An MBA from a U.S program holds an international cache and is valued on the global market. Getting yourself into an excellent American business school, however, can hold some work for foreign students.
If you’re an international applicant, here are a number of factors you should think about before you decide to apply:
1. English Language Skills
Business school requires a considerable amount of heavy reading, group projects and papers. If you’re not comfortable reading, writing, speaking and comprehending English, you’ll have issues completing this program.
Is it possible to read a full section of the Wall Street Journal without feeling tired? Or else, you may want to develop your language skills. Unless you’re a local English speaker or you’ve earned an undergraduate degree from a United States university, business schools will probably ask you to take the Test of English like a Language (TOEFL).
Your undergraduate university should send the state transcript of the courses and grades to your prospective schools. Expect to pay fees for this service. It can take between three weeks to a few months for the transcripts to be sent, so request them as soon as you decide on the business schools that you’ll apply.
Also, it’s quite possible that you’ll need to submit an evaluation in addition to your actual transcript. An evaluation converts your transcript in the U.S. format. It enables admissions officers at American schools to evaluate your undergraduate coursework and compare it to U.S. standards.
There are fee-based evaluation services which will do this for you. Investigate them early and fast enough to avoid any delays. Some evaluation services (like WES –World Education Services) will even provide you with a standard U.S. GPA equivalent.
Essays should serve as your chance to show the admissions committee why you stand out from the other applicants. Be direct and honest, and invite your own personality in the essays to come through. Even though the admissions committee will recognize that English is not your native language, you should try and ask a local English speaker to go through your statements to check for grammar mistakes. Also, try and request letters of recommendations from people who write English well enough to be understood.
4. Student Visas
Once you are admitted to the business school, you need to call them immediately to begin the approval process for a student visa. You don’t wish to miss the initial weeks of classes and all that important networking time, because you’re not allowed into the country. Your program advisers can assist you with the paperwork.
Most American MBA programs don’t offer any grant money to international students, so you’ll need to be sure you can pay your own personal way. Most of the payments also require a substantial deposit, otherwise the entire amount before classes begin.
If an employer will be financing this program, start making the arrangements as soon as you choose a school. Know what your employer will not cover. And stay alert: you’ll probably need to prove within your budget that you can pay at least one year of school so that you can obtain a student visa.
For international students who are able to find a way to pay full tuition, this should be an advantage. However, the ability to pay will not outweigh the other factors needed for admission.
So, since you’ll not be eligible for financial aid, if you’re able to pay the full tuition fees, keep in mind that good grades, test scores, and other factors mentioned above continue to be the key for gaining admission in U.S. universities.