Professional MBA FAQ

Admission

What are the requirements for admission to the Professional MBA Program?

Students entering the Professional MBA (PMBA) Program must meet the following requirements:

  • A bachelor's degree from an accredited U.S. university (as determined by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation) or the non-U.S. equivalent 
  • Satisfactory GMAT/GRE score* (if applicable) 
  • TOEFL/IELTS score (if applicable). Please refer to TOEFL/IELTS requirements listed in the Academics and Test Scores section of the FAQ's 
  • Evidence of work experience and demonstrated responsibility and leadership
  • Solid communication and interpersonal skills—evaluated through written essays and recommendations—are also highly desirable qualities in a Professional MBA student.

After initial review of the application, the admissions committee may invite select applicants to conduct a formal evaluative interview.

*Applicants who can demonstrate strong quantitative and qualitative skills through a prior graduate degree from an accredited U.S. institution or an exceptional academic record from an undergraduate degree program at Pitt Business, and extensive post-bachelor’s professional experience may be considered for a GMAT/GRE waiver. To see if you’re eligible, please contact the director of admissions at mba@katz.pitt.edu or 412-648-1506.

How do you assess candidates for admission? What are the most important criteria? 

We assess a candidate by reviewing his or her entire application. Quantitative criteria include undergraduate performance, GMAT/GRE score (if applicable), and years of full-time post-undergraduate work experience. Also important are the qualitative components of the application, including career goals, letters of recommendation, personal essays, management potential, demonstrated examples of leadership, community service, and the evaluative interview.

Work experience can be an important differentiator for you during the admissions process. Moreover, it is important as you seek post-MBA advancement. We will consider significant internship experience in addition to full-time and part-time work experience. However, we ask that you clearly identify your work experience as one of these three categories on your résumé.

Prior work experience, in addition to the transformation process (including both academic and experiential components) undertaken at the Katz School, make an MBA student more desirable in a highly competitive job market. Recruiters look for you to connect your past work experience and MBA skill set to the job for which you are applying.

Will you provide a preliminary assessment of my qualifications?

Because we make admission decisions on the entirety of the application, we cannot provide a preliminary assessment of a candidate's qualifications. Once we receive all the required application materials, your complete application will be submitted to the Admissions Committee for review.

Do you offer conditional admission?

No, we do not offer conditional admission.

Application

When is the application deadline and when can I start? Is there only one start date?

The Professional MBA Program has three start dates: August (apply by July 1), January (apply by November 1), and May (apply by March 1).

Can you send me an application?

Applicants apply to the Professional MBA Program using our online application. You may edit your application at any time prior to submitting by logging in with your designated username and password. Please also refer to the application instructions for a list of required documents you must submit in addition to the online application. Questions? Contact the MBA Admissions Office at 412-648-1700 or via e-mail at mba@katz.pitt.edu.

Is there an application fee?

There is a $50 application fee for Professional MBA Program applicants.

Can I waive the GMAT or GRE?

Applicants who can demonstrate strong quantitative and qualitative skills through a prior graduate degree from an accredited U.S. institution or an exceptional academic record from an undergraduate degree program at Pitt Business, and extensive post-bachelor’s professional experience may be considered for a GMAT/GRE waiver. To see if you’re eligible, please contact the director of admissions at mba@katz.pitt.edu or 412-648-1506.

Do you require transcripts from all schools I previously attended or just the school from which I graduated? Should I have my transcripts sent directly to you, or should I send them with my other application materials?

Official Transcripts/Academic Documents from U.S. Institutions: We require current official transcripts from each college or university attended. Please submit documents from all academic work, undergraduate and graduate. You are responsible for obtaining all transcripts, including those from the University of Pittsburgh.

Official transcripts or credentials are those that bear the original signature of the registrar and the seal of the issuing institution. The envelopes containing your official transcripts must be sealed and signed across the envelope flap by the institution's registrar and arrive in our office unopened.

Official Transcripts/Academic Documents from non-U.S. Institutions: We require current official transcripts/mark sheets from each university attended. Official documents are defined as original academic records issued by the institution attended that bear the actual-not photocopied-signature of the registrar or appropriate official and the seal/stamp of the issuing institution.

Please submit documents from all academic work - undergraduate (Bachelor's level) and graduate (master's level and above). Please do not send secondary educational documents. These documents must be for EACH YEAR of university-level study, must list the course names, and must list the grades received. The official grading scale/system from each university attended must also be submitted.

