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MBA abroad requirements and entrance exams

We’re going back to the basics this time to answer two frequently asked queries that we get related to international MBA admissions requirements:

1. “What are the eligibility requirements for an MBA abroad?”

2. “What are the entrance exams for overseas MBA colleges?”

Foreign MBA requirements are quite different from Indian MBA programs. However, for all the diversity in MBA entrance exams that we see in India, when it comes to international MBA programs there’s a lot of similarity – irrespective of the country that you are targeting.

MBA abroad requirements and eligibility

Applications are evaluated by a team called the MBA Admissions Committee. Here’s what they look at before deciding whether to admit you into their elite class.

Academic requirements for MBA

The first and foremost eligibility requirement is to have completed a basic bachelors level graduation degree. This could be an engineering degree (B.E, B.Tech), B.Sc, B.Com, B.A. or in any other discipline. A Masters or doctoral (PhD) degree is also fine. Many who’ve gone abroad for a Masters work for a few years and then take up an MBA after MS.

A full-time degree from a reputed university is preferred. However, some MBA colleges may also accept correspondence and distance education.

The primary evidence that you’ll submit to prove your credentials are your academic transcripts. These include semester-wise marks for each subject that was covered in your degree.

Here are some perspectives on managing low academic grades (GPA) in MBA applications.

Work experience requirements

Unlike a 2-year MBA in India, MBA colleges abroad expect students to have had substantial exposure to the working world. Here’s why work experience is important for MBA abroad.

In fact, they’d expect not only technical skills (that are easier to gain in junior roles), but also managerial skills (like team leading, planning, coordination). This allows the graduates of foreign MBA colleges to get mid and senior management level jobs that pay high salaries.

Here’s the average MBA starting salary in USA, India.

Some top MBA schools are willing to look at exceptional applicants who don’t have any experience, but this is rare. Read this post – Top MBA in USA without work experience for freshers.

MBA application requirements and procedure

If you were expecting a simple one page MBA application, you’d be in for a shock. MBA applications are more elaborate and time-consuming than job applications. They require a lot of introspection and preparation before you start filling in the application.

The MBA application form consists of the following main sections:

General information

This is the easiest part where you fill in the objective data about yourself – Name, age, bio-data, experience (many may ask for a separate resume as well), overall academic grades (the transcripts will have the details and the breakup), entrance test scores, languages known etc.

Some forms may ask you to fill the GPA, though you’ve got a percentage. This should help – GPA calculators for Indian Percentage to GPA conversion.

Writing MBA Essays

The MBA application will include several questions (ranging from 1 to 10+) focussing on what you’ve done in your career so far, why are you thinking about an MBA at this stage, your post MBA career goals, your strengths and weaknesses, and other questions that allow the Admissions Committee to see you as a real person and not a bunch of statistics.

There may be a word-limit (usually 200-400 words) or it may be open-ended. Here are some tips to write MBA essays.


Apart from all that you’ve shared, Adcoms also want to know what those you’ve worked with think of you. They ask for 2 (or 3) recommendations from supervisors, managers or colleagues who’ve known you well professionally and can talk about various aspects about your skills and potential.

Every bschool has its own recommendation formats. Which means you can’t have a single letter that you email to multiple bschools. It can be a pain in the neck for your recommenders, specially when the number of applications goes up.

The next requirement is to have a good score in the MBA entrance exams. This part gets a lot of attention from MBA applicants and for legit reasons. So, we’ll cover this in the next dedicated section.

Here’s how to choose your MBA recommenders and why you should not neglect your MBA recommendation letters.

MBA Interview

This is the ultimate hurdle to cross. However, in most cases, MBA interviews are by invitation only. Adcoms will decide based on all the other submitted material (application, transcripts, test scores, essays, recommendations) whether they should give you the final opportunity to prove your mettle.

Here’s a list of MBA interview questions for the top business schools.

Apart from the questions related to your career and aspirations, you may also get behavioural questions. Here’s what to expect in situational or Behavioral Interviews.

And finally, here are some tips on how to prepare for MBA interviews for free.

