Admissions For MBA in the USA

Although understanding the admission process and application cycle for top universities in the USA is essential in finding the right business school, when it comes to applying, it can be a very tedious and overwhelming affair for an international student who is unaware of the procedures in a new country. From managing document submissions to ensuring full compliance with rules, and regulations – it can all be a bit hair-raising!

Let’s look at some of the things you should know if you are planning to apply for an MBA in USA.

Admission Cycle For MBA in USA

USA Universities offer interested students 3 chances per year to apply for different courses and universities. So, they can choose either of the three courses according to their preferences and comfort.

Applications for Fall Semester

  • The fall semester begins at the end of August and ends in late December or early January.
  • Many selected courses are limited to the fall semester.
  • Students can avail a lot of scholarships and job opportunities during this semester.

Applications for Spring Semester

  • The spring semester commences in January and ends in early May.
  • Since it starts a little late, it is considered secondary to the fall semester.
  • Spring applicants may lack in experience required for most of the internships and jobs.

Also Read – MBA Acceptance Rates Rise in the US 

Applications for the Summer Semester

  • The summer semester has the shortest span of the three courses.
  • It begins in June and ends in July.
  • A few of the special programs are taught during this semester, and there are a considerable amount of scholarships available too. 

Eligibility to Study MBA in the USA

There are some essential and mandatory criteria and requirements to be eligible for applying to USA universities which are listed below:

  1. The student must have 16 years of education before applying for any university, to be considered the least,i.e., Primary education, higher education, and a graduation degree is a must (10+2+4).
  2. Scoring well in GMAT is compulsory, while some universities may accept GRE equivalents too.
  3. Students from non-native English-speaking states must submit evidence of language competency. International students are required to submit their scores of TOEFL and IELTS for pursuing studies abroad.
  • Minimum TOEFLscore accepted: 100
  • Minimum IELTS score accepted: 6.5

Also Read- Admission Open for NYU Stern’s Andre Koo Tech MBA 

  1. To study for an MBA in the USA, the applicant must have a minimum working experience of 3 years, although this depends on the university requirements and the type of program you are applying for.

University-Specific Eligibility to Study MBA in the USA

The average scores are provided from the class of 2021 of the MBA program at respective business schools.

Total TOEFL ScorePercentile Ranks for TOEFL iBT – Undergraduate LevelPercentile Ranks for TOEFL iBT – Graduate Level (Non-Business)Percentile Ranks for TOEFL iBT – Graduate Level (Business)

Source: ETS TOEFL iBT Test and Score Data

MBA in the USA: GMAT Requirements

Due to the ongoing covid-19 pandemic, several universities have removed the GMAT requirements for the upcoming session.

Also Read – Admission Open for One Year MBA Program at Emory Goizueta Business School 

Study MBA without GMAT in the USA

The compulsion to provide good GMAT scores for application has become redundant now; more and more universities these days do not solely depend upon these test scores to select the applicants but are inclining more towards other additional criteria for evaluation. Given below are some popular MBA programs that do not require GMAT scores in the USA.


2020 MBA RankBusiness School Location
6Kellogg School of ManagementChicago Metropolitan Area, Illinois
25Anderson School of BusinessLos Angeles
20Kenan-Flagler BusinessThe University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
34Questrom School of Business, Boston UniversityBoston
3MIT Sloan School of ManagementMassachusetts Institute of Technology

Also Read –How Would You Prepare An Outstanding Resume For MBA Admission?  

MBA in USA: Work Experience Requirements


University of Pennsylvania1 (tie)28N/AN/A
Stanford University (CA)1 (tie)N/A41455
Northwestern University (IL)3 (tie)2747460
University of Chicago3 (tie)2859360
Massachusetts Institute of Technology52841661
Harvard University (MA)627938 

Also Read – MBA Acceptance Rates in Europe: 16.6% at Mannheim To 55% at Warwick 

Documents Required

When intending to Study abroad, global students will be needed to present extra reports. A portion of these are listed underneath:

  • Academic Qualification and Transcripts: You need to present a certified copy of the multitude of records from the schools you have joined in the English language.
  • Scores of tests needed to concentrate in the USA should be directly submitted to applying for business colleges from the testing organisation.
  • Letters of Recommendation: Two scholarly and one expert letter of the proposal will consistently help you ace your LOR game; however, a few colleges may request just two LORs.
  • Resume: A refreshed CV talking about your general work insight and abilities is required.
  • Cover Letter: A cover letter expounding and featuring your accomplishments has to be provided.
  • SOP: Statement of Purpose/Intent might be needed by specific colleges. These should comprise a brief of why you want to pursue that particular program and for what reason are you picking that college.

