5 essentials to enroll in WSU’s online MBA program (plus 4 for future executives)

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Earning an advanced degree online can open you up to a more fulfilling career in a manner more convenient than attending college traditionally. To be considered for these programs, of course, you must make certain you have everything necessary to complete an application. Enrollment requirements for the Washington State University Carson College of Business vary depending on whether you are interested in our traditional online MBA or our Executive MBA online program. The Carson College has met rigorous standards set by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and is accredited at the bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral levels in both business and accounting.

Our online MBA program was created to teach you management and leadership skills that translate across borders. At the Carson College, students can choose from four concentrations—marketing, finance, international business, or hospitality business management— to better align your education with your career goals or opt for a general MBA.

Meanwhile, the Executive MBA online program was created for the experienced student who wants to prepare for a role at the executive level. Students enrolled in the Carson College’s Executive MBA program can also participate in our (optional) three-day leadership conference.

Ready to enroll? Below is a list and description of the application requirements for each program:

For online MBA applicants

The application deadlines for our online MBA programs vary depending on which term you wish to enter. We offer three starts in the spring, summer and fall terms:

• Summer 1: Deadline April 10, 2017
• Summer 2: Deadline May 15, 2017
• Summer 3: Deadline June 19, 2017
• Fall 1: Deadline July 24, 2017
• Fall 2: Deadline September 5, 2017
• Fall 3: Deadline October 9, 2017

For more information on the Spring term application deadline dates, please visit our website.

In addition to a completed and signed application, students planning to enroll will need to provide the following:

1. A bachelor’s degree and official transcripts

If you wish to enroll in the Carson College of Business’ online MBA program, you must have a bachelor’s degree from a four-year institution accredited by either the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business or the European Foundation for Management Development’s Quality Improvement System. The AACSB and EQUIS are two of the most highly-recognized accreditors for business programs worldwide. The AACSB evaluates schools, in part, according to three overarching core values: the college’s promotion of ethical behavior among students and staff, the collegiate environment, and the school’s commitment to corporate and social responsibility. EQUIS, on the other hand, assesses schools based on how well they integrate a quality education with student experience and prepare students for the corporate world.

The Carson College only accepts students who graduated from an accredited program as a way to ensure that your previous education aligns with our school’s standard of education, mission and practices. In addition, accreditation gives us an idea of what you studied before coming to our school. If the curriculum at your former college is close to our own, we can estimate whether you’re prepared to start classes or whether you’ll need to take some prerequisites first.

If you didn’t earn your degree from a school accredited by the AACSB or EQUIS, you will be required to complete our online MBA business foundation courses. In this five-to seven-week program, you’ll study accounting, marketing, law, finance, and other essential business topics necessary to prepare you for your graduate studies.

2. Current resume

Your resume is a chance for our admissions office to learn more about you as an individual. This helps us determine which track would be best suited for your goals, allowing us to recommend one that will contribute to the best experience for you.

When writing your resume, try to focus heavily on your professional accomplishments. This is your opportunity to describe your leadership experience and highlight your personal story, not to repeat the details of your transcripts and GMAT/GRE scores.

Also, describing how your past education performance can contribute to your current career goals can help your chances at admission.

Use numbers to quantify your accomplishments. For example, instead of saying you reduced overhead costs, write something along the lines of “Reduced overhead by 5 percent monthly average over the course of 12 months.” Figures like these make your personal achievements more impactful, better illustrate your accomplishments, and give us a greater understanding of your abilities.

Applicants must provide a current resume.

3. A GMAT/GRE score report

The Carson College uses the results of your Graduate Management Admission Test or GRE graduate school entry exam to demonstrate your potential for success within our program. These tests provide a preview of the critical thinking skills you’ll be asked to apply throughout your studies.

The GMAT consists of four sections:

• The Analytical Writing Assessment: a 30-minute segment asks you to analyze and critique a specific argument.
• The Integrated Reasoning section: another 30-minute segment has you evaluate data from various sources in multiple forms.
• The Quantitative section: which lasts 75 minutes, requires you to use basic algebra and geometry skills to solve quantitative problems, interpret graphs and similar tasks.
• The Verbal section: the final 75 minutes, tests your reasoning, reading comprehension and ability to correct poorly written material.

