Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the size of the program?
Each year we enroll approximately 220 students for the Full-Time MBA Program. For the fall 2021 entering cohort, the class size is 218.
Are there any programs that connect prospective applicants with current students?
The MBA Student Ambassador Program provides you with opportunity to meet current students on campus. Read their bios and contact them with your questions.
Can you provide feedback on my candidacy prior to submitting an application?
We are not able to provide specific feedback on your application in person or over the phone. We encourage you to review the MBA Class Profile page and to get some external feedback from a colleague or friend.
Do you provide scholarships based on financial need?
Scholarships are merit-based. The Admissions Committee bases scholarship award decisions on a range of criteria, including scholastic merit, leadership, work experience and other characteristics that add value to the academic and social atmosphere of USC Marshall. Two-year awards range from $10,000 to full-tuition.
Do I need work experience to apply?
Work experience is not required to apply, but on average, the Fall 2021 entering class had 5 years of work experience. Students with work experience generally get more out of the program and contribute to classroom discussion and team projects.
Are there any prerequisites to apply or enroll? Do I need a degree in a specific major?
The only prerequisite is a Bachelor’s degree. College graduates from all majors are welcome to apply.
I have a three-year bachelor’s degree from outside the U.S. Am I eligible to apply?
Per the Marshall School of Business MBA Admissions requirements, all applicants must have received the equivalent of a four-year bachelor's degree from an accredited institution. While it is possible for some universities to provide an equivalent 4-year degree in only 3 years, USC cannot make any determinations to an applicant’s eligibility until a completed application is received.
For this reason, it is up to each individual applicant to determine whether they would like to apply even with the possibility that their degree might make them ineligible for the USC Marshall School of Business MBA Program.
I already have an MBA. Am I eligible to apply?
Yes, you eligible to apply. In the application, be sure to explain why you are pursuing a second MBA.
Admissions & Interview Process
How do you weigh the various parts of the application?
We use a holistic approach. No one section is worth more than another.
Can I submit my application without test scores?
Yes, but be sure to provide test dates on your application and submit test results to MBA Admissions by no later than 2 weeks after an application round deadline, to be considered part of that round. However, we do reserve the right to make a decision based on the application you submitted.
When is the best time to submit my application?
Apply when you feel your application is strongest. However, international students are encouraged to submit their application by round 3, to ensure there is enough time to process the I-20, should they be admitted.
Can I request to be interviewed?
No. Interviews are by invitation only. We will contact you, if we want to interview you.
If I’m invited to be interviewed, do I have to travel to Los Angeles?
Due to Covid-19, the USC campus is closed to visitors. All interviews will be held virtually until further notice.
If the USC campus is open when you are asked to interview, consider visiting Los Angeles. It’s the best way to learn more about the Full-Time MBA Program, USC Marshall, and Los Angeles.
If you do not live in the area or are not able to travel to Los Angeles, you can be interviewed via video conference. Interviews are also conducted in other locations around the world.
In person and virtual interviews hold the same weight and will not affect admissions decisions.
Who conducts the interviews? How long does it last?
Interviews will be conducted by a members of the Admissions Committee or by a current MBA student. Interviews typically last between 30-45 minutes.
If my transcript is not in English, does it need to be translated?
USC requires both the original transcript and a translated copy.
Do I need to mail official copies of my transcript?
During the application process, you can upload unofficial transcripts. However, positive admissions decisions will not be made until official transcripts and degree certificate have been received and evaluated by the USC Graduate Admissions Office.
Is there a minimum GPA?
There is no minimum GPA. View the Class Profile page to see the average GPA based on a 4.0 scale. On the application, enter your GPA based on the GPA scale at your university. Graduate Admissions will provide MBA Admissions with an estimate based on a 4.0 scale.
Is there a minimum GMAT/GRE score?
Which test do you prefer, GMAT or GRE?
We accept both and do not have a preference.
