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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
1Chicago Booth3731
2Northwestern Kellogg6732
3Berkeley Haas6725
4Michigan Ross10719
5Duke Fuqua 10704
6Virginia Darden12718
7NYU Stern12716
8Cornell Johnson Tech MBA15693
9USC Marshall17705
10CMU Tepper17687
11UNC Kenan-Flagler19697
12Vanderbilt Owen29680
13Wisconsin Madison35670
14Rochester Simon40666
15Pittsburgh Katz43621
16Iowa Ivy College47610
17Purdue Krannert74634
18Case Western Weatherhead74623
19University of Connecticut 79602
20Delaware Lerner99-131550
21Pace Lubin99-131487
22Lehigh UniversityUnranked610
23Brandeis IBSUnranked595
24UNT Ryan CollegeUnranked545
25UMass CharltonUnranked510
26University 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!

  2. Dhoomil
    Dhoomil November 21, 2019

    USC Marshall has specialization called Management Science which is STEM certified.

    • Deep Agrawal
      Deep Agrawal December 20, 2019

      Hi Dhoomil,
      Thank you for your comment. I will add it to the list above. As you may notice from previous comments USC Marshall wasn’t offering STEM certified concentration up until September so it is a newly approved program. Thank you once again!

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