Frequently Asked Questions

Overall Program:

How is your program structured?

The Virginia Tech Professional MBA is a 24-month program during which students attend classes one weekend a month, rotating between Roanoke and Richmond. Classes are held all day Friday and Saturday, covering 60% of the "contact" hours; the remaining 40% is delivered via various electronic approaches depending on professor preference. This program provides the key benefits of completing in two years and having both professors and classmates in the same room for a more vibrant learning experience. We have structured course work to ensure that the student has exposure to all the major fields of business. The diploma received is a Master of Business Administration.

Why should I care about the accreditation?

We're committed to offering an AACSB-accredited MBA Program with quality and performance expectations. Pamplin College of Business is one of only 5% of business schools internationally accredited by this prestigious, international accreditation body. Read more about the AACSB accreditation.

How is the 40% out of class content delivered?

The remaining 40 percent is delivered via various electronic approaches depending on professor preference. The choice is left up to the individual instructor in each course to decide what approach fits best for that particular course. Examples include online discussion forums, simulations, group collaboration, Skype presentations, and one-way delivery of presentations.

Why is there not an international trip with this program?

There is no official, required international trip because of the cost associated with such a trip and the logistics of coordinating the trip with such a large cohort. We have offered opportunities to classes in the past, and due to lack of interest we did not host a trip. We believe that by not including an international trip, this continues to keep the cost of the program low for all students.

We do have partnerships with other universities and programs for interested students. Please feel free to ask us about these opportunities.

What are some of the reasons why your students want to get their MBA?

We have surveyed our students and found that there are several reasons for seeking out their MBA degree. Here is a short list:

  • Gain a better perspective on business world
  • Progress in career
  • Feeling of self-accomplishment
  • Knowledge growth
  • Challenge myself professionally
  • Pay increase
  • Get leg up on peers
  • Advance more quickly in career
  • Confidence to change career path
  • Learn entrepreneur skills
Because the program is hosted in Roanoke and Richmond, how connected will I feel to Blacksburg and the central campus?

To maintain the connection of our students to the main campus in Blacksburg, we have hosted the one-day Orientation on the main Blacksburg campus since 2011. We also work with each cohort to identify the desire to replace one class weekend with one in Blacksburg. This decision must be unanimous in the cohort and is not guaranteed. Staff from the MBA office also meet up with students at the locations on the Friday of each class weekend as a resource.

How often will I interact with program administration and the deans of Pamplin College of Business?

The Director of the Professional MBA program travels to Roanoke and Richmond for each monthly class meeting to interact with current students. We also maintain a class representative system within the program. This system allows for class reps to discuss any concerns or new ideas with the PMBA Director. The class reps (who are elected by each cohort) determine the frequency of these meetings.

Admissions:

How do I apply?

You will fill out an online application through the Virginia Tech Graduate School. More information can be found on our Admissions page.

Is there a mid-year entry?

Because the program is cohort-based, meaning all students take the same classes at the same time, only a fall entry date is available.

Do you require work experience?

Yes, you need to have a minimum of three years’ professional, full-time work experience to enter this program. Typically our classes average 9-11 years of work experience

Do you accept transfer credits?

Because the PMBA is cohort-based and has a very unique structure (10-week terms of three two-credit classes), it is very difficult to accept transfer credits, even from other Virginia Tech MBA programs. We will review each request on a case-by-case basis.

I have several years of work experience and I know I would do great on the GMAT/GRE. Can I get a waiver?

We now offer a GMAT/GRE Waiver Request Form. No waiver request is guaranteed. We still encourage our students to consider taking the GMAT or GRE as part of the application process. We use the GMAT/GRE as a benchmark to ensure that you can make it through our rigorous program. The GMAT/GRE ensures that every student that enters our program had to reach a certain standard for admittance.

I have an accounting (or finance) undergraduate degree and work in this field as a professional. Can I be exempted from the MBA Math pre-course requirement?

No. MBA Math covers a wide variety of quantitative skills our students will be required to understand when classes begin. Due to the amount, and variety of quantitative topics covered in MBA Math we require all entering students to take MBA Math, regardless of previous academic background.

I have a high score on the quantitative section of the GMAT/GRE, can this place me out of taking MBA Math?

Yes. Those students scoring in the top 25% on the quantitative portion of the GMAT/GRE exam can be waived out of MBA Math; however, all new students are required to have understanding of all of the material covered in MBA Math. If you have questions about this requirement, we encourage you to please contact our offices.

I'm a Virginia Tech employee. Are there any special considerations of which I need to be aware?

Yes, and our office would like to encourage all VT employees interested in the PMBA program to make an appointment with us to discuss the full details of these special considerations. As a University employee you are eligible for benefits which can help defray some of the costs of the Professional MBA program. Additional information can be found here.

I graduated with less than a 3.0 GPA, but I have a lot of management experience with major international companies. Will I be admitted to your program?

