MBA in Dallas: UT Dallas v SMU Cox

MBA in Dallas: UT Dallas v SMU Cox

Dallas, affectionately referred to as the ‘Big D’ is possibly Texas’ most famous city, immortalized in the eponymous TV show, and known worldwide for NFL legends Dallas Cowboys. It’s the US’s fastest growing metropolitan area, and an affluent, vibrant city.

Dallas is also home to two excellent schools featured in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2019. Naveen Jindal School of Management at The University of Texas at Dallas is ranked 41st in the US and 88th in the world, while SMU – Cox School of Business is ranked joint 57th in the US and 111-120th globally.

Both schools offer exceptional MBA tuition in the Lone Star State, but how do the programs compare? Read on to find out…


Top MBA Programs in Dallas: UT Dallas v SMU Cox


UT Dallas (Naveen Jindal)

SMU Cox School of Business

Length and format of program

  • 53 credit hour program with a full-time, daytime core curriculum
  • Students complete the program in 18 months, with an optional extra semester for a 21-month program
  • Cohorts start in August and graduate 18 months later in December
  • Core classes are held Monday-Thursday with Fridays reserved for career enrichment
  • Two-year full-time program
  • You will take core courses in the first year, with the second year focused on electives
  • Required summer internship
  • Also includes a mandatory international field trip experience
Fees and funding

  • Fees vary depending on whether you are a Texas resident or non-resident
  • Total tuition and fees (resident): US$34,458
  • Total tuition and fees (non-resident): US$64,524
  • Two types of scholarships are available for the program – cohort and corporate. Both are merit-based and will be determined alongside your admissions decision
  • Applicants are encouraged to apply by March 1st to be considered for scholarships
  • Around 75 percent of recent cohorts have been awarded some form of scholarship based on merit
  • The total estimated cost for a 9-month school year is US$80,535 (of which US$46,975 is tuition)
  • The Cox MBA program provides scholarship awards to approx. 65 percent of students, with awards ranging from 10-100 percent of fees
  • You are strongly encouraged to apply in Round 1 or Round 2 for scholarship consideration
  • In 2018 the average scholarship awarded was US$46,000
  • All students are considered automatically for merit scholarships
  • Other scholarships available include Forte Fellowships (for women in business), Diversity Scholars, ROMBA Fellowship (for LGBTQ+ applicants), military scholarships and more (see here).

  • You will need to provide official documentation including:
  • Transcripts and degree certificates
  • Graduate admissions test scores (GMAT preferred but GRE accepted)
  • Essay(s)
  • Resume and letters of recommendation
  • International students will be asked to provide proof of English proficiency (TOEFL, IELTS and PTE are all accepted), plus verified translated copies of transcripts not in English
  • Application fee: US$100 plus additional US$50 fee for students outside the US
  • Fee waiver available for UT Dallas alumni and US active duty military and veterans
  • Undergraduate degree required (all backgrounds are welcome), must provide transcripts
  • Required to complete three essays of 250 words
  • GMAT or GRE is required. Students receiving merit scholarships typically score over 650 in the GMAT
  • 30-45-minute interview
  • For non-native English speakers, English proficiency tests are required (min. 100 TOEFL score, min. 7.5 IELTS, min. 68 PTE)
  • You don’t need to provide a reference letter but need contact details of two referees
  • Minimum of two years’ work experience and resume required
Class profile

  • Class size: 53
  • Average test scores: 678 GMAT, 313 GRE
  • Average work experience: 5 years
  • Average age: 28
  • Average GPA: 3.5
  • 28 percent female students
  • 28 percent international students

  • Class size: 109
  • Average GMAT: 653
  • GMAT range 590-760
  • Average work experience: 5 years
  • Age range for class: 22-42
  • Average GPA: 3.4
  • 30 percent female students
  • 13 countries represented
  • 22 percent US minority and 9 percent military

Inside the MBA classroom

Both programs include a mix of core and elective courses, as well as a summer internship. They also offer opportunities for specialization in several areas. However, there are some key differences between the programs.

At UT Texas, students undertake core courses in all semesters, including financial accounting, marketing management, organizational behavior and strategic management. Students have around 32 core semester credit hours and 21 elective credit hours, including an optional international field trip.

Although it’s not required, students are encouraged to consider concentrations to deepen their knowledge and expertise in certain subject areas. The school offers 15 concentrations including Finance, Healthcare Leadership and Management, Marketing, Real Estate and Supply Chain Management.

SMU Cox’s approach to specialization differs in that you can choose up to two areas of concentration to fit your program around your interests and goals. Each concentration requires 12-16 credit hours. Concentrations offered include Accounting, Management, Strategy & Entrepreneurship and Business Analytics.

The Global Leadership Program is a mandatory year-long immersion culminating in an all-expenses paid 10-day trip touring a region’s corporate headquarters and meeting c-suite executives. Past destinations have included Seoul, Paris, Tokyo, Buenos Aires and Havana.

Outside the MBA classroom

Both schools benefit from their location. The Dallas-Fort Worth area has one of the largest concentrations of corporate headquarters for publicly traded corporations in the US: the 2017 Fortune 500 list showed that the city of Dallas has nine Fortune 500 companies, with the region having 22.

AT&T, the largest telecommunications company in the world, has been headquartered in Dallas since 2008. The city is also the third most popular destination for business travel in the US.

SMU Cox takes advantage of this with their Business Leadership Center, which offers around four semesters per week targeting leadership areas. This includes visits from industry professionals from companies including Accenture, Dell and Walt Disney Company.

There is an optional non-profit consulting program for six weeks every spring, where you and a team of classmates can help a local non-profit to solve its core business challenges.

In terms of career development, Cox’s Career Management Center helps during and after your studies with a dedicated career coach. ‘Treks’ are also available – these are city trips organized for MBA students in career trajectories in Marketing, Energy and Finance. You spend time at several organizations, talking to employees, meeting upper management and learning from Cox alumni who work there.

UT Dallas is similarly focused on career development for their MBA students, who have an impressive placement rate of 90 percent within three months of graduation and a class average salary of around US$90,000 – US$100,000.

The Career Management Center (CMC) words closely with MBA students, with each student having a dedicated career coach, plus professional development opportunities with partner companies. The CMC also hosts industry forums and mock interview days. Recent UT Dallas employers include Amazon, Deloitte, Ernst & Young, JP Morgan and Toyota. 

Written by Julia Gilmore

Julia is a writer for TopMBA.com, publishing articles for business students and graduates across the world. A native Londoner, she holds an MSc in Marketing Strategy & Innovation from Cass Business School and a BA in Classical Studies & English from Newcastle University.

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