Executive MBA and Americas MBA for Executives FAQs

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Program Information

What is the size of the program?

The Vanderbilt Executive MBA program enrolls approximately 50 students each August. The largest class was 62 students.

How much time will I need to devote to the program?

Throughout the 24 months it takes to complete the Vanderbilt Executive MBA program, a typical student studies 20 hours per week outside of class and work time. Part is individual work, but particularly in year two, a lot of work is accomplished by the C-Team (assigned study group).

Is this the same degree as the daytime MBA program?

Yes. The degree earned is the Vanderbilt Master of Business Administration (MBA) by completing 60 rigorous academic credit hours. The differences are in the age/experience level of students and in the specific electives in weekly curriculum replaced by deeper core and strategic integration courses in EMBA curriculum.

How are students graded?

Our grading system is as follows: SP (Superior Pass) = 4.0; HP (High Pass) = 3.5; P (Pass) = 3.0; LP (Low Pass) = 2.5; and F (Fail) = 0.0. Some test grades are numeric. At the beginning of each course, the syllabus will establish the criteria by which the course grade is computed. Please keep in mind that each class grade is a combination of your individual test scores and individual or team assignments, presentations and special projects. A grade of 2.0 is required to graduate.

Is it okay to miss school occasionally?

There may be a time when an unavoidable event dictates an absence; for example, if you become ill or an important family or work commitment arises. However, in order to enable graduation, Executive MBA students must cover a large amount of material on Saturdays. In those rare cases when you must miss a class, you must clear your absence with the faculty. Exams are not to be missed. Individual faculty reserve the right to refuse makeup exams. In addition, someone from your C-Team needs to be willing to share class notes and handouts. You should make every effort to learn the missed material and prepare for the next set of classes so that you don’t risk falling significantly behind in any courses.

How many students are in a C-Team? Do C-Teams change membership during the course of the program?

A C-Team usually has four to five members, maximizing diversity in industries and backgrounds. C-Teams comprise members whose depth of experience casts them in roles of CFO or CAO/CEO, COO, CIO, CMO, CPO and CHRO. The teams are composed at the beginning of the Week-in-Residence. They remain intact throughout the entire program.

Is the Executive MBA program accredited?

Yes, our Executive MBA program is accredited by the AACSB International, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which is the world’s leading accrediting association. To achieve and retain AACSB International accreditation, a business school must meet a wide range of rigorous quality standards, including an approved curriculum, a high quality of research produced, appropriate admissions criteria and graduation requirements, and a library and computer facilities. No national or regional accreditation is more demanding or prestigious than that of AACSB International.

Admissions Criteria

Can I be admitted to the program if I have less than five years of managerial experience?

Occasionally, we will admit a student with less than five years of managerial experience if his or her career path is well developed in the desired profession and other qualifications are exceptionally strong.

Will you waive the GMAT?

Because of the strong and deep quantitative nature of Vanderbilt’s MBA programs, we require the GMAT as proof of reasonably current proficiency with numbers and as an academic benchmark to compare other prospects who are incredibly diverse in other dimensions (experience). We aim for a calibrated set of academic skills within this otherwise diverse set of executive perspectives for the richest possible learning opportunity.

How to Apply

Is the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) required for admission?

Yes, we do require the GMAT. The GMAT score enables us (and you) to determine your relative academic ability within the applicant pool for performing in core MBA classes as well as to decide on your best pre-enrollment Executive MBA preparation. Either our complimentary online math/statistics course and/or complimentary Executive MBA Camp, held on Saturdays in July, may be required based on your GMAT score. We are a quantitative rigorous MBA degree program. You will find that GMAT preparation enables you to move at the speed of our classroom.

What do you want to see in the letters of recommendation?

Each of the two letters should address your career to date, intellectual capacity, and current and potential leadership roles. One letter should be from the executive you report to and the other should be from someone else who has relied on your work. The letters can be submitted following your application. That way, responses come directly to us and you can check receipt for status.

Can I sit in on a class?

Absolutely, but please call us in advance so we can be prepared to introduce you to a student host and the professor.

Must I submit my completed application all at once?

Typically, most application documents are submitted online directly to the Executive MBA Admissions Office. As a result, we will accumulate all your admissions materials and you can verify with our office whether your application is complete. The most important first step is to complete the online application. Some candidates will await seeking financial sponsorship until after the interview with the Associate Dean.

Interview Process

Is a personal interview required for admission? If so, is it conducted in person?

Yes, an interview with the Executive Director or the Executive MBA Program Director is a required part of the admissions process. It is conducted in person on the Vanderbilt campus or in conjunction with one of our regional Information Sessions, with prior notification and approval. Visit the Admissions Events calendar or call 615.322.3120 for an appointment.

How long is the personal interview?

Generally you will spend 45 minutes to an hour in the interview. We will review your career to date, your academic preparation and your motivation and fit for pursuing the Vanderbilt Executive MBA degree. The interview is also an opportunity to discuss any questions you may have about the program.

Company Sponsorship

Is corporate financial support required for the EMBA program?

