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Master of
Business Administration

Frequently Asked Questions

How many hours a week should I plan to allocate per course?

All MBA courses are three credits. Penn State dictates that each three-credit course requires approximately 10 hours of work each week on the part of the student.  The amount of hours spent each week may vary, depending on your learning style, speed, and aptitude. You should not expect the rigor of the Online MBA to be any less than an MBA earned on campus. 

GRE/GMAT waiver policy: What score range should the ideal candidate have?

Penn State seeks to attract the most qualified candidates to its Online MBA program. Students in recent intakes averaged 579-629 on the GMAT exam.

GRE/GMAT waivers may be available for highly qualified candidates with focus on one or more of the following criteria:

  1. Advanced degrees (M.D., D.O. and Ph.D. automatically waived)
  2. Have at least 5 years of relevant and progressive post-undergraduate work experience
  3. Significant leadership experience, particularly in the armed forces
  4. Able to demonstrate a readiness to complete graduate education, quantitative ability, and advanced analytical reasoning skills.

Request for waiver consideration should be sent to [email protected]. Please include your résumé and academic transcripts with your request. All waiver requests will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. Waiver evaluation typically takes about 1-2 weeks.

I've already taken a GMAT or GRE within the past 5 years. Can you still waive the exam so I don't need to include my score in my application?

No. Test waivers are granted only to those who qualify (as per our evaluation process) and who have not tested at all in the past 5 years. A waiver is meant to exempt an otherwise qualified candidate from having to sit for the exam. If you have any current GMAT or GRE scores, you need to include all available reported scores in your application.

As an applicant with an international transcript that requires credential review, which organization should I use?

The Graduate School at Penn State will not review the academic credentials of a prospective student until an application is officially submitted. If you feel strongly about having your credentials verified before completing and submitting your application, you may have your credentials reviewed by Educational Credential Evaluators (ECE). Approval from ECE will assure you are academically eligible for not only our program but most other U.S. Institutions as well. Please note the Penn State Graduate School does not accept credential reviews from World Education Services (WES); only reviews done by ECE.

As an international applicant, how do I know if I’m eligible for admission?

To view the admission Eligibility requirements from a selected country, visit the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. If you have questions about acceptable official transcripts, visit the Graduate School’s “Transcripts/Records Frequently Asked Questions” page. 

If I have a lower than average GPA, will I still be considered? How do I demonstrate my ability to succeed in the program?

Submitting a strong GMAT or GRE score will help to offset a low undergraduate cumulative GPA. We will also use other parts of your application to assess your overall potential for success in the program, with a particular focus on the quantity and quality of your professional work experience. Additionally, if you have had any subsequent graduate-level classes (especially those of a quantitative nature), we will consider those in our overall evaluation of your application.

Why is the residency required?

The residency is required, as about 25% of the core Team Performance course (MBADM810) is taught during this session, whether delivered virtually in the fall or spring semesters, or completed live at University Park campus during the summer semester. Participating in the residency is essential to connect students with faculty, staff, peers and resources which will set them up for success throughout their course of MBA study. While the program is very flexible, it is crucial everyone starts with the same foundational programming.

Is financial aid available?  What about scholarships?

Penn State World Campus and Penn State Smeal College of Business offer limited merit-based scholarships and financial aid. Applicants are automatically considered for these scholarships provided they apply in advance of the early application deadline.

Many online students also discover that their employer will subsidize a portion of the tuition as part of an employee’s total benefits package. Flexible payment plan options are also available. Please contact us at [email protected] to discuss your options.

Can I earn another Penn State master’s degree while pursuing my Online MBA? 

Absolutely! We have many students ask about pursuing a second degree or certificate concurrently. Most online MBA program concentrations are structured in a way that they not only serve as MBA electives, but they also serve as part of a certificate program, and for some, a full master’s program as well. Depending on your career goals, you may be able to complete a second course of degree study (or add an extra class or two and receive a certificate), concurrently with the MBA, with significantly less investment and time spent in school by taking these courses of study independently. You may also be able to pursue a concurrent degree in academic areas outside of what is offered via the Online MBA concentrations.

If you wish to pursue a concurrent degree or certificate, please contact the Penn State Online MBA’s Managing Director, Stacey Dorang Peeler, at [email protected]

What exactly is the ICE learning methodology? 

What will my diploma say?

Your diploma will display The Pennsylvania State University, Master of Business Administration. Neither your degree nor your transcripts will indicate that the degree was earned online.

Penn State World Campus Graduate

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