6 Considerations for International MBA Applicants
In this post, I will talk about those aspects of the MBA application process which are of special interest to International students. While taking GMAT/GRE, completing essays and other online applications remain common for every student, there are few things every international student must think seriously about.
1. Choosing an international location
Decide what is your motive behind opting for an international MBA and select the appropriate location which fulfills your needs. USA, Canada, Europe, Asia, Australia make the list of most popular destinations. For me, I had 2 main reasons to go for an international MBA. One was the diversity of peer body and the other was a chance to go out of my comfort zone and be on own for those 2 years. I chose USA as my preferred international destination because of the diversity and exposure it offers. Also US B-schools welcome younger candidates. If you are a mid-managerial level candidate, European schools can be a great fit for you. Likewise try to know what you want out of the MBA and B-school and decide on the international location. In this blog post, I have discussed the factors one needs to consider while selecting his/her ideal B-school. Be sure to check it while contemplating your school selection.
2. Completing English Language proficiency requirements
Being an international applicant with a native language other than English, we need to prove our English language proficiency. The majority of B-schools accept TOEFL/IELTS/PearsonETS scores in order to confirm our English language proficiency. Also, most of the B-schools waive this requirement if the primary language of instruction of our undergraduate institution was English, or if we have spent significant time in an English speaking country. If you need to take the TOEFL, click here for a timeline.
3. Obtaining International transcripts and converting your GPA
Almost every B-school asks for undergraduate transcripts and scores. You can obtain your transcripts from your undergraduate institution, scan it and upload to online applications. If the transcripts are not in English, you would need to translate it to English.
Only some schools ask you to convert your GPA to the scale of 4. Be sure to check individual school sites regarding this requirement. Most B-schools are comfortable with International GPA scales and hence they don’t require the converted GPA.
4. Financing your MBA
Once you navigate through application process, the next biggest factor is to obtain finances for your MBA. While some schools offer no-cosigner loans for international students, many others require you to have a US cosigner to obtain loan. You can get information about which schools offers which type of loan in this blog post. Also this article is a good starting point to start planning your finances.
5. Securing your visa
After you successfully get admitted and also arrange for your finances, the only blocker ahead is obtaining a Visa. This needs to be done meticulously as it can make or break your chances. You can get started by reading this post.
6. Finding housing
So you got the visa and started preparing your relocation. At this stage you should be worrying about housing options. B-School websites usually contain basic information about available housing. Check out this post for 5 ways to find an apartment in the US. Be sure to start networking with current students and admissions staff even before starting your MBA. This makes sure you don’t end up with total strangers when you relocate.
Though this process looks tedious, it will be worth the effort for what you can really gain from an international MBA. If you want to add anything to this list or share your experiences, be sure to leave a comment.