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Frequently Asked Questions

Below is a list of the most common questions asked in regards to the Professional MBA (PMBA) program.

Who attends the PMBA?

Professional MBA students are working professionals motivated by a sincere desire to learn management principles in order to advance their career. Most students enter the program with two or more years of professional and/or managerial experience. The average amount of work experience is approximately 8-12 years, but our students have anywhere from 2 to 40 years of professional experience. An undergraduate degree is required, though it need not be a business degree.

What impact will an MBA have on my career?

Professionally, an MBA provides the skills and knowledge needed to assume higher levels of management responsibility. An MBA degree reflects an advanced level of knowledge and skill in a wide range of contemporary management topics. It also implies a well-developed understanding of strategic thinking, planning, and decision-making. For the entrepreneur, the knowledge gained while earning an MBA can make the difference between success and failure in a highly competitive environment. Furthermore, the MBA provides a credential that is often required or highly preferred for many high-level positions within an organization.

What's different about the PMBA curriculum?

The courses offered are similar to those taught in full-time MBA programs—accounting, finance, statistics, management, marketing, and information technology—but the schedule is uniquely structured so students learn a maximum amount of course material in a challenging but manageable period of time.

When does the program start?

Students can begin the program in either January or August and complete their final class session two years later.

How many courses are there?

The program consists of 72 credit hours which includes 56 of the hours come from MBA core classes and 16 come from electives. For elective classes, you can select from a large number of graduate-level courses offered on campus and through the online MBA program. Please visit Curriculum and Requirements for more information.

How much of a time commitment is involved?

The program is designed with the working professional in mind. Success in professional life demands a substantial and regular commitment of time, and the same can be said for the Professional MBA. Courses and assignments are both challenging and rewarding. Each team member should allot approximately 15-20 hours per week to attend class, meet with project teams, and complete course assignments and readings. Although the burden is eased by the support of other students, the program does require a high level of motivation and commitment.

What are the application qualifications?

Applicants should be working full-time and possess a minimum of one year of full-time professional work experience; they must also have earned a U.S.-equivalent, four-year bachelor’s degree. Completion of the online application, including an updated resume, two letters of reference, a personal statement, and transcripts are also required. The GMAT or GRE is optional and is not required for admission to the MBA.

Do I need to take the GMAT?

The GMAT and GRE are not required for the PMBA program. Applicants have the option of submitting a GMAT or GRE score taken within the last five years. Less-experienced applicants may view this as an opportunity to bolster their application to the Illinois Professional MBA program. A strong test score can also help to overcome a poor academic record.

How do I write a personal statement?

Your personal statement should be a complete essay that covers your career history, why you want to earn your MBA, how you will be involved in the program and what impact an MBA from Illinois will have on your career. It is important that you convey why you are interested in the Illinois MBA program specifically and how your past skills combined with the degree will set you up for future success.

I have taken some graduate courses. Can I transfer them to your program?

Credits from courses taken previously are not transferable. The program’s lock-step curriculum has been designed to ensure that your cohort is mutually supportive and networking is maximized.

Is a laptop computer required?

Although it is not mandatory, students are strongly encouraged to purchase a laptop computer for note taking, group meetings and other class work.

Can I afford the PMBA?

An MBA is an investment in both your career and future success. Considering the high-quality faculty, facilities, and support staff dedicated to the program, the costs are modest in comparison to the benefits. Prospective students are automatically considered for scholarships as part of their application and are encouraged to contact their employers to determine if tuition assistance is available. Students often qualify for loans and financial aid. Visit The Office of Student Financial Aid for additional scholarship and loan information. The university does offer a payment plan as well.

MBA Tuition is a flat rate and does not change with the hours you take per semester which makes budgeting easier.  A $1,000 non-refundable enrollment deposit is required at the time of admission. This will be applied to the first semester’s tuition at the time of enrollment.

Is corporate/employer sponsorship required?

No. Although many students probably will receive some type of employer assistance, students may pay tuition independently. If you do receive support from your employer, we will match up to $2,00/year.

Do University of Illinois employees qualify for tuition waivers to the Professional MBA?

The Professional MBA is a self-supporting program, and tuition waivers are not granted for this program (see Code of Policies and Regulations Applying to All Students Rule 51.E).

When and where do classes meet?

Classes for the Professional MBA meet on Monday and Wednesday evenings from 6:00 – 9:00 p.m.  and online. All classes except online are held on the Urbana-Champaign campus in the Business Instructional Facility.

Do you hold any classes in Chicago?

The Professional MBA only holds classes on the Urbana-Champaign campus.

Is the Professional degree the same as a full-time MBA from University of Illinois?

The University of Illinois only offers one MBA degree but has three different ways to earn that degree. All students in the Professional, full-time and online MBA programs earn their Master of Business Administration degree.

Is transportation provided?

Shuttle transportation is provided from Bloomington to campus. The shuttle cost is minimal and it picks up and returns students to the same location.

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