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MBA in the US

Mindaugas Kumpys

I am fulfilling my promise to put my own experience about study in US in
writing. I am writing this with no plan so the flow of thoughts might be a
little chaotic.

Essentially, there are few key questions that have to be addressed before any
applications should be requested:
what is the underlying reason for me to go study in USA?
what level school I am willing to commit to?
Universities in US, are rated. The lower the rating the lower the requirements
to get admitted, the less chance to get money, since schools that have low
requirements proprietary income IS your tuition payments.

TIER 1 Schools:
If you're trying to apply to tier 1 school then you absolutely HAVE to take
GMAT (this is for MBA'a only, GRE for sciences and LSAT for law students). GMAT
is admissions test designed to evaluate your general aptitude, which means very
little knowledge in business matters is required. If you score in top 90th
percentile, you pretty much can choose, which school you want to go to, all the
other stuff wont matter. If the board of admissions decides you're something
they want, they will adjust to fit your financial needs (through RA, TA, or
Another very important point is to establish urgency and competency through
your personal career statement. It has to be future oriented, and briefly
outline, how you (but rather the school) will benefit from you being there. It
has to be specific, that is saying that you want to pursue an MBA with
concentration in finance means nothing to the board, just as an example finance
can be subdivided into tons of areas (like retail banking, investment banking
or accounting), the more specific you are about what you want to learn the
Most schools require anywhere from 0-5 yrs experience before you can apply.
Essentially, check the target school out of your list if you do not meat the
experience requirement since you'll waste your money and time. There are tons
of schools that do not require extensive work experience, so just make sure to
check for that.
Also it is a good idea to include a cover letter with application outlining
your financial needs (even though you only can inquire for fin aid after you
get admitted so don't beg in this letter), you have to commit some money,
'cause no school will take you for free. A good place to start is the
discrepancy between in-state and out-of-state tuition, and say I can pay x
amount of $ per year. It has to be an honest appraisal since most schools will
meet it one way or the other. Also, I figure I'd mention that school expenses
(tuition+board+misc) that are posted on the web are exaggerated, in a sense it
is a median amount for AMERICAN kids but if you live off campus and don't spend
millions on beer you can cross board+misc out. So your real exposure would be
tuition fee alone. So if it is say $10k (or per semester $5000) you can say to
the school that "I am able to pay $5000/yr (or $2500 per semester)". Most
schools will come up with the needed amount of help, if you establish yourself
as something the school wants.

Schools with low requirements:
These schools make their money on your tuition and provide you legal basis to
stay in US, make money & study at the same time. It easy to identify these from
any "Guide to US Universities" (I know in Open Society Fund in Lithuania they
used to have them) by looking at what is required (a combination of no
experience; no gmat or low gmat percentile; low scholarship money per student
ratio. Most of these schools will take "foreign work experience" instead of
GMAT or any other test. These schools admit anyone and everyone that shows
interest and show the ability to pay. Obviously, getting financial support in
these schools is next to impossible. However, these schools tend to be a little
less pricey.

What are reasonable assumptions when coming to study in us?
I've met a lot Lithuanians who came to study in USA thinking that they will be
making big bucks almost right away. All of us start from washing dishes in one
sense or the other. Girls start from babysitting, and the like. Unless you have
a very good financial backing from your parents, you can expect to work lots of
hours and barely make the ends meet, doesn't matter what anyone else says. Its
been proved time and again with very few exceptions.
How much will you make?
Depends on the area. East coast anywhere from 7-8 bucks/hours and up. If you
manage to get a tipped position you will make more. After first semester/ year
most MBA students get a professional job. Of course, it depends on the ability
to present yourself, English comprehension, accent and etc. etc., but as a rule
most graduate students do work in their field.

OK. I know I left a ton of things out but this is a brief outline of what needs
to get done to get into US school. As you see the search for finances should
start with a strong application, start early (as early as September/ October of
preceding year), and try to get through to admissions director through e-mail
or at least associate admissions director, 'cause most of the other admissions
jobs are filled with students that don't care. Keep in touch with your contact,
write at least once a month and inquire about something relating to your
desired curriculum.


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