I was at Hawai’i Pacific University for a semester abroad (undergraduate level) in the spring of 2013 and I enjoyed it so much in Hawaii that I will be back in 2017 to do my MBA there – so I know both perspectives . This report will primarily focus on the HPU’s MBA program.
The application process for the HPU’s MBA program is easy to master if you are aware that you have to deal with a lot of paperwork and organizational effort – this is ALWAYS the case when you want to go abroad, and it is definitely feasible. It is good to know that the HPU will definitely accept you if the application documents are submitted in full. For the HPU, students are “paying customers” and they would do a devil to turn down prospects. Believe me – if you submit your application on time and bring the required GMAT + TOEFL scores, you will be accepted.
Your website also supports me very well with checklists, which documents all have to be submitted. I can also send my documents by post to your website, my contact person at your website will check my documents for completeness and send everything directly to the HPU, so you don’t have to worry about international mail or the like. It is good to know in advance that I logically have to submit relevant transcripts (in German: grade confirmation) and certificates, for example bachelor’s certificate, in English. In some cases, the HPU requires certified copies, which means that I may have to give my certificates to a translation agency.
As soon as you have been accepted at the HPU, the “Academic Advisor” responsible for the MBA program will approach you, who will guide you in choosing a course. Unfortunately, not all courses listed there are offered every semester, as advertised on the HPU website – you usually only have the choice between two to three courses, or sometimes no choice. You will be asked whether you want to obtain a degree with “concentration” in one of the areas listed on the website, or an MBA without concentration. Since “Concentration” here only means having chosen three courses from a certain area as advanced courses, for example 3 MGMT courses (= management) or 3 MKGT courses (= marketing), I would recommend you to choose a concentration. You don’t have to pay extra for it or take any extra courses. You always have 14 courses, you pay per credit, so nothing changes for you, except that the choice of course is no longer completely free, but you have to choose 3 courses from the same category to get the concentration. Virtually all students in the MBA program choose a concentration. Check act-test-centers to see more reviews from current students.
Duration of study:
The MBA program generally lasts 2 years, i.e. 4 semesters. You can start in the spring as well as in the fall semester. In my case, I wanted to shorten my study time to 1.5 years, i.e. I had one more course per semester and took 2 courses in the summer semester, but the HPU does not like this with international students, as the F1 visa (= Student visa) requires that you take 9 credits = 3 courses at all times (1 course always has 3 credits), which is sometimes difficult at the HPU, as in this case you also have to take online courses, which only last 8 weeks instead of 16 weeks (= duration of the normal in-class courses) – 1 semester = 16 weeks. The Academic Advisor would then have to plan 2 in-class courses and 2 online courses (one in the 1st half of the semester, one in the 2nd half of the semester) per semester,
Long story short: I recommend you to enjoy the full 2 years at the HPU .
Course types and size:
As already mentioned, there are generally in-class and online courses. I found a mix of both very pleasant, because depending on the professor, sometimes the online course is more pleasant, sometimes the in-class course, you can’t really generalize that. Course sizes are a maximum of 30 students in the courses that everyone has to take (realistically between 20-30 students), and smaller groups in the advanced courses, between 7-20 students, depending on popularity and semester.
Now for the very best:
The MBA program is the only program in which you do not have to write a master’s thesis .
There are only 2 “Capstone” courses, which are actually not that different from any other course. While others have to clamp themselves behind the master’s thesis, you can relax on the beach and have a good time .
Your Academic Advisor will help you with many organizational matters, you will know the respective person and you will also be told what to do by when. There is also an extra Welcome Day for new students and an “Immigration Session” that all international students have to attend so that they are aware of the duties you have when you are in the USA with an F1 visa . On these days at the latest, you will get to know a lot of like-minded people who are all facing the same challenges, so that’s no problem.
Now we come to the biggest problem: the search for accommodation . A few general tips:
- Definitely don’t live in the dorms. Student housing in Hawaii (for example the Student Housing on campus at the Aloha Tower) is something for 18-year-old high school graduates who are still minors in the USA, who have just come to university and are leaving for the first time / are separated from their parents. There are only 2-bed rooms, which are also extremely overpriced ⇒ hands off!
- Found a new flat share with friends , or join an existing flat share (I did that there three times). There are so many international students at the HPU who move out every semester, which means that there are constantly vacancies in existing shared apartments . There is a Facebook group for students at the HPU (is a public group), in which rooms in shared apartments are often posted.
- I would recommend staying in Waikiki (it’s getting more and more expensive, but it’s an option), Ala Moana, Mo’ili’ili, Kaimuki , near Diamond Head ( e.g. Monserrat Ave), or Kaka’ako . Many American students live in downtown, where the university is, but personally I would be very reluctant to do so. As a European who is only in Hawaii for a limited time, you don’t want to live in downtown.
- There are a few landlords who like to rent out apartments in the high rises to students. Norwegian students get the names of landlords in Hawaii directly through similar agencies, but I have not yet heard from any German student that there was any kind of help from Germany beforehand. As a rule, you fly to Hawaii without long-term accommodation and look for something locally. The earlier you arrive before the start of the semester, the greater the choice .
- A friend of mine had stayed for a while with an elderly lady in Hawaii Kai, an affluent area near an artificially created marina (very beautiful there) with a private catamaran. The lady didn’t need to rent a room, but was happy to do so in order to have someone in the house. The location was great and the lady was very friendly. If that’s something for you, such alternatives are also possible.
- Basically, you have to expect at least $ 750 / month for a room in a shared apartment, more likely between $ 800 – $ 1,200.
Leisure & fun:
Hawaii is great! The best place to study in my opinion .
Hawaii is great for the adventurous and enterprising people. There really is something for everyone:
hiking (beautiful, especially on Kauai!), Surfing, kite surfing (if you can), snorkeling, kayaking, diving, skydiving, stand-up paddle boarding, and, and, and … you will definitely find something you like. I also think that I don’t have to do a lot of advertising for Hawaii at this point.
If you are still thinking about whether you should go to Hawaii for your master’s degree or not, go for it!
Hawaii may be expensive, but it’s really worth every penny.