Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Can I take MBA courses without taking the GMAT?  
A. If you have not already taken the GMAT test within the last five years, the GMAT must be taken as part of your application packet to the program.  

Q. How should I prepare for the GMAT?
A. What follows is the opinion of the MBA Office, there are other opinions as well. If you are a self-directed student, you can purchase a GMAT Test Preparation book from most bookstores. There are several: Barron's, Kaplan's, Peterson's, Princeton Review, etc. Be sure to get one that has a CD ROM with practice tests. The GMAT is taken at a computer, so the practice tests on computer are very valuable, and show students where they need to do more work. You should allow a solid month of concentrated study to do well on the GMAT.

Some students prefer to have a test preparation course to help them study. Currently these range from about $400 to $1,400 and usually more cost results in more individualized attention. Several that can be found in the San Diego area include:

GMAC, the company that runs the GMAT test, also has an on-line tutorial that is available to you once you register at their website. Most students have found that the on-line tutorial is inadequate on its own to prepare well for the test.

Be sure to study—typically students who take the test with minimal studying do not receive the score they are looking for.

Q. Are there any courses I can take ahead of time?
A. The MBA program is designed to provide the business education background at the undergraduate level needed for graduate business study. That being said, if a student does not feel adequately prepared in terms of college level calculus, it is advisable for that student to learn that material prior to entering the MBA program.

Q. I have taken graduate business courses already. Can I waive any of the MBA courses?
A. Students may petition the MBA Program Committee to waive up to two of the thirteen core courses. The Committee will only consider such petitions with a completed admissions file, and students should submit a Course Substitution Petition Form along with any necessary supporting documentation for their request.

Q. Can I enter any term?
A. Entry into the MBA courses is only allowed in the Summer term of each year. This is done to encourage students to continue through the program together, as a cohort, which has been demonstrated as significantly enhancing a positive outcome for students in the MBA program.

Q. Do I have to take the set class schedule?
A. Students are highly encouraged to take the MBA classes as a group with students they enter with in the Summer term of each year. In the experience of the CSUSM MBA program, learning is greatly enhanced when students progress through their classes with the same cohort. However, students may elect to take 1 or 2 courses per term, according to their own requirements. BA 650—Strategic Management in the Global Environment and BA 680 Master's Project can only be taken after advancement to candidacy, which requires having no more than 11 units (including BA 650, BA 671, BA 673 and BA 680) outstanding. Students have a maximum of five years from entering the MBA program to complete their degree.

Q. Is the work experience requirement mandatory?
A. Yes, all applicants face the same guidelines, namely three years of professionally relevant work experience*. Our average, in fact, is over eight years per student. There are two reasons for this. First, we want to be sure you receive the full benefit of our program, which is obtained when students have enough work experience to relate what is taught in class with what they have experienced in the business world. The second reason is that half of the learning in a good MBA program is from the students bringing to the class what they have seen and done in the business world—their contributions and "war stories" are invaluable.

*Professionally relevant work experience means that you have seen how management in an organization works; for example, being a waiter or waitress has a strong customer service requirement, but that person is not likely to have seen how the business/restaurant is run, where a restaurant manager would know more about business operations.

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