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Rise of The STEM

So much for Trump’s anti-immigrant rhetoric, nothing major has happened – policy-wise! The max that has happened is increased scrutinising of H1B visa applications. The H1B visa applications are getting rejected for very basic mistakes. Ultimately, all this has led to US employers staying away from hiring International Students.

Is that the only thing that has happened though?

No! Perception of international students has changed towards US Business Schools. As is evident according to the recent article by Poets & Quants, the applications to American Business Schools have dropped up to 40% over the past 3 years and this trend is expected to continue in the years to come. IBIS World estimates that the higher education market in the USA stands at a whopping $487 billion. And I bet a major chunk of that pie comes from international students. Although the elite schools aren’t bleeding as much right now to lower their standards and realistically they will always have plenty of competitive candidates to choose from. But what would the remaining business schools do in such a situation?

Well, they will adapt! And they’ve adopted a STEM strategy!

Many business schools are getting their MBA’s certified by USCIS (DHS) as STEM. Mostly concentrations such as Data Analytics and Information Systems are getting STEM certified. If you do not know what STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) is or OPT (Optional Practical Training) extension is – just google and read up on it. Basically, the STEM-OPT extension offers an international applicant to live and work in the US of A for up to 3 years after graduation. There is minimal resistance by employers because they don’t have to file for your H1B right away as you have the authorisation to work in the USA. Now, going by the ROI and payback period research done by QS Top MBA, it takes on an average 55 months to recoup your investment done on an MBA. Even if you calculate the worst scenario – which is an unsuccessful H1B application, you can recoup a lot of your investment by working in the US of A for at least 36 months on an OPT.

If I were a betting man, I’d choose an MBA with a STEM track to improve my chances of a career in the USA. If your target school is not in the list below don’t fret! Business schools that currently do not offer a STEM concentration are focusing, for now, on promoting dual degree options such as MBA with MSBA (Masters of Science in Business Analytics) or MBA with MSIS (Masters of Science in Information Systems). Dual Degrees also aren’t a bad option if you don’t mind spending a little bit more and studying a little bit more.

Don’t worry since I’ve made you read so much, it won’t go unrewarded. Here’s a list of Business Schools I’ve populated that offer STEM certified MBA concentrations:

MBA with STEM certified concentrations

#Business SchoolU.S. News RankAverage GMAT
1Duke Fuqua 10704
2Virginia Darden12718
3Vanderbilt Owen29680
4Wisconsin Madison35670
5Rochester Simon40666
6Pittsburgh Katz43621
7Iowa Ivy College47610
8Purdue Krannert74634
9Case Western Weatherhead74623
10University of Connecticut 79602
11Delaware Lerner99-131550
12Pace Lubin99-131487
13UMass CharltonUnranked510
14University of New HavenUnranked459
If I have missed any school please mention in the comment section below and I'll add them as well.

If you’d like to discuss your profile and get your target schools shortlisted for FREE, please fill in this form and I’ll get in touch with you. Check out our tool MBA Matrix, where you can search and compare more than 300 MBA programs. You can say nice things to me on What’s App!


  1. Jorge
    Jorge September 17, 2019

    USC Marshall

    • Deep Agrawal
      Deep Agrawal September 18, 2019

      Hi Jorge,
      Thank you for your comment. I did check USC Marshall. It offers certificate in Business Analytics that is STEM certified, however, if you read its FAQs this certificate does not offer OPT extension. Check here If I have missed something please send the link along with your next comment. Cheers!

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