A Complete Guide on MBA in USA for Indian Students
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A Complete Guide on MBA in USA for Indian Students

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Aishwarya
Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert
Updated on Aug 29, 2023 18:35 IST

Every professional who wants to move ahead in his career thinks of pursuing an MBA at some point in his or her career. The MBA degree has a long-standing tradition as the gold standard for business study. The degree is designed to teach students how to analyse and manage companies, as well as other areas of business, such as finance and marketing. MBA in the USA is one of the popular choices among international students given the universities and job opportunities.  

mba in usa

Considered a hub of entrepreneurs, the top-ranked MBA universities in USA have always been on an aspirant’s wish list because it is the home of innovation, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit and one of the best places in the world for budding entrepreneurs to pursue an MBA degree and grow their business ideas into successful ventures. This can be verified by the fact that every year, more than half of the students wishing to pursue management studies abroad send their GMAT scores to US universities.

One of the biggest challenges aspirants face is how to apply for an MBA in the USA. This article is a one-stop destination that will answer all your queries covering all aspects of the application process, and eligibility criteria for different business schools. Prospective students in American MBA programs would have to clear a lot of hurdles. The first step would be learning about the different types of MBA in the USA and deciding on one that matches their interests. They need to undertake a GMAT test and get good scores in order to be accepted into an MBA program in the US. There are several resources available online that can help aspirants prepare for the GMAT test. This article will also cover other non-college-specific aspects that could be related to the destination country such as living expenses or career prospects post-completion of an MBA.

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As per the 2023 Open Doors Report by the U.S. Department of State Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and Institute of International Education (IIE) that documents the international student movement for higher studies, the number of Indian students studying in the US has risen to a record 1,86,000. This marks a phenomenal increase of 12% despite speculations on post-study permissions with respect to work permits and visa rules. Clearly, the US is the first choice of destination for higher studies when it comes to Indian students looking for postgraduate programmes in business and in the last decade, the number of Indian students going to the US has also doubled.

Why MBA in USA?

Home to the world’s most sought-after business schools, the USA is considered to be one of the top education destinations for pursuing an MBA across the globe. With the country being one of the top education destinations for pursuing an MBA degree, it offers a rich opportunity for international students to learn from some of the best professionals in their fields. Their state-of-the-art infrastructure, world-class education system, and excellent career opportunities make the United States of America one of the most preferred destinations for MBA aspirants. The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is a professional degree course in Business administration.

The program generally lasts for 2 years and is offered by universities, colleges, business schools and institutes. Here, students have the flexibility to choose courses and duration and have a vast range of specializations to choose from. In 2022-2023, more than one million international students went to the US to pursue higher studies. The United States is the largest MBA market in the world according to the US Department of Education with more than 1,55,000+ MBA graduates annually. One might think that a large number of MBA graduates walking out of universities every year also stiffens competition on the HR front, however, the size of the US economy and the scale of opportunities outweighs the number of people looking for good opportunities.

 

Best MBA Colleges in USA 2023-24

All Ivy League Schools in USA are known for their MBA programs and are highly recognised as well. Apart from this, there are other US universities and colleges that offer MBA in USA to international students. Following are some of the top MBA colleges in USA for international students:

University

QS Global MBA Rankings 2023

U.S. News & World Report MBA Rankings for 2023-24

Stanford University

#1

#6

Harvard University

#2

#5

University of Pennsylvania

#3

#3

Columbia University

#8

#11

University of California – Berkeley Campus

#11

#11

Northwestern University

#14

#2

MIT

#6

#4

UCLA

#15

#19

Yale University

#18

#8

University of Michigan

#20

#8

There are many other B-schools in the USA that offer MBA to international students. Prospective applicants can check out Top MBA Universities in the USA 2023. 

