Stacking the iMSM into the iMBA

Once you’ve completed your degree, you’ll be eligible to fully stack your Master’s in Management into the Gies iMBA. This means if you choose to continue on to your MBA – either immediately afterward or years down the road – you’ll instantly be halfway done with your degree.

    It is strongly recommended that students meet with a Student & Academic Success Specialist to discuss the steps to enter the iMBA prior to applying. If admitted to the iMBA program, all students must meet with a Specialist.

    • All 36 credit hours of the iMSM can be applied to your MBA degree (50% of the 72 hours) upon acceptance.
    • All iMSM graduates are eligible to apply.
    • You must still apply to the iMBA program and all admission requirements must be met. Your iMSM GPA and group participation scores will also be considered within the holistic application review. Admission is not guaranteed.
    • Start your application with the Illinois Graduate College at

    This is the first time in the history of the University of Illinois that a degree can stack into another degree, and it’s one of the very rare examples of this being done at any business school in the country.

    Why do we do this? Because your time and money are your most valuable assets, and we want to ensure you’re making the most of both. Being able to take the credits you’ve earned and apply them toward another credential gives you a head start on achieving your next goal, and it means you won’t need to retake courses you’ve already completed or pay unnecessary tuition. It’s all part of our mission to make life-changing education affordable and accessible to learners of all ages, experiences, locations, and financial means.

    Opportunities to connect

    Express Advising – Connect with an iMBA Student & Academic Success Specialist Mondays/Wednesdays/Fridays from 10am CT – 12 pm CT; 1pm CT – 3pm CT To Join Express Advising, log in here and select “Express Advising.” Express Advising is only open to students once they have begun courses.

    Email Us – Send an email to to be connect with a Student & Academic Success Specialist if you are interested in learning more about stacking your iMSM into an iMBA.


    What is stackability?

    No matter the goals of the learner, Gies has a path to success that suits their needs – whether that’s a full degree, a graduate certificate, or a single course. At Gies, learners can complete the iMSM program, and then if they apply and are accepted into the iMBA program, they can take all 36 iMSM credit hours and put them toward the 72-credit-hour MBA.

    How do we do it?

    Each degree is built in a modular way with courses that stack together to comprise the finished product. Courses are designed with a clear beginning, middle, and end – and learning objectives that bring all learners to a similar level of strength by the end. Because each course is specifically designed to be able to stand alone, we reduce the need for prerequisites and allow learners to take courses and specializations is almost any order so they can build the learning experience that best fits their personal life and professional needs.

    How much of the iMSM can be applied toward my iMBA?

    All 36 credit hours of the iMSM can be applied to your MBA degree (50% of the 72 hours) upon acceptance. You must work with a Student & Academic Success Specialist to determine which courses you should take during the iMBA program to ensure you meet all degree requirements. You will also be required to complete two specialization capstones and the Program Capstone as a part of the iMBA curriculum.

    I already earned my Gies MBA degree. Do I also receive an MSM degree?

    In order to earn both degrees, a learner must complete the MSM degree first and then apply for acceptance to the iMBA program. A learner who has already earned a Gies MBA is not eligible for the iMSM program and cannot receive both degrees.

    As a current iMBA student, can I switch to the iMSM program to earn my MSM degree, then switch back to iMBA?

    A learner may choose to forgo their iMBA studies and petition to join the iMSM program if that degree aligns better with their goals; however they are not granted automatic admission back into the iMBA program upon completion of the MSM degree. They will need to reapply to the iMBA program and explain via essay why the iMBA program is the best fit for them now when it wasn’t previously. There is no guarantee for admission to the iMBA program. Please note that as an iMSM student, you will be grouped with other iMSM students who may have less work experience. Learners can work with the Student & Academic Success (SAS) team to plan their MSM degree plan. Upon admittance to the iMBA, learners should work with the SAS team to map out their remaining degree credits.

    Am I guaranteed admission into the iMBA upon completion of the iMSM?

    No. Learners must submit a new application for the iMBA program, and an interview may be requested. A holistic review of your application materials will be completed by the admissions committee.

    When I apply to the iMBA, will I be eligible to apply for the Coursera scholarship and the Forté Fellowship?

    Yes, you will have the opportunity to apply for these scholarships based on the application deadlines for each admissions cycle.

    I have already completed a Gies MSM degree – am I still eligible to stack it into the iMBA program?

    Yes! If you have already received your Gies MSM degree and are interested in stacking it into the iMBA program, you can apply to the iMBA.

    Is there a time limit for how long I have after completion of the MSM degree to apply to the iMBA program?

    At this time, there is no time limit on when you can apply to the iMBA program after completing the iMSM program. Significant curriculum changes may require additional courses to be completed depending on the length of time that has passed from completion of the iMSM to admittance of the iMBA.

    Will I have two separate five-year windows to complete each degree?

    Yes – the Graduate College allows up to five years to complete each degree program.

    What is the benefit of starting the iMBA right away if I can complete the iMSM first and then stack it into the iMBA and get two degrees instead of one?

    If you are eligible for the iMBA and that program aligns with your current goals, it is highly recommended that you apply and start that program directly. This will allow for you to design a degree plan which will enable you to reach your end goal of the MBA degree in a more timely and straightforward way. iMBA students are also grouped with other iMBA students throughout the program, based on the different admissions requirements for both programs. Please note that admission to the iMBA is not guaranteed after completion of the MSM degree.