Wednesday, June 16, 2021

MBA in US: Admission criteria, work options

We continue our discussion today about one of the professional master’s programmes offered at US universities and colleges- the MBA programme.

In the last two weeks, we learnt about the duration, structure, eligibility, and application procedure for MBA programmes at US universities. It is also important for readers to understand the admission criteria for MBA programmes and work options during the programme.

Each graduate business school develops and implements its own policy concerning the factors that are important in making admissions decisions.

The GMAT is a standardised assessment designed to predict how applicants for MBA programmes and other business-related graduate degrees will perform academically. Admissions officials use the scores from standardised tests to predict a student’s academic performance in a graduate programme and make admission decisions. Increasingly, many business schools also accept the Graduate Records Examinations (GRE) standardised test. Several business schools select students by combining GMAT/GRE scores and undergraduate GPA.

Admissions officials also consider subjective factors such as work and other relevant experience, recommendation letters, application essays (personal statements), and reports of personal interviewers. It is recommended that students check the websites of chosen universities to determine the admissions criteria for the MBA programme at the institution.

Concerning the work options for MBA students, international students may work on campus up to 20 hours per week in the United States. After the first year, international students can apply for permission to work off campus if the work is directly related to their field of study, but this must be approved by the international student office of the university where the students are studying.

Students can avail this off-campus work opportunity through Curricular Practical Training (CPT) and Optional Practical Training (OPT) after completing one year of coursework. On CPT and OPT status, students may work part time (20 hours or less per week) during the academic session and full time when the programme is not in session. Students should refer to the previous articles published in this space regarding the work options for international students and visit to understand more about OPT and CPT. Many international MBA students also have full-time internships or jobs the summer following their first year. Next week we will talk about another professional master’s programme in the United States!

— Monika Setia (Regional Officer and EducationUSA Adviser at US – India Educational Foundation, based at the US Consulate General Hyderabad).


Q1. I am applying for undergraduate programmes in US. What should I keep in mind while drafting the essays?

– Nandini Shetty

A crucial part of the undergraduate or bachelor’s degree applications for US universities is the personal statement and essays. An essay allows a student to show the admissions committee what makes them a unique person and to stand out from other applicants. Both the content of the essay and the way it is written allows the admissions officers to understand your writing abilities and personality.

While writing essays, you should choose a topic that you are passionate about and something where you can share a story or personal experience from your life. You should be able to showcase your strengths in the essay, explaining each idea effectively and precisely and with enough supporting evidence.

To write an essay, you should first brainstorm ideas on the chosen topic. After that, you may come up with an outline (key points around which the contents may be organised). A general outline of any essay would include an introduction, the main body, and conclusion. The thoughts or ideas should flow from the introduction to the conclusion with clear transitions. Once a draft has been prepared, you should revise the content. After a few revisions of the content, the final step is to proofread the essay to eliminate grammatical or typographical errors and fine tune the language, cutting down on extra words. You should also ask an advisor, teacher, friend, or family member to review your essay.

Finally, you should be mindful of the word limit, and make sure that your essay is interesting, stands out, and illustrates a vivid issue, story, or experience.

Q2. I am currently pursuing master’s degree and interested in applying for PhD in US. When should I apply for the programme?

– Aparna Basu

The ideal time to apply for a PhD programme at US universities is during the first semester of the final year of the master’s programme, if you plan to start the programme right after the master’s degree. The application process to PhD programmes at US universities involves an online application, standardised test (GRE/GMAT) and English proficiency scores, transcripts, statement of purpose (SOP), letters of recommendations, curriculum vitae or resume, and financial documents. Taking the standardised tests and putting together all application components is a long process. So, 1-2 years in advance of the start date of the PhD programme is a good time for candidates to start planning for the US PhD degree application. Applicants should also check the dates available for the standardised and English proficiency tests, as not all of these tests are offered year-round and each test has limited seats available.


Every question has an answer. And ‘Destination USA’ will strive to provide the right answer to all those youngsters who dream of studying in the US.

Mail your questions and doubts to to have subject matter experts answer them, right from the degree and programmeme of study you can pursue to what the application process entails, on universities, how to prepare resumes, financing your studies and even how it is like to live and study in the US, all are welcome.

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