The MBA admissions process poses specific challenges to international applicants, who may need to take English proficiency tests, provide translations of their transcripts and obtain student visas in order to apply. Here are some of the basics for international applicants applying to U.S. business schools:
English Proficiency Tests
The majority of U.S. business schools require international applicants to provide results from a recent English language proficiency test as part of their application. The most common test is the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL)
, which was specifically designed to evaluate the preparedness of international students for collegiate study in the English language. Many schools also accept the Pearson Test in English (PTE)
and the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)
. Applicants who earned a four-year degree in an English-speaking country or at an institution where English was the only language of instruction may qualify for a test waiver, so contact each school to inquire about a waiver policy.
Transcript Evaluation Services
Some schools require international MBA applicants to provide official transcripts with English translations from any institutions of higher education from which they earned a degree. Business schools require the equivalent of an American four-year undergraduate degree, although in some countries an equivalent degree may be earned in three years. One of the leading transcript evaluation services is World Education Services (WES)
, which will translate your transcripts and verify that the originals are authentic for $100-260, plus fees for multiples copies, rush delivery, etc.
Visas and Funding
As part of the application to U.S. business schools, admitted international applicants must apply for student visas. In order to apply for a visa, you must demonstrate that you have the financial resources to pay for business school. Some U.S. loans and scholarships are available to international MBA students
, but you cannot list these on your visa application as they will not have been awarded to you at the time of your application. Even if you can only account for partial funding in advance, you may still be eligible for a visa. Contact the admissions department at your target school for more information. Learn more about international relations
and careers within international relations.
Pre-MBA Summer Programs
Many schools, such as Wharton
, Harvard Business School
and University of North-Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School
, offer summer courses specifically geared toward international MBA students. Such courses usually combine preparatory quantitative coursework with an introduction to U.S. business culture, and at some programs, an immersive English language course. These programs also offer a great chance to meet and network with other international MBA students before the school year begins.