You are also required to submit certified copies of your degree certificate(s)/diploma(s) that were issued to you at the convocation.

If your university issues the academic documents and diploma degree certificate in a language other than English, you must submit a certified copy of the original document in the original language PLUS a certified English translation. Do not submit a translation only. All translations must be complete and literal translations of the original records. We will not accept self-translated academic documents.

Official transcripts/academic documents should be mailed with all other application materials in one envelope. If necessary, transcripts may be sent directly from your school to the MBA Admissions Office.

University of Pittsburgh
Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business
3950 Roberto Clemente Drive
301 Mervis Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
Attention: Application Materials

Do you need to receive all the materials for my application at the same time?

In addition to the online portion, please submit all remaining materials (transcripts, etc.) at the same time. If it is not possible to send everything at once, we will hold your application until we receive all the materials necessary to make it complete. Please be advised that the Admissions Committee will not review any application that is missing any required supplemental document.

Have you received my application?

Applications are processed in the order in which they are received. Once you submit your application online, you will receive a confirmation via e-mail.

Have you received my application documents?

It is incumbent on you to ensure the MBA Admissions Office receives all required documents. Mail all application materials together in one envelope if possible. We will, however, accept transcripts and recommendations that are mailed directly to us. GMAT/GRE and TOEFL score reports (if applicable) will be mailed directly from the testing services. Applications are processed in the order in which they are received. To check on our receipt of your documents, please log into your ApplyYourself portal. We will update the portal for your reference within a few days of our receipt of any document. If there is a problem, we will email you. Due to the quantity of documents received in our office, we are unable to verify our receipt of individual documents.

Does my international academic background meet the requirements for the Katz MBA?

The University of Pittsburgh Office of Admissions reviews the academic qualifications of all international applicants (or U.S. citizens, permanent residents, or refugees who have studied outside the United States) and determines the comparability of the applicant's academic qualifications to those of a bachelor's degree earned at a U.S. regionally-accredited institution. Because we make admission decisions on the entirety of the application, we cannot provide a preliminary assessment of a candidate's qualifications. Once we receive all the required application materials, your complete application will be submitted to the Admissions Committee for review.

Do I have to take the TOEFL or IELTS?

We require the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) or IELTS (International English Language Testing System) for all applicants whose citizenship is in a country where the only official language is not English, even if English has been the medium of instruction. In cases where the applicant has earned an undergraduate or another graduate degree in the United States, the tests may be waived at the discretion of the Admissions Committee. Please be advised that there are several admissions offices within Katz, and MBA Admissions will not receive your TOEFL score unless Institution Code 2927-02 is used. Please DO NOT use Institution Code 2998. For our office to receive your IELTS score, you must contact your testing center and request that an official score report be sent to:

Katz Graduate School of Business
MBA Admissions
3950 Roberto Clemente Drive
301 Mervis Hall
Pittsburgh, PA 15260

What is the minimum TOEFL or IELTS score you accept?

The admission committee requires a minimum total score of 100 on the TOEFL. A minimum score of 7.0 is required for the IELTS exam. Please note that both the TOEFL score and IELTS score are valid for two years.

How will I be notified of the admission decision?

The MBA Admissions Office will send a notification via email that a decision can be viewed on your ApplyYourself portal. An electronic letter will be available in the portal as well.

Visiting Campus

Can I attend an information session (online, on campus, other off-site locations convenient to different areas of the city)?

We encourage you to visit us on campus so that you can meet our faculty and staff and interact with current students who have already gone through the admissions process. Below are several options:

On-Campus Information Sessions - Attend a group information session to receive advice on the application process and learn more about the curriculum.

Lunch with Student Ambassadors - Join us for lunch that includes panel presentations by students, faculty, and staff as well as workshops on a variety of topics.

Personal visits - Contact the MBA Admissions office at 412-648-1700 or via e-mail at mba@katz.pitt.edu to set up your own personal visit. Please provide at least two weeks notice if possible so that we can arrange meetings with students, staff, and faculty as well as a classroom observation. Since MBA courses are not held on Fridays, personal visits are conducted Monday through Thursday.

Other Events - This is a busy place! As a prospective student, you are welcome to attend other events. Check the PittBusiness online calendar.

Student Chats - The best people to talk to are the students who are earning their MBAs right now. Engage in a dialogue with a current Katz MBA student ambassador by sending an e-mail request to mba@katz.pitt.edu.

