Everything International Students Need to Know to Apply to the LSU Flores MBA Program

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First-year full-time MBA student, Luisa Cantillo, takes prospective international students through her experience of applying to the Flores MBA Program at LSU.


My name is Luisa Cantillo and I am currently a full-time student in LSU’s Flores MBA Program. I am a first-year international student from Colombia, and so far I have loved every second that I have spent here as a graduate student.  

The decision of starting my graduate education was not easy! I had a lot of doubts: What is the best program for me? What school should I apply to? How will I afford a graduate degree? But after a lot of research, I decided that LSU was the best fit! There is a lot that goes into applying for graduate school as an international student, so I hope sharing my experience will encourage you to take a big step forward in your process. 

Learn English

First things first! I had to learn English, so I attended the ELOP (English Language and Orientation Program) here at LSU. It was not only a great way to learn English, but also a great experience to be immersed in a new culture and meet people from all around the world. After I completed the program, I was able to prepare for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) test. The TOEFL test is a standardized test to measure the English language ability of non-native speakers wishing to enroll in English-speaking universities. I studied for about three months and passed with a good score on my first try.

GMAT or GRE?

The second step in my process was a little bit harder. I had to decide whether to take the GRE (Graduate Record Examinations) exam or the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test) exam. Since my background was in business and marketing, I decided to take the GMAT and studied by myself for about four months. Honestly, I thought it was going to be like the TOEFL and I was going to get it right in my first try. However, I was quite surprised to find out that it was a much more difficult test. In fact, I had to take some online classes and study for about four more months to retake the test. On my second try at the GMAT, I improved my score by 100 points! Don’t let this test discourage you. Many people have to take it multiple times!

Apply to LSU Graduate School and Flores MBA Program

My third step was to complete the rest of requirements to apply to the LSU Graduate School and the Flores MBA Program. These requirements included: a personal statement, a professional resume, official college transcripts,  and two letters of recommendation. The application is an online process, so you simply need to attach all your documents in the following link: https://sites01.lsu.edu/wp/graduateschool/graduate-admission-application-generator/

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I strongly recommend to show passion in your personal statement and to be very clear regarding your future goals and how the program would help you achieve them. Also, make sure you highlight all work experience on your resume, even if it is just summer internships or volunteer work. Remember, the applications are evaluated as a whole, so you want to make sure that every part of it is strong and worked through thoroughly.

Throughout the application process, I was constantly in touch with the Flores MBA staff. Since I was in Colombia,  I had to rely on email communication, but they were incredibly helpful and quick to answer to all my questions. I felt very supported throughout the application process.

Financial Aid

Once I was accepted to the program, I reviewed all of the different financial aid opportunities. Luckily, I was offered a full assistantship. NOTE: If you score at least 600 on the GMAT, or an equivalent score on the GRE, you are automatically eligible to receive an assistantship through the Flores MBA Program. But don’t worry, that is not the only way to get financial aid. You can apply to the several graduate assistantship opportunities available across campus, and the best part is that you will receive an email every time that one of those is available. We are 45 students in the full-time class of 2020, and about 90% of us are currently graduate assistants. This is not only a great way to afford your degree, but it also counts as professional experience that you can add to your resume. 

As international students we have to complete more steps in the application process but I definitely think it is worth it. Plan your strategy with time to tackle every step and remember that if you need more information you can always contact the staff or access the resources for international students link here: https://www.lsu.edu/business/mba/resources/international/resources.php

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