The GRE, meanwhile, is comprised of three sections:

• The Verbal Reasoning section: measures your ability to draw conclusions and infer arguments from information that may or may not be complete.
• The Quantitative Reasoning section: has you solve problems with basic arithmetic, data analysis, algebra and geometry in addition to asking you to analyze quantitative information.
• The Analytical Writing section: asks you to write and support a clear, coherent argument.

If your other admission requirements are notably exceptional, you may be eligible for a GMAT waiver. Qualified applicants have:
• Official college transcripts showing a GPA of at least 3.0 on a 4.0 scale
• At least seven years of managerial experience or have previously completed a graduate program
• Noteworthy letters of recommendation

For more information on our GMAT Substitution policy, visit our website’s Enrollment Detail page.

4. Three letters of recommendation

Transcripts, resumes and test scores can provide a comprehensive, but not complete overview of your abilities and potential both as a student and graduate of our MBA program. That’s why the Carson College requires three letters of recommendation to help fill in the gaps.

If you’ve talked to your fellow graduate school applicants, you might hear them mention that obtaining letters of recommendation can be the hardest part of the application process. It’s the one area of your application where you must wait on someone other than yourself to get the task done. Therefore, it can be beneficial to choose writers you know are punctual and have an investment in your success. In addition, give people a few months to write your letters, your courtesy will likely be greatly appreciated.

It’s best if the people recommending you have established academic or business reputations of their own. Try to find a former professor who was impressed with your work or a supervisor or manager with an advanced degree who supervised you during an internship or entry-level job position. Their credentials can give us insight into your background and help us recommend a suitable concentration.

5. A statement of purpose

This document should explain your reasoning for entering the program. It should detail why you want to further your business acumen, what professional experience you have, and how your previous experience and education, along with the knowledge acquired during graduate school, will contribute to the pursuit of your career goals.

A strong statement of purpose is factual yet engaging. Try to make yours unique, yet still professional, by highlighting detailed qualities you possess that will help you succeed in our program.

For Executive MBA online applicants

Like our online MBA program, our Executive MBA online program also has Spring, Fall and Summer terms. However, the EMBA program only has one start per term:

• Summer 2017: Deadline April 10, 2017
• Fall 2017: Deadline July 24, 2017
Spring 2018: Deadline December 11, 2017

The online Executive MBA program was developed to tailor your education for the executive level. The concepts and tactics you’ll study go beyond basic leadership – they’re designed to teach you to survey of the entirety of a business’ practices with a critical eye and solid business judgment.

In addition to the requirements listed for the MBA program, EMBA applicants also require:

Applications for the EMBA program have a few additional requirements.

1. At least 7 years of management, senior management or executive experience

The Carson College asks prospective students to have several y ears of professional experience to help determine their readiness for the executive level. Management experience provides an intimate understanding of the business environment you can’t get anywhere else. Additionally, time in the workforce helps you form a strong business foundation that the executive MBA program can further build upon.

2. An organizational summary and chart

The summary is a brief review—no more than 500 words—of your current organization and your role within it. Potential details you can mention in your summary include:

• The type of organization you work for (for example, a corporation, college or nonprofit)
• The organization’s mission statement
• Important statistics showing the organization’s size, health, or progress
• The organization’s future goals

You must also provide a diagram showing the positions and hierarchy of the people within your company.

3. A letter of organizational support

This is similar to your three letters of recommendation, but this document must come from your current employer. It provides another view of your capabilities from the perspective of a business leader and details how your employer plans to support you during your education.

4. An interview

This is our opportunity to learn even more about you as an individual. In anticipation of your interview, practice making your interview answers clear, concise, and concrete. A wordy, unsubstantial response to a question can make you appear unprepared.

Similar to a job interview, have a few questions prepared before entering your interview, and try to think of more as the conversation between you and the interviewer develops. Avoid questions that are designed simply to pass the time.

Possible engaging questions include the following topics:

• Statistics attesting to the program’s success, i.e. What’s the acceptance rate? How many graduates enter a specific industry?
• Resources, i.e. Do online students have opportunities to collaborate?
• Performance Rating, i.e. What is each class like? How do we receive feedback from our professors?

If you’re ready to enter our online MBA or EMBA program, don’t hesitate to apply now, and use these tips to help you throughout the process.