Entrance Exams for MBA abroad

There are two kinds of entrance exams for overseas MBA programs. The first category is designed to test your aptitude for business management. The second category is meant to test your comfort level with the English language, as that’ll be the mode of communication in the business school as well as the international corporate & business world.

Business Management Aptitude Exams

The two primary exams are GMAT and GRE. Traditionally GRE was more popular among MS applicants and GMAT was the de facto standard for MBA courses. However, things are changing and many MBA universities have also started accepting GRE scores. Read this post to find out which is better: GRE or GMAT.

If you’ve already applied to MS programs in USA, you may have a GRE score. Here’s how you can convert GRE score to GMAT and get an idea of how competitive you are.

We’ve got a fair bit of GMAT related content on our site. You could kickstart your test prep by referring to these GMAT study resources.

Language Proficiency Exams

There are two popular exams that are accepted by international business schools across the world – TOEFL and IELTS. Both of them are similar in the sense that they cover reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Unlike the aptitude exams (GMAT, GRE) which are completely automated, for certain English proficiency sections (like speaking) you’d be interacting with a human being.

Read more about:
TOEFL test format and how to prepare for it.
All about the IELTS Exam format / pattern, dates, preparation

While we are on the topic, you may be interested in reading these related posts on MBA abroad costs, MBA financing and overseas MBA scholarships.

If you are just starting out, bookmark this page: Tips to crack into the best MBA colleges in the world.

Over the years, with our professional MBA application counselling services, we’ve helped many applicants just like you crack into the best schools and often with scholarships.

If you’d like to get an edge over the other MBA applicants, send us an email – info [at] mbacrystalball [dot] com.

Watch this video, and please ‘Like’ if you find it useful
MBA Abroad requirements & eligibility


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Sameer Kamat
About Sameer Kamat
Founder of MBA Crystal Ball. Author of Beyond The MBA Hype & Business Doctors. Here's more about me. Follow me on: Instagram | Linkedin | Youtube

49 thoughts on “MBA abroad requirements and entrance exams”

  1. Hi Samir,

    I have B tech degree in electrical engg. I have total experience of around 7 years.
    In these years I have worked with leading automobile manufacturers like Mahindra and TATA IN manufacturing dept.
    I have secured,
    10th- 86%
    12th- 76%
    BTECH- 7.6 CGPA
    My current CTC IS 9+ lac.
    I want to shift my job profile and also grow vertically.
    I am considering 1 yr MBA program from ISB. Is there is other option for MBA abroad or India.
    I’m also planning for marriage this year.
    Too much confusion. Please help.

  2. Hi Sameer,
    I have been working as a territory sales manager in an MNC after M.Sc. (Chemistry) and a regular MBA. My totoal experience post MBA is more than 5 years.But I am not happy with my career growth. Can you suggest me any course which can help me.

  3. Hi Sameer,

    First of all, thanks for the guidance you have been giving to all of us

    I have scored 87-10th, 75-12th (Bihar Board) and persued B.Tech but was not able to clear the papers as was campus placed in HSBC, Vizag in the final year 2006 and after that becuase of financial & family reasons could not go to write the papers.But then started persuing B.Com from Annamalai University 2010 and finished in 2013….now working in Manager – Operations with total 9 years of experience but only 2 years of experience post graduation. I have been a bright student throughout and have grown from executive to manager level in this span.

    Now preparing for GMAT and expect to get 700+ score.What are my chances of getting in to ISB/ other top business school.
    My experience of working in ITES/BPO will be counted or not and will hold any value.

    Please suggest

    • The experience will surely have value. But Adcoms will also be concerned about the unconventional academic path on your resume.

      Ensure that you clarify the (fnancial and family) reasons in your application. The option essay that most bschools allow would be a good place to do so.

  4. I believe a domestic MBA is a much better option than an MBA abroad….. Going abroad is only helpful if you want to work abroad.Otherwise doing MBA abroad and working in your own country is just wasting a lot of money.

    • Some counter-views to that line of thought.

