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The USA is not only a fascinating travel destination, but also offers endless opportunities for study. The large number of excellent universities makes the United States the most popular country for international students to study abroad. Every year, thousands of young people are attracted to North America, especially for an MBA program.
Advantages of an MBA program in the USA
The USA is considered the cradle of the MBA. In the meantime, the Master of Business Administration has been in existence there for around 100 years. No wonder, then, that US universities set the tone in terms of management training.
But apart from the long tradition, there are many other reasons for doing an MBA in the USA:
- Acquisition of a prestigious degree: MBA programs rank among the best in the world according to MBA rankings in the USA
- Improved networking opportunities through large alumni networks of many US universities
- International curricula and a high proportion of international lecturers
- High practical relevance (many lecturers with top positions in the economy)
- High average salaries for MBA graduates
- Often internships with large US companies during their studies
- Improved entry opportunities into the North American labor market
Structure and contents of the MBAs in the USA
The classical MBA in the USA lasts two years and thus one year longer than European MBA programs. As a rule, these are full-time programmes, which are divided into two parts at most universities.
The first phase of the study is designed to impart general management knowledge from areas such as business administration, marketing or finance and accounting. In the second phase of the MBA, there is usually a large number of compulsory elective courses from which students can choose freely and thus set priorities. You can choose from sectors such as the healthcare sector or individual areas of work, such as e-commerce or international business.
The ratio of compulsory and elective courses varies from MBA to MBA and from university to university. In some courses of study, participants have the option of doing an internship between the phases of their studies and thus getting in touch with potential employers.
The goal of the MBA programs in the USA is to impart business knowledge as well as management skills and elementary soft skills to students. The American business schools attach great importance to a practical and compact education. During the MBA program, participants learn how to solve tasks under time pressure and develop solutions for real-life case studies in a team. As a rule, the course of study is strictly organised in terms of time and content.
Variants of the MBA in the USA
In recent years, parallel to the classic MBA programs, there has been an increase in the number of shorter study programs with a less extensive program. They usually have a duration of 12-18 months. Participants acquire the general management knowledge in a condensed form and do not complete an internship during their studies.
It is also possible to apply for a part-time MBA in the USA, especially for professionals. The studies usually take between three and seven years to complete. In some cases, it is also possible to acquire an MBA in distance learning. Important note: Since a F1 visa is subject to full time study in the USA, it is important to clarify beforehand to what extent participation in a Part-Time MBA is possible.
Many US universities also offer an Executive MBA, or EMBA for short. They are targeted at managers with several years of professional experience. The EMBA should enable students to pursue their profession in parallel with their studies, which is why most of them are part-time programs. The courses take place in the evening or on weekends.
Quality of MBA programs in the USA
The official accreditation is a decisive characteristic for the quality of the MBA program in the USA. This is to ensure that the curriculum, teaching staff and study programmes meet certain standards.
The accreditation determines whether the MBA obtained in the USA is internationally recognised. It should be noted that not all accreditation institutions are equivalent and are recognised by the German Ministry of Culture. The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) is the world’s largest and most important accreditation agency for MBA degree programmes in the USA.
Admission criteria for the MBA in the USA
Classically, the MBA was aimed at graduates of non-economics subjects who wanted to acquire comprehensive business knowledge. In the meantime, however, many economists are also opting for an MBA in the USA and are hoping to advance their careers. In order to obtain the desired degree, however, you will first need a confirmation from the university of your choice. The following entry requirements usually apply to MBA programs in the USA:
- First degree (Bachelor) and good average grades
- Several years of professional experience, especially for an EMBA
- Good test results in the General Management Admission Test (GMAT)
- reference letter
- Good command of English, proven by a standardised language test such as IELTS or TOEFL
The Bachelor’s degree in the USA normally takes four years and not three. In case of doubt, the U. S. universities therefore check whether the achievements made in the first degree program qualify students for participation in the MBA program.
As part of the application process, some universities also require one or more application essays in which applicants must provide a convincing statement of their motivation for the MBA program in the USA. Here, certain stylistic and formal criteria must be taken into account.
MBA in the USA: Costs and Financing
A Master of Business Administration in the USA is not an option for students who are looking for an inexpensive course of study. The tuition fees for an MBA in the USA start at around US$40,000 and are up to US$120,000 for higher-ranking business schools, plus the cost of living in the USA. Since graduates of the top schools in particular can considerably increase their career opportunities with an MBA, the investment is still worthwhile in many cases.
Many students finance their MBA studies in the USA with a mix of private savings, scholarships and a loan. The following financing options are open to MBA students:
- Scholarships of the DAAD
- Fulbright scholarships
- Rotary Club Scholarships
- Low-interest student loans, such as Brain Capital’s MBA education fund;
Good to know: The costs of the MBA program can be deducted from taxes as training costs. In addition, it is possible for the employer to cover the costs of the MBA program, especially for part-time programs. In return, the employee often commits himself to working for a certain number of years at the respective company after completing his studies.
Another option to cover at least part of the tuition fees is assistantship. This is comparable to the position of a research assistant or assistant teacher at German universities. Students have the opportunity to work up to 20 hours a week on campus in parallel with their MBA studies.
Around entering the USA
An MBA in the USA requires an F1 student visa, which must be applied for at the American Embassy.
Comprehensive health insurance is also required for an MBA program in the USA. Many U. S. universities offer fixed insurance packages when enrolling. Under certain circumstances, it is possible to bring along a health insurance policy taken out in Germany instead.