Virtual Open House - Are you unable to visit campus? We have created Virtual Open House sessions for our out-of-town and international students to help them learn about the Katz MBA program.

Class Observations - Schedule a personalized class visit and campus tour. Choose the course that best fits your area of interest and join our current students for an MBA level course.

Talk to our Faculty - Pitt Business faculty are researching the latest business concepts and theories to develop the best possible solutions for businesses. Whether they are generating new management theories, analyzing business cycles, researching the impact of governance, or testing distribution channels, our faculty members are recognized for their publications and contributions to business theory and business consulting. Regardless of your specific area of interest, we invite you to reach out to our faculty.

Is an interview required? How do I schedule one?

Interviews are conducted on campus or via Skype video if it is not possible to meet in person. We regret that we cannot conduct telephone interviews.

Interviews are arranged by invitation and take place after the admissions committee's initial review of a candidate's application.

Can I meet with Katz representatives off site? Are interviews conducted off campus?

Representatives from the Katz School's MBA programs will be in select locations during the current recruiting year to provide information and meet with prospective MBA candidates. Please check the recruiting schedule on our website to see if we will be in your city. If not, you may conduct your interview via Skype video.

Where are hotels or other places I can find accommodations when I visit?

Below is a list of area hotels if you need to spend the night near campus. Please contact the hotels directly to make reservations, but be sure to request the University rate. Most hotels offer shuttle service to and from Pittsburgh International Airport and to various locations on campus.

Wyndham Pittsburgh University Center
100 Lytton Place Pittsburgh, PA 15213 0.5 miles to Mervis Hall (within walking distance) Phone: 412-682-6200

Hampton Inn - Oakland
3315 Hamlet Street Pittsburgh, PA 15213 0.8 miles to Mervis Hall Phone: 412-681-1000

Marriott, Residence Inn - Oakland
3896 Bigelow Boulevard Pittsburgh, PA 15213 1.1 miles to Mervis Hall Phone: 412-621-2200

Hilton Garden Inn
3454 Forbes Avenue Pittsburgh, PA 15213 0.4 miles to Mervis Hall (within walking distance) Phone: 412-683-2040 Fax: 412-683-3934

Transferring/Deferred, Nondegree Admission

Can I transfer into your MBA program? Can I transfer credits from other MBA programs?

After applying and receiving admission to the program, you may apply to have your credits transferred through the Office of Student Services at 412-648-1666 or mbaadvising@katz.pitt.edu. We will consider transfer credits from MBA programs accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Any credits you wish to transfer will be subject to review by a Katz faculty member. We will accept up to 17 transfer credits for the Professional MBA program.

Can I transfer from the Professional MBA Program into the Full-Time MBA Program?

A Professional MBA (PMBA) student must apply for admission to the full-time MBA program. Due to the structure of the full-time program relative to the credits already earned by a PMBA student, admission is not always possible. After completing the first term, PMBA students must gain the approval of their student advisor in order to increase their credit load to full time. Students who register for nine credits or more during the fall or spring terms will pay the full-time tuition rate. All students pay a per-credit rate during the summer term.

If I am accepted into the MBA program, is it possible to defer admission to a future date?

Upon formal approval by the director of admissions, deferrals may be granted for a maximum of two start dates beyond the original term of acceptance. Requests for deferrals should be submitted in writing. Applicants who wish to defer admission beyond two start dates will be required to follow the reapplication procedure outlined for the Full-Time MBA Program.

Does Katz offer classes on a nondegree basis?

Students may apply as a "special student" through the Katz School's Office of Student Records at 412-648-1666. With approval, students may take a maximum of nine credits as a non-degree student. If you eventually decide to enroll in an MBA program, any credits you take will transfer into the program.

Admitted Students

How long will it take to complete the program?

Most students complete the program in three years taking classes year-round. The flexibility of the program, though, allows you to customize your courseload to your own needs and schedule. So if certain times of the year are busier at work or at home, you can take a lighter load to ensure you achieve the ideal balance. Similarly, if you have the time to fit in more credits in a particular term, you can do so.

What is the workload like (how many hours should I expect to spend on coursework and homework per week)?

Classes meet for three hours each week. Additionally, you can expect to spend approximately six hours per week on homework for each class.

How often am I required to be on campus?

Traditional on-campus courses meet weekly in the evenings. Blended courses meet weekly in an online format (each course meets one night per week), with two to three on-campus meetings each semester. Immersion courses meet Friday afternoon through Sunday for a single weekend (for 1.5-credit courses) or two weekends (for 3-credit courses).

