Edilix's Exclusive Admissions Interview with Miriam Fisas,
Marketing Specialist for U. of Chicago Barcelona Program


Edulix: Does the reputation of the high school or university your applicants attended matter for admission consideration? Does it matter in admission decision if there are a lot of applicants from the same institution?
Miriam Fisas: The reputation of the school or university our candidates attended are a guarantee of their academic preparation. However, what really matters to us is their academic records. The fact that many applicants are from the same institution is not an issue for admission consideration. At the Europe Campus of The University of Chicago GSB, 96% students come from different countries, other than Spain. Therefore, their academic backgrounds differ greatly. Our student body is very varied not only academically, but also professionally.

Questions about GPA
Edulix:
How valuable/important is GPA in your admission decisions?
Miriam Fisas: Academic performance is one of the most important criteria for admission. Nontheless, it's not the only one. Professional background and international exposure are as crucial.

Edulix: Some international universities and departments have tough grading standards that make it very difficult for students to score beyond a certain percentile (say 70%). How do you rate such grades? Does a 70% in such a university correspond to an "A" at your university?
Miriam Fisas: Since our program is an Executive M.B.A., where most of the students have already proved through their professional careers, that they can manage difficult situations, and, in addition, it has been a while since they obtained their undergraduate degree, assessing their academic performance becomes more an overall feeling, rather than a strict quantitative evaluation of grades.

Edulix: Questions about GRE
Miriam Fisas: Not required of Executive M.B.A. Program candidates.

Edulix: Does the quarter/semester applicants plan to attend have a bearing on their admissibility/admission chances? In other words, do Fall and Spring applicants have similar chances of admission?
Miriam Fisas: At the Europe Campus of The University of Chicago there is only one starting date, early July. How about chances for getting Financial Aid? The Financial Aid Office, headquartered in Chicago, is a service available to all University of Chicago students, regardless of nationality, type of program and backgrounds.

Edulix: Which majors/programs are popular choices by both American and International students?
Miriam Fisas: The Executive M.B.A. Program - Europe in Barcelona is focused on General Management. No electives offered, nor other orientation.

Edulix: How do you deal with applications that were partially completed (say 75%) at the application deadline? Which are the documents that have to be absolutely completed at the deadline? Also which documents can be submitted at a later time?
Miriam Fisas: Unlike in Chicago, the Europe Campus has a more lenient policy in terms of application completion and deadlines. Each candidate is treated on a one to one basis and their personal and professional circumstances are taken into account at a given point, were they not able to submit completed application packages by the desired deadline.

Edulix: How does the admission decision work at your institution? Please give us a breakdown in terms of undergraduate and graduate students.
Miriam Fisas: Admission decisions are taken on a rolling basis. There are two deadlines for submission of application: early deadline in December and late deadline in April.

Edulix: How does work experience affect the strength of an application package?
Miriam Fisas: Work experience is the utmost criterium for admission into The University of Chicago GSB's Executive M.B.A. Program - Europe. Our students hold an average work experience of 12 years. Most of them are in middle or senior management positions at big corporations or own their own businesses.

Financial Aid Question:

Edulix: What do you think are the most common ways of financing for both American and International students? Please give us a breakdown in terms of undergraduate and graduate students.
2) Do you feel most graduate students find some kind of financial assistantship during their studies at your institution?
3) How do you rate the percentage of students who fail to complete their studies due to financial difficulty?
Miriam Fisas:

Financial Aid for Executive M.B.A. Students

The GSB financial aid office offers two types of loan assistance to admitted Executive MBA students: The Federal Stafford Student Loan program, and a private alternative loan program. Students must meet certain eligibility criteria to qualify for the Federal Stafford Loan. These criteria are: be a U.S. citizen or U. S. permanent resident; enrolled at least half time (two or more courses each quarter); be in a program leading to a degree; maintain satisfactory academic progress as defined by the educational program; be in compliance with selective service registration; not be in default on any educational loan; not owe a refund on a federal grant or loan; never been convicted of any illegal drug offense; have a U.S. social security number; have a U.S. address. Information for international students is below.

