Course Overview

The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is an internationally recognized degree designed to prepare students for future jobs. It focuses on developing both industry-specific knowledge as well as high in-demand soft skills like leadership, empathy and interpersonal skills.

An MBA degree can propel a professional career across industries and functional departments. There are over 2000 MBA programs offered globally with multiple options to specialise in, like Finance Leadership, International Management, Consulting, Technology Management, Entrepreneurship and more. The core curriculum includes subjects like accounting, operations, marketing, and economics.


Eligibility Criteria for MBA Program in the USA:

MBA aspirants may have questions like what exams do I have to take for studying MBA in USA?

Primarily there are two entrance exams to qualify for studying MBA in the USA:

GMAT Exam – Graduate Management Admission Test

IELTS Exam – International English Language Testing System / TOEFL Exam – Test of English as a Foreign Language

Graduate Management Admission Test is a preferred entrance test for admissions in most business and management programs. It consists of GMAT Analytical Writing Assessment, GMAT Integrated Reasoning, GMAT Quantitative Reasoning, and GMAT Verbal Reasoning. GRE General is another option that can appear although not widely accepted. The universities do have an equivalency of GRE exam to GMAT exam which sometimes decreases the chances of an admit.

Both TOEFL and IELTS have 4 modules which are reading, listening, speaking and writing. The minimum score requirements are 6.5 overall, 80+. However, for top universities, TOEFL required is more than 100 and 7.5 overall for IELTS.

Apart from these entrance exam scores, to apply for an MBA student also requires academic transcripts, letters of reference, and an essay or statement of purpose stating why you want to pursue an MBA degree have to be submitted.

Know more about the Entry Requirements for USA Universities.


Intake & Application Deadlines

US universities have three intakes throughout the year- Fall, Spring, and Summer. However, Fall and Spring are considered to be major ones as very few colleges offer summer intakes.

Fall semester starts in September and ends in December
Spring semester starts in January and ends in May
The summer semester starts in June and ends in August
The deadlines for each intake are usually a few months before the start date hence, it is recommended to apply early. The ideal time to begin applications is 9-12 months prior to the intake. Universities generally take about 8-10 weeks to process the applications.

MBA Course Duration in USA
A traditional full-time MBA program will typically last two years (24 months). This is the most sought-after program as it offers immersive tracks to study and focuses heavily on giving students maximum real-world experience. There are institutions in the USA that offer accelerated MBA programs that last one year (12 months) or a year and a half (18 months).

Apart from these, there are part-time and Executive MBA (EMBA) programs available for students to enrol in. Both these programs are generally taken by working professionals, who attend the program while maintaining a full-time job.

Know more about the Upcoming Intakes to Study in USA.


Tuition Fees

The tuition fee in the Unites States will primarily vary on the type of college and course one is enrolled in, study duration and college location. On an average fee range for :

Undergraduate degree is $20,000 to $30,000 per year
Postgraduate degree is $25,000 to $35,000 per year
MBA course is $50,000- $75,000 per year
Doctoral degree/ PhDis$28,000 to $55,000 per year

There are scholarship options available for international students on merit basis in many US B-schools.

Know more about the Cost of Studying in the USA.

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Quick Facts to Know

High GMAT alone are not enough

Demonstrated leadership and networking skills gained through extracurricular activities or volunteer work can prove to be valuable while applying for an MBA course in the USA. Eliciting proof of being an impactful self-starter with high-performance standards, can help students push their case forward effectively with the admission panel.

Common MBA application mistakes

Not being realistic- Aspirants should target for B-school that match their academic and professional achievements.  Being unrealistic about getting into high ranked institutes alone will prove to be an opportunity lost. It is therefore important to know all the options and other viable alternatives to achieve one’s academic and career goals.

Writing generic essays- The essay section in the application is meant to give you an opportunity to demonstrate your strengths. The application will show lack of effort and lose a chance to grab the attention of the admission panel if it only contains general information or displays exaggeration.

Not proofreading- This is the most common mistake made by applicantsSharing the application without proofreading. An application with spelling and grammar mistakes will most likely lead to rejection.


Types of MBA

It is important to know what type of MBA course one should take. There are many MBA courses available to suit the varied requirements of aspiring students.