The admissions decision does take into account various factors including work experience. The most critical factors are your GPA and GMAT/GRE scores and duration and relevance of work experience. If GPA is lower than a 3.0, an exceptional performance on the GMAT/GRE could help consideration for admission. Certainly, professional experience with major companies is impressive, but evidence of the ability to succeed academically is also critical. Some students with GPA's below 3.0 are admitted when the strength of other aspects of the application is sufficient to demonstrate a high likelihood of success in the program.

What is your minimum GMAT/GRE score?

We do not have a minimum score for the program. We seek a class average of about 600 on the GMAT and about a 159Q/156V on the GRE. If your score is not exactly what you had hoped, we encourage you to take the test again. We will take your best overall score.

If I am admitted, can I defer if I get too busy with my job this year?

We do not allow deferrals. If you need to withdraw for any reason, you may do so; however, if you have already submitted your seat deposit, you will not receive it back. If you would like to reapply for the following year, you may do so by filling out another application. You may use your previous essays and letters of recommendation; however, we encourage you to review them for any changes that may have occurred during the year. Applying after a withdrawal will not hurt your chances for admittance in the following year.

Can I apply before I take my GMAT/GRE?

Absolutely! We encourage you to complete your application as soon as possible. By submitting your application first, we will process it while we wait for your GMAT/GRE scores. Once you have taken your exam, please contact us immediately with the unofficial score report so that we can move forward on your application.

Can I sit in on a PMBA class or talk with a current student/alumni?

Absolutely! We strongly encourage you to do so. Here is more information about this opportunity.

Tuition and Fees

How much does the program cost?

The Board of Visitors for Virginia Tech establishes the tuition for the PMBA program annually. Once the tuition is established, your total program’s tuition and fees are firm for both years of the program. The annual changes only affect the incoming cohort. The most updated information on tuition is located here

Do you know the estimated costs for books/fees in addition to the in-state tuition costs?

Each professor selects the books and materials for his or her class; however it is reasonable that each student should estimate a $150 a class cost for books. We anticipate that some terms will be higher and some lower than others (rather than that cost being equal for each term or two-term period).

When is the billing cycle? How are my payments split up?

There are four payments due for the entire program. Your first bill will be in early fall for the Term 1 and 2 classes you take. Your second bill will come in early January for your Term 3 and 4 classes. Your third bill will be in the fall of your second year (terms 5 and 6) and your final bill will be in January of your second year (terms 7 and 8). The bills are almost evenly divided (we will provide you with the exact amount once you are enrolled).

Is there any financial aid available?

Financial Aid is available for federal loans through the Virginia Tech Financial Aid office. The Professional MBA office now offers merit-based scholarships. More information is found here

Why doesn’t the program provide hotel, books, food, computers, etc. in the cost of the tuition?

The program provides students with a lunch on class days only. This program is intended to provide an economical way to achieve your MBA without additional frills. Most students make lodging arrangements through family and friends and provide their own computers. We do have preferred hotel rates available in both Richmond and Roanoke. The cost of books is the responsibility of the student, as is the responsibility for obtaining them.

If you are interested in a more-inclusive program, we do feature an Executive MBA program, which does include hotel, food, and computers in its tuition, in northern Virginia.

My employer will pay, but I will need tuition information and a formal letter. How do I obtain that?

The MBA Office will provide you with a letter detailing the tuition and fees for your employer and will provide that to you after you are admitted into the program. We will also provide you with an official letter at the end of each term detailing your grades if you request it.

Classroom Experience

How will I get prepared for the program?

The MBA Office will host a one-day Orientation in August prior to classes starting. During this day, you can expect to meet your classmates, MBA administration, alumni, and faculty. In the past we have held a case workshop to familiarize students with case study and how to analyze a case.

Where are the classes held?

Classes are held at the Virginia Tech Richmond Center and the Roanoke Higher Education Center.

  • Roanoke Center
  • 108 North Jefferson Street, Suite 701
  • Roanoke, VA 24016
  • (540) 767-6100
  • http://www.vtrc.vt.edu
Do you provide hotel discounts?

Yes, you will receive information on the hotels that we have partnerships with near the centers upon admittance.

Who teaches the PMBA classes?

The PMBA classes are taught almost exclusively (about 95%) by full-time, Ph.D.-level professors. The remaining professors are part-time or adjunct professors that are professionally-qualified to teach in the program. This means they have enough professional credentials from working in the business industry to teach in the program. All tenured faculty are expected to research in their fields, which requires exposure to the business world. Many also serve on boards for companies or have their own consulting firms.

Are there any online classes?

No. All classes are taught in person. Professors are required to offer 10 additional hours of course material online in the form of discussion forums, videos, Skype, chat, etc.

We do not offer online classes because the in-class interaction is vital to the success of your MBA program. Our students and alumni tell us that they valued the ability to interact with their classmates and their faculty almost as much as the content they learned within the classes.

How is the course work presented?

While the class will vary greatly from one faculty member to the next, you can expect a combination of case study, lecture, simulation, group activities.

Professors will encourage a lot of discussion, and you will be encouraged to utilize your past and current professional experiences discussion and classroom assignments.

