Frequently Asked Questions

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Why an MBA?
An MBA is a universal degree that can be used in combination with a variety of undergraduate degrees and backgrounds. No matter what career path you choose, you will be faced with business scenarios and decisions at some point. Where an undergraduate degree will give you tools to use, the graduate degree will give you the methodology and practice for decision making. You will be able to factor in the uncertainties of a real-world situation and choose from many right answers. This skill and knowledge combination makes an attractive package for employers in a variety of industries.
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Should I pursue the MBA or the MSA?
Comparing the MBA and MSA degrees is a little like comparing apples to oranges because they each serve a different purpose.

If you want to be a CPA, you want to be in an MSA program. The MSA degree is designed to prepare you to pass the CPA exam and a career in accounting. Not necessarily public accounting: Certainly, there are many CPAs in business and industry.

Our MSA program is campus-based only. The issue with the internet for the MSA is one of course difficulty and appropriateness for the internet. The accounting faculty has examined the issues and has determined that online course delivery is not conducive to the MSA program. There are no shortcuts to becoming a CPA. It takes time and commitment beyond that required for an undergrad degree.

A word of caution is merited. To the best of our knowledge, there are only a few AACSB-accredited MSA programs in the country that are online. Be very careful of non-accredited programs. If you are going to be paying your money, you want to get something of value (academically and professionally) out of it. Accreditation gives you some confidence as to that issue.

If you don’t want to be a CPA, the MBA program works great. Our accredited program is available online and through afternoon or night classes. The MBA is much broader in scope and prepares students for a wide range of careers in any industry. Its purpose is to provide professional training to students for careers as effective and responsible administrators. Thus, this program lends itself very well to online delivery, accommodating great distances and a large number of schedules.

If you are asking the question which degree carries more weight – it depends on the context in which you are asking. If someone is hiring a public accountant or the CFO of a company is hiring the Director of Accounting, the MSA is clearly superior. If someone is hiring a marketing person for a company or the general manager of a manufacturing company, then the MBA probably has the edge.
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Is the MBA available completely online?
Yes, the MBA degree is available completely online. There is no campus visit required.
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Is the MSA available completely online?
No, the MSA cannot be obtained online. Only a few of the required MSA classes are available online. The issue with the internet for the MSA is one of course difficulty and appropriateness for the internet. The accounting faculty has examined the issues and has determined that online course delivery is not conducive to the MSA program.
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What differences are there between the campus-based and online programs?
In regards to program specifics, the College of Business does not differentiate between delivery methods. Your program will be the same regardless of whether online or face to face. This includes admission criteria, application deadlines, and class requirements. You can mix delivery methods in a semester, or change from semester to semester. Please note that tuition waivers and graduate assistantships are not available to online students. Also note that online classes will require a proctor for exams.

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What can I expect in an online class?
There is very little difference between the online classes and the face-to-face classes aside from the obvious fact that you're not physically in class. With few exceptions, the same professor that teaches the face-to-face class also teaches the online class. The course content, the volume of work, the textbook, homework, assignments, etc. are the same. You still interact with your professor and classmates, only in the online class the interaction is via email, chat rooms, and threaded discussions. Your professor may also require group projects and team activities, you just move information electronically rather than meeting in the graduate lounge or library. Blackboard is the primary means of disseminating information regardless if you're in the face-to-face class or the online class.

Most professors require at least a midterm and final exam that require a proctor or campus visit. Either is acceptable. Proctors must meet the approval of the college. Exams may be paper-based or computer-based at the discretion of the professor. Visit http://www.ecu.edu/cs-bus/examproctoring.cfm for the proctor policy.

In online classes, you do things in "bands" of time. For example, you may have from Monday morning 8am to Wednesday afternoon 5pm to take the quiz. If you work second shift at a manufacturing facility and 3AM after work is when you study then you can log in and take the quiz at a time that is convenient for you. Typically, major project and paper deadlines have specific dues dates

The most important issue concerning online classes is one of self-control. Students need to be honest with themselves and ask "How disciplined a person I'm I?" The volume of work is greater than what most people were used to at the undergraduate level. It doesn't take very long at all to fall behind in a graduate class. On the other hand, if you work well without the "classroom deadline" or if you work at a pace that's faster than the class average, you may find internet classes very attractive. The advantage here is that you can work at your pace, completing your coursework at the time of day or night that works best with your schedule.

The amount of time required for both the face-to-face classes and Internet classes are very close. You’ll need 10-15 hours of work a week for first year classes (numbered under 6300) and 15-20 hours per week for second year classes (over 6300).

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How are tests administered in an online course?
Exams are either paper-based or delivered online via Blackboard. All online classes will have at least one proctored exam; most classes will have more than one. You must either find a proctor in your area that meets the approval of the College of Business, or you may use the proctoring office at ECU. We strive to make the process of finding a proctor as easy as possible. Visit
http://www.ecu.edu/cs-bus/op.cfm  for the proctor policy.
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There wasn’t a place to indicate online degree on the application...
This is no cause for concern. The College of Business does not differentiate between delivery methods. Your program will be the same regardless of whether online or face to face. The delivery method will be determined at the time of registration.
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What are the deadlines to apply?
View Deadlines.