The main categories are:

General MBA-Meant for students who want to make a good corporate start by fast-tracking their career into a management role. The course is offered in both traditional full time two years course as well as fast track one year course.

Executive (EMBA)–Typically taken by professionals who have considerable work experience and want to advance their career further or prepare themselves for the challenges of C-level jobs.

Specialist MBA–Suitable for professionals with some managerial experience and are looking to gain promotion in a particular field.

Distance learning MBA –Appropriate for those who cannot attend a full-time course or are looking for more cost-effective alternatives

Job Experience is not a mandatory requirement for pursuing MBA in the USA

However, high ranking universities and colleges would prefer applicants with work experience as it helps the admission panel understand the profile of an applicant better in terms of their understanding of the business and corporate world.


Why Choose USA for MBA?

Before deciding on pursuing an MBA degree, one must know what are the advantages of studying MBA in USA?

High Ranking Institutes

According to World University Rankings 2023 by Times Higher Education, among the top 10 B-schools in the world, 7 are from USA. These B-schools provide the best of faculties, research and internship opportunities to its students.

Wide Range of courses

With over 4,000 accredited colleges and universities, there are many learning options for students to choose from. From languages, linguistics, literature to biological sciences, law, historical and philosophical studies to physical sciences, creative arts and design any subject can be studied in-depth.

Excellent career and job opportunities

Most universities and educational institutions in the USA have strong networks and tie-ups with leading companies to take top-performing students as their employees. Most full time two year MBA courses offer internships in a reputed organization that may lead to full-time employment for students.

Return on Investment

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) 2019 Corporate Recruiters Survey showed that 76% of organizations plan to hire more MBA graduates in the future, while the average starting salary is at its highest ever for US graduates at $115,000 per annum.

Diverse Culture

College campuses in the US have a rich ethnic diversity. The multi-cultural environment helps students learn the value of diversity, racial, gender equality and acquire skills to foster cross-ethnic relationships which is a must today, with the global economy being the norm.

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Top B-Schools in USA

MBA is a highly competitive degree to pursue. It requires considerable time and effort to successfully complete the program. Before starting the application process it is important to know what are the best MBA colleges to study in the USA?

USA has the most number of high ranking B-schools in the world. They rank high on student satisfaction, quality of education, faculty experience, research and internship options. According to QS Global MBA Rankings 2023, following B-schools are top ranking in the USA:

Stanford Graduate School of Business

QS Global Rank #3rd
Duration: 21 months
Avg. GMAT Score: 730
Avg. Work Experience: 4 years
Fee (USD) $110k-$130k

The school is known to have an acceptance rate of just 7.1%. Its distinguished faculty includes three Nobel Prize winners, two John Bates Clark Award winners and 15 members of the American Academy of the Arts and Sciences.


Penn, The Wharton School

QS Global Rank #13th
Duration: 21 months
Avg. GMAT Score: 732
Avg. Work Experience: 5 years
Fee (USD) >$120k

The 20-month Wharton (including a recommended 3.5-month summer internship) full-time MBA usually includes a requirement for a major concentration of 4.0 credits, with a choice from 19 majors, plus 5.5 electives in addition to the core curriculum.


MIT Sloan School of Management

QS Global Rank #1st
Duration: 24 months
Avg. GMAT Score: 728
Avg. Work Experience: 5 years
Fee (USD) >$120k

MIT Sloan offers a range of MBA programs, with two full-time MBA variants – the flagship MIT Sloan full-time MBA program, completed over two years, and an immersive, one-year, full-time Sloan Fellows MBA program.


Harvard Business School

QS Global Rank #5th
Duration: 21 months
Avg. GMAT Score: 730
Avg. Work Experience: 4 Years
Fee (USD) >$120k

Harvard Business School (HBS) is the graduate business school of Ivy League. HBS offers a full-time, two-year, residential MBA program. It also offers dual-degree options through other Harvard colleges, including Harvard Kennedy School, Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and the Harvard School of Dental Medicine.

The Harvard MBA exposes students to real-life leadership challenges through interaction with a diverse community, immersing them in intense, transformative experiences that prepare them to be fully alert and functional wherever in the world they may go.


