Full-Time MBA FAQ

Full details regarding our admissions requirements are available on the website.

The admissions committee will consider your past academic performance (official transcripts for any post-secondary coursework and GPA), standardized test scores, work experience and current resume, personal statement, and professional references. Candidates are admitted into the program based on academic credentials and general fit for the program.

We do not have minimum GPA, GMAT, or GRE scores. Applications are reviewed as a whole and candidates are admitted into the program based on academic credentials and general fit for the program. Please look at our class profile of the students who have been admitted in the past.

The admissions committee is comprised of the assistant and associate deans, director of admissions, and associate directors of admissions. The dean of the Carlson School of Management may also participate in the review of applications on a case by case basis.

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) and Graduate Record Examination are standardized computer-adaptive test used by schools to help assess the qualifications of applicants for advanced study in business or management. They measure basic verbal, mathematical, and analytical writing skills. The Carlson Full-Time MBA program requires every applicant to take either the GMAT or GRE.

Prospective students should plan to take the GMAT or GRE on or before the application due date in order to meet the application deadline. We recommend taking the GMAT or GRE at least two to four weeks prior to the application date to ensure timely review of your application. The admissions committee considers only your highest GMAT or GRE score when reviewing your application.

Our admissions team invites qualified candidates to interview at the Carlson School of Management. Not all applicants will be interviewed. Admissions interviews may include a personal interview with a staff /faculty member, a class visit, and time to speak with a student ambassador. Although we highly recommend coming to campus if you are chosen to interview, interviews may be conducted via Skype or phone.

While there is not a work experience requirement, the admissions committee strongly recommends that applicants to the Full-Time program have a minimum of two years of full-time work experience. On average, our incoming students have approximately four years of work experience and have demonstrated progression in their careers through promotions or by taking on increasing levels of responsibility.

Application deadlines

  • October 1 with decisions mailed by November 15
  • December 1 with decisions mailed by February 1
  • February 1 with decisions mailed by March 15
  • April 1 with decisions mailed by May 15

Deadlines that occur on a holiday or weekend will be extended through the next business day.

Admission is only offered for the fall semester. Early application is highly recommended in order to ensure a timely review of your application and for competitive scholarship consideration.

The best way to learn more about the Carlson Full-Time MBA program is to attend a Carlson Event where you can meet our admissions staff, hear the experiences of current students, and get answers to your questions.

You are not required to have an undergraduate degree, coursework, or work experience in business. About one-third of our students come from a traditional business undergraduate or professional background with another third of our students with a background in technology or engineering and the last third with backgrounds in a wide variety of disciplines and functional areas (such as non-profit, education, visual and performing arts, etc.).

We do not require coursework to prepare for the program. However, if you do not have an extensive quantitative background, it may be helpful to take an introductory statistics, business calculus, or accounting course.

Please submit a written request to the program office to have your application considered for an alternative MBA program. You will not need to complete new application materials nor submit a new application fee if transferring within the same academic year.

The Full-Time MBA program is structured and based on a cohort format with an integrated core curriculum for the first semester. As such, transfer students are not admitted into the Full-Time MBA program.

A deferral can be requested for one year from the student's original term of acceptance, however, admission is not automatically guaranteed. The application is put back into the applicant pool for the term in which deferral has been requested and again reviewed on its merits with other applicants in that pool. Another application fee is required and submission of updated materials is recommended.

Please contact the program office if you wish to be reconsidered for a subsequent term. You will update any necessary information in an online application for that term and we will match your previously submitted test scores and transcripts to that application. New test scores or transcripts will need to be sent to us separately. Submitted application materials will be kept on file in our program office for no more than two years.

No, core courses cannot be waived in the Full-Time MBA program. If a student has a substantial background in accounting and statistics, these courses can be substituted with electives.

Yes. If the courses enhance your academic career goals, you are permitted to take up to 8 graduate-level credits from other departments within the University of Minnesota.

Students in the Full-Time MBA program follow a structured 64-credit load (19 credits-fall first year, 18 credits-spring first year, 13 credits-fall second year and 14 credits-spring second credit semesters). Students interested in taking courses beyond the 64-credit requirement must submit a petition to request additional credits each semester. The petition is reviewed by the MBA program Associate Dean. Criteria considered include the program GPA, consultation with the Enterprise directors and Career Center Director and the thoughtfulness of the student's academic plan as indicated in the petition. If students are approved to take additional credits, the full cost of the additional credits is the responsibility of the student. Students pay the current per-credit tuition rate for additional and approved credits beyond the 64-credit program.

The Global Discovery Program, unique among public business schools, gives students in the Full-Time MBA program the opportunity to enrich their education and explore topics that have a profound impact on business around the world.

The course takes place during fall semester of your second year, and continues with a two-week international component in January. Each section of the class travels to a different location around the globe, reconvening at the Carlson School upon completion of the course to engage in a comparative analysis of different regions. If you wish to pursue additional international education opportunities beyond Global Discovery, you can apply for one of the Carlson School's Global Enrichment programs. For details, please visit the Education Abroad page.

The Carlson School uses a variety of teaching methods, including case studies (more than 50%), lectures, discussions, group projects, and programs placing students in the business community.

Required orientation typically takes place in mid-August with classes officially starting the day after Labor Day in September.

While there isn't any specific policy about working during the program, it is highly recommended that you do not work; especially the first semester. In their second year, full-time MBA students might pick up a part-time job or be a graduate or teaching assistant.

If you already have an MBA from an AACSB-accredited MBA program, you are not eligible to pursue the Carlson School MBA. If your MBA is not AACSB-accredited, you are eligible to pursue an MBA at Carlson. 

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