Also Read – LSU Launches One Year MBA Program, Classes to Start in June

MBA in USA – Visa Requirements


  • To pursue an MBA in the USA (full-time), you require an F-1 understudy visa, which permits you a year of Optional Training program (OPT). The program will empower you to work and remain in the US for a year after graduation.
  • You can even extend your OPT on the off chance that you have STEM certification for your degree. A STEM certified MBA graduate will be qualified for three years of OPT.
  • In recent days, numerous MBA applicants have ruled against seeking an MBA in the USA. This is a direct result of the negative news around the H-1B visa.
  • In any case, the current opinion concerning H-1B is unfavourable for the IT re-appropriating organisations; however, it is terrific news for MBA understudies. It is far and away superior if you focus on the leading 30 business colleges in the United States.


Read About Visa Requirements in the USA


MBA Application Deadlines 2020 -2021 of top MBA Programs in the USA:


Business School MBA application Round MBA Application Deadline Final Decision Essay Topic Release
Harvard Business SchoolRound 1September 8, 2020 December 10, 2020Yes
Round 2January 5, 2021March 30, 2021
WhartonRound 1September 15, 2020December 16, 2020Yes
Round 2January 5, 2021March 25, 2021
Round 3March 31, 2021May 11, 2021
Columbia Business SchoolRound 1April 9, 2021RollingYes
Kellogg School of ManagementRound 1September 16, 2020December 9, 2020Yes
Round 2January 6, 2021March 24, 2021
Round 3April 7, 2021May 12, 2021
Chicago Booth School of BusinessRound 1September 24, 2020December 3, 2020Yes
Round 2January 12, 2021March 18, 2021
Round 3April 1, 2021May 20, 2021
Dartmouth Tuck School of BusinessRound 1September 28, 2020December 10, 2020Yes
Round 2January 4, 2021March 18, 2021
Round 3March 29, 2021May 6, 2021
Round 4Rolling from April 1 – June 1, 2021Rolling from May 10 – July 1, 2021
Duke Fuqua School of BusinessEarly DecisionSeptember 23, 2020October 27, 2020Yes
Round 1October 20, 2020December 18, 2020
Round 2January 7, 2021March 20, 2021
Round 3March 26, 2021April 30, 2021
Michigan Ross School of BusinessRound 1September 14, 2020December 2, 2020Yes
Round 2January 4, 2021March 17, 2021
Round 3March 29, 2021May 5, 2021
Round 4June 1, 2021June 25, 2021
Virginia DardenRound 1October 5, 2020RollingYes
Round 2January 4, 2021
Round 3April 7, 2021
Vanderbilt OwenRound 1October 12, 2020December 18, 2020Yes
Round 2January 11, 2021March 26, 2021
Round 3March 29, 2021May 7, 2021
Round 4May 15, 2021Rolling
Stanford GSBRound 1September  15, 2020December 10, 2020Yes
Round 2January 6, 2021April 1, 2021
Round 3April 6, 2021May 20, 2021
NYU SternRound 1October 15, 2020January 1, 2021Yes
Round 2November 15, 2020February 1, 2021
Round 3January 15, 2021April 1, 2021
Round 4March 15, 2021June 1, 2021
INSEAD (One-year MBA)Round 1September 11, 2020November 29, 2020Yes
Round 2November 6, 2020January 22, 2021
Round 3January 8, 2021March 19, 2021
Round 4February 26, 2021May 7, 2021
Notre Dame (Mendoza)Early DecisionEarly Decision: September 15, 2020October 30, 2020Yes
Round 1October 13, 2020December 4, 2020
Round 2January 12, 2021March 12, 2021
Round 3February 23, 2021April 16, 2021
Round 4April 6, 2021 Rolling
Yale SoMRound 1September 15, 2020December 8, 2020Yes
Round 2January 7, 2021March 26, 2021
Round 3April 13, 2021May 18, 2021
Cambridge (Judge)Round 1September 7, 2020RollingYes
Round 2October 19, 2020
Round 3January 11, 2021
Round 4March 8, 2021
Round 5April 26, 2021
UCLA (Anderson)Round 1October 2, 2020December 18, 2020Yes
Round 2January 8, 2021March 26, 2021
Round 3April 16, 2021May 21, 2021
UC Berkeley (Haas)Round 1September 24, 2020December 17, 2020Yes
Round 2January 14, 2021March 25, 2021
Round 3April 5, 2021May 13, 2021
UT Austin (McCombs)Round 1October 13, 2020December 17, 2020Yes
Round 2January 5, 2021March 25, 2021
Round 3March 30, 2021May 6, 2021
Round 4May 11, 2021June 17, 2021
Rice (Jones)Round 1October 16, 2020To be decidedYes
Round 2January 5, 2021
Round 3April 15, 2021 (Domestic)
Round 4April 1, 2021 (International)
Georgia Tech (Scheller)Round 1October 1, 2020November 20, 2020Yes
Round 2December 4, 2020February 1, 2021
Round 3February 2, 2021March 19, 2021
Round 4April 1, 2021May 14, 2021
Round 5June 1, 2021Rolling


Also Read – Is Canada Scoring Over the US in MBA Admissions?

