Last updated on March 31, 2021
Just one thing comes to mind – Thank you, Trump! Due to his anti-immigrant rhetoric, international students benefitted as business schools got their MBA programs STEM certified. Can you believe all of the top 25 MBA programs offer STEM certified MBA? The total number now is at a whopping 54 and this does not include the dual degree options. There’s an MBA program for every student now if you have a high GMAT score or not.
I debated even making this list (scroll down) now since the STEM race has maxed out. Let’s hope that the new Biden administration brings in positive change to the whole H-1B & Green Card situation and alleviate the pains of the highly skilled workforce.
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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: