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MBA in USA - Admission Process & Eligibility Criteria

application_process_for_mba_in_usaThe Masters in Business Administration (MBA) is the most popular masters degree in the US and is also the most popular among Indian students coming to US for higher studies. To gain admission into any of the top business schools in the US, you need to fulfill the following process.

Requirements for Indian students for MBA in USA

The eligibility criteria and application process for admission to the best B-schools in the US varies from the scenario back home in India. So students from India planning to apply for MBA in USA better ensure that the meet the following conditions:

  • You must have the basic academic qualifications (3/ 4 year bachelors degree)

    Most American universities and colleges only accept applications to their masters programs if you have at least 16 years of education i.e. 12 + 4. This may become a problem for Indian students who have pursued a 3 year B.Sc/ B.Com/ B.A. program resulting in only 12 + 3 = 15 years of education. In such a case, you must ensure that the US b-schools you're applying to, accept a 3 year bachelors degree. Nowadays, more and more American business schools have started accepting 3 year undergraduate degrees. Be it a 4 year B.Tech/ B.E or a 3 year undergraduate program, ensure that your academic performance (GPA score) is impressive

US B-schools accepting 3 year bachelors degrees:



  1. Harvard Business School  
  2. Stanford Business School  
  3. Booth School of Business,  University of Chicago
  4. Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University
  5. University of Pennsylvania,  Wharton  
  6. University of Virginia, Darden  
  7. Fuqua School of Business, Duke University
  8. New York University's Stern School of Business
  9. Tuck School of Business, Dartmouth College
  10. MIT Sloan School of Management
  11. Yale School of Management (SOM),Yale University
  12. Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management (Cornell University)
  13. Columbia Business School  
  14. UCLA Anderson School of Management
  15. Michigan  Ross School of Business  
  16. Emory University's Goizueta Business School

adelphi_mba_usa_gardencityProfessional courses like Chartered Accountancy (CA) are also accepted by MBA programs in the US, as long as you have completed the entire course and cleared all exam levels AND completed your articleship as well. Please note that your articleship won't be counted as "work experience."

  • Secure a good GMAT/ GRE score is one of the most important criteria for any good business school.
  • Get a TOEFL iBT or IELTS or PTE score - important for international students and most universities make it mandatory especially if your undergraduate program was not taught in English
  • Work experience: It is advisable to have a two-three year of work experience before applying to any of the universities in the US. The 2018 MBA class at Stanford has work experience that ranges between 0 - 13, with average work experience being 4 years. Similarly, the average age of the MBA class of 2018 at Harvard is 27 - we can assume that the candidates have at least 3 - 5 years of work experience.
  • Academic transcripts: Past academic record is very important for securing a place in the top business schools in the US. You must have a proven track record of consistent performance throughout your life. Universities in the US follow a GPA system of marking. If your university does not follow the same system, ensure that the official transcript carries a note of that. A low GPA score is the second biggest reason for rejection of your MBA application. The average GPA score in the MBA class at Harvard Business School this year was 3.67 and Standford Graduate School of Business was 3.73.
  • Personal essays: Personal essays play a very significant role in the admission process of a candidate into a business school in the US. An authentic and heartfelt narrative in your essay enables helps the admission committee of the B-school to analyze your goals and assess your qualitative abilities apart from quantitative aspects like GPA, GMAT numbers. In other words, a personal essay helps you to market yourself. An impressive essay can help you win admission to prestigious MBA colleges like Sloan or Booth School of Business even if your GMAT score was below 600 or GPA was less than 3.0.

  • Letters of reference/ recommendation: Most B-schools in the US also require you to arrange for at least 2 letters of reference that must be submitted along with your MBA application. These letters must be written in detail with anecdotes to support the claims and have to be written by either your direct supervisor/ ex-manager/ senior colleague/ client (if you're working) or someone who has managed you in an internship/ extra-curricular activity (if you don't have work experience.)
  • While fulfilling the above criteria is absolutely necessary there are some important factors which play a major role as well. Any top university looks into the following aspects in the prospective candidate seeking admission to a business school.
  • Leadership Qualities: Many universities look into the leadership qualities in a candidate. You should have demonstrated ability in work place or elsewhere of your strong leadership qualities. So, it is highly recommended to talk about your leadership achievements in your personal essays.
  • Intellectual vigor: Universities generally look for an interest to learn among candidates and a keen curiosity to extend one's horizons. A passion and dedication towards learning is important.
  • Strong Academic Background: Universities also put importance to your previous academic records. Results of GMAT/GRE and TOEFL will help evaluate your ability of grasping the complex academic course of MBA. If you have demonstrated your ability of having mastered quantitative concepts, you will be at an advantage.
  • Personal Attributes: Universities also look for personal attributes that are necessary for being a successful leader. Candidates with commitment, endurance and those who demand and show respect to others have an edge over fellow students. People who are focused on their goals and show an ability to contribute significantly to the business world are ideal candidates for a business school.

Also read: List of top MBA colleges in the US



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