How many Rounds are there to get into the Top MBA Programs?


As evident from the table above, there are usually 3 rounds. But a few business schools such as Rice Jones, Georgia Tech Scheller, Cambridge Judge, Michigan Ross, and NYU stem conduct over three rounds.

Which MBA Application round should you apply for?


Several different factors are responsible for impacting your decision for choosing an MBA application round to apply to. Given below are some of the factors you should take into account while selecting which MBA application round you should opt for.

  1. Application Readiness
  2. Target Business School Ranking
  3. International Applicant or Domestic Applicant

Application Readiness

Once you are done with your GMAT and have prepared your other application materials Resume, Letters of Recommendations, etc, it is suggested to apply either in Round 1 or during the Early Decision Round

Learn more about applying in Round 1 vs. Round 2

Also Read – Admission Open for One Year MBA Program at Emory Goizueta Business School

On the other hand, if your essays and other documents are still a work in progress, you should apply in Round 2. The extra time can be utilized to make the most competitive  MBA application possible.

Target Business School Ranking

Applying early gives you an advantage when applying to the Top 15 MBA programs.  As plenty of applications are received by these top business schools for their MBA programs, the later rounds (Round 3 and Round 4) have a low acceptance rate.

International Applicants

The business schools encourage international applicants to apply in the early rounds as their visa takes more time for processing.

Moreover, many business schools refuse to accept applications of international students for the later rounds. Consider checking the admissions policies of your target business schools to learn the details.

Also Read – Admissions Open for Accelerated 1-year MBA at Gatton College

MBA Admission Deadlines: Why should you apply in Round 1 or Round 2?

It is better to apply in the first round as none of the seats is filled. Applicants for the first round have an edge over the applicants of the later round in most of the business schools.

The reason being the second round is the most competitive and the largest round. The third round gets even more challenging with most of the seats already filled.

Following are some reasons as to why the early application is advantageous:

  • When you apply early, you receive details about scholarships/fellowships from the institute’s financial aid office before the date to which you have to respond to your offer of admission.
  • You get more time to finish with the recommended quantitative and language coursework before you arrive on campus.
  • Sometimes, applying early gives you better access to on-campus housing lottery opportunities at the institutes.
  • Applying early allows enough time for your visa application to get processed.
  • A chance to attend the business school at weekends and interact with classmates, which is often missed by candidates applying in round 3. (a significant MBA networking opportunity)

However, it is important to remember that the best time to apply is when you believe you are prepared for the most outstanding MBA application possible.

Also Read – Harvard Partners with 2U Inc. to Introduce Business Analytics Program

What is the Early Decision MBA Application Deadline?


Some of the business schools have an Early Decision application deadline while having the regular admission rounds for their MBA course. In most cases, students who applied in this round receive a response before the review of the regular decision applicant.

Below are some points you should remember when applying in the Early MBA Application Deadlines:

  • It indicates your commitment to attend the Business School: When you apply early, it signals the business schools that they are your priority and you are committed to attending their school.  Those students who have completed their MBA program research and selected particular business schools for themselves can take the advantage of the MBA early decision round. Re-applicants may also benefit from this round.
  • Non-Refundable Deposit may be Required: At times, when you are accepted for admission into an MBA program after applying through the early decision round, a non-refundable deposit is required. Moreover, many early-round options carry a binding component, referring that you must withdraw your applications submitted to other business schools and commit to attending that specific business institute. Hence, it is advisable to research and decide whether applying in the early decision round suits you.

Related Articles –

Admissions On For Goizueta 1-Year MBA Program

Feminine Features are a Drawback at the Bargaining Table – Even for Men

GMAT scores at top US B-schools: 5 year trend

Some Tips & Tricks for US-bound MBA Aspirants 

Planning To Work Abroad? Here Are Visa Types & Eligibility Requirements For Different Countries

Acceptance Rates for US MBA Programs Drop to 14.5% in 2016

Admission Process Begins for Harvard Business Analytics Program

Tips for the ‘Indian IT Male Applicant’ to Get Admission in Top US MBA Programs 

Lehigh’s First 1-Year MBA Cohort Graduates, Secure Roles In Major Firms

Admission Open for 1-Year MBA Program 2018 Cohort at Gatton College

H-1B Visa Cap Big Hurdle For International MBAs to Land US Jobs

Sloan’s Integrated Design & Management Program Provides Management Tools In Design-Thinking

Chicago Booth On Top As US Schools Dominate The Economist MBA Ranking 2018


Why Study MBA in USABest MBA Program in USAMBA Salary in USA
Cost of MBA in USAAdmissions Process for MBA in USAFees and Scholarships for MBA in USA