Check out: MBA in California

Factors Influencing International Students to Study MBA in the US

Check out the reasons why international students are drawn to pursue an MBA in the USA below:

Excellent quality education with industry experience:

Real education is not what you learn in classrooms, it is actually when you apply that knowledge to real-world problems. The curriculum of the MBA programs is designed in such a way that the student also combines theory with practice. Through internships and training programs, students are prepared to address the challenges they are going to face in the industry. Students of the MBA programs at universities and colleges in the United States are prepared to take on challenges by combining theory with practice.

Enhanced chances of getting a good/dream job:

Pursuing an education from a country such as the US definitely enhances your chance of getting selected for a reputed firm since the major education hubs also double up as commercial hubs with many Fortune 500 companies basing their head offices here. In the current scenario, people who are looking to pursue a career in the field of marketing should focus on enrolling themselves in a marketing institute that is located in a major commercial hub such as New York. The reason behind this is that most of the reputed firms are based out of these hubs and it will be easier for applicants to get selected. The icing on the cake is the nature of job roles that these companies bring to such campuses; these are more pivotal, more leadership-oriented and involve key decision-making positions in these companies which means that students set off on their desired growth trajectories earlier than usual.

Learn from a multicultural environment:

the US is popularly known as the land of immigrants. Top B-schools are always preferred by students worldwide, so you get to stay in an environment that is a veritable melting pot of talent, cultures, ethnicities, and nationalities. Students rub shoulders with people from myriad backgrounds having only one thing in common: merit. This broadens their outlook, prepares them better to deal with all perspectives, and gives them a great orientation towards dealing with multiple points of view.  Students develop a broader outlook on any topic and have an opportunity to learn to face any possible challenge.

Train students to become an entrepreneur:

The MBA program teaches students a wide range of skills that they need in order to run and manage their own businesses successfully. This course will teach students how to make strategic decisions, develop financial projections, create a business plan, and more. The management program teaches students how to handle various challenges while starting and managing a business. Their innovative thinking combined with business skills gives wings to their entrepreneurial ideas.

Benefits of MBA from USA

Everyone from fresh college pass-outs to experienced professionals wants to jump onto the MBA bandwagon, oftentimes without giving much thought to ‘why MBA’. Why not pursue a master’s programme in science for science graduates or an MTech programme for engineering graduates? If you are mulling over the possibilities of an MBA, be sure to weigh the benefits of this programme in the context of your education and professional aspirations. Be clear as to why you want to pursue it, what are your goals/dreams and how an MBA will help you in achieving these. The clarity in course selection will also help you further determine the exact programme and consequently, the college or university where you would rather be pursuing this programme, and the specializations that you should be going for it at all. Also, keep an eye on what you want to see yourself doing after completing the management degree. As per GMAC's 2023 Corporate Recruiters Survey, MBA graduates will earn more than their counterparts will. The median salary of MBA graduates is $115,000 which is almost 75% more than a bachelor's degree.

Some of the key factors that MBA aspirants seek from an MBA programme:

  • To gain knowledge: The curriculum of top B-schools will eventually prepare you to face complex situations and give effective solutions for them. There are other ways to gain information: you can browse the Internet or talk to your senior colleagues, but the kind of environment you will get at a top B-school will be completely different and will help you progress in your career. Learning from the top academicians, working on live projects, gaining real-world knowledge, and learning various methods to solve a complex situation are all enriching experiences that you will not have access to outside the premises of B-schools.
  • Adding value to your profile: The skills which you will gain in an MBA programme can eventually help you land senior management positions. This will ultimately give you the power to formulate strategies and drive the organization whereas earlier you might have been in lesser critical roles in these organisations.
  • Career Progression: Earning an MBA degree is synonymous with career progression. After spending substantial time with a certain type of job responsibilities, people can start to feel somewhat stagnated. The thought of acquiring new skills that can help you stay ahead of your peers and also promise growth for your career is often the precursor to an MBA. Reskilling, upskilling or simply educating yourself in the same domain and looking at a familiar set of problems through the business lens will make you eligible for jobs to which you could not apply earlier. It’s no wonder that top positions in numerous industries require an MBA degree as a basic prerequisite. 
  • Networking: Pursuing an MBA from a top B-school will land you in a different league altogether. At a top management school, you will get a chance to meet some of the brightest minds, who are going to become business leaders of tomorrow. It is an opportunity to meet a pool of talented people from different backgrounds, communities, and countries. This will help in broadening your perspective on various important issues. 
  • Self-growth: The entire exercise of pursuing an MBA will help you realize your true potential. The graduate degree will open the door to a whole lot of opportunities for you, as this degree is accepted around the globe and across different sectors. The curriculum is designed in such a way that you will come out as a completely different person and will have a completely different outlook towards various things professionally as well as personally.
  • Specialization: MBA programs also offer an opportunity to pursue a specialization in a specific industry. Today, companies look for candidates who are also well-versed in the industry and their business and can also handle the nuances of the business well. This will not only enhance your job prospects but also assures a promising career.