      – For many Indians going abroad for an MBA, there are non-monetary objectives as well. Some stuck in domestic roles want to experience life and culture abroad.

      – In the longer term, the competition in India for senior roles wouldn’t be just with other Indians from desi institutes (like IIT and IIM). Indians who’ve gone abroad for post graduation degrees (MS, MBA etc) have already started coming back and looking for senior roles back home.

      In such a scenario, having an international education and degree can provide an edge in the career growth.

      In contrast to the short-term RoI which favours domestic MBA, the takeaways from an international education have a longer shelf life.

  5. Hello Sameer,

    I am 33 years old with a qualification of BE in Industrial Electronics (57%)Nagpur University, 2005 pass-out. Currently i am having almost 9
    years 9 months of experience majorly in technical marketing & sales of electrical products. I have changed my Job quite a few times, mainly because of salary hike. Currently i am going steady with my new job for last two years. I am married with 2 months old child. I want to do an MBA preferably overseas / outside India.

    My main motivation behind looking for an MBA are prioritized below –

    a. MBA from a good B School relevant to my background and experience.
    b. Settling down abroad.
    c. Availing maximum Scholarship + stipend ( to support my family stay
    along with me during my study, since my financial background is not strong).

    I need three suggestions –

    1. Is above goal achievable by scoring around 700 GMAT scores or should i drop my plan of doing MBA ?
    2. Do you recommend 1 year or 2 years MBA looking at the option of both cost of education & settling down in the same country after study.
    3. Which country would you recommend me to focus on considering my requirement and backgorund.

    Looking for your kind suggestion, thanking you in anticipation.



    • Hi…

      I have completed my b-tech in 2012.
      Got married and have one child. So now I want to start my career. Confused weather to plan for MBA or MS in USA.
      10th 68%
      Inter 76%
      B-tech 62%

      • Hey I’m a student of Btech and pursuing my studies and I’m in 3rd year. I want to do MBA from abroad but I’m very confused what should I do as I cannot able to decide that firstly I should take a job and then go for MBA or I should do MBA just after my bachelor’s. Please help???

  6. Hi Sameer,
    I have software working professional currently 29 years of age and working with 3rd Telecommunication company,Century Link in Noida.
    My overall experience is 7 years in Telecom only.
    I want to pursue 1 yr full time regular MBA from India.Can you please suggest some good colleges in India according to below?:-
    10th : 72.4
    12th : 64.25
    BE : 63.60

    Also please let me know If I should go for 1 Year full time regular MBA or Exceutive MBA?

    Thank You!!
    Your inputs are appreciated.

  7. Dear Sameer,
    I want to go abroad to pursue my MBA in HR. i have done some research on the courses in USA and i notice that along with work experience and GMAT they also require me to have 16 years of education. Is that mandatory? As i have only 15 years of education. Can this criteria be compensated with an additional year of work experience ? Please advice me

  8. HI,
    I am an electrical & electronic graduate and will be graduating in june 2015.I am placed in tcs and have no interest in working in it field.i wish to pursue masters degree in management . i don’t want to take a drop after college and wish to pursue higher studies.will an mim degreee worth it or should i take a drop this year and prepare for mba exams in india. i will be taking a loan for my studies so an mim degree from any foreign uni will be worth it ?also highlight the job scenario and suggest better countries for this course.

  9. Hi Sameer,

    I am currently at a point in my career where I feel that I can contribute more than what I am currently doing.
    An MBA is probably a platform I would like to explore and hone the skills required to grow into a leadership role.
    However, with the options in the colleges I have, I am not sure which one caters best to my needs.

    Quick intro
    Work Exp – 7 years 10 months in telecom companies. [2 companies]
    Of which
    6 years into Hard core development [reached the position of team lead in 3.5 years]
    1 year into Program management of a release for a reputed client [Took the shift to understand the business dimensions]
    10 months into testing.

    International experience of around 2 years. [China + US]

    1. Quickest in my organization to reach team lead.
    2. Lots of spot awards.
    3. Sponsoring kid’s education via canara bank for the last 3 years.
    4. Marathon runner + cyclist.
    5. Amateur photographer

    Planning to take GMAT on July 31 2015.