If I have taken both the GMAT and GRE, which should I submit?
In such cases, you should submit both test scores. We will consider your most favorable test score in our assessment.
How long is the GMAT or GRE score valid?
Your test score is valid for 5 years. It should have been taken on or after August 1, 2017.
Do I need to send my official test score?
During the application process, you can upload an unofficial test score report. However, positive admissions decisions will not be made until your test score has been received by the USC Graduate Admissions Office.
Is the TOEFL or IELTS required?
International applicants (those who are not U.S. citizens or not U.S. permanent residents) whose native language is not English must submit at least one of these test score reports.
Marshall, however, does not require the submission of English Proficiency Exam scores by international applicants for the Full-Time MBA program who hold a bachelor’s degree completed in its entirety at an officially recognized non-U.S. university in which English is the language of instruction.
What are the institution codes to submit an official GMAT, GRE, TOEFL or IELTS score?
IETLS Choose “University of Southern California, Graduate Programs”
Test Waiver Requests
Are you allowing the option for standardized test waivers requests?
For the 2021-22 admissions cycle, the Full-Time MBA Program is providing candidates the option of submitting a standardized test (GMAT or GRE) waiver request
What is the basis upon which Marshall will decide on test waivers?
Standardized tests provide the Admissions Committee with some evidence of a candidate’s ability (quantitative, verbal, and analytical) to perform academically in the MBA core curriculum. Test scores also serve to provide an indication of English language capability. Therefore, the basis for your waiver request – and your response to the Test Waiver Request Essay – should be grounded in a record of exceptional academic achievement that includes demonstrated mathematical preparedness. While professional experience can be included as a component of the waiver request, the Admissions Committee will most strongly consider two elements: 1) overall academic achievement; and 2) performance in quantitative coursework.
How should I determine whether or not to submit a test waiver request?
It is our belief that most applicants should submit a standardized test score as part of the application process. That said, some candidates may be able to demonstrate exceptional academic proficiency (quantitative, verbal, and analytical) in other ways. It is important that you review the most recent class profile to get an understanding of the competitiveness of the application process.
If I am applying through the Consortium, can I submit a test waiver request?
Yes. The process, however, is slightly different. If you plan to submit a Consortium application, you should review the Consortium Applicants section of the Marshall website and submit your test waiver request using the form provided on that site. While it is not necessary, you should try to submit your request at least 10 business days prior to your intended Consortium application submission.
How do I submit a test waiver request?
With the exception of candidates who are applying through The Consortium, only candidates who have applied to the program can submit a waiver request. The process requires two steps (Please note that failure to complete both steps may result in a deny decision.):
Step #1 – Submit a complete application that includes a résumé, all academic transcripts, and a response to the Test Waiver Request Essay (included in the application). In addition, you should respond affirmatively to the question in the application that asks if you are submitting a test waiver request.
Step #2 – Once you have submitted your application, please email FTtestwaiver@marshall.usc.edu to alert us of your submission. The subject line should read “Test Waiver Request – Application Submitted.” Please include your First Name, Last Name, Date of Birth, and USC CAS ID# (located in the top right corner of your online application) in the email, so that we can easily locate your file.
When and how will I be notified of the test waiver decision?
Within 10 business days of our receipt of your email (see Step #2 in the preceding question), you will receive an email from the Admissions Office to let you know if the test waiver has been granted or not.
If granted a test waiver, what happens next?
If you are granted a test waiver, we will proceed with the review of your application and provide you with a decision within the notification dates published on the admissions website.
If my test waiver request is not granted, what happens next?
If you are not granted a test waiver, you must submit either the GMAT or GRE before the Admissions Committee will review your application for a final decision. The email that you receive from us will provide you with additional details. You will have the option to withdraw from consideration or continue in the process, subject to receipt of test scores. Since your application will be fully assessed only after you have submitted test scores, this may alter the admissions round in which you are considered.
