An Indian student’s guide to studying an MBA abroad |

An Indian student’s guide to studying an MBA abroad

By Niamh Ollerton

Updated December 8, 2022 Updated December 8, 2022

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.

Why study an MBA abroad?

  • International exposure: Studying an MBA abroad can widen your network of international professionals. There are numerous opportunities to get recruited by big businesses, such as Amazon, Google and Intel.
  • Learn another language: As well as gaining cross-cultural awareness, learning another language can also prove useful in the world of business.
  • Study at top-ranked institutions: Many countries abroad, including the UK, US and France are home to some of the world's best business schools. Several top-ranked institutions offer flexible curriculums where you can specialise in your area of interest. 

MBA abroad vs MBA in India


MBA abroad

MBA in India

Examples of top-ranked institutions

US: Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School, Wharton

France: HEC Paris, INSEAD

Spain: IE Business School, IESE Business School

UK: London Business School, Imperial Business School, Oxford (Saïd)

IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Calcutta, Indian School of Business


1 or 2 years depending on study mode

2 years

Tuition fees

Can range from $50,000 to $200,000 for an EMBA

$20,000 – $40,000

Work experience

Minimum 2-3 years

Open to candidates with little work experience but some top schools require several years.

Average salary after graduation

$72,000 – $192,000

$10,000 - $40,000


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:

  • Evidence of undergraduate degree
  • Work experience (school dependent)
  • Competitive GMAT Exam Score (or in some cases GRE scores)
  • 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.


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.

MBA in the US

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.

MBA in the 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.

MBA abroad without GMAT

There are some business schools that have waived the requirement for a GMAT score. It’s best to check the admissions criteria for each of these to see if substantial work experience is required or if you’ll need to submit additional documents for your application.

Here are some examples of business schools that don’t require a GMAT or GRE score:

  • In place of a GMAT score, the Foster School of Business (Washington) allows students to take the “Test Optional Summary of Qualifications” instead and answer two questions about their analytic and quantitative skills from previous experience. Tuition for international students is $56,127.
  • Similarly, the Eli Broad College of Business accepts applications from candidates without a test score in order to attract a diverse mix of students. Tuition for international students is $54,616.
  • Options for European business schools include Birmingham Business School. The GMAT score will be considered alongside other evidence submitted in your application but it's not essential. Tuition is £31,500 ($37,948) for domestic and international students. 
  • The IESEG School of Management in France also waives the requirement for students to submit a GMAT or GRE score. The MBA program costs €39,000 ($39,628) for domestic and international students.

MBA abroad without work experience

Likewise, if you’re worried you may not have enough work experience, the following institutions accept applications from candidates without a substantial work history. Tuition fees for each can be found in the table below.

  • Work experience is not required to apply for the Stanford Graduate School of Business as they are more interested in the impact candidates have had in the workplace.
  • Although the average student will have fix or six years worth of professional experience before applying to The Wharton School, the MBA program does accept early career candidates with limited or no experience who exhibit strong managerial and professional potential. The admissions team evaluate work experience not in terms of years, but the depth and breadth of an individual’s position, his or her contributions to the work environment, and level of responsibility and progression.
  • Whilst the London Business School also attracts candidates who typically have at least five years of work experience, admission may be granted to candidates with less than three years work experience if they can demonstrate superior academic credentials and truly outstanding evidence of leadership through professional and personal experiences.

Top MBA colleges fee structure

Global MBA Rank



Annual tuition fee


Stanford Graduate School of Business




Harvard Business School




Penn (Wharton)




HEC Paris




MIT (Sloan)




London Business School




IE Business School








Columbia Business School




IESE Business School



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 £97,500, and Imperial College Business School students all pay £57,200 (US$68,882) in tuition (with a £5,720 (US$6,888) 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.

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.

This article was originally published in July 2020 . It was last updated in December 2022

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