Many US business schools and top universities expect applicants to have completed 16 as opposed to 15 years of education. In India, apart from fields such as engineering, medicine and architecture, graduation in many popular disciplines require 15 years of education.
This post is for those MBA aspirants who have completed their graduation in India in science, arts, commerce or any undergraduate stream that follows a 12+3 pattern. These candidates may have landed a great job or successfully launched their own venture or made it big with their family business, so never considered studying further. Should a three years bachelor’s degree (or 15 years of formal education) act as a deterrent while applying for an MBA abroad?
The answer is ‘No’. A lot of schools do accept applications from candidates having 15 years of education. While evaluating applications, the admissions committee looks at you as a complete package rather than focusing on just 1 single aspect, so if the rest of your application is strong, you may still have a shot at the top schools.
A few candidates, in order to match their academic credentials with professional courses (like the MBA), go to the extent of completing another year in a post-graduate program only for the sake of putting it on the application and satisfying the admission requirements listed on the university website.
However, candidates need to think hard on whether this one year of additional effort is truly justified. Instead of taking such remedial steps to fix the issue, a better approach would be to spend this useful time focusing on the bigger picture. Get a high GMAT score, add some diversity and depth to your work profile so that your application becomes impressive. The number of years of education is just a qualifying criteria and if the school mentions on its website that a three years undergraduate course is acceptable (and many do), there’s no need to worry about this aspect any more.
Given below is a short list to get you started.
[Editor’s note: Article last updated on 10th July 2019]
At the time of writing this post, these schools were accepting Indian applicants with 15 years of education degrees. Double check if they still do.
Also do some more research as there will surely more schools to add to this list. So if your dream school is not listed here, you need to visit the concerned university website and check out their FAQ section where most of such questions are answered. If you still have queries unanswered, send across an email to the admissions committee and get a definite answer.
Most of the colleges mention on their website that three year undergraduate degree programs are common in the U.K. and India and this is should not be a problem. Some schools like Columbia Business School state that the applications would be reviewed on a case-by-case basis which means that you should emerge as a strong candidate based on your work experience or extracurricular. Also read Universities in USA and Canada accepting 3 years Bachelor’s Degree
If you are sure that the schools (in the USA or elsewhere) you are interested in do not accept applications from those with 15 years of Indian education, the show can still go on. There are many good schools (including the ones listed earlier) that would be more flexible with their entry rules. Check them out and build your selection of schools accordingly.
What’s more important than the school itself, is the ultimate goals you have in mind. If another good school can get you there, why get so stressed with universities who won’t open their doors for you because of this little technicality?
Some students get so carried away and spend a lot of time and energy trying to find workarounds to make their profile a fit for a particular school that needs more than 15 years of education. In this pursuit they tend to sacrifice on the other aspects that could be taken care of and thus make them a good candidate for some other top business school. So finally it’s a call for the applicant to take whether they would wish to go ahead with their application with whatever educational qualification they have or study for an additional year to complete 16 years of education.
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