MBA Study in the USA - Frequently Asked Questions

Full or part-time?

You will have the option of studying for your MBA on either a full-time or part-time basis. A full-time MBA programme usually lasts one or two years. They are designed for people who have been working for some time and can afford to take a break in order to study.

You can expect a full-time MBA to include a professional internship, where you will get the chance to practice your skills in the real workplace. Most people who do a one year full-time MBA usually have some experience in the business world and would not benefit enough from an internship to merit the extra year of study.

A part-time MBA is a common choice for students as many are unable to drop their other commitments to focus solely on studying. By undertaking a part-time MBA programme students are able to continue working and juggling their responsibilities with their study. It is sometimes the case that employers are willing to pay for employees to do a part-time MBA so that they can advance in their career and provide an increased worth to the company. Part-time MBAs take a minimum of two years to complete.

What modules will I study?

When you are doing an MBA you will take core classes in topics such as accounting, finance, management, leadership, entrepreneurship, international management and marketing. You will also be able to pick classes to tailor your degree to your specific interests, for instance finance or management. In most cases, when undertaking your MBA you will have a lot of freedom to get what you want out of the course and to specialise in your area of expertise.

Who studies for an MBA in the USA?

Generally MBA study in the USA is made up of 50% men and 50 % women, with an average of 15% being international students. International students are encouraged to apply for MBAs in the USA - the more international the student body is, the more benefit there will be for its students.

What’s the cost?

There is no denying that an MBA is an expensive qualification to go after. It is said that an MBA is worth between $10,000 and $30,000 per year more than an undergraduate degree, but whether you actually see this increase in your monthly pay is another thing. Factors that affect the increase you see in your pay after you receive you MBA are:

  • Whether you stay in your current job or go to a new one
  • The amount of experience you have to the job sector you wish to go into
  • The reputation of the graduate school you went to
  • The demand for the type of work you want to do
  • The location of the job you want to do

When you’re thinking about the pay raise you expect to get remember to factor in that an MBA can cost upwards of $54,000 a year. This is for an MBA from a premier school; at a smaller school it is closer to $12,000 a year. Taking these facts into account, the average amount of time it takes to earn back the cost of your MBA is about ten years - although this can vary greatly from person to person.

What can an MBA do for my career?

If you are looking to work your way up in your company then an MBA could be exactly what you need. In a survey of accounting and finance professionals, 80% of executives said that an MBA is still important when people want to reach a senior level within a company.

By doing your MBA in the USA you will have power to move higher up in your company quickly, and also have more job opportunities open up to you. Most MBA programmes insist that you have at least three years business or relevant work experience so you can use this to build your knowledge on whilst studying.

Your MBA gives you tools to work with that will directly benefit your career. The three main key sectors that MBA graduates are entering are management consultancy, finance and entrepreneurship.

Can international MBA graduates to stay and work in the US?

Many international MBA graduates do stay and work in the US. In order to stay as a graduate student you must apply for Post-Completion Optional Practical Training (OPT) before the end of your course. This allows you to stay in the US for another twelve months to work full time.

To start the process of applying for OPT you need to get a Designated School Official (DSO) at your university to recommend you for the OPT. The DSO will make the recommendation by submitting your F-1 Student Visa to the system as well as an I-765 form that you must file. To file the I-765 form you must pay a fee of $380.

Only after you receive your OPT can you take on full or part-time employment in the USA. After your 12 months of OPT you can apply for a 17 month extension of post-completion OPT - although the theory is that you will find work within this 12 month period and your employer will sponsor you for a visa that will allow you to stay in the US.

For additional information on applying for OPT as a graduate student you can find all the information you need on the US Citizenship and Immigration Services website.

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