Study MBA in the USA - Top Universities, Admissions, Fees, Scholarships, Jobs

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    Bhavya Rawal

    Study Abroad Expert

    Studying MBA in USA will take international students two years and cost them anywhere around 170,000 USD to 220,000 USD as the overall tuition fees. The cost of an MBA in the US for Indian students estimates to 1Cr or more. Even with such high costs, what makes the Graduate schools of the USA stand out for business/management program seekers is the US is the birthplace of the MBA program. According to the Financial Times’ Global MBA Rankings’ report, 51 of the top 100 MBA programs in the world, are from the business Schools in US.

    MBA originated for providing a more scientific and methodological approach to business management, MBA in USA has now become a program capable of giving you a raise of more than 100% on your previous salaries. To study MBA from top business schools in USA you will need a four-year bachelor's degree, TOEFL scores (90-110 or equivalent test scores), GRE/GMAT result (GMAT waivers available), and prior work experience (3-7 years average). You can also find certain universities that offer MBAs without work experience, where applicants are required to fulfill additional criteria. Read on to find out details of fees, eligibility, scholarships, jobs, and more for MBA aspirants.

    Top B-Schools

    Top Universities for MBA in USA

    Popular Business Schools in the US offering world-recognized MBA programs are listed below as per the Financial Times Rankings. Detailed below are also the cost of studying for an MBA in the USA at popular universities.

    University Name FT Global MBA Rankings Program Fees (USD)
    Harvard Business School 1 146,880
    University of Pennsylvania-Wharton (Upenn) 2 162,756
    Stanford Graduate School of Business 3 149,412
    MIT-Sloan 6 154,336
    Columbia Business School 8 154,752
    University of Chicago-Booth 10 144,000
    Northwestern University-Kellogg 11 174,692
    UC Berkeley 12 129,304
    Yale School of Management 14 149,400
    Dartmouth College 16 155,040
    Why MBA in USA?

    Why MBA in USA?

    • More than 50 Business schools rank globally among top business schools abroad for their MBA programs as per both FT rankings and QS Rankings. 
    • USA offers one of the cushiest median Salaries around the globe post completion of an MBA degree. Given below is a graph comparing the average annual salaries offered in various regions of the globe: 
    MBA Salaries by region
    • 91% of the total of over 960 recruiters aim at hiring USA’s MBA graduates for various positions as per GMAC reports. 
    • Some Business schools have a payback time short hardly 4 years. Some of these include Michigan State University, Texas A&M University, etc.  An increment 11% is observed in sector USA every 13 months. However, others receive only as much as 8% increments 16 months.
    MBA Programs in USA

    Types of MBA in the USA

    USA business schools offer a broad spectrum of MBA programs that are not only comprehensive but are highly flexible too. However, with too many options available, students often find it difficult to opt for the most suitable MBA program. The factors taken into consideration for choosing the best MBA option available at the USA Universities are career objectives, amount of time that can be devoted to the course, admission prerequisites, and cost of attendance. 

    The table given below outlines important information pertaining to the type of MBA courses offered by USA universities.

    Type of Program Program Duration B-School Popular for Program Average Work Experience Required Program Schedule
    Full-time MBA 1-2 years Stanford, Harvard, UPenn, Chicago-Booth, MIT 3+ years Regular classes
    Part-time MBA Equal to or more than 3 years MIT, Harvard, Stanford, Columbia University 0 to 3 years Evening classes
    Online MBA 2 years Indiana University, University of North Carolina, University of Florida 0 to 3 years No strict schedule can be planned as suitable
    Executive MBA 2 years UPenn Wharton, MIT, Yale, Northwestern More than 8 years of experience  Weekend classes
    Early Career MBA Equal to or more than 2 years Chicago-Booth, UPenn Wharton, UCLA 0 years  Regular classes
    Global MBA 1-2 years Harvard, New York University More than 8 years of experience Regular classes
    Certificate Program 1-2 semesters (differs by the business school) MIT, Harvard Not required 4-6 course modules

    Top Specializations for MBA in USA

    Another factor that may affect your choice of MBA program is the specialization you want to opt for. As per the QS MBA by Specialization Rankings 2019, the following USA universities grabbed the top positions for different MBA specializations offered. Given below are the popular specialization and various business schools in USA ranking for those MBA specializations:

