Career Mantras

Foreign MBA or Indian MBA?

Posted by:  Prakash Kewalramani Date:Sep 16, 2016


So you have decided to do an MBA? And are now wondering whether to do the MBA from India or abroad?

The million dollar (pun-intended) question is: how do you compare an Indian MBA degree with a foreign MBA?

Although the overall content in an MBA course would generally remain similar irrespective of the institute, what does make a difference is the overall experience including stature /ranking of the institute, pedagogy, quality /diversity of students, quality / credentials / real-world-industry experience of the faculty (including industry visiting faculty), courses / content developed internally, industry connect,  student-faculty ratio, institute recognition & specialization (Finance / Marketing / Engineering / Technology) etc.etc. You can certainly not compare Harvard Business School (HBS) MBA programs with the ones provided by even the best MBA schools in India!

In this article, we focus on comparing MBA programs from great institutes in India (e.g. IIMs) with programs from institutes like Harvard or Stanford or Insead. How do you decide which program to pursue?

MBA Programs in India

Management education in India has gained a lot of ground and recognition since 1990s. An MBA is virtually considered to be a passport to a fast-growth & successful career.  A very large number of institutes have come up which offer courses in business management.

MBA programs in India provided by the best institutes have evolved over the years, hence are recognized. With excellent faculty, challenging courses, with great job opportunities to sum it up. That is the reason why IIMs are ranked high along with other leading institutes in the world!

However, there are other MBA programs in India which are easy to get into but will not fetch you the right attention by the recruiter; which means it will not make much difference to your resume. MBA degree has become too common now; hence a degree from premium institute will do the job!

Foreign Programs v/s Indian Programs

Foreign MBA programs guide and train you on everything that an Indian program can do, but with the following additional benefits.

•    Superior Research Facilities
Institutes in UK and US have well stocked libraries with millions of books. They also have subscriptions for leading journals and papers from around the world. This is the best way for  students to access the latest information sites and research on the latest trends to support their project assignments.

•    International Faculty
We all know
that the developed nations have been attracting the best skilled professionals from all over the world for the last so many years. Overseas institutes would generally have superior quality faculty drawn from the best institutes globally. The faculty would normally be highly qualified (PhDs), have generous industry & research experience, doing a fair amount of pioneering research work including publishing papers and enjoy high credibility. Some of the faculty at leading MBA institutes abroad are Global-Thought-Leaders and consult a number of Fortune-500 Global organisations. Learning under such luminaries is a once-in-a-lifetime experience!!! Some leading MBA institutes in India too now have world-class faculties a number of whom have also studied, worked & taught in the best MBA institutes abroad including at HBS!

•    Global Recognition
MBA programs abroad are more recognized globally and can be considered as one of the major reasons for choosing an International Degree. It does not matter where your future job lands you, but an International MBA degree mentioned on your resume will always reflect a better picture.

•    Classrom Cultural Diversity
Study overseas, broadens your perspective, gives you immense confidence and prepares you for future challenges. This is definitely useful for those who aim for management roles. Further, overseas institutes have very wide diversity in terms of country of origin of their students. Do not be surprised to find students from over 50 countries in your class! Today, with the world being a Global-Village, experience in studying in such multi-cultural classrooms would definitely be a big+ in your career. Unfortunately, even the best Indian MBA institutes (including IIMs) have not been able to attract international students. At best a class may have 1 or 2 international students that too maybe of Asian or African origin.

Financial Comparison

A good MBA program is universally expensive, but if you plan to get the same program from the US it would be very costly (besides the cost of applying to overseas colleges, you also would need to bear the cost of travel & living abroad) which would in turn leave you with huge loans to repay unless, of course, you have adequate sources of funds. Generally, a 2-year fulltime MBA in USA from a good institute would cost totally (inclusive of course fees and living) around US$ 2,00,000 (Rs.130 lakhs) versus Rs.20-25 lakhs for a similar course from a good Indian institute.


Undertaking an MBA program should be a very-well thought-out one because it affects your career trajectory, is expensive and you can generally do an MBA only once in your lifetime!

Deciding on an Indian MBA or Foreign MBA would depend on several factors including your life’s  dream and ambition, past academic performance, quality & type of work-experience including organizations worked for and roles performed (foreign institutes generally prefer students with certain minimum number of years work experience), your GMAT / CAT scores, capability to raise the requisite level of funds etc.

Our recommendations:

  • If you have an excellent academic track record & work experience, excellent GMAT score, are confident of raising the requisite funds, have got admission in one of the Global Top-10 MBA institutes, are open to working overseas then you should definitely go in for the foreign MBA! Sooner or later, you may return to India at a senior level assignment in an MNC or Indian organization;
  • If you have an excellent academic track record, little or no work experience, excellent CAT score, have got admission in one of the Top-10 Indian MBA institutes, are open to working in India,  then you should definitely go in for the Indian MBA!  Sooner or later, you may get posted overseas In the Global Management pool of an MNC or Indian organization;
  • If you have an average academic track record, little or no work-experience, not-too-good GMAT score, are confident of raising the requisite funds but have not got admission in one of the Global Top-20 MBA institutes, are open to working overseas then you should definitely not go in for the foreign MBA! You will be wasting your money, may not get a commensurate assignment (both overseas or in India) and may have to start from scratch! Wiser would be to pursue an Indian MBA from amongst the best Indian institutes you may get admission into. Or you could wait for a year, re-appear for GMAT and try again for admissions in better overseas MBA institutes;
  • If you are not ready to invest too much money on the MBA course then going for an Indian program would be a better decision as a foreign MBA may not guarantee you a good job because of the uncertain economic conditions.

Both Indian and foreign MBA programs have their respective advantages and disadvantages. An International MBA course can be considered by those looking for a global career.  On the other hand, if you are clear that you want to work for the best companies and at the same time want to be based in India, you should opt for any of Top MBA institutes in the country

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