15 Carnegie Mellon
16 UNC Chapel-Hill
17 UC Berkeley
19 Texas - Austin
There are 3 ranking systems that are more popular than others. Wall Street Journal and US News are the other two entities that pepare B School Rankings. I sort of listed BW rankings here because WSJ lists Michigan at #2 and I didnt want to sound biased. US News Lists Michigan at #10. My point was to throw out names of 20 schools and discuss financial aid possibilities.
If you register with BW and follow the link of each college you'll probably see the annual costs per each college. Yes! its not cheap. So on an average you should expect to cough up more than $100,000. This is actually a good entry barrier for (a) Smart students who have money but want to hold on to their money (b) Smart students who feel they can't do MBA because they don't have money and (c) Smart students who don't want to do an MBA. That these categories of people stay away - actually works in favor of students like me who are of average smartness and don't have any money to start with. Their absence really make our competition slightly better. On behalf of this category, I thank those who preferred to stay in their cubicles. Anyway to end the digression - I feel the whole MBA process is more suited for risk loving category folks and risk neutral folks who are totally frustrated with their current jobs.
Do all people who do MBA have that kind of money?
Bloody NO dude! If people had that kind of money they'd be sitting near a pump set in a village watching test matches and living on interest.
Is there financial assitantship (RA/TA/GA) available for MBA students?
Negligible. Very few people get funding. The program is not built that way. Infact if you had a GA you'd probably resign if you want to keep pace. The situation improves slightly in the second year but not by much.
So How do you penniless folks manage to fund yourself?
In the ranking listed above - the top 13 programs and #17 have guranteed loan programs (if i excluded or included a school by mistake - its only because I didn't know better). For example Michigan has a partnership with CitiBank where every incoming MBA student is provided a loan that covers tuition and living expenses for both years. I think Wharton provide the loan themselves. So bottomline: Most of the top-ranked schools have some sort of a loan program that pays for your tuition and living expenses. Many of these loans offer the flexibility to pay back the loan in 35 years.
Why do they do this? Whats the trust involved?
I don't know. Maybe NPV of doing an MBA has a positive value and a payback period of 6 years (note the usage of jargon). Who knows? People seem to somehow pay it off which is why they seem to continue providing the loan. Its not your father's money, so why the hell do you care? If you can't pay it back - I am sure they will take all the money - that you didn't have to start with in any case - and pay back the loan.
Do MBAs get jobs that pays back loans?
So if you look at the ranking link above - you will see recruitment related statistics. Looks like people are getting jobs and paying it back. Yes! Not all get the super IB/MC kind of jobs. Some (5-6%) graduate without jobs. But they eventually get a job. After they get a job they payback the loan. It also appears that as the ranking goes higher - you stand a better chance of paying it back. I didnt mean it in a way that school #8 is better ranked than #9 (actually they are.. but they aren't...well u get the point). Small deltas in ranks aren't much in terms of getting a job - but schools are kinda perceived in levels and if you are in a top-tier school - you should be okay.
As a bonus info - a miniscule amount of firms do pay your second year fee if they offer you a full-time job after an internship. So there is that too.
Does the TOP 10-20 Bschools require a Collateral or US Cosigner for the loan?
Most of the schools listed above don't require a collatral or US co-signer. I think Texas-Austin does require one. But Texas-Austin is only half as expensive as any other B School. Bottomline - For most schools an admission by itself gurantees loan for both international and domestic students. Please check with individual schools on this but you can be reasonable sure about #1-#13 and #17. The others should have a similar program.
Whats the interest rate of the loan?
Okay Finance is not my domain (although I am boasting for the last 1 week that I did better in my finance exam than those finance specialists. I apologize but I am so proud of underdog-wins kind of situations) They have something called "premium rates". I am told that among the interest rates available "premium rates" is the best possible interest rate. So I know that the rates are competitive. More importantly - I stopped asking questions when I knew this was my only option (same goes for student health insurance too) Just take it. It should be fine
What happens to the loan if the Student's soul separates from his body and decides to live elsewhere ?
No sort of collatral was asked. The guarantor is the school and not my parents. So I suppose nobody (except the school) will be held accountable if my antaryaami shifts residence.
Can the spouse work if she is on F-2 student dependent visa?
No she can't. And getting a job is difficult. very difficult. But it is better than searching for a US based job from India.
Can the student do internship? Does he/she need an OPT to do it?
Almost all students do an internship. International students can do internship. They do it as CPT (Curricular Practical Training) as opposed to OPT (Optional Practical Training). You dont do internship in OPT. You dont even want to try it.
Can students who have used the OPT for previous Masters get another OPT?
OPT is a 12 month buffer to transition from F-1(student) Visa to H1B (work) visa. It is available for 12 months only. If issued for 12 months, the 12 months is considered to have expired even if you did not use the OPT for the entire 12 months. You are eligible for another OPT if you have been out of US (and never entered it) for 1 full year. The H1B also gets reset to a fresh 6 year period in this case.
I did Masters. Converted to H1B. Spent 3 years in H1B and want to do MBA. Can I do that?
You may not be eligible for OPT (see above). If so - You may work out a premium H1B processing (1 month processing) with your company. That seems to be a workable option given that US based Masters degree holders have a separate H1B quota. Apart from the fact that you have a serious race against time in the Green Card domain this should be okay. To start studying - You just have to do a I 535 - H1B-to-F1 change of status application. You need change of status approval (2-4 months) to work in campus. You just need acknowledgement to enroll in courses (2-3 weeks).
How about employment for International students?
A significant chunk of firms require GC/Citizenship. It is sometimes frustrating to watch a firm leave with open interview slots, you like the firm but cant interview there. Some really neat jobs are also out of reach. Having said that, visa status only prevents the job scene from being easier than what it is right now. It does not make getting a job impossible. Almost all international students get jobs. If its not their #1 choice, its motsly because they couldn't beat the compatition and not because of visa issues. If you are coming to US for Marketing General Management, Rotational Program kind of jobs - you stand almost NO CHANCE as a international student. IBM, Intel, HP and many Hi-Tech firms DO NOT sponsor visas for MBA kind of jobs.
Will the loan amount cover travel, entertainment and miscelanious costs?
You cant really be be revelling in alcohol and flying away to Bahamas every long weekend if thats what you are asking. You may be able to watch a movie every week and probably fly to New York or Valley for recuiting events (You certainly have to). You can live in a normal apartment, sleep in bed, watch TV, listen to music, cook food, eat in plates, wear shoes, tie laces etc. The money is not a lot but it does cover the essential stuff and a little bit more.
Bottomline: There are N thousand uncertainities and hurdles. Take that as a given. Essentially if you are doing the same mistake I did, which is base you decision on the answer to - "what is the gurantee that i will get a job and will pay my loan". There is no guarantee. None whatsoever. Like Gandalf said " even the wise cannot see all ends". You may not get a job at the end of the degree. Regardless of your thoughts on who deserves/does not deserve to get a job - only those who get the job will get the job :-) If you dont get a job, the road is just a little longer for you. The statistics of that happening is low but it is real and there. So you do run a risk. The question is are you willing to ride the risk? If the answer is yes then all the above questions will begin to have answers. Otherwise they will just be reasons as to why you chose not to do it.