Indian MBA vs International MBA: Is it worth doing an MBA from India in 2021?

The Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) continues to be one of the most popular professional programs for Indian students pursuing higher education in India and abroad. An MBA degree is usually earned in two years. However, there are also other options such as a part-time MBA or an executive MBA.

In 2019 a whopping 2,44,169 applicants registered for The Common Admission Test (CAT) for MBA admissions— the highest since 2010 when nearly 2.04 lakh candidates applied for it. CAT is the test to shortlist candidates for top business schools of the country, including the IIMs. Those who opt for an international MBA have to take the GMAT or the GRE. According to GMAC (Graduate Management Admission Council) on an average 30,000 Indian students take these tests, and of them nearly 80% apply to study in a top international B-school.

USA and Europe are unarguably the top MBA destinations for Indians. However, Canada, Singapore and Australia are fast emerging as sought after destinations for Indian MBA aspirants. US MBA programs are mostly of two year duration, while those in Europe, UK, and Singapore are of a year or so. But, with IIM Ahmedabad and IIM Bangalore providing excellent ROIs for their MBA programs, should you be considering an international MBA?

There are multiple factors to consider here. From the cost to admission criteria, ROI to networking opportunities; let’s have a look at the pros and cons of a top Indian B-school and an international one, and decide whether it is worth doing an MBA from India in 2021!

MBA in India in 2021

A good score in the entrance tests is enough for getting admissions to the best B-schools in India. The written test is followed by the twin rounds of group discussion (GD) and personal interview (PI). But, certain top MBA programs also place high weightage on the academic background of the candidates, and this can be an important factor for not applying in Indian B-schools. Work experience is not mandatory in getting admitted to a two year MBA program in India. Most of the top IIMs accept applicants right out of graduation. For Indian candidates with work experience, one year MBA programs such as ISB-PGP, IIMA-PGPX, IIMB-EPGP, IIMC-PGPeX, are the best. These are usually termed as Executive MBA programs.

For many, cost turns out to be the deciding or limiting factor, when it comes to studying MBA. A two year MBA program in India would cost between a few lakhs and to little more than 20 lakhs. The return on investment is generally pretty delightful for the top-ranked B schools, as students passing out from these institutions get an average salary of 20-22 lakhs. If you are not aspiring to work abroad and are willing to settle in India, an MBA from the best Indian B-schools is just the right thing for you. On completion, you are most likely to get placed through campus selection!

International MBA in 2021

Firstly, methods of teaching followed by B-Schools in the US, Canada, Europe, and Australia, are radically different from those in India! B-Schools in the west implement an array of tools and techniques to augment the learning experience of students. The learning process is also extensively interactive and experiential.

Moreover, in international programs you will have an experienced peer group coming from varied ethnic backgrounds. This means better learning curve and acquiring helpful insights through fellow batch mates armed with industry experience in diverse roles. A great deal of learning happens from the diverse viewpoints of classmates, which in turn make you skilled in dealing with complex problems helping a company negotiate its move not only through home markets but also in the global pitch. Besides, today, networks are known to be ones’ net worth. Hence, having an international network will surely be an added advantage.

During international MBA admissions, there is a lot of focus on attaining class diversity which means that there’ll be a chance to interact with experienced peers from diverse industries working in a variety of roles and from varied ethnic backgrounds. Compare this with a class full of freshers which you’d find in most of the Indian MBA programs. In spite of the enthusiasm of a relatively young peer group, there would be very few who’ve had hands-on experience, so a lot of theoretical learning (as against practical learning) would be involved.

The tuition fees for the two year US based programs can vary from around $90,000 to $1, 40,000 depending upon the university you’re applying to. The one year programs would cost slightly less in the range of $55,000 to $80,000. To this, you need to add the cost of living, medical insurance, books and transportation. Often, this can be the deciding or restricting factor for applying to an International MBA. But, you also need to consider the ROI. The average post-MBA salary would range from $85,000-$1, 20,000 for the most of the global top 100 programs. Some of the reputed programs can help you land a well-paying job which would put you in an excellent position in terms of ROI. However don’t assume that top ranking programs will guarantee a better ROI than those ranked lower. If ROI is your only (or top most criterion), then schools like BYU Marriott are ranked higher than Harvard Business School for ROI.

International B-schools also provide a ton of scholarships to help cover the tuition fee. Many candidates decide whether they will be pursuing an international MBA based solely on whether they qualify for a scholarship. Here is a quick look at the scholarships amount provided by top international B-schools:

    School Total Scholarships Average Grant % of MBAs on Scholarship
    Harvard Business School $31.5 million $32,000 50%
    Wharton $16.9 million $30,500 33%
    Chicago (Booth) $16.3 million $30,000 60%
    Stanford GSB $15.7 million $35,830 52%
    Michigan (Ross) $15.4 million $22,360 48%
    New York (Stern) $12.8 million $26,400 62%
    UCLA (Anderson) $12.1 million $25,860 65%
    Northwestern (Kellogg) $11.8 million $22,800 35%
    Columbia Business School $10.1 million $20,500 46%
    Virginia (Darden) $8.4 million $30,800 43%
    MIT (Sloan) $8.1 million $28,220 35%
    Duke (Fuqua) $7.1 million $20,950 33%
    Rice (Jones) $6.7 million $33,320 94%
    Yale School of Management $6.2 million $23,028 31%
    UC-Berkeley (Haas) $5.8 million $29,060 50%
    Cornell (Johnson) $5.7 million $12,000 33%
    Dartmouth (Tuck) $5.4 million $27,550 35%

So, what do you choose?

This is a life-deciding choice for you, so you need to be wise. Ask yourself about your short-term and long-term goals. If you believe that your ultimate goal is to leave the country and work abroad, then an international MBA is definitely the option you should choose! But, if you want to work in India, an MBA from IIM Bangalore or IIM Ahmadabad will provide you with great job options.

If your answer is an international MBA, then you need to watch this video and learn all there is to know about the application process and the timeline for the top B-schools:

MBA Application Game Plan, Deadline, Tips to Crack your Dream Business School| PythaGURUS

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