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Are the letters of reference and the statement of purpose essay required?
These items are not required for application to the MBA or MSA program. Our admission is based on an objective formula, therefore these materials will not factor into the admission decision.

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Is work experience required?
Although work experience is not necessary to get into the program, it does bring an added dimension to the classroom, both in terms of what the student contributes to and receives from the class. Thus it is preferable for a student to have work experience. But it is not required and will not adversely affect the admission decision.

However, experience is important when the student begins looking for a job after graduation. Experience helps students either get a job or get a better job. Thus, we strongly encourage students with no experience to gain work experience while they are in the program.
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Is the GMAT required?
The GMAT is the required admission test for application to the MBA or MSA program. Applicants who have completed an advanced degree which required an entrance exam (GRE, LSAT, etc.) or have a cumulative undergraduate GPA or 3.3 or greater and have completed 10 years of professional experience post graduation may qualify to waiver the GMAT requirement.  GMAT Waiver Request Form

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What is the GMAT?
The GMAT exam is a test of general skills and abilities that you have acquired over time. Do your best by understanding the format and content of the test. Your GMAT scores are one measure of your potential for academic success in a graduate business program.

The GMAT is only given on the computer and is only given at designated testing centers. You must set an appointment (you can’t just walk in). You can find local testing centers and make an appointment via www.mba.com
. The cost of the GMAT is $250.

The GMAT has three "sections." The first part of the test is two 30-minute writing sections. The second part is a 75-minute math section. The third part is a 75-minute verbal section. Scores on the two writing sections are used to give you an Analytical Writing Assessment (AWA) score that
ranges from 0 to 6. Scores on the math and verbal sections are combined to give you a GMAT score that ranges from 200 to 800.

The GMAT is different than other tests you have taken. It is also similar to other tests in one critical respect – you will do better on the GMAT if you study for it.

Go to www.mba.com. At the top of the first page in the middle it says "Take the GMAT." Click on that and go to the bottom of the page on the right side where it says "Free GMAT Test Power Prep Software." Click on that and you will go to a download page and then to a page where you need to put in your ID and password. At this point, you can register with mba.com (click on the appropriate spot under the ID/PW boxes). After registration you can continue and download (for FREE) the Power Prep software.

Once you have downloaded the program from GMAC, you need to install it on your computer. The file is a self-executing file that you install by double clicking on the program icon and following the prompts.

Additionally, The College of Business Professional Programs Office offers a GMAT review course each semester. For more information, contact the office at the following address:

College of Business
Office of Professional Programs
1200 Bate Building
Greenville NC 27858
Phone 252.328.6377
cobprofpro@ecu.edu
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How many classes should I take each semester?
Based on the comments of many students in the past, if you are working a 40 hour job, you can probably handle 2 classes. If you work 20 hours or less a week, then probably 3 is fine. If your 40 hour job is really 60 hours, one class will be plenty. You'll need 10-15 hours of work a week for the first year classes (numbered under 6300) and 15-20 hours per week for the second year classes (over 6300).

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Can I waive any of the MBA classes since I took undergraduate business classes?
The ten business core course component is designed to quickly give a non-business undergraduate student the same academic knowledge-base as that of an undergraduate business student. Some or all of these classes may be waived if students have completed appropriate undergraduate course work at acceptable performance levels. Course waivers are made on a course-by-course basis as approved by the College of Business Graduate Programs Office if equivalent undergraduate courses have been completed with a minimum grade of B.

The ten business core courses and the corresponding ECU undergraduate courses required for waiver can be found at www.ecu.edu/business/checksheets.cfm.

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Would I be considered an NC resident?
To qualify as a resident for tuition purposes, a person must become a legal resident and remain a legal resident for at least twelve months immediately prior to classification. Thus, there is a distinction between legal residence and residence for tuition purposes. Furthermore, twelve months legal residence means more than simple abode in NC. In particular, it means maintaining a permanent home of indefinite duration as opposed to maintaining a mere temporary residence to enroll in an institution of higher education.

Thus, physical residence alone is not sufficient. The big indicators are: drivers license, voter registration, physical residence, car registration, etc. Every one of those must be in place for a calendar year before someone can even hope to have in-state status. For example, if you started living in North Carolina January 2007 but you delayed getting a NC drivers license until March 2007, the year doesn’t start ticking until March 2007 (or the latest of the dates).

The reason for this is that in-state tuition is very, very cheap. The NC Legislature sets the rules for in-state status. The Universities do not. The Legislature has written the rules into the Law, not just regulations. They are very meticulous about people getting in-state status.

