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MBA FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

Why Choose an MBA at UNCW?

General Questions


Reference Information

International Students

Financial Aid

Why Choose an MBA from UNCW?

Several components of the Professional MBA program at UNCW are fairly unique.  In no particular order of importance:

  • Professional MBA students have the option to participate in the Learning Alliance.  An alliance is formed between a Cameron School of Business Professional MBA Team and a regional small business.  The goal of the alliance is to foster learning by both parties via the interactive exchange of ideas, data, studies of the firm’s business processes and the firm’s competitive environment.  The alliance will culminate in supported, realistic strategic recommendations to the firm from the MBA Team.  Throughout the 12 months, students complete analyses related to their businesses in the following areas: industry, marketing, IT, and HR.  
  • UNCW’s practicum experience conducted during the second year of the program allows students to analyze an issue of strategic significance and act in the role of unpaid consultant to either their own firm or a firm of their choice.  This project demonstrates is a culminating experience of the MBA program where students apply all skills learned throughout their coursework. [Back to top]

General Questions

Why should I consider an MBA?

Students who enter an MBA program usually do so in order to advance their career; with their current employers, with different employers in their field, or as a catalyst to change their career path.  UNCW Professional MBA students average nearly seven years of professional experience.

This experience brings many interesting perspectives into the classroom.  Many members of the MBA faculty were involved in the private sector before assuming their current academic position.  Topics discussed in the MBA program have significant relevance to current business practices. [Back to top]

How will successful completion of the program affect my current work environment?

Students learn business principles in an accelerated manner in our program, and are anxious to apply them at work.  It is common for current students to remark that they have initiated changes in their work environment based on concepts learned in the MBA program.  Completion of UNCW’s Professional MBA will enhance a student’s resume and, in combination with the student’s initiative, open new doors both within their current company as well as the business community. [Back to top]

What are the prerequisites for the graduate business program?

There are no prerequisite courses prior to beginning the PMBA program. However, if a student does not have a strong quantitative background, it is encouraged the student consider taking a crash course to refresh his or her quantitative skill set. For example, we offer non-credit earning courses through Ivy Software. The online modules are a great way to prepare for the MBA program at UNCW. [Back to top]

What is the time commitment for UNCW’s Professional Part-Time MBA program?

The MBA. program at UNCW represents a large time commitment on the part of the student.  Nearly all of our students are employed full time and many have families.  Students are enrolled in eight course hours during the fall and spring semester and four course hours during each summer session.  While this is a larger course load than many part-time programs, our schedule enables students to complete the entire program in a concentrated 21-month period.  It is imperative to have the support of family members who are, in essence, “enrolled with you” in the program.  The factor pointing to success in this time-shifting endeavor is that nearly all of the students who enroll complete the program. [Back to top]

I don't have traditional business experience. Should I still apply?

We are looking for professional experience that will broaden an applicant’s perspectives.  Such experience may not be in a traditional area of business.  For example, we occasionally receive applicants from school teachers (K-12), or nurses, and these applicants are thought to add diversity to the admitted class (assuming all other requirements are met).  There are undoubtedly examples other than teachers or nurses that would be similarly evaluated.  Professional experience is the key. [Back to top]

I have a three-year bachelor's degree. Am I eligible to apply?

The criterion for admission is a baccalaureate degree from an accredited institution.  In most cases, this requirement will represent a minimum set of semester hours rather than a set time frame.  It is rarely the case that an ambiguous situation will arise with a degree from a U.S. institution.  Foreign transcripts can be more difficult to interpret.  In some cases we have determined that a three-year degree from a foreign institution does represent a commensurate amount of study to begin graduate study in our program. [Back to top]

How can I receive more information?

If you would like to obtain a brochure regarding the Professional MBA program, please call our Graduate Programs Office in the Cameron School of Business at (910) 962-3544.  An information packet will be mailed.  Alternatively, you can visit the website for information and links to the application items:  To determine whether you qualify for in-state residency and tuition, you may download the long-form residency questionnaire at[Back to top]


Who makes the admission decision?

Admission recommendations are made by the MBA Program Committee, which is a group of approximately 5 faculty members from the Cameron School of Business.  Those recommendations are forwarded to the Associate Dean of the Cameron School of Business for approval, and ultimately to the Dean of The Graduate School for final approval.  In almost all cases, the decision of the MBA Program Committee is upheld. [Back to top]

How soon can I expect to have an admission decision?

Admission decisions are made on a rolling basis, so it can be beneficial to apply early.  An early application also permits a discussion between the applicant and the Graduate Programs Administrator within the Cameron School of Business for applicants that may require additional information before a decision can be made.  One potential bottleneck to the process is that many applications are often received near the annual deadline of April 1.  For these applicants, and especially when one or more information item is missing from the application, the decision can be lengthier. [Back to top]

Do you accept applications for spring semester?

At the current time all students begin Professional MBA program studies in August.  Applications may be submitted at any time from July 15, 2015 - June 1, 2016. [Back to top]

Is an interview required?

An interview is not required.  However, interviews may be requested for students that do not meet our average admission criteria. It is not the goal of the MBA Program Committee to accept applicants who might not be prepared for graduate study if that determination could have been made in advance. [Back to top]

Do you accept anyone without work experience?

No one is accepted into the program with less than two years of professional work experience.  In almost all cases, internships obtained while attending school do not count toward the minimum.  In some cases the one year is achieved with more than one employer.  The average amount of professional experience for students currently in the program is nearly seven years. [Back to top]

What percentage of students do you accept overall?