Application Procedure for MBA in the USA

The first step is to conduct thorough research regarding what all courses are offered and what the aspirant wishes to pursue. The USA offers a wide array of business courses, so, one should have a clear understanding of what course one wants to pursue, the area of specialization in which this needs to be pursued, and whether this ultimately leads to desired goals. Make sure to send inquiries to colleges/universities at least 12 to 18 months before seeking admission.

  • Check the eligibility criteria of the schools where you are planning to apply and check whether you are meeting the cut off
  • Fill out the application forms
  • Pay the application fee
  • Work on relevant documents like
  • Try to submit the application before the financial aid deadline

Read: Application process for the USA

Also, there are two ways of getting the application forms.

MBA Application Forms

Check out how to access MBA application forms if applying to the US:

  • Download from the university’s official website: Forms for most of the universities are available on their official websites, which can be downloaded easily.  
  • Fill out the Application Forms online: The application forms of most universities are available online. Candidates can fill and submit the form online and request application material. However, in this case, make sure to keep one copy of the form with you.

GMAT for MBA Admissions in USA

The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is one of the most important elements for those who wish to pursue an MBA in the USA. The aspirants need an impressive GMAT score to secure admission in the MBA program in the USA.

GMAT scores required by the top US universities 

US B-Schools Accepting GMAT for MBA Admissions

Average GMAT Score

University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

732

Stanford University (CA)

733

Yale University (CT)

721

Harvard University (MA)

727

Columbia University (NY)

732

University of California—Berkeley (Haas)

727

University of Chicago (Booth)

724

Northwestern University (Kellogg) (IL)

728

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)

724

Dartmouth College (Tuck) (NH)

720

There are a couple of B-Schools in USA which do not accept GMAT scores from international students.

MBA in USA Without GMAT

Some of these universities in USA which do not accept GMAT scores are as follows:

Get more details at: MBA in USA Without GMAT

TOEFL Requirements for MBA in USA

Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) is a highly popular English proficiency exam accepted at American universities. This exam tests the international students’ usage and understanding of North American English as it is spoken, written, and heard in an academic setting.

Deadlines of top management schools in the USA

School

Round

MBA Application Deadline

Decision

Harvard Business School

Round 2

Jan 5, 2023

Mar 30, 2023

Stanford University

Round 3

Apr 6, 2023

May 20, 2023

Kellogg School of Management

Round 3

Apr 7, 2023

May 12, 2023

The Wharton School

Round 3

Mar 31, 2023

May 11, 2023

Sloan School of Management, MIT

Round 3

April 12, 2023

May 20, 2023

Booth School, Univ. of Chicago

Round 3

Apr 1, 2023

May 20, 2023

Haas, Univ. of Calif., Berkeley

Round 3

April 5, 2023

May 13, 2023

Tuck, Dartmouth

Round 2

Mar 29, 2023

May 6, 2023

Round 3

Apr 1 – June 1, 2023 (Rolling)

May 10 – July 1, 2023 (Rolling)

Columbia Business School

Round 1

Apr 9, 2023

Rolling

Yale University

Round 3

Apr 13, 2023

May 18, 2023

Eligibility Criteria for MBA in the USA

A majority of the institutes in the USA require the applicant to have a minimum of 16 years of education. Therefore, students must have completed a graduate degree after completing their school (10 +2). Apart from this, those students who have already pursued a master’s degree are also eligible to apply for MBA in the USA.