Will there be tutoring, advising, or labs if I have trouble with challenging material?

No. In a graduate-level program, you are expected to reach out to your classmates or professors for assistance with challenging material. Study guides are not typically made available because expectations for graduate students is higher than undergraduate students.

Will I be put into a group?

Yes, all students are placed into formal groups at the beginning of the program. These groups are very deliberately mixed based on background, industry, work experience, and gender. You will work together as a small group for papers, projects, and presentations through the first year. Between the first and second year, you will be switched into a new small group.

What is the exam policy?

The PMBA program draws students from all over the state of Virginia, requiring all students to travel to some extent to attend classes. Exam weekends are scheduled in both the Richmond and Roanoke locations for the weekend after the last class meeting of each term. However, in order to attempt to minimize the amount of travel required of both students and faculty, two alternative delivery methods are often utilized for final exams in the program:

  • Take-home exams that have a specific deadline but no specified time during which the exam is to be completed. In this format, students are free to complete the exams at their convenience.
  • Take-home exams that must be completed during the scheduled final exam period. In this format, instructors deliver the exams via Blackboard, opening the view to the exam only during the scheduled final exam period. Students must complete the exam within that window of time and submit the exam using the digital drop-box on Blackboard, which will note the time of submission.

University policy permits instructors to give in-class examinations should they choose to do so. At the beginning of each term, the program administrative staff will request each instructor to select an anticipated method of exam delivery and will develop an exam schedule which will be published to all students in the program. Instructors retain the right to change delivery methods at any time during the term. In such cases, they must inform the associate dean of graduate programs of their intention and coordinate a new schedule for final exam delivery with the associate dean and, if necessary, other instructors. Students will be informed at the earliest possible date of any changes in the established schedule.

Do professors use plagiarism software?

Some professors never use the software, and some check every paper. Protect yourself by checking all group assignments (even if you did not plagiarize your section, you are still responsible for the paper if your name is on it). There are several free tools available online (such as www.grammerly.com) that allow you to check your own paper prior to submission. Often, plagiarism is unintentional and a result of inappropriately citing work.Plagiarism is the number one reason why students are brought to the Honor Court

How much time will I spend on the program outside of class time?

Most students tell us they spend about 10-15 hours outside of class time studying, reading, or working with their group. Most students utilize their groups to study.

Absence from Classes / Missed Terms

What happens in the event of inclement weather?

If the weather is already problematic the night before classes, then the center may make the decision to close at that time. If so, we will send an email to the PMBA listservs as soon as that decision is made so that most of you will be able to avoid unnecessary travel.

It is possible that bad weather may not arrive until early the morning of class meetings. Any decision on closure will be made no later than 6:30am the day of classes in order to allow for that possibility. We may make a different decision for Friday than for Saturday in order to salvage at least some classroom time in this event. For example, if weather on Friday forces us to cancel classes, we may opt to still hold class on Saturday if conditions improve.

If the decision is made to close the center, the information will be made available to you in two ways. You will receive an e-mail to the PMBA listservs, and information will be posted on the PMBA website.

In the event any classes are cancelled, during the following week, we will then announce how the instructors will make up any missed time. Since we can't predict ahead of time whether we would lose one day or two, or all classes or some, decisions will be made when we know the situation. It is unlikely that classes would be made up in person, since both instructors and students may have professional or personal plans, and we will likely leave the decision up to each instructor concerning how to best get the content that would have been covered in class into your hands.

Can I skip a monthly meeting due to deployment, medical reasons, or job demands?

In the course of the two-year program, we would expect absences to be minimal to none. In the case of such absences, accommodations must be arranged with each individual professor concerning making up work. There is not a program-wide policy, because the requirements of each class are different. Missing one whole weekend is equivalent to missing 1/3 of the in-class time for each course, which could adversely affect one's academic success in the term.

Can I skip a term and resume my studies after I return?

The plan of study for the PMBA program is cohort-based and, therefore, it is not possible for one to miss a class and then take it the next term. Each class is offered only once annually. The classes are also specifically sequenced to gradually build complexity of the subject matter over the two-year period; i.e., prerequisites for future classes, so missing a whole term could affect performance in future classes. In effect, the individual would need to wait until the missed term is offered again in the following year to continue. Re-entry to the program may depend on space being available at the time that notification of intent to resume studies is made.

What are my options in the event a job transfer was required?

In cases of a permanent transfer, graduate credits earned are good for five years at Virginia Tech, but transfer of credits to other institutions is subject to their policies and usually very limited.

Placement Assistance for MBA Students

Do PMBA candidates receive placement assistance?

PMBA students are eligible for Virginia Tech career advising and placement services. Students are responsible for their own tuition and fees, which establishes a relationship where the student is our "client.” However, it is important to note that most companies have tuition reimbursement programs to help students continue their education. The tuition reimbursement is actually a "contract" between the company and its employee. In requesting placement services from the university, students are responsible for ensuring that they comply with the terms of the tuition reimbursement policies of their employers.