As we’ve discussed MBA application volumes to U.S. schools have declined. conveniently coinciding with a stark change in the political atmosphere in the U.S. International applicants may be right to take pause before pursuing a U.S. MBA—what are my chances of landing a job in the U.S. post-MBA? Is it harder now? Is it still worth pursuing the U.S. MBA?
The answer is yes, international applicants may find it harder to land a job in the U.S. these days (depending on a host of other factors like your industry, experience, the school you attend, English level, etc.) and yes—it is absolutely still worth getting the U.S. MBA.
Political changes have made getting a work visa in the U.S., even for highly skilled, highly qualified internationals, a little harder. As he promised, Trump has worked to make H1-B scrutiny more intense, and there is certainly potential for more restrictive changes in the near future. But here’s the deal: the H1-B visa was already a crapshoot—when immigration services opened up 2018’s H1-B application season, it received so many petitions that it reached its cap of 85,000 in just five days. It’s not news to international MBA candidates that it will be a challenge to obtain a visa to work in the U.S. post-graduation. You’d think they were selling T-Swift tickets!
>>>>Recommended Reading: “The Current State of the MBA”
Despite this, and even with what many might consider an unpleasant political atmosphere in the U.S., especially for international visitors, the U.S. MBA is STILL worth it. Yep, that’s right, even if you doubt you will be able to work in the U.S. post-grad, you should still go get your MBA there.
Why? Because it’s the gold standard.
The business education industry is changing, and applicants these days have more options, more flexible forms of education as online courses evolve, and an increasing number of reputable programs to choose from. Asia-Pacific schools saw an increase in domestic applicants this year, indicating that more applicants who would once have chosen to go abroad for their MBA now choose to stay home, and European programs have seen an increase in international applicants, perhaps indicating that they are pulling applicants from U.S. programs.
But none of this is changing fast enough to negate the value of the U.S. MBA. It is still the industry leader, the business education mecca, and if you’re looking for the top MBA programs in the world, you are still going to find most of them in the U.S.
All this means is that, setting aside your immediate post-grad job prospects (we know that’s hard, just bear with us for a second), your long-term career is going to get the maximum boost from going for the U.S. MBA, especially if that MBA comes from one of the elite, top-ranked MBA programs. (This calculation changes significantly if you are looking at middling programs, in which case another region may offer equally good or better career growth.)
An MBA from a top U.S. program is an investment that’s not going anywhere, and while the political atmosphere will change (we hope) in a few years, your MBA is for life.
U.S. MBAs also tend to be the most globally recognized. While an Asian-Pacific, European, or Canadian program may be valuable as you seek jobs in that region, the U.S. MBA crosses borders, and in some cases is even MORE valuable outside the U.S. So even if you don’t win the lottery visa and get to stay on in the U.S. post-grad, you can rest easy knowing that your degree holds up wherever you go.
This is especially true of the top-ranked schools—Harvard, Wharton, Columbia, Stanford, you get the idea.
So for now, set aside your visa worries and chase that U.S. MBA. Until the industry shifts significantly, which we don’t see happening anytime soon, you’ll be making a wise investment in your future.
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