Basic requirements for pursuing MBA in the USA:

  • Four years bachelor's degree
  • GMAT scores of over 600
  • Proof of English Proficiency (TOEFL/IELTS)
  • Most universities require/recommend a minimum of two-three years work experience

Although universities also give admission to candidates having no work experience, however, the one who possesses work experience will always have an edge over freshers.

MBA in USA Visa Requirements

As a foreign student intending to study in the US, you need to acquire a valid USA student Visa. There is a complete process for applying for US Student Visa. For this, you need to contact the US Embassy office nearest to your location. There are different types of visas granted, so, one needs to understand which type of visa is required in order to make the process smooth and hassle-free. For academic purposes, aspirants are granted an F1 student visa. It allows students to pursue degree programs at both graduate and undergraduate levels. Apart from this, F1 visa holders are allowed to stay back for up to one year after completing their graduate studies. After that, they need to apply for a work visa if they want to stay for a longer period and work there only.

Always complete Form DS-160 before the interview for the student visa. Then pay the visa application fee. Make sure to carry the print of the DS-160 Form along with you. Apart from this, you also need to fill out the I-20 form, which is issued by the university. Also, pay the I-901 fee online through the website of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Candidates need to pay a visa fee for booking the visa interview slot. Then pay the visa application fee. If you are paying the application fee through NEFT then you can pay the fee through any bank. Also, if the applicant wants to pay the visa fee physically then they can pay the fee through Axis Bank or selected branches of Citi Bank.

After completing these formalities, you can book an appointment for a student visa interview through the VFS website. You need the visa fee receipt and DS-160 barcode number for this.

List of essentials to carry for the student visa interview:

  • A valid passport and previously issued passports
  • Recent passport-size photograph with a white background (50mm x 50mm)
  • DS-160 confirmation page with barcode
  • HDFC visa application fee receipts
  • VFS appointment letter
  • SEVIS receipt and I-120

Popular Scholarships for MBA in the USA

Arranging a huge amount of funds for studies can prove to be a daunting task. Most of the universities in the USA do not offer tuition fee waivers or financial assistance for a professional degree like MBA. Therefore, students often lookout for scholarships to fund their education. Various governments, organizations, and specific universities offer international students, so, they can complete their professional degrees. It is also important that students should always take care of the eligibility criteria and different types of costs covered in the scholarship they are awarded.

Some of the popular scholarships available for international students for MBA in USA are as follows: 

  • Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship

This scholarship is awarded to Indian students who require financial assistance for pursuing MBA at Stanford. Within two years of completing the MBA programme, students who availed of this scholarship need to come to India and work for an Indian organization.

  • JN Tata Endowment for the higher education of Indians

This is not actually a scholarship but rather it is a loan which a student needs to repay within seven years of completing the graduation programme. However, the rate of interest charged is merely 2% and this is also waived if the applicant repays it within the specified time period. The amount of this endowment programme varies from INR 1.5 to 6 lacs.

  • Columbia Business School - The Board of Overseers China & India Fellowships

This fellowship is awarded every year to students from India and China and the funds can be renewable for the second year as well. These are awarded to students who have excelled in academics and professional careers.

  •  The University of Pennsylvania, Wharton - Emerging Economy Fellowships

This fellowship is awarded to students who have shown exceptional work in academics. Also, it can be availed by students from developing economies.

  •  Chicago Booth - The India Trust Fellowship

It is a merit-based scholarship given to students who at the time of securing admission in the full-time MBA programme are living and working in India. It aims to promote the interests of women in business. This fellowship is awarded to students who have showcased excellent skills in academics, leadership, and extracurricular. 

