The USA is one of the prime destinations for MBA seekers. The MBA is one of the most sought-after postgraduate degrees. An intensive course provides students with the opportunity to learn about businesses and the intricacies involved in running them. The versatility that this course offers is what lures so many students into enrolling into this course.
However, to apply for an MBA in the USA, you will have to meet some eligibility criteria. Therefore you need to research MBA in USA eligibility properly. This blog covers the critical aspects of being eligible for an MBA in the USA and other particulars.
With over 300,000 students being enrolled in MBA programmes in the USA, it is undoubtedly one of the top destinations to achieve your goals. One essential requirement to be eligible to study in an MBA programme in the USA is the GMAT exam. It is a primary proficiency test and is commonly asked for pre-requisite by most business schools.
Therefore, it is essential to check your school's requirements and accordingly appear for the exam and meet MBA in USA eligibility criteria. With the advent of online learning and the heralding of flexible working practices in the workplace, there has been a surge in the popularity of part-time and online MBA courses.
GMAT eligibility score required to do MBA in USA
The Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) is the primary proficiency test that you will have to appear for, to be eligible to apply for an MBA degree. The GMAT exam aims to test your analytical writing abilities, integrated reasoning skills, quantitative reasoning skills, and verbal reasoning skills.
The specific business schools you want to go to will outline the required GMAT score for you to be considered in the selection process. On average, top business schools in the USA require a 700 (approx) score for your application to be considered competitive.
However, their requirements range from 630 to 730. Moreover, quite a few schools have begun waiving GMAT scores as well. However, this is on a case-by-case basis and may require additional qualifications. Here is a list of the average GMAT scores required by the top business schools in the USA.
GMAT score required for MBA admissions in TOP US universities
In the table below, GMAT score considered in the top B-Schools in the US is listed for the past three years.
TOEFL and IELTS score required for MBA admissions in TOP US universities
Apart from the GMAT examination, you will also need to sit an English-proficiency examination such as the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) or the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). Both the exams test your English-proficiency only, and have slight variations in their testing patterns and marking criteria. In general, an IELTS score of 7 to 7.5, equivalent to a TOEFL score of 100 or above, will ensure that your application is considered by the top business schools in the USA.
Eligibility criteria for doing MBA in the USA
- Basic requirements
- There are basic requirements that constitute your eligibility for MBA in the USA. These include, but are not limited to-.
- A bachelor’s degree, spanning over four years. You might have to email the university to check if they accept 3-year degrees.
- Proof of English proficiency, as outlined above.
- Work experience of at least 2-3 years, and letters of recommendation attesting the same.
- A resume and personal statement are a must and will be asked for by most universities. The statement of purpose is one of the most crucial documents you provide to the college or university you are looking to apply to.
- It provides a glimpse into your personality and attitude towards the particular course and degree programme that you will be pursuing, and whether you have enough gusto and will to study at the particular university, pursuing that particular subject. Your resume will reflect all the accolades and certification you have accrued over the years, and a good resume tends to be concise and to the point!
Attaining a visa is another crucial requirement to be able to pursue an MBA in USA. The entire process of applying for a visa is intricate. Therefore, it is recommended that you take help from a visa counselor like Kanan International who has been operating in this industry since 20+ years! For undertaking both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, you will require an F1 visa. You are issued an I-90 form by the university where you have applied to fill in.
You will also have to fill in the Form DS-160. Other fees have to be paid as well, and you will be informed of these by your visa counsellor, or the university’s admissions department.
International students doing MBA in USA
The USA is one of the most popular study-abroad destinations globally, and there are several reasons why. Furthermore, year after year, international students by the thousands travel to the USA to begin their higher education journey. Prime reasons include:
The Economy of the USA: The USA is one of the world's largest economies and accounts for a good chunk of the world’s GDP. So why should that matter to you? Because the sheer size of the economy means that the country is home to a massive amount of small and large firms specializing in many sectors.
Whether it be financial services or petrochemicals, or car manufacturers, the USA is home to them. And what’s more, many, if not most of these companies are Fortune 500 companies or have been ranked in some other well-known index.
