The United States of America has long been a popular destination for students. The country that brought us Hollywood, hamburgers and hip hop also offers students some of the finest educational institutions in the world.
As an English-speaking country, America is an attractive option for students wishing to study abroad while not having to perfect a new language. However, it is also the perfect place for non-native speakers wishing to improve their language skills – English is, after all, one of the most widely spoken languages in the business world.
The concept of the business school has its roots in the United States – the very first MBA program was offered by Harvard Graduate School for Business Administration in 1908. Indeed, America still leads the way in business education with a huge number of the top-raking business schools being based there.
Ivy League Colleges
Many of you will recognise the term ‘Ivy League’ with reference to the best colleges in the United States. But what exactly does it mean? Ivy League institutions are viewed as some of the best, most prestigious universities in the world and have a reputation for academic excellence. All eight Ivy League colleges are based in the north-east of America: Brown University, Columbia University, Cornell University, Dartmouth College, Harvard University, Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Yale University.
Ivy League business schools –most notably Harvard Business School and the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania – are often ranked among the best in the world. Harvard Business School currently tops the global hierarchy, with only INSEAD and London Business School rivalling it in terms of employer reputation.
This area of the country is an extremely popular business hub, with New York City and Philadelphia being the two most populous cities on the east coast. These cities not only offer some of the best job opportunities for MBA graduates, but also some of the most exciting cultural experiences for students. New York in particular is home to some of America’s most recognisable iconography such as the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Central Park. It has been described by many as the cultural capital of the world – where better to enjoy student life than here?
Other top schools offering MBAs are based in business hubs such as Boston, Chicago or the Silicon Valley. This proximity to MBA job opportunities is definitely a plus point for students considering their options for study. Examples of the top business schools outside of the Ivy League system include Stanford Graduate School of Business in California, MIT Sloan in Massachusetts and University of Chicago Booth School of Business and the Kellogg School of Management, at Northwestern University, both of which are based in Chicago.
Why an MBA?
Graduates of an MBA programs have excellent career prospects with many heading into consulting, finance and technology, as well as construction/property and pharmaceuticals. Despite the credit crunch, many employers are still actively recruiting MBA graduates and demand is increasing rapidly. Reassuringly, the number of students from top business schools who have gained employment within three months of the completion of their MBA is high. Salaries and bonuses for graduates of MBAs are very competitive with the average being around US$123,239 for graduates of the best US schools.
If you are an international student looking to study in the US, you will need to research possible visa restrictions. In order to begin your visa application, you should already be accepted into your MBA program, so apply for your course as early as possible to allow as much time as possible for your visa application to be processed. A good starting point is the Travel State website http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english.html.
International students generally pay the same fees as their US counterparts. However, costs vary between institutions, with the best schools charging the most. For example, the average fee for a Harvard Business School student is around US$119,100 for a 2-year course. Don’t be put off though. Many institutions offer scholarships and financial assistance for outstanding students.
More information on studying for your MBA abroad.