Columbia Business School

QS Global Rank #22nd
Duration: 20 months
Avg. GMAT Score: 690-760
Avg. Work Experience: 5 years
Fee (USD) >$127k

With an acceptance rate of 17%, the full-time MBA from Columbia Business School (CBS) / Columbia University in New York City is ranked eighth. Students can select from over 200 electives, over 4,000 graduate-level classes, and a variety of career-focused concentrations, such as accounting, banking, and entrepreneurship. Employability and thought leadership were two areas where the school excelled.


Average Median Salaries for MBA Graduates

Among the top 12 highest-ranked programs in 2023 by QS Global Best Business Schools rankings, the average salary for an MBA graduate are:


Top Industries to Choose (Post MBA)

MBA degree from a quality business school can help people break into highly competitive business sectors. Following are the most sought after industries to work in post obtaining an MBA degree:

  • Data Analytics
  • Technology
  • Consulting
  • Medical and health services
  • Finance
  • Investment Banking


Post Study Stay Back Options

F1-visa will allow students to stay for 60 days after completing their MBA studies in the USA. To stay for a longer period post obtaining an MBA degree in the USA, students have to apply for one of the following visas:

  • Optional Practical Training (OPT)
  • H-1B visa

Optional Practical Training (OPT) refers to temporary employment for students relating to their field of study. Eligible students can receive up to 12 months of OPT employment.

Post-completion OPT: Students can apply for this option after completing their studies. Those who are authorized for post-completion OPT can work either part-time or full time. OPT allows students to stay and work in the United States for 12 months.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) students get an opportunity to apply for a 24-month extension on their post-completion OPT, provided they have been granted the initial 12-month post-completion OPT and are in the valid period of OPT.

There are a few MBA programs offered USA that are designated as STEM courses. These are general business degrees with an emphasis on STEM applications.

The H-1B visa is an employment-based, non-immigrant visa for temporary workers. An F-1 student visa can be transferred to an H-1B visa if one’s US employer is willing to sponsor. With an H-1B visa, one can live and work for up to 6 years in the US.

Know more about Study Abroad  and Student Visa Assistance for USA.

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What is the average cost of an MBA in USA?

The cost of an MBA degree in USA varies depending on the university. On average tuition for a two-year MBA program usually exceeds $60,000. The fee for top business schools in USA is more compared to others. It can go as high as $100,000 or more. While calculating the cost of doing an MBA in USA consider the cost for various qualifying tests you will have to give to before getting an admission, visa fee, living cost, insurance, travel etc.

What are the eligibility criteria for pursuing an MBA in the USA?

The basic eligibility criteria for Indian students wanting to pursue MBA from USA requires them to:

  • Be a graduate in any discipline from a recognised university.
  • Final year undergraduate students can also apply provided they submit their graduation degree within the time limit set by the university.
  • Meet the GPA, GMAT/GRE score requirements as desired by the university.
  • Meet the language proficiency test IELTS/TOEFL score as desired by the university.
  • Have necessary work experience, if required by the university.

What are the popular scholarships for MBA in USA?

There are a number of scholarships for Indian students who want to do an MBA from USA. Some of the popular ones from various top USA B-school universities are:

  • Charles P. Boninin Partnership for Diversity Fellowship
  • Knight-Hennessy Scholars Program
  • McKinsey Award
  • Joseph Wharton Fellowships
  • Meyer Feldberg Distinguished Fellowship Program
  • Emerging Economy Fellowships
  • Tuck School of Business Scholarships
  • Horace W. Goldsmith Fellowship
  • HBS Fellowship Programs

Is it worth pursuing an MBA degree in the USA?

Yes, an MBA degree from USA is worth pursuing for the obvious advantages it brings to the students’ post completion of the program. An MBA from USA opens up plenty of job opportunities with both international as well as domestic companies. Earning potential of MBA graduates from USA is higher compared to other countries. While studying at a US university students get an opportunity to learn from the best of teachers and gain global exposure.

Is it possible to study MBA in USA without GMAT?

MBA without GMAT is offered by a few universities in USA. However, there are certain other criteria to be met to qualify for such MBA programs in the USA. Generally, a high GPA score or considerable work experience is required to qualify for MBA programs without GMAT in USA. Due to COVID, there are certain US universities that have waived of GMAT as a mandatory requirement for MBA in USA.

