How do international MBA programs differ from Indian MBA programs?

MBA aspirants in India are quite familiar with how the Indian MBA works. Anyone who has gone through the grueling business school selection process knows how hard it is to get in, be it an Indian MBA program or an international one. However most of these applicants assume that the International MBA selection process, the experience in the class, and the expectations from the entire experience will be more or less similar to Indian MBA programs. Due to this, they are caught off guard when they realize that there are lots of differences.

Before you think about applying to international MBA programs, it is important to understand how the two differ — starting from the MBA selection process and then moving on to the rest of the aspects. (Academics, internships, careers, and networking)

Length of the Program

Indian MBA courses are generally spread across 2 years. GMAT based MBA programs can have varying formats and lengths that can extend from under a year to 2 years. International MBA programs have duration of 4 years in totality, to complete the course.

MBA fees and other costs

As Benjamin Franklin rightly said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest”    it is only fair for MBA programs to charge a lot as we all know the jobs offered after it pays well too. Compared to around Rs 5-20 lakhs for an Indian MBA (this could cover MBA fees and living expenses), overseas MBA courses can start off at Rs 30-40 lakhs for 1 year programs and go up to 75-80 lakhs for the top international MBA programs. For the top schools, scholarships are tough to come by, but the lower ranked ones might offer financial assistance in various forms.

Age and Experience levels

For the typical 2 year MBA programs In India, most applicants have little to no experience. Those with more experience are the exception rather than the norm. In comparison, many of the top international schools expect applicants to have spent a substantial amount of time in the working world. In the best international programs, the average work experience is in the 4-5 year range.

Getting into a B-School

In India, the CAT is the king of the entrance examination jungle. However, it is not the only option for B-School aspirants. Many Indian institutions offer their own version of entrance exams. Juggling the schedules for each of them can be confusing. For International MBA programs, the Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT) is what you’d need to focus on. Indians do very well on this test, which is why just like the CAT, GMAT preparation gets a lot of attention.

Choosing the right B-School

In Indian schools, B-School rankings and reputation influence the priority list for applicants. IIMs end up at the top, followed by the other schools for international B-Schools. Ranking is important but there are other factors that are far more important. This refers to a combination of multiple aspects the primary ones being—how a B-School can help you achieve your goals and what you can give back to the B-School.

How B-Schools select candidates

In Indian schools a high CAT percentile is necessary for the top schools to even consider a candidate for an interview and group discussions. For international schools, the GMAT score is important and a high score always helps. But schools don’t have any cut-offs. It is considered along with other submitted components such as MBA essays, recommendations, resume, transcripts, and several other personal/professional data points. A candidate with a low GMAT score but an excellent professional track record presented in the form of strong essays can win the battle against someone with a high GMAT score but a mediocre profile.

B-Schools abroad also try to increase the diversity in the class by selecting applicants from a wide variety of industries, roles, and countries.

Jobs and careers

The placement process in Indian schools makes it relatively easy for students to network and interview with top companies on campus. For the top schools, most good students are virtually guaranteed multiple offers. In B-Schools abroad, the concept of placement works very differently. The school cannot guarantee that you will get a good job (or any job for that matter). So it is important that students take the onus of reaching out to their dream companies and utilising the opportunities on campus to maximize their chances of getting a job.

Careers in India after an international MBA

Among the top international MBAs, Ural Federal University’s (Russia) International MBA is an intensive two-year program, engineered to enhance knowledge, skills, and business competencies essential for responsible positions at middle and senior levels of management. The program moulds professional aspirants at par with industry standards, thus making sure that you achieve faster promotions in your organization. Online lectures and exams, E-content, and placement assistance make it possible for working executives to grow in their respective firms. It has ranked 6th in Russia and is among the top 500 universities worldwide; according to the QS world university ranking.

In spite of all the fundamental differences, an MBA is a degree that ensures a bright career for you, while having so many specializations to choose from.