How does the blended format (online and on campus) work?

Blended courses meet weekly in an online format (each course meets one night per week), with 2-3 on-campus meetings each semester. This gives students the flexibility to take classes without having to physically be on campus most of the semester, while also ensuring that they have quality, impactful interactions with faculty and classmates throughout the program. Online meetings take place over Zoom and are limited to small groups of students at a time to ensure meaningful interaction between students and faculty. Students also complete additional work at their own pace between meetings.

How much of the coursework is online and how much is on campus?

In blended courses, the majority of coursework is completed online, in both synchronous and asynchronous formats. This means you can do much of the work at your own pace, while also ensuring regular interaction with the faculty and your fellow students. Additionally, each blended course meets on-campus two to three times per semester, so that you still gain the benefit of face-to-face networking that fully on-campus programs offer.

What are the benefits of taking courses in the blended format?

The majority of the semester, students in blended courses engage in course meetings remotely. This means students still have regular, synchronous interaction with faculty and their peers, but they can attend from literally anywhere there is internet access. Residency weekends allow for the type of face-to-face contact between faculty and students and among students that can’t be replicated in an online environment. The blended format gives you the best of both worlds, while preparing you to successfully interact with colleagues in a variety of settings and mediums.

What are the technology/system requirements for taking classes online?

PMBA students will need internet connection and computer/laptop with a webcam and microphone. For camera or mic recommendations, please contact Katz IT at helpdesk@katz.pitt.edu.

How many credits must I complete—required and elective—in order to graduate?

51 credits

What will I be able to do once I graduate with an MBA from Katz?

As a master’s-level generalist in business, you will graduate able to understand all aspects of your current organization and work collaboratively with senior leadership. The MBA gives you the ability to confidentially speak their language and contribute to the success of your organization.

What are the faculty like? Do they understand business?

Our faculty members anchor our strong research culture and collaborative atmosphere. Their teaching approach ties the latest in business theory to experience-based learning to prepare students to be catalysts for change. From day one, you'll interact closely with your professors to build a strong foundation in core management principles and in your chosen business concentration. 

How are courses graded in the MBA program?

Most of our classes include group projects, case studies, and quizzes, as well as mid-term and final exams. Although the Katz School does have an overall grading policy, each faculty member determines his/her own weight for quizzes, exams, projects, and case studies as well as for attendance and class participation.

Is a laptop computer required?

For the Professional MBA Program, students are not required to have a laptop computer. However, faculty members may require a laptop for specific courses; these requirements will be determined prior to course registration. Katz students are eligible for discounts when purchasing certain laptop brands and models.

Where can I park my car while attending class?

You can obtain parking information and permit options by contacting the University's Office of Parking, Transportation and Services, located in 204 Brackenridge Hall. The University's Panther Hollow parking lot charges a flat rate of $5 per day. Students in need of daytime parking can request other designated parking lots ranging from $160-$368 per semester. Leases for Professional MBA students can be purchased for $62/term.

What is the community like?

Collaborative, supportive, and close-knit. Not cutthroat or competitive.

But don't take our word for it. Learn what the Katz community is like from someone who experienced it first hand:

"Katz is a credible and reputable business school that’s more affordable than others, and it comes with a strong community that makes it special and unique. I enjoy collaborating in a supportive environment with other hard-working, motivated students. The caring, accessible faculty has also made an impact on my personal and professional development." -Clara Lee, Professional MBA Class of 2017

What clubs or student organizations exist at Katz?

There are a variety of student clubs and organizations at the Katz School including the Entrepreneurs' Society, Finance Club, National Association of Women MBAs, Marketing Club, Business Technology Club, Operations Club, Consulting Club, Toastmasters International, Golf Club, Ski Club, and the Katz Rowing Team. For more information on student clubs and organizations, including student government organizations, visit the Student Life section of our web site.

What certificates do you offer to supplement my MBA?

The Katz School provides you the opportunity to add focused learning to your Katz MBA with one of our internal certificates. Note that these certificates are only available to students currently enrolled in an MBA program:

Business Analytics
Corporate Financial Management
Corporate Valuation
Digital Marketing
Global Management
Global Supply Chain Management
Investments and Trading
Organizational Leadership
Project Management
Technology, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship

What resources do you offer to underrepresented populations?