    • Consulting: Columbia University (#2) and Harvard University (#3)
    • Finance: UPenn- Wharton (#1), Harvard (#2) and Columbia (#3)
    • Information Management: MIT- Sloan (#1), Northwestern University (#2) and Stanford (#3)
    • Marketing: Stanford University (#1), Northwestern- Kellogg (#2) and UCLA- Anderson (#3)
    • Operations Management: MIT- Sloan (#1) and Erasmus- RSM (#3)
    • Technology: MIT- Sloan (#1), UC Berkeley- Haas and Standford University (#3)
    • Entrepreneurship: Stanford University (#1)
    Admission & Eligibility

    Admissions to Study MBA in USA

    Soiling one of the most ranked business schools from around the world makes the admissions process a real deal to crack. It becomes really difficult for an international student to handpick a few institutions and figure out the application process and the essential documents required to apply for an MBA at these colleges. Understanding the admissions and application cycle for top universities in USA becomes an important part of finding your way to the business schools in USA. 

    Applications to Study MBA in USA

    A majority of the USA business schools require the applicants to appear for a number of standardized tests to prove their eligibility, consuming a considerable amount of time. Thus, it becomes imperative for international applicants to start planning their study at least 1.5 years in advance to allow themselves sufficient time for visa processing upon acceptance.

    Explore Deadlines for Top US universities!

    The procedure takes place in 3 stages primarily:

    1. Pre-application: Involves uptaking of the standardized test and collection of all the necessary documents
    2. Application: Involves submission of completed application and uploading of admission prerequisites
    3. Post-application: Involves submission of other necessary documents and fees to secure a seat after acceptance.

    Most B-schools in the USA segregate the application process into a number of rounds, requiring the applicants to fulfill different requirements in each round. It is highly essential for applicants to keep track of these deadlines for a hassle-free application.

    To study for an MBA in the US, applicants may have to appear for an admission interview. Applicants are called for the interview on an invitation basis after they have met other prerequisites. With most of the students meeting the academic requirements, the admission interview makes it easier for the application review committee to distinguish among the applicants and grant admission based on their personal competencies.

    MBA in USA: Eligibility

    Making the way to your dream college will not be half as easy. the eligibility of studying MBA in the USA involves testing an international applicant on various grounds. Some of the important criteria that an international student must be familiar with are listed below:

    • Completion of 16 years of education is a must to pursue any masters program in the USAThis means that you need to have a 10+2+4 education or complete a four-year bachelor's program. 
    • GMAT scores: For qualifying for any of the business schools in the USA will mostly require you have a good GMAT score. Some universities may accept GRE equivalents. 
    • Non-native English-speaking applicants are required to submit proof of language proficiency. International students can submit the scores of IELTS and TOEFL for pursuing studies abroad. 
    • Work Experience: To study MBA in the USA, applicants are required to mostly have a minimum work experience of 3 years. However, this varies from university to university and with the type of MBA program chosen.

    MBA in USA: University-Specific Eligibility

    The average scores are given from the class of 2021 of the MBA program at respective business schools. 

    Program/School Academic Requirements Language Proficiency
    MBA at Harvard Business School 3.70 (average) TOEFL: 109
    IELTS: 7.5
    PTE: 75
    MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business 3.70 (average) TOEFL: 100
    IELTS: 7.0
    PTE: 68
    MBA at Wharton 3.60 (average) TOEFl: 110
    IELTS: Not accepted
    MBA at Sloan School of Management 3.60 (average) TOEFL; 90
    IELTS: 7.0
    MBA at Kellogg School of Management 3.60 (average) TOEFL: 110
    IELTS: 7.5
    MBA at Yale School of Management 3.60 (average) Not mandatory
    Verbal score of GRE/GMAT is enough
    MBA at Columbia Business School 3.6 (average) Not mandatory
    Verbal score of GRE/GMAT is enough

    MBA in USA: GMAT Requirements

    Due to Coronavirus Pandemic, many B-schools in US have waived off the GMAT requirements for the upcoming session. To find out details for changes observed in admission procedure and application of B-schools in USA due to coronavirus, click here.  

    Business School Median GMAT Score
    Harvard Business School 730 
    Stanford Graduate School of Business 734
    The Wharton School 732
    Sloan School of Management 730
    Kellogg School of Management 730
    Yale School of Management 720
    Columbia Business School 727

    Study MBA without GMAT in USA

    Gone are the days when the application decision for business schools in USA was solely dependent on the GMAT scores. Nowadays, more and more colleges offering MBA in the USA are relying on additional criteria for evaluating a candidate's profile. Given below is the list of six popular MBA programs that do not require GMAT in the USA. 

