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Study Abroad Best Countries: UK vs US for Indian MBAs

Shannon Cook

Shannon Cook - BusinessBecause

Shannon Cook is a Writer for BusinessBecause and GMAC Media.

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With the top business schools in the world found everywhere from the US and Europe to the UK and Asia, how do you choose the best country to study abroad if you’re an Indian MBA  candidate?

Before settling on your dream location and school, here’s what you need to know about the best countries for Indian MBA students.

Study abroad: Best countries for Indian MBAs

If you’re looking for the highest number of prestigious business schools in the world in one place, the US comes out on top. The US is home to a large number of the top business schools in the world, such as the elite M7 business schools like Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business, and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Due to their strong research expertise, high quality of learning, access to stellar career opportunities, and links with top MBA employers, these schools attract the very best MBA students worldwide.

The UK is also a contender when it comes to top MBA programs for international students.

Institutions like London Business School and Imperial College Business School offer globally renowned MBA programs, making London a top business school destination.

There are also some top schools outside of the capital that could suit your career needs, like Alliance Manchester Business School and the University of Cambridge Judge Business School.

Top MBA Programs

What are the best MBA programs for you? Check out our list of top MBA programs by GMAT score sending, featuring HBS, Stanford, and Wharton.

But the UK isn’t your only option if you want to study in Europe. France is home to top institutions like HEC Paris and INSEAD, while Spain has several highly regarded MBAs including IESE Business School and ESADE Business School.

And in recent years, a number of top Asian business schools have been ranked highly by the Financial Times. Schools like China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School, for example.

Which country has the best education system?

When it comes to differences between the European and US education system, US business schools typically offer the traditional two-year MBA program that enable students to study core business topics in the first year, while studying electives in the second year. There’s also the chance for a mid-degree summer MBA internship.

European MBA programs are usually one year and offer a more accelerated business school experience, with the INSEAD MBA only lasting ten months.

However, European and US schools use similar teaching methods. In any top MBA program, you can expect to learn primarily through the case study method, which involves examining real world business scenarios.

Both European and US programs also tend to provide hands-on learning opportunities like consulting projects and study trips.

With a two-year MBA, though, you’re much more likely to have time to complete an internship. So, if you’re hoping to make a career pivot, a two-year program in the US may be your best bet.

If cost is a concern, one-year MBA programs are usually more affordable than two-year programs, since you’ll only pay for one year of tuition. Plus, you won’t need to take two years out of the workplace like you would for a full-time two-year MBA—which can cost over US$200K at a top US school when living costs are accounted for.

Study abroad scholarships

Study abroad scholarships can help fund your MBA tuition fees in part or in full, which can be a huge relief if you’re worried about the costs of moving to another country to study.

If you’re looking to study in the UK, the Chevening Scholarship provides generous funding for grads from eligible countries including India to study a UK-based master’s degree.

There are also school-specific scholarships for international MBA students like Stanford’s Reliance Dhirubhai Fellowship, which is reserved for Indian MBAs who need financial help, while INSEAD offers MBA scholarships for students of any nationality with limited finances.

Talented female MBAs can also apply for scholarships like Germany’s HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management’s Women in Business Scholarship, which is open to female applicants of any nationality.

Where will I find the most student diversity?

You should also consider the diversity of an MBA program when selecting a business school abroad.

“With a program format that highly relies on peer-to-peer learning, class composition and background play a significant role in the MBA student experience,” says Melody Jones, co-founder of Vantage Point MBA Admissions Consulting

European MBA programs tend to be more international than US programs. At London Business School, for instance, the most recent MBA cohort comprised 90 percent international students. In contrast, the Harvard MBA typically attracts a cohort that’s 37 percent international students.

Piyali Banerjee, an Indian MBA student at Alliance Manchester Business School, explains that she chose a UK business school because she wanted to gain international exposure and global networking experiences while she studied.

If international diversity interests you, there are also some programs in Southeast Asia that are worth considering. For example, the National University of Singapore MBA attracts a cohort that consists of 90 percent international students and 24 nationalities.