Application Process
All admitted U.S. citizens and U. S. permanent resident students who want to apply for financial aid should contact the financial aid office to obtain a financial aid application packet. The packets are available in late March. The packet contains a GSB financial aid application, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), a Federal Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note, a Federal Stafford Loan Amount Request form, and an alternative loan application. Students applying for the Federal Stafford loan have to complete and submit the FAFSA to a federal processing center. The web site for more information on federal financial aid for students is www.ed.gov/offices/OPE. The University of Chicago Graduate School of Business Title IV school code is E00512. The GSB financial aid application, Federal Stafford Loan Master Promissory Note, Federal Stafford Loan Amount Request form, and the alternative loan application are to be completed and returned to the GSB financial aid office. Students must also submit a statement from their employer indicating if they are receiving tuition benefits and the amount. The FAFSA application processing time is approximately 4-6 weeks. The GSB financial aid office will send an award letter to students receiving financial assistance showing the amount of loans they will receive.

Student Loans
The Federal Stafford Student Loan program is divided into two types: subsidized and unsubsidized. The funds are provided by lending institutions. The University of Chicago is a lender in this program. (See The University of Chicago Loan Plan). The maximum amount a student can borrow in one academic year (summer through spring quarters) is $18,500. The maximum subsidized portion of the loan is $8500. The maximum unsubsidized portion is $10,000. The subsidized portion is based on financial need as determined by federal guidelines. The financial aid office will determine the amount of subsidized loan a student can borrow. If the student qualifies for the subsidized portion, the interest is paid by the federal government while the student is in school at least half time (2 or more courses), and for 6 months after the student leaves school. The unsubsidized portion is NOT based on financial need.
The student is responsible for paying the interest on the loan from the day of disbursement of the funds, or the student can choose to have the interest capitalized at repayment. Students who do not qualify for any subsidized portion can still borrow the entire $18,500 in an unsubsidized loan. The total loan amount can be affected by any other financial aid the student receives, such as scholarships, tuition benefits or veteran's benefits.

The interest rate is variable, based on the U.S. 91 day T-Bill + 1.7% while the student is in school. During repayment the interest rate is based on the U.S.91 day T-Bill +2.3%. The interest rate is capped at 8.25%. The in school interest rate for 1999-2000 is 6.32%.

Repayment begins 6 months after graduation, leaving school, or dropping below half time (2 or more courses per quarter). There is no penalty for pre-payment. There is a 10-year repayment period. The total aggregate loan amount, including undergraduate borrowing, is $138,500. Lenders are allowed to charge two fees: a guarantee fee and a federal origination fee. Most lenders charge 1% guaranteed fee and 3% origination fee. The fees are deducted from the loan proceeds before each disbursement.

Private Alternative Loans
Alternative loans are NOT federal loans. These funds are used to supplement the Federal Stafford loan program. Funds are provided by various lenders. The University of Chicago is a lender in the alternative loan program. (See The University of Chicago Loan Plan.) This is a credit-based loan. The maximum amount per academic year is the student's cost of attendance MINUS all other financial aid (including any Stafford loan, scholarships, tuition benefits, or veteran's benefits). Interest rates vary, are adjusted quarterly, and are generally based on Prime or the U.S. 91 Day T-Bill PLUS points and are higher than the federal loan program. Interest accrues on these loans from the first date of disbursement and payment is the responsibility of the student. Interest can be capitalized or paid quarterly. Also, various insurance and repayment fees may be charged. Students must be enrolled half time. Students will be required to have a cosigner if their credit record is not in good standing. Repayment of principle and interest begins 6 months after leaving school. The repayment period can be up to 20 years.

International Students
International students holding any type of visa ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR FEDERAL LOANS.You must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident to apply for the Federal Stafford loan. Students are encouraged to investigate funding sources from their employer. International students are eligible to borrow an alternative loan from the University of Chicago. (See The University of Chicago Loan Plan.) However, students MUST have a U.S. social security number, a U.S. address, and a creditworthy cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U. S. permanent resident, CURRENTLY LIVING in the U.S. Students can borrow the entire cost of education. International students must complete a GSB financial aid application and an alternative loan application. Admitted students can contact the GSB financial aid office for the forms.

Cost of Attendance
The cost of attendance is an estimate of the costs for one academic year of the program. (Students must reapply for financial aid for each academic year they attend.) The cost includes tuition, fees, room and board, books, transportation, and a personal/miscellaneous expense. Additional living and travel expenses will be added to the cost for students commuting from out of state, or attending the Barcelona or Singapore campus. Documentation, such as copies of airline tickets and hotel statements, will need to be submitted to the financial aid office.

Disbursement of Funds
For students attending the Barcelona or Singapore campus, Federal Stafford loan proceeds are disbursed in one disbursement at the beginning of the academic year. For students attending the Chicago campus, the funds are evenly disbursed in each quarter in which the student is enrolled at least half time. The funds are directly applied to the student's tuition account. All alternative loan funds are also directly applied to the tuition account. If there are any funds remaining after ALL University charges are paid, the student will receive a refund check from the University Bursar's office. The refund checks are made payable to the student, are sent to the student's home address, and can be used for living expenses.

The complete financial aid application process takes anywhere from 6-10 weeks, depending on when students have all of their documents submitted. Admitted students should begin the financial aid application process as soon as the applications are available (late March). If students begin the process RIGHT BEFORE the tuition bill is due, the funds WILL NOT be available at the time the bill is due.

The University of Chicago Loan Plan
The University of Chicago Loan Plan was created by the University of Chicago in partnership with the Illinois Student Assistance Commission (ISAC) to provide improved services and low cost educational loans for graduate and professional students. Through this unique loan plan, the University of Chicago is the lender under the Federal Stafford Loan and alternative loan programs. The University of Chicago and ISAC are committed to giving you personalized quality service. The Illinois Designated Account Purchase Program (IDAPP) will service your loans from application through repayment. The resources of both the GSB financial aid office and IDAPP's Personalized Assistance and Loan Service (PALS) group are available to you.

The University of Chicago does NOT charge a guarantee fee on the Federal Stafford Loan. Most lenders charge 1% of the loan amount. Also, the University of Chicago charges a 2% origination fee, while other lenders charge 3% of the loan amount. The repayment incentives are after the first 24 consecutive on-time monthly payments there is a 1% interest deduction. After 48 consecutive on-time monthly payments there is an additional 1% interest deduction.

For the alternative loan the University of Chicago does NOT charge any fees and the interest rate is variable, adjusted quarterly, and during school is the U.S. 91 Day T-Bill plus 3.25% In repayment the interest rate is variable, adjusted quarterly and is the U.S. 91 Day T-Bill plus 3.4%. Interest can be paid quarterly or capitalized. Credit-worthy students can receive a loan on their own signature. A cosigner will be required if the student has an adverse credit standing.

International students can apply for the University of Chicago alternative loan IF they meet the following criteria: have a U.S. address and U.S. social security number, a good credit record, a cosigner who is a U.S. citizen or U.S. permanent resident CURRENTLY living in the U.S.

For additional information on financial aid, students can contact the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business Financial Aid Office at 773-702-3964. The staff member assigned to assist Executive Program students is Rita Moten, financial aid counselor

Academic Programs Question

MBA
Edulix: What is the median GMAT score of MBA students that were accepted last year?
Miriam Fisas: GMAT is not a requisite for admission into The University of Chicago's Executive M.B.A. Program Europe.

Edulix: Do you require some pre-requisite courses to the applicants if they are non-business majors?
Miriam Fisas: There is a mandatory Math and Accounting Review Course for those students who have not had significant academic experience and/or work-related exposure in the above listed topics.

Edulix: What kind of work experience are you looking for from your MBA candidates? Please indicate preferred number of years, line of work, etc?
Miriam Fisas: Our students hold an average work experience of 12 years. Most of them are in middle or senior management positions at big corporations or own their own businesses. Typical professional backgrounds are:

Functional Areas for Executive MBA