    University/B-School Program Additional Requirement
    Sawyer Business School Executive MBA Minimum 7 years of work experience
    Hult International Business School 1-year MBA Take the Hult Business Assesment Test Instead
    Alfred Learner College of Business & Economics MBA GPA- 2.8 (83% or B grade) in UG with upper-level maths course
    Minimum of 4 years experience
    College of Business at Florida International University Professional MBA Minimum 4 year experience
    Though GMAT not required but can strengthen your application
    Kellogg School of Management Executive MBA GMAT required only if the application seems to have a problem as per the admissions committee
    Marshall School of Business Executive MBA Though GMAT not required but can strengthen your application

    MBA in USA: Work Experience Requirements

    Program/School Work Experience
    MBA at Harvard Business School 4.7 years (average)
    MBA at Stanford Graduate School of Business 4.6 (average)
    MBA at Wharton 5 (average)
    MBA at Sloan School of Management 5 (average)
    MBA at Kellogg School of Management 5 (average)
    MBA at Yale School of Management 5 (average)
    MBA at Columbia Business School 5 (average)

    Documents Required

    When planning to Study abroad, international students will be required to submit additional documents. Some of these are enlisted below:

    • Academic Qualification and Transcripts: You have to submit a scanned copy of all the transcripts from the schools you have attended, in the English language. 
    • Scores of exams required to study in USA must be directly submitted to applying business schools from the testing agency. 
    • Letters of Recommendation: Two academic and one professional letter of recommendation will always help you ace your LOR game, but some universities may demand only two LORs. 
    • Resume: An updated CV discussing your overall work experience and skills 
    • Cover Letter: A letter elaborating and highlighting your achievements
    • SOP: Statement of Purpose/Intent may be required by some universities. These must consist a brief of why you want to pursue that program and why are you choosing that university. 
    Cost of Study

    Cost to Study MBA in USA

    The overall expense of studying in USA will include the sum an international student will experience before leaving the home country to tuition fees and cost of living in the USA. Detailed in the sections below are certain such expenses of pursuing an MBA in the USA

    Pre-Arrival Expenses

    This section incorporates the cost of Visa application and fees of different tests and entrance examinations required to study in the USA.

    Categories Cost(in USD)
    Visa Application Cost 510
    IELTS fee 240
    TOEFL fee 200
    GRE fee 190
    SEVIS fee 180 for J-Visa
    200 for F-Visa
    Total 1340

    MBA in USA Fees for Indian Students

    The cost of studying MBA in the USA from a reputed university approximately ranges between 45,000 (32.9 Lakhs INR) and 80,000 USD (58.5 Lakhs INR) per year. However, an MBA degree at the top-10 Business schools may cost over 87.7 Lakhs INR (120,000 USD). The overall program fees for popular B-schools is already discussed above. Given below is the graphical representation of the cost of pursuing MBA in USA for an Indian Student:

    Cost of Studying MBA in USA for Indian Students

    There a number of business schools in the USA that offer quality education at an affordable cost ranging between 30,000 and 60,000 USD. Cheap Business Schools in the USA include Dowling College, Cameron University, Southeast Missouri State University, St. Cloud State University, Worcester State University, Minnesota State University, Missouri State University, Cambridge College

    Cheapest MBA in USA

    Some of the most affordable MBA programs to study in the USA are listed below:

    • Warrington College of Business: University of Florida- 2 year MBA program costs 61,260
    • Iowa State University: 2 year MBA program costs around 29,524.
    • University of Buffalo: 2 year MBA program costs 59,842.
    • Lamar University: 2 year MBA program costs 28,810

    Cost of Living in USA

    The cost of living in USA for an international student will vary depending upon the choice of student housing opted for, lifestyle choices, and other factors. Some of the expenses you will suffer while living in the USA are listed below:

    Categories Average monthly expenses(in USD)
    Accommodation 1000 (On-Campus), 600-800 (Off-Campus)
    Meals 120-160
    Transportation 100-300
    Personal Expenditures 300-600
    Health Insurance 450-700
    Total 1,570-2,813

    The monthly cost of living in the USA easily crosses a value of 1500 USD. This may rise a concern among those on a budget. This brings us to our next important section, scholarships. Finding funding can be daunting, but once your education is sponsored through loans, scholarships, or other means half of your burden is released. Let us find out more about funding for MBA in USA.  

