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
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
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
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%|
|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