MBA — To be or Not to be?

Raghuram Sukumar Study in USA 64 Comments

This article is a guest post by my friend Ganesh, who had completed his MS and MBA and is currently working as a database developer. If you have questions after reading this article, leave a comment and he will respond to you in the next post.


MBA in the US has become a buzz word recently. Lots of people want to earn an MBA for many reasons. The most prevalent reason is the catchy salary it offers as soon as you graduate and the fast career growth after that.

Everyone wants to graduate with an MBA from Wharton or Thunderbird or Kellogg School of Business, get jobs in top consulting firms such as McKinsey with a sign-on bonus of $20,000, and an annual salary of $250,000 to start with.

Let’s face it, this will come only in one in a million. So every individual has to analyze his or her own situation and decide whether it’s right to study MBA or not.

MBA or MS?

As an example, let us assume you have completed BE. You then decided to do a master’s degree in the US. However, you are confused whether to take an MBA or MS. How do you decide?

There are many paths you can take for your career ahead. There are 2 most prominent ones. One is the technical career path — where you become a software engineer, senior software engineer, designer/architect and so on…where you work and don’t manage people.

These are ideal careers for people who don’t like handling the affairs of others. They like to just come to the office, attend meetings, do you own job at your own timing (believe me — I have friends who come at midnight and work ’till 7 am and come to office during daytime only for meetings) and they kept on going.

Another path is — the management line after being in technical/engineering careers — engineer, sr. engineer and manager — where you will start managing your own team — do appraisals, give pay raise, if required, and — like in this economy — even fire people.

If the second path looks more attractive to you — you should chose an MBA program. If the first path brings more out of who you are — you can chose an MS.

Of course, after coming to the U.S., you still have the choice of taking MBA after completing MS or study MS after earning an MBA — as there are no age limits whatsoever.

FAQs – MBA at U.S. Universities

Now, if you have decided to do MBA, there are many questions that need to be answer. I will try to tell about a few of them.

Please do remember, these are very general statements. Every university in the U.S. is different in its own way.

How many courses to finish an MBA?

The typical time it takes to complete MBA is 16 — 3 credit hour courses.

What is a credit hour?

Typically, one credit hour means 1 hour of class per week. So, a normal 3 credit hour course will be 3 hours a week, which can be 3 days of one hour each or 2 days of 1.5 hours or one day of 3 hours.

How long will it take to complete 16 — 3 credit hour courses?

Most international students take 3 courses in Fall semester, 3 courses in Spring semester and 2 courses in summer.

In this way, one can finish MBA within 2 years. This is a little longer than the usual MS programs.

How about funding for MBA programs?

It is tougher to get funding for MBA programs compared to MS programs. MBA programs do give out full scholarships even for the best applicants.

At the same time, the cost of MBA program is also comparably higher than MS programs. It has more expensive per credit hour fees and you need to complete more credit hours than MS.

When should you do MBA ?

Most of the top business schools in the U.S. require some work experience before admitting students into MBA. Generally, schools ask for around a 3 year work experience to get eligibility into an MBA program.

Read about the New Harvard 2+2 MBA Program.

Image Credit – Mooby


  1. Hi Sir,

    Am an Electrical Engineer with 3.1 years of experience in Software firm as a Test Engineer. Now am open to three options either to get a New job from any software firm at US or Pursue higher studies (i.e. either M.S. or M.B.A)..
    But am confused about choosing the right one to proceed with a non regretting mind in future..
    Could you please guide me to know which (M.S at US or M.BA at US ) would be better for me to settle down to a proper work place after higher studies and which specialization will earn good (kind of non-diminishing) scope in future

    Thanks in Advance.

    1. Author

      You at asking for career coaching via comments and it’s hard to give life changing advice here. Please schedule one coaching session.

  2. Hi sir, Im currently on my 11th year and planning to take Architecture in Oxford University soon, the question is I also like to take a Bachelor’s Degree in Hospitality Management and after an MBA program in London Business school, I dunno maybe to start a hotel/motel bussiness or something. Am I taking the right career path or progression? What other course/program can I take instead? Thanks

  3. Hii dear….same question is hammering to my mind that what to do whether to go for MBA or MS…I am a chemical engineer and having experience of two years,please let me know about opportunities and scope if i want to do mba from Europe countries…..

  4. Hi,
    I am Rachit and i have 2.3 years of work experience in Software firm. I want to do a Master degree to boost my career. Is it good to do a MS now because already i have 2.3 years of work experience and by the time i fly i will have 3 years of exp.If MBA is good how about the job oportunities in USA. As my friend says finding an MBA job is always tough in US. Please help me to get a clear idea…


  5. hi i finished my BE in 2002 with less than 60% aggregate and have 8 years of work experience in Technical Support,i’m in a people management role from past 4 years and i want to do MBA in USA, funding is not a problem, however would like to know what MBA program would you suggest me

  6. Hi,
    I am Ganesh and i have two years of work experience in Software firm. I want to do a Master degree to boost my career. Is it good to do a MS now because already i have 2 years of work experience and by the time i fly i will have 3 years of exp.If MBA is good how about the job oportunities in USA. As my friend says finding an MBA job is always tough in US. Please help me to get a clear idea…


  7. I have total of 7 years of experience in IT industry. I will be shortly traveling to US on H1B visa to work there. I had a long time ambition of doing MBA and I wanna fulfill it now.
    I have plans to study in US along with my regular job

    I need clarification on below if possible.