While you will find financial giants like PwC and JP Morgan Chase on Wall Street in New York, you will also find technological greats like Apple and FaceBook in the Silicon Valley in California. For an MBA graduate, this provides a bouquet of opportunities, to shape their future career. Most of these firms are always hiring young college graduates, with some firms even having direct enrolment programmes with top business schools.
An incredibly diverse economy also means that schools offer tones of scholarships for MBA for international students as well.
Demand for MBA skills and enterprise
The USA is also one of the largest consumer markets globally, and a substantial proportion of this is accounted for by consumer spending on tertiary sector services.
Therefore, students carrying an MBA credential will be well placed to attain a high paying job at a reputable company. Whether it be as an Economist, or CEO, or Senior Financial analyst, these jobs have average salaries ranging from $75,000 to $170,000 a year! Moreover, the MBA degree's advertising and marketing aspect also means that you will gain skills that are in high demand in today’s consumer-oriented, digital advertising world.
Quality of teaching
The table below shows the top business schools globally, as ranked by the QS 2022 Global MBA rankings. Be sure to note how many of them are American!
Diversity and inclusion
Diversity is one of the significant essential points that makes the USA such an attractive place to study. For example, the chart below shows the number of international students as a proportion of the MBA course's total enrollment in the MBA course at Harvard Business School in 2022.
As you can see, with over 35% of students representing international countries, students can intermingle and learn to put aside differences and work towards a unified experience. Moreover, networking is an essential component of the business world.
Hence, studying within such diverse and culturally vibrant groups allows students to form connections that last for a lifetime.
Having decided that the USA is your target destination to complete your MBA degree, it is vital to look at the eligibility criteria to enrol in an MBA programme in the USA.
Benefits of doing MBA in USA
- Quality of teaching
- Several opportunities to gain work experience
- A wide array of extra-curricular activities
- The route towards attaining an employment visa
- Gain up-to-date knowledge from experienced faculty
- Study in a holistic and diverse environment, with students coming from a plethora of international backgrounds.
Age eligibility for doing MBA in the USA
Because most MBA programmes, if not all, will require you to have attained a bachelor’s degree, and also taking into account the preference of most business schools for applicants to have at least 2-3 years of work experience, the earliest an individual can apply for an MBA should be approximately at the age of 23.
However, this can differ depending upon the length of your bachelor’s degree, the business school's requirements, and whether you are already enrolled in an integrated master’s programme.
Academic qualifications required to do MBA in USA
- Bachelor’s degree in a related or unrelated field, dependent on the requirements of the programme.
- English proficiency up to a certain level, attested by your TOEFL or IELTS results.
- An acceptable GMAT score
Eligibility for financial aid/scholarship to do MBA in USA
MBA programmes demand a phenomenal fee, and it might be pretty challenging to finance the entire programme out of your pocket. While many business schools offer fellowships with generous grants and fellowships, there are third-party organisations that sponsor students who show a promising career.
Furthermore, several universities also offer graduate teaching jobs to students, allow them to earn whilst they study, and supplement their income.
Insurance & medicare requirements for doing MBA in USA
Students and individuals entering the USA under different visa types will have different health policy requirements.
Mandee Heller Adler, president and CEO of International College Counselors, said, “F-1 visa holders do not have to meet government-mandated standards, so some colleges, like those in the City University of New York CUNY system, do not mandate health insurance for F-1 students.” However, she recommends that all students should enrol in a scheme because medical expenses can break the bank in the USA.
Admission process for MBA in USA
The admission process for MBA in the USA begins with researching potential business schools. Furthermore, after zeroing on options, it is essential to note the deadlines for application and submitting documents. The business school will require certain transcripts and proof of work experience, which should be assimilated and submitted accordingly.
For undertaking both undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, you will require an F1 visa. You are issued an I-90 form by the university where you have applied to fill in. You will also have to fill in the Form DS-160. Other fees have to be paid as well, and you will be informed of these by your visa counsellor, or the university’s admissions department.