    MBA Scholarships

    MBA in USA Scholarships

    For an international MBA aspirant, the choice of business school and study destination highly depends on how much their pocket allows. Financial aid available for international students in the USA can be of great help in cutting expenses. Indian aspirants can avail of various scholarships available to only them for studying in the USA. Most of the top business schools in the USA offer to fund their international students. Find out some of the popular scholarships for international students in USA, here. Some of the popular scholarships available to Indian student pursuing MBA in USA are as follows:

    • Stanford Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship: Covers 80% of the tuition for Indian students pursuing an MBA at Stanford. 
    • Some of the Chicago Booth University Scholarships
      • Akhtarali H. Tobaccowala: Offers 1 million USD to an Indian Student pursuing MBA at Chicago Booth School
      • Ramakrishnan Family Scholarship: Offers 25,000 USD/year to 3 Indian students pursuing MBA at Chicago Booth Business School. 

    Additionally, there are various other MBA scholarships offered to international students at top business schools in USA. Some of these are as follows:

    • Harvard Business School Scholarship: Offered to at least 50% of the class at Harvard, the awards offered up to 40,000 USD/year.
    • McComb’s Scholarships and Fellowships: Award ranges from 2000 USD to complete tuition waiver. 
    • Forte Foundation Scholarships: Nominated Female applicants of Columbia Business School’s MBA are offered this scholarship.  
    MBA Jobs

    Jobs after MBA in USA

    As per the BLS, USA, a 23% rise in demand for various business and related roles will create around 138,000 new opportunities by 2024. This suggests that demand is ever-increasing. Top MBA recruiters like Amazon, Apple, Bain & Company, BCG, Deloitte, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, McKinsey are always eying the MBA graduates from the USA. 

    Salaries offered by top recruiters in the US for MBA graduates are as follows:

    Recruiters Salaries (USD/year)
    McKinsey & Co. 160,000
    EY  104,000
    Bain & Co. 145,000
    JP Morgan 125,000
    Amazon 121,000
    Apple 135,000
    Goldman & Sachs 125,000
    Deloitte 94,000
    KPMG 96,000

    MBA in USA: Top Universities by Weighted Salaries

    With more than 20 ranking globally among the top 50, their programs QS 2020 Global Rankings, becomes world leader offering quality higher education. Given below list universities FT rankings. The table also discusses program fees pursuing a from popular Business Schools in USA. 

    University Name QS Global MBA Rankings Weighted Salary (USD)
    Harvard Business School 5 210,110
    University of Pennsylvania-Wharton (Upenn) 1 211,543
    Stanford Graduate School of Business 1 222,625
    MIT-Sloan 3 197,177
    Columbia Business School 11 202,238
    University of Chicago-Booth 8 191,679
    Northwestern University-Kellogg 10 186,438
    UC Berkeley 9 193,630
    Yale School of Management 18 178,829
    Dartmouth College 45 177,819

    Weighted Salary: The average alumni salary post three years of completion of MBA in the USA. 

    ROI of MBA in USA

    ROI for MBA in USA

    Let us have a look through the Return on Investment of popular B-schools. The graphical image below compares the program fees of studying MBA in USA with the Weighted Salaries. 

    B-schools in USA Fees vs Weighted Salary

    The graph clearly suggests that pursuing MBA in USA will not only add stars to your shoulder but also offer you cushy median salaries to lay your back on.

    Some of the popular jobs post completion of an MBA from USA are detailed below:

    Job Designation Average Annual Salary (USD)
    Assistant B.D. Manager 99,000
    Business Development (B.D.) Manager 128,000
    Project Manager 106,000
    Manager 144,000
    General Manager 128,000

    The demand for MBA graduates from USA is ever rising and they can be placed globally in all sectors they wish and dream of. This makes MBA in USA not only just a lucrative program but also worth all the money that it may be costing you. 



    Ques. Is it worth pursuing an MBA degree in the USA?

    Ans. The USA accounts for the top-most Universities in the world offering MBA degrees in various specializations, such as Harvard and Stanford University. Pursuing an MBA degree from a USA institution empowers a student to develop business-related competencies and entrepreneurial skills through comprehensive courses. Thus, it pursuing the USA, MBA won’t be a bad option.

    Ques. Do the USA Business schools require Standardized English Test scores for MBA programs?

    Ans. Yes, almost all the institutions in the USA require applicants to submit scores of standardized tests like GRE or GMAT and IELTS/TOEFL to gain admission in the MBA programs in the US.

    Ques. Should one take the GRE or GMAT to study MBA in USA?