MBA career opportunities

One of the main reasons to study abroad is to build your network in a specific region, which can help you connect and find jobs with local employers.

You’re much more likely to find a post-MBA job in the same region you studied your MBA than elsewhere. For instance, 61 percent of HEC Paris MBAs find jobs in Europe when they graduate, while only 6 percent start roles in North America.

David White, founding partner of Menlo Coaching Admissions Consulting, recommends focusing on your career after the MBA, rather than the program location itself.

“While it’s natural to wonder about the differences between business schools in different countries, applicants should direct their energy to reflecting on what they are looking for in their post-MBA careers,” he says.

If you’re keen to start a career in management consulting, you might consider France’s INSEAD, which places more MBAs into management consulting than many other programs.

Meanwhile, if entering the technology industry is on your radar, you could look to the US. At Stanford, you’ll be within proximity to the bustling tech hub of Silicon Valley, while at NYU Stern School of Business, you’ll be a stone’s throw away from the New York tech scene. New York is also one of the top cities for Indian MBAs.

If you’d prefer to enter finance, then a business school with strong links to the finance industry, such as London Business School, might be for you.

“One should always pursue an MBA in a geography where one sees themselves to be living in the future,” advises Khushboo Soni, an MBA student at Cambridge Judge Business School who’s from India.

“I want to be in the UK after my MBA as it fits in well with my post-MBA career goal to work in fintech,” she says.

Navigating the student visa process

To study abroad, you’ll need an international student visa. Though it may seem daunting, with preparation the process you can run smoothly. You’ll also have the assistance of your business school to point you in the right direction.  

“My school's admission team, current students, and alumni connections helped me understand and sail through the process smoothly,” says Shravya Amarnath, an Indian MBA student at Carnegie Mellon University’s Tepper School of Business.

To study in the US, the you’ll need the F-1 student visa. You’ll also need an F-1 student visa before you can start the process of applying for US graduate student loans.

In the UK, you must have an unconditional offer from a business school before you apply for your UK student visa.

Once you have a place on a course, your education provider will send you a reference number, known as a Confirmation of Acceptance for Studies (CAS). You have six months to apply for your student visa after receiving your CAS.

You should also consider the post-study work visas available for international MBA grads in your target country. The US H-1B visa allows foreign nationals with specialized professional experience to remain in the country to work for up to a total of six years after graduating.

Meanwhile, the UK’s Graduate Route allows international students to stay in the UK for an additional two years after graduating.

How the GMAT can help you stand out

Achieving a good GMAT™ exam score is one of several ways that you can land a place at your dream business school abroad.

“A higher GMAT score will increase your chances across the board—if you are applying with a competitive score, you will have a better chance of earning an admissions interview, a better chance of winning admission, and a better chance of receiving scholarship money,” says David from Menlo Coaching.

While a top GMAT score won’t be the single deciding factor in your business school application, it can help when you’re applying for competitive MBA programs.

GMAT Exam 8-Week Study Plan

Reduce your test anxiety by leveraging a solid plan for prep. Follow this link to download the free 8-week study planner.

When choosing to study abroad, the best country for you will be the one that can best meet your post-MBA goals.

You need to assess several things, for example which country has the best education system for you, depending on whether you want a one-year or two-year MBA. You also need to weigh up whether the country you’re targeting is the best for the industry into which you want to launch a career after graduating. Also, are you more likely to land study abroad scholarships in one country over another?

After answering these questions and nailing a top GMAT score, you’re ready to hit the ground running with your application.

Shannon Cook

Shannon Cook - BusinessBecause

Shannon Cook is a Writer for BusinessBecause and GMAC Media. She is responsible for writing and managing sponsored and non-sponsored editorial content relating to the business school journey, as well as covering the latest business news trends. She also heads up the video series, building brand awareness of BusinessBecause across social media channels and the website.

Shannon earned a BA in English Literature with Legal Studies from the University of Sussex and an MA in International Journalism from the University of Leeds.