What are the top careers after completing an MBA in USA?

MBA from USA brings with it enhanced career prospects. An MBA degree from top business schools in USA further increases the earning potential. Depending on the MBA program specialization top careers after completing MBA from USA are:

  • Investment Banker
  • Financial Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Accounts Manager
  • Marketing Manager
  • Product Marketing Manager
  • Business Intelligence Analyst
  • Medical and health services manager
  • Management consultant
  • Business Operations Manager
  • Research Analyst

Which are the highest paying jobs after MBA in USA?

Studying in USA for an MBA program can open up a lot of job prospects for fresh graduates and as well as those looking to advance their career prospects both in terms of skillsets and earning potential. The highest-paying jobs after an MBA in USA are:

  • An investment banker with an average annual salary of $200,000.
  • Marketing manager with an average annual salary of $134,780.
  • Information technology manager with an average salary of $142,530.
  • Financial manager with an average annual salary of $125,080.
  • Business operations manager with an average salary of $100,000

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

Starting salaries of fresh graduated after MBA in USA is dependent on many factors such as work experience, specialization, university, employer, role and location to name a few. On average, the starting salary after MBA from USA is $ 65,000. Data from some top companies in USA such as Amazon, JP Morgan, and Boeing show that on average they pay MBA graduates anything between $60,000 – $1,50,000.

Which are the top MBA programs in the USA?

There are many top-ranking universities in USA that offer different courses in the field of business studies, administrative studies, finance, healthcare service management, IT, Education, Energy studies and more. Some of the top full-time MBA programs from USA are offered by these universities:

  • Stanford Graduate School of Business
  • Penn (Wharton)
  • MIT (Solan)
  • Harvard Business School
  • Columbia Business School
  • UC Berkeley (Haas)
  • Chicago (Booth)
  • Northwestern (Kellogg)
  • UCLA (Anderson)
  • Yale school of management

What are the admission requirements for the MBA program in USA?

Basic admission requirements for applying to an MBA program in USA are as follows:

  • Be a graduate in any discipline from a recognised university.
  • Final year undergraduate students can also apply provided they submit their graduation degree within the time limit set by the university.
  • Meet the GPA, GMAT/GRE score requirements as desired by the university.
  • Meet the language proficiency test IELTS/TOEFL score as desired by the university.
  • Have necessary work experience if required by the university.

Working with USA education consultants on your application and test preparations can help enhance your MBA application profile increasing your chances of university acceptance.

What is the structure of the Full-time MBA program?

A full-time MBA program from USA is designed to give students the skillsets required to excel in a corporate set-up. A full-time MBA from USA will take 2 years to complete. An MBA program will combine domain-specific knowledge with leadership and management skills with hands-on coursework. MBA courses in USA are designed to take a multidisciplinary approach giving students plenty of opportunities to participate in group projects and classroom discussions. MBA students also work with top-rated organizations and multinationals as interns towards their last semester.

Can I apply to the MBA program in USA if I am currently completing my undergraduate degree?

To apply for MBA degree in USA, Indian students are required to show 16 years of undergraduate studies. However, there are some US universities that accept 15 years of undergraduate studies too. Those who are in their final year of bachelor’s degree can also apply for MBA in USA but admission will be granted basis proof of submission of graduation degree that meets the universities requirements.

What is the application deadline for the MBA program in USA?

Application filing periods for MBA in USA can range anywhere from six to eight months. MBA applications are processed in one of two ways in US universities:

  • Rounds: Schools that use rounds divide the filing period into approximately three timed cycles. Applications are batched into the round in which they are received and reviewed in competition with others in that round.
  • Rolling: Applications are reviewed on an ongoing basis as they are received.
  • Before applying applicants should confirm the policy at the MBA programs they wish to apply in.

How long is an MBA in the USA?

The duration to complete an MBA degree from USA depends on the type of MBA program one opts to study at a university in USA. A full-time MBA course from USA will typically take 2 years to complete. Part-time MBA programs in USA usually takes 3 years as the classes are on the weekends. Accelerated MBA programs in USA can take anything between 12-18 months depending on the type of program. This type of MBA course is intensive and suitable for professionals with a considerable level of work experience.

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