This percentage will change annually, but a ballpark guideline may place accepted candidates at nearly 75 percent of total applications.  We attribute this high percentage to offering prospective applicants a realistic preview pertaining to what is expected in an applicant and what the applicant can expect from the Professional MBA program. [Back to top]

What is the minimum GMAT that UNCW accepts?

This is a perennial question and one that is difficult to answer.  Undergraduate GPA, degree of professional experience, age, recommendations, and personal interviews (if any) combine to form an admission decision.  Recently, the GMAT has averaged about 555 for applicants accepted into the MBA program.  In most cases it becomes more difficult to gain admission if the GMAT does not total at least 520.  Once again, exceptions are made as warranted.  We also monitor the percentage score on the quantitative portion of the GMAT.  Our average in that area is slightly less than 50 and, in general, it will be difficult to gain admission with less than a 30 percentile score in this area. [Back to top]

How long is the GMAT valid?

GMAT results are valid for five years from the date of the exam.  It is doubtful that an extension will be permitted. [Back to top]

Can I substitute the GRE for the GMAT?

Yes. We accept both the GMAT and GRE. Please make sure you have your official scores sent to UNCW. [Back to top]

Reference Information

Who should I use as references?

Three letters of reference are required for admission.  Although it is not mandatory, it is strongly recommended that one of the letters comes from the immediate employment supervisor of the applicant.  This serves a dual purpose.  In many cases, there is no one better qualified to comment on the applicant’s maturity and commitment to graduate education.  Also, this informs the supervisor that the applicant is taking on a major time commitment to expand their human capital.  We think that most supervisors will welcome this.  However, in a few cases students have, for one reason or another, been reluctant to include their employment supervisor in the process.  A specific college instructor may be a logical choice for a recommendation, if it has not been too many years since the applicant’s previous studies.  Co-workers can be excellent references.  Family members and pastors, because they may lack objectivity, are probably not good selections for letters of reference. [Back to top]

I have not told my employer that I have applied to graduate school.  Do I have to include work references?

As mentioned above, we would prefer to have the intuitions of an employment supervisor when evaluating an applicant’s potential for graduate study.  However, it will not negatively impact an applicant’s package to omit work references. [Back to top]

International Students

Can I wait to complete my International Applicant Financial Statement until after I am notified about financial aid?

An International Applicant Financial Statement is required by UNCW to accompany the application package. The Cameron School of Business offers both academic scholarships and needs- based scholarships. The financial statement must be on hand prior to consideration for any needs- based scholarship. In general, the availability of scholarships is somewhat limited. [Back to top]

What is the minimum TOEFL that UNCW accepts?

The Graduate School will in no case admit applicants scoring less than 217 on the computerized version, 550 on the paper version, or 79 on the Internet-based test of the TOEFL. Minimum score on the IELTS is 6.5. Higher scores may be required, based on an individually assessed basis. [Back to top]

Can I waive the TOEFL?

It is a University requirement that all students born in a country where English is not the native language be required to take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The University mandates a minimum score of 213 for the computerized version and 550 for the paper version for acceptance into any UNCW academic program.  However, The Graduate School reminds applicants that the minimum score may not be sufficient in each case for admission. It would be safest to check with The Graduate School, (910) 962-4117 to learn of the current requirements in this area. [Back to top]

How long is the TOEFL valid?

It is likely to depend on what the student has been doing (vis-à-vis working in the U.S., etc.) since the time of the exam as to how long the TOEFL exam will be valid. Please check with The Graduate School to avoid confusion: (910) 962-4117.

How do you handle multiple scores for the GMAT and/or TOEFL?

We use the most recent GMAT score when considering the student’s application. Scores are not averaged. Because the TOEFL is an admission requirement administered by The Graduate School, please contact their office at (910) 962-4117 regarding their policy on repeated exams. [Back to top]

Do you have quotas by country?

We have no quotas for admission based on country, or any other discernable factor. We will admit all who display our attributes necessary for admission on a space available basis. [Back to top]

Financial Aid Information

Does the Cameron School of Business offer need-based financial assistance?

The Cameron School of Business administers several scholarship funds. Some are needs based, some are based on academic achievement. In-state tuition remission is available to a limited number of entering students with demonstrated achievement.  Additional scholarships are funded each semester.  In addition to scholarships, a limited number of graduate assistantships are available in which the student pledges to work for an academic department for either 10 or 20 hours per week throughout the academic year. [Back to top]

Is financial aid available to international students?

All forms of scholarships (including in-state tuition remissions) are available equally to international students. [Back to top]

What percentage of students receive financial aid?

Nearly half of MBA students receive some form of support at some point in their academic program. [Back to top]

What percentage of international students receive merit-based aid?

Due to the nature of the professional MBA program, most students enrolled are U.S. citizens. International students admitted to the program are eligible to apply for scholarships and in-state tuition remissions. [Back to top]

How do I apply for merit-based financial aid?

There are varying deadlines and application processes for scholarships. Contact the Graduate Programs Administrator for more information. [Back to top]

How do I apply for a student loan?

Students seeking student loans should contact the Financial Aid and Veterans Service Office to learn of the several forms available. They can be reached at (910) 962-3177 or by e-mail[Back to top]

Do many students receive a teaching assistantship during their first year?

Historically, one or two MBA students will receive a graduate assistantship during their first year.  Because these assistantships require between 10 – 20 hours of work weekly, and because nearly all of our MBA students work full time, the ratio of those applying to those awarded is fairly high. [Back to top]

Will I receive in-state tuition during my second year?

It is not automatic, but it is very possibly the case that students who are required to pay out-of-state tuition during their first year may be eligible to pay in-state tuition during their second year.  The first step that The Graduate School will take in answering this question is to require completion of the long-form for residency. This form can be obtained here[Back to top]