[Update: I should mention that the main reason I chose CSUF is because its MBA program has all the same accreditations as other Southern California schools’ MBA programs for a fraction of the price. For example, University of California, Irvine’s MBA program costs around $80,000. The most expensive choice (as you’ll read about more below) at CSUF would be around $25,000 maximum. If you’re lucky enough to have an employer that offers tuition reimbursement as I am, then you can get a quality MBA degree for an unbeatable price.]
At first, I only knew about the fully-employed MBA (FEMBA) at Irvine program. However, after attending an information session about the FEMBA at Irvine program, I learned that the main (Fullerton) campus has an MBA program as well that is presented in a different format.
Here are the differences between the two options that I have learned. (Note that I am approaching this as a non-business major undergraduate):
FEBMA at Irvine Program:
- You must take your pre-admissions classes before you enroll.
The pre-admissions classes are:
- Calculus (Math 130 or 135)
- Software Applications (ISDS 265)
- Statistics (ISDS 361A)
(However, as I learned from the Dr. Van Muse, the director of admissions at CSUF, the school does allow students a grace period to finish the courses within the first year, but the calculus class needs to be finished in the first semester because it is a prerequisite for the statistics classes.)
- You still have to take the pre-admissions classes, but they don’t have to be finished before you enroll. In other words, you have a more lenient grace period. One of the reasons you don’t have to have the classes completed before you enroll is because classes are not taught in the cohort format, so you wouldn’t be holding other students back if you hadn’t completed a pre-admission class yet. (However, you would be putting yourself at a disadvantage, so either way, it’s a good idea to get all the pre-admissions classes completed as soon as possible.)
FEMBA at Irvine Program:
- You do not choose a specialization. The FEMBA program is taught in a cohort manner, meaning that you take all your classes with a group of other people who are working full-time. So, everyone’s classes are the same, and at the end of the program, everyone has completed a solid foundation in business degree based upon classes that previous students said were the best/most useful ones.
- You can choose a specialization. Again, because the program isn’t taught in a cohort format, you’re able to pick an area of concentration. Some of the specializations include finance, marketing, entrepreneurship, taxation, and real estate.
FEMBA at Irvine Program:
- You are never closed out of classes. For the FEMBA, only a certain number of applicants are accepted, and they will go through the entire program together. Also, the class schedule is different from Fullerton’s. Each quarter at Irvine is 16 weeks, but during the first eight weeks, students take just one class twice a week. Then the next eight weeks, they take another class twice a week. Also classes are only from about 7 to 10 p.m.
- You have more flexibility to choose classes, but you can also get closed out of them if you register too late. The format for classes is that students take two different classes for each 16-week quarter. So, you’re still getting the same classes as with the FEMBA, it’s just in a different schedule. Also, some classes are held during a 4 to 7 p.m. slot and/or a 7 to 10 p.m. slot.
FEMBA at Irvine Program:
- It’s more slightly more expensive. The FEMBA at Irvine is considered an off-campus program, so it is not state-funded. That means it has a higher tuition. As of now, the total cost for the FEMBA is around $22,500.
- As of now, the Fullerton MBA is about $20,835. It’s not much cheaper than the FEMBA, but every little bit helps.
However, tuition costs are likely to increase for both programs by next year because of California’s gargantuan budget deficit.
Once I learned all this information, I decided that the Fullerton MBA program was best for me because:
- I want to specialize my MBA.
- I like that it’s slightly cheaper.
- I like that I have a longer grace period to complete my pre-admissions classes.
- Even though it’s not as close as Irvine, Fullerton is still less than an hour away from me in San Clemente, so I can’t complain.
So, now, it’s back to my MBA checklist:
- Finish my GMAT prep course and take the GMAT. I’m scheduled to take it Saturday, September 12. (More on this later; I highly recommend taking a GMAT prep course.)
- Submit my pre-application form and a $55 application fee.
- Get two sets of official transcripts from all my undergraduate schools. (This is completed!)
- Submit a background information sheet and statement of purpose.
- Provide three letters of recommendation. (This is completed!)
**NOTE: You CAN submit your full application packet without having taken the GMAT yet. You just have to have the GMAT scheduled and you can enter the date you’re going to take it. However, factor in that it will take two to three weeks for the test scores to be sent to CSUF, and the scores still have to be in before the application deadline of October 31, 2009.**
(For more of the MBA admission requirements, see My MBA Checklist post.)
My goal is to have my full application packet submitted no later than August 28.
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