If my test waiver request is not granted, can I appeal or reapply for a waiver in a subsequent round?
No. All test waiver decisions are final and not subject to an appeals process. In addition, a test waiver can only be requested once per admissions cycle.
Will my chances for admission be negatively impacted if I do not submit test scores?
If you receive a test waiver, your chances for admission will not be negatively impacted. Keep in mind, however, that your candidacy is assessed against all other applicants to the program. Standardized tests provide the Admissions Committee with relevant information. A lack of a standardized test score means that all other elements of your application will take on a heightened significance.
Will I still be eligible for scholarships if I am admitted without test scores?
Yes. All admitted students will be reviewed for scholarship opportunities at the point of admission. While standardized test score serve as one additional data point in our admissions and scholarship decisions, if you receive a test waiver, your chances for a scholarship will not be negatively impacted.
If I have previously submitted test scores to USC but later receive a test waiver, will my previous scores be included in the assessment of my application?
If my request for a test waiver is denied, should I take this as an indication of the final admissions decision?
No. The test waiver request process is treated independently of the admissions decision. Denial of a waiver request simply means that we require a standardized test to make a full assessment of your candidacy for the program. All applications are reviewed holistically, and there are a multitude of factors that play a role in the ultimate admissions decision.
If a test waiver is granted, should I take this as an indication of the final admissions decision?
No. The test waiver request process is treated independently of the admissions decision. A test waiver simply means that we do not require that data point to make an assessment of your candidacy for the program. All applications are reviewed holistically, and there are a multitude of factors that play a role in the ultimate admissions decision.
How will employers view the lack of standardized test score?
A small number of employers may request standardized test scores as part of their recruiting process.
Is it possible to submit a request for an English Proficiency exam (TOEFL or IELTS) waiver?
No. The waiver option only applies to GMAT or GRE waiver requests. The rules associated with the English Proficiency exam requirement can be found here.
How many students are international?
Typically, about one third of the class consists of international (non-U.S. citizens and non-U.S. permanent residents) students. For the fall 2021 entering class, the international population was 34% of the enrolling class.
How can I connect with current international students?
Some of our Student Ambassadors are international students. Any student ambassador will be happy to connect you with a current international student from your home country.
What are the tuition costs for international students?
Since USC is a private university, the tuition costs are the same for domestic and international students. Estimated tuition, fees and living expenses can be found here.
Are there any special scholarships for international students?
USC Marshall scholarships are open to both domestic and international students. There is no separate application.
Does Marshall provide loans for international students?
USC does not provide loans to international students. Foreign citizens can apply for a private loan with a creditworthy U.S. or permanent resident co-borrower only. There are some financial institutions which provide loans without a co-signer.
What is the quickest way to receive my I-20 should I be admitted?
I-20’s are issued after you have submitted your Intent to Enroll and all required documents have been received by the USC I-20 Processing Office. (Allow 3 weeks for the I-20 to be processed, beginning March 1)
When do I need to submit my financial documentation?
Financial documentation is not required to submit at the time of application or for the MBA Admissions Committee to make a decision. However, it is required for you to obtain your I-20, should you be admitted.
Do I need to complete the IERF process as part of the admissions process?
You do not need to complete this process as part of the admissions process, but it must be completed before you finish your first semester at USC Marshall.
Where can I find additional information for International Students?
Shortly after you are admitted to USC Marshall School of Business you will receive a USC Marshall School of Business International Student Welcome Guide, designed to answer many of the frequently asked questions by incoming international MBA students.
In the meantime, you are welcome to explore the information and services offered through the USC Office of International Services. This office provides orientation programs and continuing support services for all USC international students and their dependents. Specially trained professional counselors and student peer counselors are available to advise you about immigration regulations, academic progress, financial concerns, housing and adjusting to life in the United States. Year-round social and cultural activities are also sponsored through this office. For information, contact (213) 740-2666, or visit ois.usc.edu