    1. Do i need to take GMAT and TOEFL to get into college in US?
    1A. If YES – Should i get recommendation letters from my colleges? and what are other things i need to carry with me
    1B. Can I take GMAT after going to US

    Advance thanks for any replies

    1. Some addition info to above

      I have Engineering Degree in my Bachelor and
      It would help if u can suggest couple of good universities in Texas and Tennessee state

  8. Hi
    I have completed my B.Tech (2012) I would like to do MBA in US, I do not have any work experience. So is it possible for me to get into some good colleges without any work experience

  9. i am student of 2nd year BE in IT branch and i want to persue higher education. i m confused whether m good at technical education or m good at management skills. so i cant decide the direction to go i.e. either to opt for MBA or MS.
    can u please help me out. i am eagerly waiting for your reply.

    1. Depends on your interest. One option is to complete your BE, work for about 3 years and then do MBA. Another option is finish your BE, immediately do MS, then work for sometime, then see if you need a MBA.

  10. Hi my self Deepan right now am doing mba final year 4th sem project……. I took HR nd Finance is my specialisation but am interested in HR.. I planned to do MS in abroad and am a middle class family… Can u please suggest me the cost of the course nd best institutions in abroad because am not aware of the institutions available in abroad providing MS course……. Pls provide me necessaryinformation……

  11. hi Ganesh,

    I would like to do MBA in US, I have completed my BBA and I have also done ICWA but I do not have any work experience. So is it possible for me to get into some good colleges without any work experience?

    1. 2 things:
      1. Top schools need minimum of 3 years of experience
      2. Top schools need 4 year degree
      I feel what you can do is, after BBA, do MBA as well and then get some work experience, then you can comfortably apply for top schools here.

  12. I want to pursue MBA. many B schools in USA are taking new GRE score for admit.
    I have score of 1140 now. Which schools I can get or which course I can go for ? specialization?
    how is future of MBA in 2013-14 in US?

  13. hi i m naveen ..i m 27 yr old …i want to do m.b.a or m.s form us…i m post graduate in computer science…please give me suggestion …..

  14. Hi,i have completed hon”s in political science.I am
    interested to complete M.B.A in U .S. so how can i do that.Inform
    me please.

  15. Hi,

    I want to pursue masters in Finance right after my bachelors degree in Finance and Marketing. Do you know of any good universities offering this degree with no work experience requirement?

  16. Hi Ganesh,

    I would like to pursue highers in MS.I have done my BE in Computer Science.I have a work experience of 2 years in software firm.Could you please let me the costs for doing MS.I am an average student and coming from a very ordinary family.And also let me know the job opportunities available at US .Thanks in advance.

  17. hii ganesh ,

    i have done my engg in computer science (2007 passed out) , i have worked as lecturer for an year in india, now am in US after my marriage, am thinking to do my masters here ,but as every1 else even i am not able to decide MS or MBA basicaly i am very much intrested in MBA , but i dont have any management backround,wat do u thnk wil it be difficult for me to do MBA? wat wil be helpful to me is it MS or MBA , its very necessary fr me to get a good job once i graduate.. plz guide me…

    1. Hi

      I completed my BE in Electronics and comm in june-2009 and currently i am working with accenture, bangalore as “software engg” since dec 2009. Right now my motive is to study in US and work there for atleast 5-6 years with equivealent or better job profile .

      so i want to go for the course which has more probability to get me a job there in the present situation. i am confused between MS or MBA. After woking for 10 months the maximun i could figure about myself is that i am little more interested in management field then techical.

      As its already october and i haven’t give GRE or GMAT yet, i can only apply in spring 2011 or fall 2012. till then i’ll be having around 2 to 2.5 years of work experience. also i expect a score of GRE: 1300-1350 and GMAT:680-700 looking at some sample test papers. what should i go for? Can anybody advice me..?

  18. hey,

    i am a first yr BE student IN electronics& communication branch. i want to do MBA after graduation. so for that i need to appear in GMAT.

    so my ques is when should i start preparing for GMAT?

    AND IF 3 YRS OF WORL EXP IS necessary, should i prepare for GMAT after findind a job?

  19. Hi Ganesh,

    I have 2 years of work ex with an IT firm as a software engineer. have done my in computer science, should i opt for Msc in management or should i apply for an MBA. My concern is that normally B schools ask for relevant work ex.

  20. hi Ganesh,

    i have 2 years of work exp with an IT firm as a software engineer, have done my in computer science, should i opt for Msc in management or should i apply for MBA. I am not sure if my work ex will be considered coz B schools normally ask for relevant work ex.

