Admissions FAQ

  1. Who attends the Professional MBA?
  2. What impact will a Professional MBA have on my career?
  3. What's different about the Professional MBA curriculum?
  4. When does the program start?
  5. How many courses are there?
  6. How much of a time commitment is involved?
  7. What are the application qualifications?
  8. Do I need to take the GMAT?
  9. When is the application deadline?
  10. Are international students eligible to apply?
  11. How do I write a personal statement?
  12. I have taken some graduate courses. Can I transfer them to your program?
  13. Is a laptop computer required?
  14. Can I afford the Professional MBA?
  15. Is financial aid available?
  16. Is corporate/employer sponsorship required?
  17. Do University of Illinois employees qualify for tuition waivers to the Professional MBA?
  18. When and where do classes meet?
  19. Do you hold any classes in Chicago?
  20. Is transportation provided?
  21. Is the Professional degree the same as a full-time MBA degree?
  22. Do Professional MBA students have access to Business Career Services?
  23. Can I transfer from the Professional MBA program to the full-time MBA program?
  24. What should I fill out on the Application Information page of the application if I want to apply for Spring 2013?

Who attends the Professional MBA?
The successful Professional MBA student will be a full-time, working professional who is motivated by a sincere desire to learn management principles so as to advance his or her management career. Most students will 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 a Professional 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 Professional MBA curriculum?
The courses offered are similar to those taught in traditional 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 begin the program in January and complete their final class session in June two-and-a-half years later. There is a two-month break in July and August each year to allow students some personal time. The class that starts the program in January 2014 will complete the program by June 2016.
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How many courses are there?
There are 18 courses, each of which is four credits, for a total of 72 credit hours for the program. This is the same number of credit hours required to complete our full-time and Executive MBA programs. Go to our Curriculum page for more details.
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, and a personal statement, is also required. The GMAT or GRE is optional and is not required for admission to the Professional MBA.
Do I need to take the GMAT?
Applicants have the option of submitting a GMAT 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.
When is the application deadline?
The application deadline for January 2015 admission is October 1, 2014. We may still be accepting applications on rolling admissions after the deadline, depending on available seats. Please contact admissions at professionalmba@illinois.edu or 217-244-7602 for more information.
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Are international students eligible to apply?
Yes, as long as they are fully employed and their current visa allows them to study in the U.S. Please note that the University of Illinois does not provide visa support to part-time international students. An international applicant who requires a student visa would have to apply for admission to our full-time MBA Program.
Please note that international students in the Professional MBA program would initially be classified as non-Illinois residents. International students who have been living and working full-time in the state of Illinois for at least 12 months prior to the start of the academic program should be able to successfully petition for in-state tuition rates.
How do I write a personal statement?
Your personal statement should highlight your prior professional and academic accomplishments, briefly describe your current professional responsibilities, and delineate your future career goals as it relates to pursuing an MBA. Itís important to include why you want to pursue the Professional MBA at Illinois, in particular. Your personal statement should provide the Admissions Committee with insights into who you are as a person and why you would make a strong addition to the Professional MBA.
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 with wireless networking capabilities.
Can I afford the Professional MBA?
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 encouraged to contact their employers to determine if tuition assistance is available. Students who are not supported by their companies often qualify for loans and financial aid. If you will not receive significant financial support from your employer, you may be eligible for scholarship support. Visit our Financial Aid page for scholarship and loan information. MBA Tuition is determined by the number of credits taken in a given semester and is paid on a semester basis. A $750 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 matriculation.
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Is corporate/employer sponsorship required?
No. Although many students probably will receive some type of employer assistance, students may pay tuition independently.
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 6-9 p.m. Classes are held ten months out of the year, and there are no classes in July and August. All classes 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. The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign also has an Executive MBA, which meets in downtown Chicago. This program is run out of the Chicago office and can be reached at (312) 575-0900 or emba@illinois.edu.
Is transportation provided?
Currently, shuttle transportation is provided from Decatur and Bloomington to campus. The shuttle cost is minimal and it picks up and returns students to the same location.
Is the Professional degree the same as a full-time MBA from University of Illinois?
The same degree is awarded to graduates of the full-time, Professional, and Executive MBA programs. All MBA students at Illinois must successfully complete 72 credit hours to earn their MBA degree.
Do Professional MBA students have access to career services?
Yes, students in the Professional MBA are provided with opportunities to develop their business careers while in the program. For more details, go to our Career Services page.
Can I transfer from the Professional MBA program to the full-time MBA program?
A transfer to the full-time program can be considered with submission of a valid GMAT or GRE score and an interview with the admissions team. Transfer admission decisions will be made by the full-time admissions committee.
What should I fill out on the Application Information page of the application if I want to apply for Spring 2014 admission to the Professional MBA?
  • Proposed Program - Master of Business Administration (MBA)
  • Degree - Part-time Master of Business Administration - MBA
  • Concentration/Field of Specialization: MBA
  • Desired Term of Enrollment: Spring 2014