  •  Akhtar Ali H. Tobaccowala Fellowship

This fellowship is given to students who reside in India at the time of getting admission to Chicago Booth. All the students who got admit and meet the eligibility criteria are automatically considered for this fellowship. Students who are awarded it are designated as Akhtarali H. Tobaccowala Fellows in memory of the 1952 graduate of Chicago Booth.

  •  Harvard University- Need-Based Fellowships

The need-based fellowships are awarded to students who wish to pursue MBA programmes from Harvard University. These are given to students who secure admission but have limited financial resources.

Check out the details about MBA Fees in USA for Indian Students

MBA in US Curriculum & Program Structure

Real-world case studies and working on the actual business scenario develop the skills to devise a sound business strategy for various businesses. Also, MBA students also learn how to survive and thrive even in a complex business environment. Apart from this, the internship programs have now become an integral part of the MBA. This gives students an opportunity to learn in a practical environment. Moreover, this is also a crucial aspect to learn networking, as this is a powerful tool to give an edge to your career. Pursuing a management course from an international destination also helps the students in understanding the business from an international perspective. 

MBA Specialisations in USA

Pursuing an MBA degree does not guarantee success, but holding a specialization can. As there are varied requirements of different industries, so, one requires a specific skill set to tackle the challenges faced by one industry. So, you need to be focused and clear while selecting the industry you want to work in. Apart from this, there are various factors that determine the decision of an aspirant like the growth of the industry, job opportunities, and remuneration package.

The most popular MBA specializations are:

  • Consulting: This field is considered the dream field for a majority of MBA aspirants. Everyone aspires to work with some of the biggest companies in this area and gaining corporate experience at a global level. People opting to work in the area needs to gain expertise in different domains, as one gets the chance to work with various sectors.
  • Finance: Considered one of the most exciting careers to opt for, this field absorbs a large section of MBA graduates. While working in this sector you will get the chance to meet some of the most renowned faces of the corporate world. Apart from this, one also gets the responsibility to manage a large sum of finances and management funds of some of the biggest names in the industry.
  • Entrepreneurship: Many MBA graduates wish to change the world with their acquired knowledge and determination. Entrepreneurs are tasked to develop a successful business model with knowledge, innovation, and a limited number of resources. 
  • Operations Management: Nowadays there is a surge in demand for people having expertise in managing the line of operations in the manufacturing or services industry. The new methodologies and skills taught in MBA programmes help companies adopt new technologies and formulate strategies that maximize profits.
  • Information Systems/Information Technology: It’s a booming area that will stay relevant for the industries in the future as well. Having technical expertise with business knowledge will always give MBA graduates an edge over others. With the introduction of technologies like automation and cloud computing demand for people having both technical and management skills has also risen. Areas like business and data analytics help companies in developing innovative strategies for their businesses.

Top Careers after MBA from US

No matter how many ups and downs are there in the economy, demand for MBAs will still be there. People with exemplary business skills will always get a chance to prove their talent. The MBA salary for these top jobs is quite high in comparison to other jobs.

  • Management Jobs: Demand for MBA graduates with specialization in General Management or any specific area remains at the top in any industry. Managing people, resources and businesses are amongst the highest paying jobs everywhere and in the US too. Their pay can range anywhere between $85,000 to $1,46,000.
  • Corporate Finance: One of the most sought-after careers includes working in corporate finance. One can work as a Financial Consultant, Financial Analyst, Finance Manager, or Finance Director. One can earn anywhere between $55,000 to $78,000 at an early stage of their career.
  • Finance and Economics: Considered as the hub of financial activities, the US offers enormous opportunities in Finance and Economics. Here, one can work as a Portfolio Manager, Financial Consultants, and Director of Operations. The salary ranges from $51,000 to $60,000 in the starting stage.

Check out in detail about the average MBA salary in USA offered to freshers or experienced graduates after graduating from US universities with an MBA degree. 

Still, have doubts? Read the FAQs about pursuing MBA in the USA.

