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An Indian Student’s Guide to Studying an MBA Abroad

Indian mba student UK USA admissions advice

The MBA is very much an international degree. Although some MBA students may choose to stay in their home country to pursue their MBA, a number of MBAs want to travel the globe to add another international layer to their studies.

If you’re a student from India and would like to study abroad, here are some things you need to take into account before taking the plunge.

Eligibility

It’s not a mandatory requirement to have a business or management degree to apply for an MBA in the UK or US.

But there are a few requirements you need to consider before landing a place at business school:

  • Work experience (school dependent)
  • Competitive GMAT Exam Score
  • English language proficiency score i.e. TOEFL
  • MBA essays (as required by business school)
  • Recommendation letters from previous academic institutions and places of work

Once these documents are approved by the admission committee, candidates are invited to the business school for a face-to-face interview.

Visa

As an international student, you’ll need to obtain a visa to study in a new country, which will also entitle you to other benefits as a student registered in said country.

USA

The US is a popular destination for international MBA aspirants, as a little more than half of the top business schools are in the US.

To study in the US, you’ll need an F1 visa to pursue a full-time education.

How to apply for the F1 visa:

1: Apply to a SEVP approved school.

2: You’ll receive an I-20 form from the school, once you accept your admissions offer. The school will enter your name in SEVIS (Student and exchange visitor information system).

3: Pay the SEVIS I-901 fee of US$200.

4: Fill the online non-immigrant visa application form DS-160. Pay the F1 visa fee of US$160.

5: Print and keep the DS-160 barcode. Schedule an appointment at your local US Embassy or Consulate.

6: Prepare the following documents for your visa interview

  • A valid passport
  • Form DS-160 confirmation page
  • Application fee payment receipt
  • Form I-20 issued by the school
  • Academic transcripts and standardized test scores
  • Proof of health insurance
  • Financial documents to prove that you have enough money for your living expenses
  • Proof that you intend to return to your home country after graduating

7: Attend your visa interview on the scheduled day.

If you would like to remain in the US post-MBA, follow this link.

UK

To study for an MBA in the UK you’ll need a Tier 4 (General) student visa.

Once your offer is unconditionally accepted, the school will become your sponsor, and you’ll be provided with a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS) number by the school for visa processing.

The UK follows a point-based system, so incoming students must earn at least 40 points to be considered eligible to study in the UK. The CAS number contributes 30 points and the remaining 10 points are awarded based on your proof of funds to cover tuition and other expenses in the UK.

Tuition

As an international student, tuition fees for MBA students will be different to those paid by domestic students at UK and US business schools.

For example, tuition at the top business schools in the US is over US$120,000: Harvard Business School (24-month program); Stanford Graduate School of Business (24 months); The Wharton School (21 months).

Other b-schools in the US will be slightly cheaper, including Kelley School of Business which costs around US$53,028 for Indiana residents or US$76,618 for non-residents/international students per year. Tuck School of Business’ MBA (21 months) is around US$112,000-$116,932.

However, international students at business school in the UK tend to pay the same tuition fees as their domestic classmates. For example, London Business School’s MBA students all pay £87,900, and Imperial College Business School students all pay £53,500 (US$68,303) in tuition (with a £5,350 (US$6,830) deposit).

And don’t forget, there are a number of hidden fees to look out for.

Here are some ways you can finance your MBA.

Scholarships and financial aid

Studying abroad is an expensive venture, especially when it comes to a qualification like the MBA. But there are a number of financial aid options available to international students to help offset your student expenses.

There are two kinds of MBA scholarships (those offered internally by the business schools, and those offered externally by organizations and foundations), and are offered on either a merit-based system or a needs-based system.

Merit scholarships are rewarded by institutions to students who have performed extremely well within their education or have achieved an excellent score on the GMAT, whereas needs-based MBA scholarships are given to those who wouldn’t be able to pay for their degree studies without help. Similarly, a number of business schools offer MBA scholarships to students from under-represented backgrounds.

Follow the links to learn more about scholarships in the UK and US.

Niamh Ollerton, Deputy Head of Content at QS
Written by Niamh Ollerton

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (TopMBA.com; topuniversities.com), creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  

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