The Graduate School (252-328-6012) is responsible for interpreting the law with regard to in-state status and can further clarify the distinction between in-state and non-state residence. Students can appeal their out-of-state status. The link to their web page that contains a summary of the policies governing the determination of in-state residency for tuition purposes is
http://www.ecu.edu/cs-acad/gradschool/residency.cfm .
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Can I get scholarships or financial assistance?
Information on Financial Assistance is available at http://www.ecu.edu/cs-bus/gradfinasst.cfm

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Can I take graduate classes before I apply to the program?
It is not possible to take graduate business classes before applying to the MBA program. You must be admitted to the MBA program before you can take graduate business classes.
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I am in an MBA program at another school. Can I take graduate business classes at ECU?
Enrollment in our courses is strictly controlled. Please refer to non-degree information.

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Will classes from my current school transfer into your MBA program?
We need to distinguish between the terms "waiver" and "transfer." The MBA degree consists of two components or two groups of 10 classes each – the core component and the breadth component.

Core business classes (the group of 10 classes that is the equivalent to a general business undergraduate degree) may be waived on a course-by-course, case-by-case basis. Students do not receive credit for waived classes; the classes are just not a part of the student's curriculum. Predominately, waivers are based on a student's previous course work and performance both undergraduate and graduate. We look at all previously completed course work from all universities, community colleges, technical colleges, junior colleges, etc. that are at least regionally accredited to determine waivers. Therefore, some courses from your current school may waive our MBA core courses and reduce your overall program.

The term "transfer" refers to taking a class at another institution and receiving credit for the grade and hours when satisfying part of the student's breadth component of his or her ECU MBA curriculum requirements. The breadth component is the group of 10 classes that go beyond the core level. Every student must complete this group of classes. However, up to a maximum of nine credit hours may transfer into a student's breadth curriculum if the classes are completed at another AACSB accredited institution and the classes taken at the other school are sufficiently close to the classes in the ECU program. Thus, students receive credit when a class transfers into his or her program.
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Can I get information mailed to me?
Due to budgetary restrictions, we are unable to mail program information.  You may download a printable Information Packet 
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For Current Students Only

How do I access my email?
You log into all ECU electronic resources (email, Blackboard, OneStop) using your PirateID and passphrase. Information about your PirateID and default passphrase will be forwarded to you by the University in separate mailings.  Your advisor will also discuss your PirateID and default passphrase with you during your initial advising appointment.  Problems with user IDs or passphrases are resolved by calling the student help desk at 252.328.9866.

Email is the primary means of contact. ECU faculty and administration use only ECU student email accounts. It is assumed that you have received and read your email messages within 24-hours of the time the message was sent. You may reach the email login site at piratemail.ecu.edu.
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How do I access my online class?
You log into all ECU electronic resources (email, Blackboard, OneStop) using your PirateID and passphrase. Information about your PirateID and default passphrase will be forwarded to you by the University in separate mailings.  Your advisor will also discuss your PirateID and default passphrase with you during your initial advising appointment.  Problems with user IDs or passphrases are resolved by calling the student help desk at 252.328.9866.

Blackboard is the primary means of disseminating information to students. Use your PirateID and passphrase to log into your Blackboard account. You may reach the Blackboard login site at blackboard.ecu.edu. You may want to bookmark the Blackboard login site as you will need to check your Blackboard courses daily.
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What is the difference between my ECU ID and Pirate ID? How are they used?
The Pirate ID is also referred to as your username/userid.  This is how you are identified for logging into most computing resources at ECU.  It is made up of your initials and birthdate (MMDD). Your Pirate ID can be found in your Admissions letter.  You can also find your Pirate ID by going to
www.ecu.edu and selecting the Email and Phone icon. Type your last name and first name and click Search. Your email address will be displayed.  Your Pirate ID is the first part of your email address ("PirateID"@ecu.edu).

You have also been assigned a unique "ECU ID" that identifies you as a student at East Carolina University. Your ECU ID - also known as your Banner ID, but different that your Pirate ID - will be required for very important functions such as dropping courses.

Helpful Hint: If you forget your ECU ID or passphrase go to www.ecu.edu, select the PirateID icon, answer your security questions to gain access to your ECU ID, change your passphrase, and/or unlock your account!

You can also find your ECU ID in OneStop.
Go to
www.ecu.edu and select the OneStopicon.
Enter your Pirate ID and passphrase.
From the "Tools" page, select "What is My ECU (Banner) ID? located in the Banner box.
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Who is my advisor? MBA and MSA Advisors (pdf)

Where can I get technology help?
The IT Help Desk, online at
http://help.ecu.edu offers technical assistance to ECU students including software support, answers to general technology-related questions, getting connected to the university network and more.

IT Help Desk: Regular Hours: Monday - Friday, 8:00am - 5:00pm
After-Hours Student Support: Sunday - Thursday, 24 hour Support
                                         Friday - Saturday, 8:00am - 8:00pm

Phone Support: 252-328-9866 or Toll-Free 1-800-340-7081
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College of Business Graduate Programs
3203 Bate Building, Greenville, NC 27858-4353
Phone: 252.328.6970      Email: gradbus@ecu.edu
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