The Katz School is committed to recruiting highly talented women, minorities, and military veterans. Women MBAs have opportunities to network through the National Association of Women MBAs chapter at Katz. Katz maintains contact with Pitt's Veterans Services Office to ensure that military students are receiving all the benefits available to them. Scholarships exist for diversity students through Katz's partnerships with the National Black MBA Association (NBMBAA), the Association of Latino Professionals in Finance and Accounting, the National Society of Hispanic MBAs, and others.

Financing My MBA

Will my employer pay for it?

While we can’t determine if your employer will pay, we are happy to provide any necessary documentation your employer may require.

I am a current University of Pittsburgh or UPMC employee. Where do I find information about employer assistance for my MBA?

Please speak with your HR liaison to learn about your individual employee benefits and the paperwork required to receive tuition benefits. Pitt employees may visit hr.pitt.edu/current-employees/benefits/education-benefits for more information on education benefits. Your Pitt login will be required.

What financial aid or scholarships are available?

For other types of financial aid, such as educational loans or private, third-party scholarships, Katz students should work with the University of Pittsburgh Office of Admission and Financial Aid (note this Office also services undergraduate students). For more information about financial aid, please visit the University of Pittsburgh's Office of Admission and Financial Aid.

Career and Networking

How will getting an MBA benefit my career?

  • It opens doors for promotions that wouldn’t be possible without a master’s degree—graduates frequently move into leadership positions.
  • It gives you a credential that differentiates you from your competition.
  • It provides you with the opportunity to build your professional network. 

Will I have the opportunity to learn from, meet, interact with any current business executives?

Through various opportunities such as Consulting Field Projects and Management Simulations, students have the opportunity to work with our executives-in-residence, as well as current business executives from Pittsburgh-based national and international companies. Additionally, students who participate in Global Research Practicums will meet with international business executives in person during site visits. Many faculty also host executives as guest speakers on special topics within courses. Katz also hosts a number of networking events throughout the year in which students, alumni, and executives interact.

I already have a job. What kinds of career management services do you offer that will benefit me?

Many students find new roles within or outside their organization while pursuing an MBA. Whether you are up for promotion or thinking about moving into a different role or company, our team is ready to help you succeed. Our services range from resume construction and critique, interview preparation, salary negotiation, career exploration, networking assistance, or job search tips, but by no means is this an exhaustive list. If you think we may be able to help, please reach out!

What opportunities does Katz have for experience-based learning?

One of the defining characteristics of business education at Pitt Business is the importance we place on experience-based learning (EBL). Whereas many business schools only mention the importance of experiential learning, we attempt to integrate EBL across our curriculum. To accomplish this, we use simulations and case competitions and encourage students to become involved in one of our many Consulting Field Projects or to take on a consulting position (providing market research, business plan review, and financial plan development services to entrepreneurs in a number of different industries) with our Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence. The culmination of the course is the McKinsey Cup Competition where student teams compete for the coveted McKinsey Cup Trophy.

What other opportunities will be available to me as a student?

Professional MBA (PMBA) students are encouraged to participate in all aspects of student life at Katz. They are represented by a Professional Student Executive Board, which both plans events to meet the unique interests and schedules of professional students and works with the (Full-time) Student Executive Board to plan larger events for the entire Katz community. PMBA students are also welcome to join any other student organizations alongside the full-time students, such as the Consulting Club, Business Technology Club, and Finance Club.

PMBA students can also participate in case competitions, with several local competitions meeting the travel constraints of students who work full time.

PMBA students also frequently join Global Research Practicum (GRP) trips that are held over spring break each year. Recent trips have traveled to locations such as Ireland, Singapore, Chile, England, Belgium, Argentina, and China. GRP trips focus on a specific current issue in business and include site visits to a number of international businesses on location. Students gain insight into current issues, while also building soft skills such as intercultural competence, communication, and critical thinking.

Where are alumni employed and what are they doing?

Members of the Class of 2018-19 found new positions or received promotion at a wide array of organizations. A majority of Katz Professional MBA Program graduates stayed in the Pittsburgh region at companies such as BNY Mellon, Highmark, PNC, and PPG. Some graduates opted to pursue roles outside the region at large companies with leadership development programs such as AstraZeneca and AT&T. Position titles for recent graduates vary across concentration and include vice president, director, project manager, senior business analyst, account manager, engineer, senior financial analyst, and many more.

Do you offer any resources for entrepreneurs and/or small business owners?

Katz does not have specific resources for entrepreneurs or small business owners. However, the Pitt Small Business Development Center does. Please visit entrepreneur.pitt.edu/sbdc-consulting.