    Please suggest
    1. What should be the key takeaways when I look for a particular college?
    2. Is a function or a domain change at this point feasible? How do I weigh in the pros and cons ? [IT to perhaps marketing]

    Thanks and Regards,

  10. my 10th score-92%
    12th score-97%
    betch score-6.5 cgpa
    if i get very gud score in gmat..can i get seat in well reputed college for mba in abroad?with this cgpa in betech.
    but i have great intrest in mba ..please help me…

  11. I am a Healthcare Management professional with 3 yrs of work experience in Hospital quality management and Process cum Service improvement projects. Currently I am working in the PMO of the corporate healthcare unit.

    My qualifications: BDS, Masters in Healthcare Management,Lean Six sigma Green Belt, Trained in Project Management(PMP)

    I am keenly looking for a one year MBA program from a recognized institute that can accelerate my business leadership skills through knowledge gain in operations management and strategic analysis in a healthcare business environment.

    I am 28 years old (married) and confined to enhancement of career in a healthcare industry at a business leadership role.

    Kindly suggest which course can I opt for in India or even abroad considering my professional background and career goal.

  12. I am 37 yrs old and working as Manager in Finance IT dept in a Shared service center for a mfg company. I had completed from a small local college in India. I am having more than 11 yrs of exp in Finance & Accounts handling various roles last being project management with team handling. I am looking to do MBA abroad. Is it good option? Will it increase my chance for getting jobs abroad with better roles and pay?

  13. Hi Sameer,

    I wanted to now if top MBA schools abroad give less preference and weightage to those aspirants who already have another Masters degree in a discipline other than business. I have done BBA and I am going to join M.A in Globalization and Labour at Tata Institute of Social Sciences, if I plan to pursue a foreign MBA after completing my 2 year M.A, will I have less chances of making into the top universities of the world? I also want to know the same for top universities which offer MIM, especially in Europe.

  14. Hi Sameer,
    I am a recent Btech graduate in ELECTRONICS AND COMMUNICATION (2015) with 8.00 CGPA. I have been offered a job in cognizant as a fresher and have been offered another job with a marketing profile but i want to pursue Masters in management in abroad .
    Would it be better to take up job in CTS or job with marketing.
    Which one would be beneficial in improving my profile for the above Masters.

  15. I request experts to help em to choose the university or business college from Australia or USA. My profile as under

    10th standard :69%
    12th standard: 64%
    BE computer : 66%
    ME computer :68%
    IELTS :6 Bands
    No GRE but can appear if it is mendatory

    I request yo u to help me for the particvcualr on my contact details and 919998120303 is my mobile number. please help me

    • As you have misbehave with girl we have forwarded your passport copy to all embassy so now you will not get visas for most of the conutries.

  16. @Jessica: Not all universities insist on 16 years. Here’s a list of US MBA colleges that accept 15 years of education.

    @Sudha: Dropping out of college is not a good idea. It’ll be a stigma on your record for a long time. Finish it and then think about another degree.

    @Rahul: You could look at 1 year MBA programs. A career change is not too much to ask for, if you are planning to stay in the same industry and change your role.

    @Sruthi: You haven’t shared anything about your work experience. So, there’s not much that I can share.

    @Bhamini: Here’s a list of Indian one year MBA programs that you could look at.

    @Srinivas: A career change may be difficult at this age, I’m afraid, specially when you haven’t worked abroad before.

    @Ayush: Having a Masters will not work against you, if the MBA is a logical extension of what you have been doing.

    @Nayan: I’d pick the marketing job.

  17. Hi Sameer,

    I have completed B.Sc.I.T. Currently I am working as Software developer and having total 5 yrs of technical experience.
    As I am interested in technical & IT so I wanna go for MS in Australia instead of US.(since I m not having 10+2+4 education structure)

    So will MS in CS or IT give good exposure me?? Would u like to recommend some other good options to me.?


