the appropriate coursework in your undergraduate degree--so someone getting an MBA after a BBA will have to take fewer courses for the MBA degree than someone who hasn't had previous business courses. Again every school is different. At my school we encourage people who don't have a business background their undergraduate studies, but they do have to take more courses. (2006-09-29 15:29)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
How can I locate a business school which is near the big city? I plan to study MAcc in US and consider there is much more job offerings in a big city than those in the countryside...thanks.
A
My suggestion is to do a search on the Masters program you are interested in and then see which ones will be in or near large cities. You can use a search engine such as www.gradschools.com to locate this information. Another advantage to being in or near a large city is that local public transportation will be very good and easier to get around particularly if you are doing an internship. Public transportation in smaller cities is not as good as the larger cities. Many students do get around, but will find it easier to have a car if in a smaller city. (2006-09-29 15:32)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
One more question regarding the recommendation letter. Would it help me if the professor is very well-known (a Nobel prize candidate for example)?
A
It will only help if that professor is able to talk about your ability. The name on the recommendation letter does not really matter. The content of the letter is the important part. (2006-09-29 15:33)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
My question is about the scholarship and TA, are there a lot of TA offers in the MBA? Do I need to have good grade to get the TA/RA scholarship? Thanks
A
It depends on the school. Large universities are more likely to have TAs than small universities, but frankly, I think there are fewer opportunities for TAs in business fields since having practical experience is often an important qualification for teaching in business programs. For TAs and scholarships you definitely need to have VERY good grades (2006-09-29 15:33)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
I asked this because, I've heard that to apply to the top law schools in the US, coming from a non-law background, they much prefer it if you don't take any law-related courses in advance(before enrolling)..is it the same in top MBA programs? thank you.
A
No, Law and business are quite different. In the US there is no opportunity to study law at the undergraduate level. That's not true of business. (2006-09-29 15:36)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
Is it better for us to apply for MBA program that having working experience in foreign company (especially in American company)?
A
If you are ready to begin an MBA program without work experience, that is fine. There are schools that will accept your application without work experience. However, if you have some work experience, you will be able to contribute more to the classroom discussions. Even if it is only 1 or 2 years. Some students will also appreciate having some time to save money for their educational expenses in the U S. (2006-09-29 15:36)
 
Host: (Mr. Moon Chen)
Q
Can I ask a question about TOEFL for my friends? Is The old TOEFL CTB definitely canceled in the October 2006 in Taiwan? Do you guys have any idea about it? Thanks again.
A
Well, there are rumors circulating in town that CBT, the "old" TOEFL might be extended to the end of this year. We have to wait and see to the next possible ETS announcement. (2006-09-29 15:37)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
For all the MBA candidate manager, is GMAT score more important than TOEFL score for choosing a MBA student.
A
Again, it depends on the school. Some schools require a minimum percentile on the verbal part of the GMAT in addition to having a TOEFL. Most schools take both test scores into account when deciding to accept an applicant. So somebody with a very high TOEFL and a very low GMAT verbal may have trouble getting accepted to the top schools. (2006-09-29 15:38)
 
Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)
Q
I have got the iBT score, but there are some schools that require no iBT score for applying MBA program. How should I do for it?
A
All schools are going to require proof of English language proficiency. Some accept IELTS, most accept TOEFL but any school that accepts TOEFL will accept all three forms --PBT, CBT and IBT.If the school is demanding one form of TOEFL instead of another, you should try to contact the school and explain why you have a different form (for example, you couldn't get a place in Taiwan and so went to Singapore to take the test there in time to meet their deadline) Most schools are reasonable about these kinds of complications. (2006-09-29 15:46)
 
Host: (Ms. Sonja Phongsavanh)
Q
If I choose on-campus interview instead of phone interview, do I have better chance be admitted?
A
No. not necessarily. If you are coming to campus and wish to have an interview, that is fine. But you can save the expense and have a phone interview. In general, it works just the same. (2006-09-29 15:51)


End of Chat


 

 

Host: (Ms. Sonja M. Phongsavanh)

Thank you for participating in the chat today. I hope that you learned a little more about MBA programs and the application process. I will be representing RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) at the Education Fair at the Howard Plaza Hotel in downtown Taipei this weekend. Please stop by my booth. I hope to see you there. If you will not be able to attend and have questions about RIT or the MBA program, you mail e-mail me at samadm@rit.edu.

 

Host: (Mr. Stephen Thewlis)

I have enjoyed answering your questions and encourage you to come to the school fair at the Howard Plaza Hotel tomorrow and Sunday. I look forward to answering questions about Golden Gate's programs and admissions requiriements, but I'm also happy to provide more general advice about applying to B schools in the US. If you can't come to the fair, please feel free to contact me by email at sthewlis@ggu.edu. I look forward to hearing from you!!!

 

Host: (Mr. Moon Chen)

I hope my answers are helpful to you. There is American Education Fair taking place on Saturday and Sunday afternoon at Howard Plaza Hotel located at the intersection of Jen-Ai Road and Fu-Hsing South Road in Taipei. You are welcome to visit the fair. Definitely, you will get useful information about going US for advanced studies. See you there.