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MBA Program


Frequently Asked Questions

Explore the Frequently Asked Questions by topic:

Applying for Admission/Admission Requirements Ex: GMAT, GPA, Transferring credits
Degree Requirements


I want to be sure the program I choose is accredited with a respected institution. Is the St. Ambrose MBA accredited?

Yes, the H.L. McLaughlin MBA is accredited by ACBSP. The following information may be helpful when researching programs:

ACBSP or AASCP? The alphabet soup of business school accreditation can be confusing.
ACBSP = Accreditation Council for Business Schools and Programs - St. Ambrose is ACBSP accredited.
AASCP = Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business - University of Iowa is AASCP accredited.

What are their accreditation requirements?
Both associations require members to undergo a rigorous review process that includes meeting certain standards for faculty, departments, programs, curricula, etc. Think of them like the health department inspecting the restaurants to make sure they are clean, safe, and free of pests. But, following this analogy, the health department can't tell you if the food is tasty, nutritious, or well-prepared. The restaurant may pass the health inspection with flying colors but still serve lousy food.

So what's the difference between the two? 
Generally speaking, while both value research and teaching outcomes, ACBSP standards emphasize teaching more than research. AASCP standards emphasize research more than teaching.

What does this mean in practice?
In general, it means that ACBSP programs like St. Ambrose will place more emphasis on the teaching qualities of its faculty and their course delivery skills. It means that AASCP programs like University of Iowa will place more emphasis on the publication record of its faculty and their scholarly reputation. It also means that St. Ambrose professors teach more classes per year than Iowa professors.

How much weight should these differences play in your decision?
First, the fact that a school has a business accreditation is more important than which accreditation it has. Second, you have to decide which is better for you and your career: a more practical, applied teaching based approach or a more theoretical research. Thus, if you prefer a more practical, applied approach teaching approach then you should lean toward St. Ambrose. If you prefer a more theoretical research approach, then you should consider University of Iowa.

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Applying for Admission/Admission Requirements

I haven't been in school for years and haven't taken the GMAT. What if I don't test well?
This is a concern for a lot of adult students. The MBA program requires a GMAT score after completing two courses (6 credit hours). If your score doesn't meet SAU standards, you will be required to complete MBA-503 Quantitative Prep. This course is offered online for your convenience. You might also want to look into Conditional Admission.

I'm embarrassed by my undergrad GPA. I don't think it's high enough to get into the program. What do I do?
Your GPA score is not a "deal breaker." Your studies are very important, but we understand that you may not have made great decisions as a young adult. That's why we look at your application differently: we look for a pattern of career success and motivation. If the program directors determine you're not ready for graduate school, they will have a private conversation with you during your first or second MBA class.

I've taken some master's-level classes. Will they transfer?
We will evaluate any classes, but they must be master's-level classes and your grade must be "B" or above. You may transfer up to 9 credit hours (3 classes) into the MBA program.

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Degree Requirements

How long will it take to earn the degree?
On a part-time basis (two classes per semester plus one 8-week summer course), you can expect to finish the degree (39 credits) in two years and one semester. Some students opt to go slower, taking just one class per semester. Check out the sample degree plans for part-time (same as online) and full-time.

If you need to finish quickly, talk with the program director to closely evaluate your availability and the class schedules. It's possible to complete your degree in one year by attending full-time, which is considered four classes per semester plus summer courses. 

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I don't know if I can afford to go back to school. How do I pay for this degree?
There are several options to consider. Many students have tuition reimbursement from their employer. Because it varies when companies reimburse their employees, St. Ambrose offers deferred payment until you get reimbursed or until you complete your classes (proof of completion). Both options are helpful when you want to avoid using personal finances to pay for classes.

To qualify for employer deferral, our enrollment specialists will be happy to walk you through the process. If you aren't sure your employer offers tuition assistance, we recommend speaking with your human resources representative.

Other students may have military benefits. We have an admissions specialist - Natalie Woodhurst - who is an expert in military benefits. Andrew will help you determine available dollars and how to invest this benefit in a St. Ambrose education.

If neither of those options apply to you, there are federal loans available. As a graduate student, you are eligible for Federal Stafford Loans as long as you are enrolled in a minimum of six hours per semester for Fall and Spring and a minimum of three hours in summer semester.

If you work at the Rock Island Arsenal, email Cheryl Riley for tuition information.

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I don't have time to get a master's degree. How much time will I need to set aside to study?
An MBA degree is an investment in your career and future. Every class is different, so it's hard to estimate the minimum amount of time per week. A general rule of thumb is to spend about as much time on reading and assignments as you spend in the classroom per week (about four hours). Students have said that the assignments are interesting and relatable to their life and career, so the time commitment is manageable and worth the investment.

I didn't know St. Ambrose held classes in Cedar Rapids. What's the difference between the Cedar Rapids program and Quad Cities program?
The only difference is the location. St. Ambrose is dedicated to providing the same quality education to our Cedar Rapids students, using the same syllabus, curriculum, and faculty. Our experienced faculty travel to Cedar Rapids to hold classes at Iowa Hall on the Kirkwood Community College campus.

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