  18. hi Sameer,
    i wanted to knw that according to your program a person should have 65% and above in 12th right?? but i am having 58% in 12th… is i am eligible for giving the GRE exam.. i am an enginnering student n this yr my engineering will b completed..

  19. Hi Sameer,

    I’m Ram. Very much impressed with the productive work you’re doing.
    I am going to give GMAT test by August 2015.
    Here is my academic profile…
    10th – 86%
    12th – 91%
    Have 3 years of work experience as Business Analyst in a top IT company.
    What if I do not get job after graduation?and OPT for MBA grads is only for 1 year.
    What if I couldn’t be able to get my H1B by that time?
    Can you please throw some light in this area?
    This question may be generic but still I request you to put your thoughts.

  20. Hii sameer.. I m a ca student who is currently doing articleship in kpmg.. I wish to pursue mba finance in usa or uk.. If i get a two year work experience in any big 4 firms are there chances of getting selected in top b schools?

  21. Hii sameer.. I m currently doing my ca articleship in kpmg which is one of a big 4 company…i wish to pursue mba finance frm usa or uk b schools.. If after completing my ca i get a 2 yrs experience frm any of these big 4 companies.. R there any chances of getting admission in these b schools??

  22. Hi SAMEER,
    I’m actually preparing for CAT 2015,
    even though i’m preparing for my target is to do my MBA in USA.
    But i dont have work experince, how far can i attempt for exam to get into MBA universities.

  23. Hi Sameer,

    I’m Jagdeep. Your work is impressive.
    I am planning to give GMAT test by the fall of next year.
    Here is my academic profile…
    10th – 91.2%
    12th – 80.6%
    B.Tech in ECE Engg.- 8.16 (cgpa)
    I’m about to join Infosys. Will one year experiece in this company and scoring 700+ marks in GMAT make my chances better for GMAT scholarship? Actually, there is a bit of financial constraint in my family.So,I need scholarship as much as possible.
    And I want my career to grow exponentially and I am drawn to management jobs. So am I taking the right step forward with mba abroad? And which country is better for this?
    Please help.

  24. Hi Sameer,
    I graduated last year(B.E.) from Pune university and currently working in an IT company. I wanted to know how to decide which type of MBA to do because MBA is a very general term as per my knowledge and also how to decide whether to pursue it in India or abroad.
    Thanks 🙂

  25. Dear Sameer,

    I’m planning to do MBA abroad (2 yrs), my profile as below

    10th : 93%
    12th : 86%
    B.E : 9.3/10

    planning to give GMAT this year expecting 700+ .

    Looking for PR, down the line came up with this countries Canada, Singapore and Australia.

    But I’m confused with the considering the below requirements:
    1. Study Cost (preferably below 20L )
    2. ROI
    3. PR
    4. Most imp Job after completing the MBA.

    Please suggest on the above.

    Thanks in advance.

  26. Hello Sameer,
    Firstly, Thanks for creating this forum to help who want to decide about their future.
    I’ve completed my 10th and 12th from Karnataka board.
    10th State – 82.5%
    12th State – 78%
    And I’ve completed B.E. In Construction technology Management VTU university with an aggregate of 71.5% which is distinction.
    And I’m quite confused between MBA or MS in Structural for next degree.
    And what are the Entrance tests I’ve to take up.
    Please do help me in opting in any one of these and the region where I’ve to take up in the respective field.
    Thank you in Advance.

  27. Hii Sameer,

    Thank you very much about your forum which was in detail.
    At present i am pursuing my and i will pass out in coming year 2016.I was planning to do my master degree i.e., MBA in abroad.I am thinking to take GMAT exam.But GMAT is somewhat tough.I was confused between GMAT and IELTS. By writing only IELTS can i eligible for good MBA universities in abroad.Please help me in opting in these two exams and the place where MBA is in good demand in foreign countries.
    Waiting for your reply,Thank you

  28. hello
    i am diksha tiwari .
    my 10th % is 8.6%12th% is 77%
    i am a homeopathic doctr ( gold medalist)

    persuing my mba from boston.

    family forcing to marry. sooo much in trouble… plllz hlp

  29. Hello Sameer sir!hope you doing well:)I am pursuing for my third year exams on 2016 and i am working in the private limited company as well as an accountant and sales executive.So can i go for my GMAT exams by the end of 2016 and i have a work experience of one year.