No. Although many Executive MBA students receive some level of corporate financial support, it is not a factor in the admissions process. Managers need to understand the time demands, including the Week-In Residence at the beginning of the program and the one-week International Residency in the spring of year two.

Tuition and Financing Your Executive MBA

Is financial aid available?

Student loans are available for those who do not receive full financial support. Additional information is available through the Office of Financial Aid.

How much does it cost to attend the Vanderbilt EMBA program?

Tuition for each academic year 2013-2014 is $46,125 + $6,000 in fees and are payable in six installments over the course of two years. Tuition includes books and printed materials; parking permit; breakfasts and lunches while classes are in session; special events and receptions; room and meals for a residency; library access and databases; rgraduation expenses; and academic services. Tuition typically increases 4 to 7 percent annually. Students are responsible for travel and lodging (if necessary) for all class weekends and airfare for the International Residency.

Many students receive full or partial financial support from their organizations, but this is not a requirement for acceptance. Once you are admitted, a $1,500 deposit is required. This deposit is credited toward your first tuition payment. Tuition is paid in six installments during the time you are enrolled at Vanderbilt: October (40 percent), February (40 percent) and June (20 percent). Student Accounts must show all tuition paid prior to graduation and tuition paid from a previous semester in order to proceed to the next semester.

Does Vanderbilt offer any scholarships or grants for EMBA students?

Vanderbilt offers extremely limited scholarship opportunities. Executive MBA students are often working managers and executives who can fund their education through a combination of sponsorship or employer reimbursement, loans and working cash flow.

Is a laptop computer required?

A laptop computer is recommended for success in the program. In addition, Executive MBA students use a VOIP product and an electronic Blackboard to enable online meeting collaboration and updates from faculty and the Vanderbilt Executive MBA office.

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Americas MBA for Executives

Who will be my classmates during the second year?

Your Americas MBA cohort will be comprised of up to 15 Vanderbilt Executive MBA students from your class (determined at time of admission) plus up to 45 student executives from ITAM (Mexico City), FIA (São Paulo) and Simon Frasier University (Vancouver).

Your C-Team in Year One, comprised of other Americas MBA candidates from Vanderbilt, will be dissolved at the end of Year One. You and likely one of your C-Team members will be cast in an Americas MBA project team for Year Two with team members from the other schools.

Can I switch to (or from) the Executive MBA during the course of the program?

No. While general admission requirements are similar, the limited cohort of up to 15 Americas MBA candidates from each school is required to ensure a rich, balanced experience in the Year Two Americas MBA program group of no more than 60 students. Also, Americas MBA candidates will prove international career momentum and language skills are desired.

How will graduation be handled?

All graduates of Vanderbilt degree programs are invited to participate in the May graduation following completion of degree requirements. Only the Vanderbilt students in the Americas MBA program get a Vanderbilt degree while all 60 Americas MBA students receive an Americas Alliance MBA Certificate from the four schools (FIA, ITAM, SFU and Vanderbilt). In addition, the Vanderbilt Americas MBA cohort will be invited to rejoin their original Executive MBA class in July, following completion of all course requirements, for a special private celebration with the original Executive MBA class, their families and sponsors.

From which school will I earn my degree?

If you apply through Vanderbilt to the Americas MBA program, you will work to receive an MBA degree from Vanderbilt. In addition, you will work toward an Americas Alliance MBA Certificate awarded by the Americas Alliance partner schools (FIA, ITAM, SFU and Vanderbilt).

What will I get that will designate that I’ve gone through this program?

You will receive an Americas Alliance MBA Certificate awarded by the Americas Alliance partner schools (FIA, ITAM, SFU and Vanderbilt).

What are the admission requirements?

A screening interview (which can be done over the phone pre-application) and face-to-face interview for admission (upon completion of other application requirements below):

Online application including required essays, transcripts for all college-level and graduate work, GMAT and two letters of recommendation, which can be requested electronically as part of the online application.

Will you waive the GMAT?

Because of the strong and deep quantitative nature of Vanderbilt’s MBA programs, we require the GMAT as proof of reasonably current proficiency with numbers and as an academic benchmark to compare other prospects who are incredibly diverse in other dimensions (experience). We aim for a calibrated set of academic skills within this otherwise diverse set of executive perspectives for the richest possible learning opportunity.

What happens if any of the other three schools drops out or doesn’t live up to its expectations?

All four partner schools have been vetted for traditions of excellence and history in Executive MBA education, sensitivity to the needs of multinational corporations in our markets and agility and desire to be customer focused. If one of these partners does not continue its proven track record of excellence, we will fulfill the obligations to those students enrolled as part of our contracted Americas Alliance agreement among the institutions.

How do I learn more about the partner schools?

Click here to find more information about our Americas Alliance Schools.

Why did Vanderbilt select these partner schools?

Our first goal was to select partners in the four predominant economies in the Americas, namely, Brazil, Mexico, Canada and the U.S. The Americas MBA builds on a decade-long relationship with the executive programs at FIA in São Paulo. All Americas Alliance schools have national prominence and international reach as well as long-standing traditions of excellence in executive degree education, sensitivity to the needs of multinational corporations in our markets and a customer-focused philosophy that is apparent in the student experience.