    Ans. GMAT is the most preferred test taken by the students applying for MBA courses in the USA and GRE for other graduate programs. A vast number of universities in the USA accept equivalent GRE scores in lieu of GMAT scores. Both the tests are equal in terms of evaluating the applicant. However, over the time GMAT has gained more popularity over GRE for MBA programs

    Ques. Is it possible to study MBA in USA without GMAT?

    Ans. Yes, Most of the top universities require you to have appeared for GMAT before applying to their MBA program, especially if you are doing a full-time MBA. But there are many who, in lieu of your GMAT score, give importance to your academic credentials and work experience. The three major types of MBAs where GMAT is not considered required are Executive MBA, Online MBA, and Lesser-known full-time MBA. 

    Executive MBA: As this program is made for experienced managers who have a good amount of work experience in their field already, they are not required to submit the GMAT score.

    Online MBA: This type of MBA program is of the distance category. These Online MBA degrees do not ask for a GMAT score from you.

    Lesser-known full-time MBA: Leaving aside the top MBA universities in the USA, a few of the lesser-known B-Schools don’t ask you for a GMAT score while filling out the application form. They base their selection aspects other than this GMAT entrance test criterion.

    Ques. Is an MBA from the USA without Work Experience possible?

    Ans. Work experience is one of the important points that the application reviewing committee looks into while assessing the application. In their application instructions, many of the top B-Schools have mentioned their preference for work-experience in the applicants’ application forms.

    Having said that, it is not mandatory. If the applicant has solid academic credentials, they can sometimes become a substitute for their no-work-experience element. Business Schools such as Stanford, Harvard, Chicago Booth, MIT, Columbia, etc. have not made work-experience compulsory and take freshers in their MBA program.

    Also, there are universities that offer you an MBA program combined with work experience. For instance, the Harvard Business School 2+2 program, where for the first two years(maximum 4 years) you have to work in an American company at a professional position, and then you will be admitted to a 2- year full-time MBA program. For this, you can either be an undergraduate or a graduate but must not have held any full-time work position prior.

    Ques. How to Study MBA in USA through Scholarships?

    Ans. There are various scholarships offered by external foundations, host universities, and other institutions to study in the USA across many programs and universities. Click here to check all the types of scholarships available.

    Ques. What are the top business schools for MBA in the USA?

    Ans. Some of the top B-schools in the USA offering MBA are Wharton, Harvard Business School, MIT Sloan, Yale, Chicago Booth, and Columbia Business School. These are ranked among the top business schools for MBA by Financial times and QS rankings.

    Ques. What is the cost of Studying MBA in USA for Indian Students?

    Ans. For an Indian student, MBA in USA can range from 20 to 80 Lakhs depending on the choice of university. The fees for top ranking universities offering MBA in USA ranges from 32 to 60 Lakhs INR. 

    Ques. What exam is required for MBA in USA?

    Ans. GMAT is one of the most important exams required for applicants who wish to study MBA in the USA. Alongside GMAT, you will also need IELTS/TOEFL exam scores to submit during the time of making applications.

    Ques. Is GMAT mandatory in top B-schools for 2021 admissions?

    Ans. No, various B-schools like Haas School of Business, Kellog School of Management, The Wharton School, Columbia Business School, UT-Austin, University of Georgia have waived off the GMAT requirements for 2021 sessions due to COVID-19. Many popular schools have also made it an optional requirement instead of having a stringent rule for submitting GMAT scores. 

    Ques. Why USA is best for MBA?

    Ans. US is the most coveted for MBA courses not only because it houses most popular and globally recognized business schools in the world but also because it is home top recruiters for MBA graduates. 

    Ques. Which MBA has the highest salary in USA?

    Ans. Strategic management, project management, corporate finance, and economics are the highest paying MBAs in the US. 

    Ques. How long is an MBA in the USA?

    Ans. The traditional MBA course is two-year long. However, you can choose for an accelerated one-year MBA if you have enough experience. 

    Ques. Which country is best for pursuing an MBA?

    Ans. The US tops the list of best countries for pursuing an MBA program in the world. UK, Canada, Australia, Germany, and France follow US in the respective order for the popularity of theri MBA course.  

    Ques. Can I get a job after MBA in the USA?

    Ans. Yes, being one of the largest economies in the world, US market is always in the need for skille professional. Additionally, US is also home to some of the top MBA recruiters like McKinsey, EY, Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, and more, which makes it easier for MBA graduates to find a job. However, as international students you must ensure that you update your F1 visa to a H1b visa which allows international students to work in the US.