  30. Hello Sameer,

    I have around 1.5 yrs of work experience with a private company.
    Qualifications – B.E(agg 70%) in Computers from Mumbai Univ, PGDBM(agg 69%) specialization in Finance from a premier college in Mumbai.
    I am planning to do MBA in USA probably next year(i.e after having 2.5 yrs of work exp on my profile) , which will technically be a second MBA on my resume…appreciate if you guide me if it would a right call to go ahead with further education next year or should I wait and gain more yrs of professional work experience before going for the second degree.

  31. Hi,
    I am in my final year of BCA. My current CGPA is 8.2 and my 10th percentage is 88% and 12th is 77%. I am waiting for campus drive but top companies take us only for BPO s and I am not ready to work for outsourcing. My target is to work in IT field. I’m planning to do MBA. My brother is advicing to take up the job and to do MBA after gaining work experience. I am totally confused and I don’t understand what to do now. Can you please help me in taking decision..
    Thank you.

  32. Hi,
    I am a graduate(B.A). I have got below 50% in my grad and 12th . I want to go abroad for MBA as no good college india has admission criteria as graduate only. I am working for U.S based ecommerce company in India past two years.Waiting for your sujjestions Plz reply asap.

  33. i have 1.5 years o fexperience in computer engineering.
    my 10 th score 75 %
    12 th science -45 %
    B.E.Computer : 67 %
    i want to do M.B.A. in U.s.
    Give me proper advise.

  34. Hi sammer…..I want to do MBA in Abroad….For tat how much i have to score in GMAT…How much fees is needed for tat…I have no idea abt the Fees structure they hav…..Pls help me out…Currently I m working in a IT field..

  35. Hi,
    I will graduate in June 2016 from BITS Pilani Hyderabad campus. My 10th and 12th scores are 94.2% and 83.4% resp. My CGPA however is 5.3. I was planning to prepare for foreign MBA, how good are my chances to get a good Uni if I manage a decent score in GRE/GMAT? Also, can you tell me the pros and cons of foreign MBA compared with Indian MBA? Thank you.

  36. Hi Sameer,
    Sir I had completed my BBA with 68% aggregate and done MBA in marketing with 60% in 2013. From 2013 till now I am not working anywhere. Now I am planning to do one more MBA in abroad to do job their and settle their. Which country is best? I had heard Ireland and Canada for PGDM course s best so I need ur valuable suggestions

  37. HI Sameer,
    I am going to get graduated from IIT this year.i had a semester drop in my second year due to health issues,is that having a 5 year degree instead of 4 Year degree put me in trouble?
    But having 50% in IIT.
    and having a Work Experience of 1 year in Architectural start-up.(Co-Founded)
    am now planning to head towards MBA.
    Could you please comment on my status and help me get through this.

  38. Hi Sameer,

    First of all thank u so much for all the info. It is helpful. These are my academics.

    Work exp: 1 year
    10 th : 86%
    12 th : 76.3%
    B.E. : 69.9%

    So, can you please let me know how much GMAT score should I get in to a decent university in canada. Also, I’m planning to take TOEFL or IELTS. And, I’m little feared about my low academics. Please help me.

    You make my day,
    Sai Saran Reddy.

  39. Hi,
    I am chandrika sharma planning to do mba from abroad.The information provided is good enough to understand about the basic procedure, want to get clear idea about scholarship, preparation and cost.

    • Hi Sameer.
      I pursued my btech (ECE department) in 2018 with 6.92 cgpa, 12th-88.8%, 10th-9.7 cgpa. I have one year experience in one of the MNC companies. Now I want to go for higher studies. But I am in a great confusion whether to go for MBA OR MS. I am not very confident on my core subjects.
      Please provide me some way for my confusion.
      And is my one year job experience as transaction processor in bpo company valid?
      Please guide me whether to take MBA or MS


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