Are scholarships available?

The Americas MBA offering is a complement to the existing Executive MBA format where working executives fund their education via some combination of corporate sponsorship, cash flow and student loans (most U.S. citizens complete the FAFSA and take advantage of government loans for a portion of their education). There is one limited scholarship available for the Americas program.

How much does the program cost? What does that include?

Tuition for Vanderbilt Americas MBA students is the same as the traditional Executive MBA program. For academic year 2013-14 tuition is expected to be $46,125; second-year tuition is expected to be $4-7% higher. However, tuition is finalized each May for the rising academic year.

In addition to tuition all Vanderbilt Executive MBA and Americas MBA students pay annual student fees, which are currently $6,000 per year. Student fees cover all books, meals on class days and residencies, residency hotels and ground transportation and various group events.

All Vanderbilt Americas MBA students are responsible for their personal travel and lodging expenses for classes held on the Vanderbilt campus. Americas MBA students also are responsible for the cost of airfare to the required residencies as determined by Vanderbilt’s group travel partner.

Who issues the final grades? How is the final GPA determined?

The faculty member teaching each course determines the grades for that course. Seventy-five percent of Americas MBA coursework will be taught and graded by Vanderbilt faculty. For the 25 percent of courses taken at Americas Alliance schools, Vanderbilt will convert the grade earned to Vanderbilt’s grading scale. To graduate and obtain a Vanderbilt MBA, Vanderbilt Americas MBA students must have a 3.0 cumulative GPA and complete the prescribed 60 credit hours of instruction. A strike system is in place to ensure academic performance (refer to Vanderbilt’s Executive MBA/Americas MBA student handbook or The Bulletin of Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management for more details).

What language will the program be in? Does it help to know another language?

All Americas MBA instruction at all Americas Alliance schools will be in English. However, strong applicants will demonstrate a multinational outlook, prior experience or globally oriented career track. In addition, other language skills, especially Spanish or Portuguese, will be beneficial.

What do I need in the way of VISAs and inoculations?

Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for VISA requirements by country.

How will I meet/when will I meet my classmates for Year Two?

While Americas MBA students will complete their first year of study at their host (degree-granting) university, online tools will be available during Year One so that all Americas MBA students from the Americas Alliance schools can start networking right away.

Your Americas MBA cohort will be comprised of up to 15 Vanderbilt Executive MBA students from your class so you will know them at the time of admission and get to know them well during Year One. Your C-Team in Year One, comprised of other Americas MBA candidates from Vanderbilt, will be dissolved at the end of Year One to make room for your Year Two Americas Capstone Strategy Project team.

You and one of your C-Team members from Vanderbilt will likely be cast in an Americas Capstone Strategy Project team with student executives from the other Americas Alliance schools: ITAM (Mexico City), FIA (São Paulo) and Simon Frasier University (Vancouver). Together this team will work throughout Year Two on a Capstone Strategy Project; this will require frequent virtual meetings as well as face-to-face meeting time during the four residencies.

How long is the program?

If you choose to enroll at Vanderbilt in the Americas MBA program, you will complete the Vanderbilt MBA degree and the Americas Alliance MBA Certificate in 21 months. Vanderbilt’s program begins in August with the Week-in-Residence in New Harmony, Indiana. Classes are then held on the Vanderbilt campus two Saturdays per month in Year One.

Year Two programming consists of the four residencies in August (Vancouver), October (São Paulo), February (Mexico City) and April (Nashville); and an Americas Capstone Strategy Project to be completed by May 1. For students enrolling in 2011 and successfully completing the degree requirements, Vanderbilt graduation will be held in May 2013. In addition, there will be a class party in July 2013 with your original Vanderbilt cohort.

How will the Americas Capstone Strategy Project be determined? How will teams be selected?

Americas Capstone Strategy Projects will be determined by the Americas Alliance faculty based on the credentials of the Americas MBA cohort that matriculates. Sponsoring organizations will influence the nature of these projects. Year Two Americas MBA teams are selected by the Americas Alliance faculty and administration.

What happens if I need to miss one of the 10-day in-country immersions?

The Americas MBA is a cohort-based, lockstep program. Each residency and the year-long International Capstone Strategy Project are required to complete the degree. Failure to participate fully and to complete the coursework as scheduled will lead to a delay and possible failure in completing the requirements for graduation as determined by the rules of the degree-granting institution.

What, if any, security precautions are being taken for out-of-country travel?

Americas MBA candidates should be seasoned travelers. All Vanderbilt Americas MBA students on VU-sanctioned trips must coordinate international travel with our preferred travel partner, part of the USTAO (the industry’s gold standard for tour operators), which ensures monitoring by International SOS, the State Department and local suppliers to maximize safety. The wisdom of host schools, which secure hoteling and plan events in their respective cities, provides additional assurance that our students are in good local hands at each residency. Students sign a release of liability and are briefed prior to departure on international trips about safety, emergency procedures and smart conduct. The university makes safety in learning a priority.

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