The following article has been inspired by the thoughts of Mr. Mayank Srivastava. He is the Founder of Experts’ Global, one of the world’s leading EdTech firms in the field of GMAT prep and MBA admission consulting
The USA MBA programs, identified by their 100 year old reputation in providing the best learning experience to the students, are still highly favoured by most MBA aspirants. A perfect learning environment offering academic competency, experiential training, live simulations, cross-cultural exposure, collaborative learning, interactive case studies, engaging campus life, vast global networking scopes, remarkable brand value, renowned faculty, profound intellectual capital, expansive extra-curricular activities, well-equipped career resources, and a cohort of top-notch recruiters promises a once in lifetime opportunity of acquiring the desired skill-enhancement training to the MBA aspirants. However, availing of such an exciting and enriching experience requires considerable financial investments. Owing to this fiscal deterrent, several international students are step back from applying to the US MBA programs. The most unfortunate fact about this situation is that the students often fail to explore the viable funding opportunities for an US MBA.
Discussed below is a list of possible options that may help fulfil the aspiration of acquiring an US MBA.
US MBA programs offer up to 100% scholarship on tuition fee. I would say that had it not been for the option of scholarships, I could not have imagined opting for an US MBA and returning to India to pursue my entrepreneurial venture. It was a matter of personal choice that I had planned to pursue an US MBA, instead of going to the IIMS or to ISB, and I was fortunate enough to have received a 100% grant from a premium US B-school. These scholarships are usually offered on the basis of merit and the most common factors taken into consideration, for deciding the possibility and extent of the scholarships, include professional experience, academic performance, including the GMAT score, and involvement in extra-curricular activities. All schools provide scholarships to its students and it is the responsibility of the students to adequately research these scopes in the course of their school short-listing activity. The candidate must also connect to a recent student or the alumni of their target schools to gauge the competency of their profile and seek to understand the competitiveness of their GMAT scores to obtain scholarships. Thorough research and contemplation of the school’s offerings is a must. Goizueta, Olin, Carey, Boston University, Owen, Jones, Smeal, Kelley, Fisher, Smith, Broad, UIUC, Irvine, Krannert, Foster, and Tippie are few of the scholarship friendly prominent American Business Schools.
Avail of Loans sans any Collateral
Almost all of the top-20 US B-schools offer an option of availing collateral free loans. Schools often enter into agreements with American financial institutions that extend loans to the admitted students, without requiring the students to submit any collateral or co-signor. These loans sufficiently pay the tuition fees and the living expenses. Further, these loans are handed out at only 5% interest. These collateral free loans are particularly goof options for students aspiring to re-start their professional career in the USA itself. On an average, if one’s education cost totals to around USD 100,000 and the starting salary approximates at USD 130,000, a very common scenario accorded by the top-20 US MBA programs, one can easily breakeven on this investment in few years. Instead of perceiving this option as an excess financial load, consider the many advantages you stand gain from availing of this opportunity – the brand value of a renowned B-school, the network, and the learning; important credentials that will last a lifetime! These financial institutions believe in the power of the alumni to secure good employment opportunities and attain the necessary designation to be able to pay back the loans. The education scenario in US, as such, is competitive and very few programs offer this option of collateral free loans. The MBA aspirants must dutifully research into the collateral free loans options offered by the B-schools while short-listing their prospective schools. A few American B schools with the option of collateral free loans include – Harvard, Wharton, Booth, Stanford, Sloan, Haas, Tuck Stern, Duke, Yale, and Cornell.
A Local Co-Signor
Opting for an US citizen or a Green Card holder, with good credit history, as the co-signor is a viable option for international students looking to avail of education loans. Hence, if your acquaintance is eligible and willing to sign for you, you can easily gain cheap loans, at only 5% interest. These Co-signed loan options are very common and almost all of the US top 75 MBA programs provide their students with this opportunity.
Select Economical Programs
Although most US programs are expensive, few economical programs are also available. Invest adequate research into understanding the relevance of such programs to your profile and career aspirations. These economical programs, however, should not be mistaken for being low ranked or inefficient. Rankings do not determine the cost of the program, rather such several factors as location, batch size, and state funding are also added while deciding the cost of a particular program. If you carefully observe, many low ranked programs are more expensive than the others. For instance, BYU Marriott, with a rank among the top-35 programs, is an economical program, with USD 65,000 being the total expense for an international student. UMass MBA, another renowned program located in Massachusetts, costs as less as USD 40,000! You may refer to the US News Rakings to properly understand the fee structure, employability, average starting salaries etc. before short-listing schools.
Earn while you Learn
USA management programs are flexibly structured that allows international students enough scope to earn while studying. An international student can work up to 20 hours in each week, on campus. Graduate Assistantship, Teaching Assistantship, and Campus jobs are the various earning options available to the students. The 3-month internship period will also help the student to earn USD 6,000 per month. Normally, the MBA candidates tend to earn their living expense while they only need to arrange for the tuition fees.
To conclude, I would like to say that US MBA programs can be easily funded. The MBA aspirants need to focus only on the factors that they can control, such as the GMAT score, the profile, and the applications; the finances can be easily taken care of by duly researching the options that I discussed.
As an aspiring entrepreneur, I boosted my entrepreneurial venture during the course of my MBA, completed the program, and duly saved up during the tenure to be able to establish my first corporate office upon my return to India; and in the course of my education and establishing my firm, I did not incur any financial liabilities for my family. I always tell my students, if I could fund a US MBA, anybody can!