College of Business {College of Business}

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Executive MBA : Admissions FAQ

What are the key differences between the Executive MBA and the Traditional MBA Programs

The Executive MBA Program is a part-time, cohort-based program designed for working professionals who have earned their undergraduate diplomas and have been working for a minimum of five years.

All prerequisites are built into the Executive MBA curriculum, and therefore, it is not necessary to have an academic background in business to enter the program. The curriculum is delivered over 22 months, in a year-round approach where students take a fixed set of two courses per semester for six semesters. Once admitted to the EMBA program, students are guaranteed a seat in the classroom for the full duration of the cohort in which you were admitted.

The primary differentiation is that the traditional MBA program generally has a younger student body (two to three years post undergraduate), is not a cohort-based system, and there is more flexibility in the curriculum such that students are able to take an array of electives. The traditional program can be taken full time (as many international students do), or done one course at a time. The average time to completion is between three and five years. Prerequisites may be able to be waived, but are required, which may push the time to completion as they must be taken before a student can enter the actual MBA level course work.

What is a cohort? What is the benefit of being in a cohort?

A cohort is a fixed group of students that take all courses together, from beginning to end of the program. Belonging to a cohort is beneficial in a number of ways. Current students regularly state that the SF State EMBA Cohort system quickly facilitates tightly bonded networks of diverse colleagues that become stronger over time. Our alumni concur that cohort members stick together to support one another well past graduation and on into their careers.

How long is the program?

The program takes 22 months to complete.

How much does the program cost?

The entire program fee is US$49,923 or US$1,161 per credit hour, which includes tuition, fees, materials and books.

Is financial aid available?

Financial aid is available in terms of federal loans or grants for which you qualify and independently apply. The process begins with completing the federal application via the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Financial Aid) web site.

Do you have an open house available where I can get more info?

Currently, there are no EMBA Open Houses scheduled, but please check the listing for our MBA Open Houses, see Graduate Programs : Open House.

Is there an advisor available to assist me?

Yes, there is an admission advisor available to give you advice over the phone, email, or in-person. Please contact Manuel Maranan at (415) 817-4323 or by email at

Is the GMAT required for the Executive MBA Program?

Yes, the GMAT is one of the admission assessment tools we use to evaluate applicants.

What is the minimum GMAT score?

The minimum GMAT score is 500, but the average of our latest cohort is 540.

Can the GMAT be waived?

Yes. The GMAT can be waived if you have earned a terminal degree prior to applying to the program.

What is AACSB?

AACSB International—The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business is the professional organization that accredits business schools. To learn more about AACSB international, visit the AACSB International web site.

What does AACSB accreditation mean?

AACSB accreditation is based on stringent standards of quality control, mission accomplishment and continuous improvement. Only 25% of U.S. business schools are AACSB accredited.

What difference does AACSB accreditation mean to the students?

AACSB accreditation is used by many employers as the gold standard to assess a candidate’s education. Many AACSB accredited schools will not accept transfer credit from those that are not accredited.

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