Requirements for Indian students for MBA in USA
The requirements for Indian students are not very different compared to other international students. While the basics, such as a valid passport, visa, academic transcripts, proof of work experience are universal, Indian students are also required to present proof of English proficiency.
US Business-schools accepting 3-year bachelor's degrees
A minimum requirement for enrolment in an MBA programme at most business schools is at least 16 years of education. However, this cannot be fulfilled if students have undertaken a 3-year undergraduate degree, such as those offered in the UK and India.
However, most business schools do consider this and accept applicants with 3-year bachelor degrees. Here is a list:
- Harvard Business School
- Stanford Business School
- Booth School of Business, University of Chicago
- Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
- University of Pennsylvania, Wharton
- University of Virginia, Darden
- Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
- New York University's Stern School of Business
- Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
- MIT Sloan School of Management
- Yale School of Management (SOM), Yale University
- Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management (Cornell University)
- Columbia Business School
- UCLA Anderson School of Management
- Michigan Ross School of Business
- Emory University's Goizueta Business School
Work experience required to do MBA in USA
- Minimum 2-3 years of work experience
While a good GMAT and TOEFL score will undoubtedly pave the way towards you enrolling in your dream programme, it is vital to maintain a good track record of academic achievements. Consistency is something that most business schools look out for, and having a high average GPA is a must to secure a spot at the top business schools.
Furthermore, if your university grades you according to a system that differs from the USA's overall GPA system, you should make sure that you obtain converted transcripts.
A resume and personal statement are a must and will be asked for by most universities. The statement of purpose is one of the most crucial documents you provide to the college or university you are looking to apply to.
It provides a glimpse into your personality and attitude towards the particular course and degree programme that you will be pursuing, and whether you have enough gusto and will to study at the particular university, pursuing that particular subject. Your resume will reflect all the accolades and certification you have accrued over the years, and a good resume tends to be concise and to the point!
Letters of reference / recommendation
Letters of reference or recommendation testify that you have undertaken the said work experience. To support your CV/resume, these letters are essential. Therefore, you should make sure that you obtain them from people who have directly overseen your work or have been affected by your work results, such are the line manager, your hiring manager, or senior colleague.
Summary - Eligibility checklist for doing MBA in USA
- Degree transcripts converted to GPA
- School transcripts
- Other proofs of academic achievement
- Proof of English proficiency
- GMAT score
- Valid passport
- Relevant forms (I-90 and DS-160)
- Proof of Financial backing
- If required, proof of English proficiency
- Letter(s) of recommendation/reference
- Statement of purpose or CV/Resume
- Proof of need for financial aid
- Sponsor letter if availing sponsorship
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is there an age limit for MBA in the USA?
There are no defined age limits for applying for an MBA programme. However, universities require you to accrue a certain number of years of experience, usually 2-4 years and spend a minimum of 15-16 years in education. Hence, on average, most MBA students at the Harvard School of Business tend to be 26-27.
How much money is required for an MBA in the USA?
Your MBA programme's tuition fees will be decided by the school you attend and whether you are granted any scholarships. While most students are granted scholarships, the average tuition fee for MBA programmes can exceed $60,000 and can go all the way up to $100,000 to $120,000 per year.
Can I get a job after MBA in the USA?
To study for an undergraduate or postgraduate degree programme in the USA, you will need an F1 visa. The visa allows you to stay in the USA 60 days after the completion of your degree. This time can be taken to apply for the appropriate visa to work in the USA. You can also apply for an OPT programme post completion of your degree.
Which MBA has the highest salary?
An MBA degree itself will prepare you to take up high-paying positions in companies. However, an MBA from the Stanford Graduate Business School can earn you a salary upwards of $150,000, the highest graduate salary for MBA degree programmes from the top business schools.
Which MBA is most in demand?
General Management. Of all the specialized MBA programs, General Management is consistently one of the most popular.
Can I do an MBA for free?
There are many scholarships available for MBA students, and some of them can even grant you a free-ride (full scholarship). However, the amount granted to you will depend upon your academic achievements and your professional experience.