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 – Graduate Management Admission Test

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

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

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 the 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.

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.

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 2020 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.


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 2020, following B-schools are top ranking in the USA:

Penn, The Wharton School

QS Global Rank #1
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.

Stanford Graduate School of Business


QS Global Rank #1
Duration: 24 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.

MIT Sloan School of Management

QS Global Rank #3
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 #5
Duration: 24 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.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business

QS Global Rank #8
Duration: 21 months
Avg. GMAT Score: 731
Avg. Work Experience: 5 years

Fee (USD) >$120k

Chicago Booth offers the world’s most flexible full-time MBA program. It helps students build upon their existing academic and professional backgrounds, bringing them closer to their goals. Their multidisciplinary approach to problem-solving empowers students with frameworks for freethinking and sound decision making.

Average Median Salaries for MBA Graduates

Among the top 12 highest-ranked programs in 2020 by U.S. News Best Business Schools rankings, the average salary and bonus for an MBA graduate was $166,999.

B-School Salary average/median, after 10 years
Stanford University $187,200
The Warton School $184,300
University of Chicago $175,900
Harvard University $204,800
Yale University $160,100
Columbia University $181,200
Massachusetts Institute of Technology $182,300
Walter A. Haas School of Business, University of California—Berkeley $171,700
M. Ross School of Business, University of Michigan $151,100
Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University $174,200

*Data from

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.

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