FAQs for studying MBA in USA

Q. Does an MBA from US increase your salary?

A. According to a survey by the National Association of College and Employers (NACE), an American non-profit professional association in 2019, MBA graduates earned more than $20,000 higher than other graduates did. The median salary of fresh MBA grads in the USA was $115,000 and NACE predicted that this will continue to increase.

Q. Can I get a job after pursuing MBA in the USA?

A. There is a lot of demand for MBA graduates in the USA. It may not be an easy task to get a good job, however, MBA grads have been a preferred choice of corporates. Also, MBA graduates tend to earn more salary than other graduates.

Q. Which are the highest paying jobs after MBA from USA?

A. Here is a list of some of the jobs that offer the highest MBA salary in USA:

  • Investment Banker
  • Management Consultant
  • Financial Manager
  • Chief Technology Officer
  • Information Technology (IT) Director

Q. How long is an MBA in USA?

A. Usually, a full-time MBA program in the US takes two years to complete. Also, there are one-year MBA programs offered by many business schools in the US. Apart from this, any b-schools also offer evening or weekend MBA classes for students who want to pursue a part-time MBA.

Q. What is the starting salary of an MBA in the USA?

A. According to the National Association of College and Employers (NACE), in 2019, fresh MBA graduates earned a median salary of US115,000. As per NACE MBA salary in the USA will increase as the demand for MBA grads will continue to rise.

Q. How difficult is MBA in the USA?

A. First of all getting into a top business school is challenging, as the application process is tough. This can be the toughest part for many students. However, studying for an MBA won't be that difficult, and make sure you just don't pursue it just for the sake of it.

Q. Is MBA in USA worth it?

A. MBA is great for those who want to work in senior positions or competitive high-level management roles. Not everyone thrives in his or her career even after pursuing MBA. However, a good MBA program can open an array of career opportunities. Usually, MBA graduates get higher salaries than what they were getting earlier.

Q. Can I do MBA in the USA for free?

A. Studying MBA for free in USA is not easy, there is hardly any school that offers tuition-free programs. However, there are a lot of universities that provide full scholarships to study MBA in USA.

Q. Which are the top MBA programs in USA?

A. Here are the best business schools (programs) in USA:

  • Harvard University
  • Stanford University
  • The University of Chicago (Booth)
  • University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
  • Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  • Columbia University
  • Princeton University
  • University of California - Berkeley (Haas)
  • University of Michigan

Q. Is MBA a STEM degree in USA?

A. MBA is not a STEM degree. However, a few MBA programs are STEM-designated owing to the focus of the MBA in economics, information technology, management, finance, law, and business analytics.

Q. Which MBA is mostly in demand?

A. General Management is one of the most popular MBA programs. Apart from this, MBA in Finance, Marketing, Operations Management, and Consulting are popular MBA specializations.

About the Author
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Aishwarya Bhatnagar
Study Abroad Expert

Aishwarya is a professional Writer currently working as a Study Abroad Expert in the Editorial Team at Shiksha. She has over 5 years of experience and is skilled at creating Online Content with leveraged knowledge i... Read Full Bio

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Reviewed by
Goldi
Expert in MS in USA

Goldi Mourya is armed with an MBA degree in Human Resource and is a certified ‘Green Belt’ in counselling from UCLA Extension. She has considerable experience in the field of overseas counselling. Goldi is research-... Read Full Bio

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Comments

(2)

M

Megha Chaudhary

10 months ago

Can I still study MBA in USA after pursuing BBA which is 3 year programme,

Reply to Megha Chaudhary

Thanks for the detailed article. I cleared CA & CMA US with 3+ years of experience. I have BCOM (A&F) certificate from IGNOU. Could you please let me know, with a good GMAT score & proper SOP can I get into one of top 10 universities in US for MBA without a regular graduation certificate?

Reply to Pavani Bommakanti

P

Piyush Kohli

2 years ago

Hi Pavani, the graduation must be from a Tier 1 accredited university. Please refer to the below link and check out the entry requirements of the universities offering MBA in US: https://studyabroad.shiksha.com/usa/mba-colleges-dc