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Last Updated : Oct 21, 2019 05:33 PM IST | Source:

Explained: Why fewer Indians are applying to US B-schools

Indian students are uncertain about job prospects and visa continuity in the United States.

Fewer Indian students are now interested in chasing their dreams in the US, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

GMAC, which conducts the GMAT examination for admission into management programmes, showed that only 45 percent Indians sent their GMAT scores to US B-Schools in 2018, compared to 57 percent in 2014.

During that same period, the percentage of Indian GMAT test takers sending their test scores to Indian schools rose from 15 percent to 19 percent.


Here is why Indian students are no more enamoured by USA's B-schools:

Job prospects

A majority of Indian students were choosing management schools in the US for the attractive job opportunities that they provided post studies. This included jobs at multinational organisations with attractive salaries. Now, companies across the US are taking a decision to hire local talent to prevent visa uncertainties and thereby replacement worker costs. Overseas education consultants said that students are either choosing to stay back in India or opting for institutes in Canada or Europe (non-UK markets).

Visa concerns

Getting a long-term work visa is becoming increasingly uncertain. Even if an Indian gets a H1B visa this year, the US stint could be short-lived and he/she may find it difficult to get an extension after the expiry of the three-year period. Indians who have plans to settle down in the US now no longer find it lucrative to apply for the schools, since earlier this was a sure shot way of getting permanent residence in the US.

While the EB5 visa is a route to gain permanent residency, the upcoming $1.8 million investment (from November 2019) requirement is proving to be a dampener. Currently, those seeking residency under this visa need to invest $1 million and this has remained an exclusive path for rich Indians. Over and above this, there is a long waiting list even under EB5 which has made this a non-viable option even for the affluent Indians.

Consultants said that earlier affluent families would send their children to the US for management education and follow an EB5 route so that the child would get a green card by the time they graduate. Now as the US is looking to hire more American talent, even this option is being taken away.

Costs involved

There has been a gradual rise in fees across management institutes in the US. On an average, there has been a 7-15 percent increase in the fee structure of the business schools. Considering that average fees is Rs 30 lakh in the US, even a 7 percent hike is a significant amount. On the other hand, even Indian banks have been very selective in offering loans to students going to the US. Only those business schools that have a high recall value are preferred in giving out loans.

Safety concerns

One emerging area of concern, according to GMAC as well as education consultants is the issue of safety. There has been an increase in the instances of racial violence in the US. Considering that Indian students target long-term stay prospects in the US, racially-motivated attacks could be a deterrent to their plans.

Political environment

Ahead of the 2020 US presidential election, Indian students are also concerned about the volatile political situation in the country. With US President Donald Trump taking a stringent view on migrants and immigration, Asian students are taking a cautious view on pursuing education in the US.

GMAC said that in 2019, the United States experienced a 13.7 percent decline in international business school applications—a steeper decline than any other country in the world.

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First Published on Oct 21, 2019 03:40 pm
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