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Most Cost Effective MBA Programs in USA for Indian Students

USA is one of the dream destinations for Indian MBA aspirants! However, the tuition cost of the top B-schools alone can make applicants change their decision. But at the same time, having an MBA from the USA on your resume is probably one of the best career boosters to have!

A top B-school in the USA is going to cost you upwards of $55,000 for tuition fees each year and total costs coming up to $75,000 each year all inclusive. For many out there, this can look like a ridiculous figure! But, this is of course the very top B-schools in the US, and not all B-schools are going to leave you feeling an economic depression.

Budget MBA options in the US do exist, and we will be discussing a whole bunch of them in this article. You need to understand that getting an MBA from the USA not only increases your career prospects, but it also opens up the American industry for you. And if you are looking for a career change, there are fantastic opportunities available as well!

So, let’s get started with the list!

  • California Miramar University

This is one of the cheapest B-schools to get an MBA from in the USA, and they also do not require you to take the GMAT! You still need to give the TOEFL or IELTS, but once again the cut-offs are quite relaxed.

The tuition cost here is about $22.5k average which is almost one-third the tuition cost of the top B-schools. They also have rolling admissions open all the time, so wherever you’re ready to apply just go ahead. Overall, it’s a great B-school to study in, and you will be able to achieve a wholesome MBA education at a cheap price.

  • Wilmington – University of North Carolina

A highly robust B-school, Wilmington provides a wide variety of courses to choose from. You can of course sign up for their regular MBA which costs about $18.5k, but there is also an online part-time MBA which is even cheaper! Finally, you have the Executive MBA at UNC which is designed for senior professionals.

You do need a GMAT or GRE score to apply here, but if you are someone with great academic and/or professional records, there is a chance they might accept you without a score! And they are also known for accepting candidates with low professional experience as well. But if you are applying here with 1-2 years of work experience, make sure to score good on your GMAT!

  • Kentucky State University

Another MBA program with tuition fee of around $18,000, the Kentucky State University MBA program offers great specializations such as marketing, economics, and accounting. They have a relaxed GMAT requirement, with the batch average being slightly higher than 400.

USNews, one of the leading authorities in ranking MBA programs, listed the Kentucky State University MBA program as one of the best in Southern America. World report also ranked it at #31 in their top US MBA Programs list last year.  So, you will not only be getting a budget business education but you will also be graduating from one of the top B-schools in the American South.

  • IOWA State University

This is a great option for those poised towards a STEM specialization in their MBA course. It is also one of the top 50 B-schools in the US, and comes with a super low price tag of $14,500 for the full-time MBA tuition fee.

You can apply to the MBA program at IOWA State University with only 2 years of work experience. This is quite relaxed as compared to some of the other top B-schools where the average work experience required is 4 years. This B-school also provides a great range of financial aid to the MBA class so make sure to read up the scholarship information when you apply.

  • Lamar University

One of the top online MBA programs in the US, it is known for not only having a low cost program but also not requiring GMAT scores from academically proficient candidates. If you are worrying about boarding and travel costs, then an online MBA is a great option, and at Lamar University it will cost you approx $30,000.

While that figure may look higher than the other entries in this list so far, you will not be spending any money to travel and stay in one of the costliest countries in the world by signing-up for this online MBA program. Online MBAs are also becoming very lucrative opportunities for professionals seeking a quick rise up the corporate ladder as the post-pandemic world has become quite accepting of online degrees.

  • Clemson University

At Clemson University you have a wide range of MBA options available, and all of them are priced quite generously. The full-time MBA comes at $16.5k tuition fee per term, but you can also opt for their famous dual-MBA program. There are also the online and part-time MBA courses that are great offerings as well.

The full-time MBA program at Clemson offers a great range of electives, so you will be able to find the right curriculum for your MBA journey. And if you are not sure about quitting your job for a full-time MBA, you should definitely read up on their other programs.

  • University of Buffalo

This is it! This is officially the cheapest full-time MBA in the USA, and it’s not ranked at the bottom of the barrel as well!

The MBA at University of Buffalo can be gained at less than $12k per term. This is almost a throwaway price for an MBA degree from the USA, and just last year the University of Buffalo featured in the top 10% B-schools in the US in multiple lists. They also offer a GMAT waiver option, so if you have good academic results and work experience, you might not have to go through the entire GMAT hassle at all. This is such a win-win that almost every Indian MBA applicant should try here!

Scholarships and Financial Aid for MBA in the USA

While applying to these budget MBA programs is definitely a great deal, you don’t need to always let go of the top B-schools just because you can’t afford them. If you have a great profile and can prove your worthiness, a top-tier institute such as Harvard or Stanford will easily cover more than half of your tuition costs!

But, scoring these scholarships is not always easy. So here are some must-do tips:

  • Start networking even before you apply

Reach out to alumni members, current students, and of course the AdCom members. If you are able to establish a professional communication channel you will learn a lot of insider information about how you can improve your chances of getting a scholarship. Also, always attend the AdCom online events, as these are places where you can have your relevant questions answered.

  • Apply as early as possible

Don’t ever sit on it. Keep in mind that there might be many other applicants with the same resume as yours, so they might get the scholarship simply because they applied earlier than you. Start your research way ahead in the timeline, and when the time arrives have everything read in hand so that you are one of the first ones to apply for the scholarships. If you are depending on scholarships for attending a B-school, it is smart to apply within Round 1.

  • Look for private scholarships

The financial aid provided by the B-schools is not your only option. There are many scholarship programs meant for candidates just like you. The Fullbright Nehru scholarship and TOEFL scholarship are some of the options that you should definitely consider. Make sure to do your own research and you will be able to save more on your MBA education.

Final Thoughts

Always remember that studying MBA in the USA is not always about the cost but rather about the ROI. After finishing such a course you will gain a significant raise in your salary and within a few years you will have recovered the money spent on your MBA.

However, it is not always possible to have that kind of money to begin with. Hence this list sums up some of the cheapest B-schools in the USA for MBA, and all of these programs are well accredited and rank fairly well every year.

Just make sure to put in plenty of research time before you apply and build a solid application! Best of luck!

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For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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