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Pros/Cons of Getting an International MBA (Non-U.S. citizens coming to U.S.) 

April 10, 2019 :: Admissionado

With international students comprising upwards of 30% of many of the top MBA program’s student bodies, it has been apparent for some time that international applicants see great benefits in pursuing their MBAs in the States.

A prestigious U.S. institution like HBS has worldwide appeal, making it a low-risk win-win for an international applicant who may wish to remain in the U.S. to work for a major corporation, but who also might want to return to their home country to follow their professional goals. In either case, the network and brand they’ll carry with them from a top U.S. MBA can certainly expedite their career trajectories.

However, in the past couple of years, fewer international applicants are throwing their apps into U.S. programs. In fact, only 32% of U.S. programs saw growing numbers of international applicants in 2017, compared to 49% in 2016, and one can only imagine the numbers have continued to decline into the 2018 admissions season as the political climate has only grown seemingly less and less hospitable to immigrants.

Recommended Reading: The State of the (MBA) Union

Because of this trend, and what it would mean for the school’s diversity, culture, impactful network, and acceptance rates, schools are beginning to go out of their way to court international applicants, meaning now might be an ideal time to apply if you’re set on a U.S. MBA and you’re from a country whose applicant rate to U.S. programs is dropping (for example, Mexico.)

But there are legitimate concerns about entering a U.S. MBA during this current political climate – namely, the fear that one may not be able to receive a visa once their student visa expires. This is less a concern for MBA applicants than undergraduate applicants, as the likelihood of receiving sponsorship through an organization post-MBA is higher that post-undergrad, but the future of immigrant professionals in the U.S. certainly hangs in the balance of a swinging partisan political climate.

It appears that many international applicants have already begun to take note of this threat and have moved their submissions slightly north. Canadian MBAs reported a 77% gain in international applications in 2017, compared to a 46% increase in 2016. Now, that’s something to really consider.


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