  21. I m in 3rd year of engg. as u have told that for MBA we need work experience. But then if i opt for MS will it give me assurance for a good job. and will i be able to do after MS and then 2-3 yrs of job??? Also i wanted to ask you that after doing MS whether i have to search for job or companies will come for campus interviews in our college/university???

    Plz help me out i am in a big trouble……

  22. Hi,

    I completed BBA (business administration) through distance education from an indian university. i would like to do MBA inUS. What all i need to apply for? How can i apply straightly to university. Which are the universities , which has less fees??

    I heard that state universities /community colleges has less fees? please clear me..

  23. @vineetha: Even with MBA you can stick to your line of track, like become manager in chemical engineering. The problem with Engineering management or similar line is, most of the companies don't recognize that to be equivalent to MBA.

  24. hello bro,

    the above information was indeed very useful to me as i too had the same confusion and now you have cleared my problem.

    but there is still a question unanswered!!

    is MS in techno-management subjects like Engineering management,operations research etc good when compared to MBA (for me and for others like me)as i would like to stick on to my field (chemical engineering) but in the managerial level.

    doesn't MBA deviate us from our technical track cos we dont 'touch' technical line for those 2 years??

  25. Hi,

    I am waiting for final result for MBA,,after completion of MBA what course to do? i eager to study.PLs advice

  26. Hi

    I am in my 3rd year B. Tech in Production and Industrial Engineering. I plan to do MS followed by MBA in reputed US universities.

    I am a bit confused about which MS degree to choose : Industrial / Manufacturing / Mechanical. Is it better if the MS program is related to MBA ( like here Industrial Engineering ) or is it upon my own interest that I should choose the MS program.

    Please advise.


  27. Hey,

    I have completed my B.E electronics from Mumbai university with 67%.I intend to do an MBA next year and then work for 2 years after the degree.Can I go for an M.S in finance in U.S after that as a higher qualification?What are the job oppurtunities? Or should I go for an MBA in finance in U.S?What will be the career prospects?Also what will be the overall costs for an M.S in U.S vis- a- vis an MBA in US?Are there any chances of funding for both?

  28. @PG: you can start your preparation now for MBA in US

    @Stefani: If you are planning for masters in US, you can take finance or any branch, its not a problem. You will have to take more courses as pre-requisites to complete it, thats about it. You can even try medicine here 🙂 — no restrictions as long as you meet the requirements for admission.

    1. yea i know…but the thing is…i wanna ultimately do my MBA in a few years..but if i do a masters now …will the part tym work i do during my course….watevr it maybe, count as work exp dat i need to get into a guddd MBA school?…at least an avg one?….

  29. hey im doing my 4th yr in biotech…will complete next year…wanted to do an MBA in the U.S or canada but weighed out all the pros and cons and it luks like to get into gud business schools ill need to work for 3 yrs at least…during this time ill do my masters and work side by side…but if i am not intersted in biotech anymore…is it wiser to master in sumthing finance related or is it a risk shifting completly from BE to commerce all of sudden?…..and wat kinda of work exp should be suitable?plz advice

  30. I have completed B.E. (Mechanical). And having 14 months MNC experience. Whether MBA in India or abroad is good option? Or, working 1-2 years more and then going for MBA or Executive MBA program is more better? Executive MBA is better than MBA?

    Please tell me.

    1. Its gud to hear that u are from mech background,as i am also 🙂

      I would recommend u to continue in ur field for a couple of years more (say1 or 2 ) and then go for a full time mba. executive mba gives fruit to people with exp more than 10 years or so.

  31. hi…

    i finished B.E (CSE) and worked for 2 years in a software company…I would like to do master degree in us.the problem with me is …. i studied in my mother tonque. my communication is not very good like others.So i'm little bit worried about taking GRE exam and also i need ur suggestion to improve my communication skill.Can u also suggest me which course is suitable for me? waiting for ur reply

  32. Hie..

    I have done my BE in Computer stream in July 2009, I am a fresher ryt now.

    I am planning to go for MBA – HR in Canada.

    I am having Engineering Aggregate is 55% , and for only final year it's 61%.

    So please help me out, what should i do? in which colleges i should apply? For which exams should i go to prepare?

    Is it possible to study MBA there with out having work experience?

    So can you please give me suggestions regarding this.

  33. link for guidance about immigration process for students after completing masters/mba & job-seeking job in countries like USA, UK, France, China and Other European Countries

  34. link for guidance about immigation process for students after completing masters/mba & job-seeking job in countries like USA, UK, France, China and Other European Countries

  35. Hi. I am doing BE in food technology from Panjab University ,Chandigarh. and i am planning to go for MS in Public health from UCLA. And i needed to ask you can you guide me through this?

    and what are the job oppurtunities after this… I l b very glad if u can help.

    thank you.

  36. hi.i have just completed engineering in electrical.i decided to do MS,But still in mind MS or mba ???…then two more question arises..

    1.MS in which field?..which field is in demand..?

    2.MS in which university……

    please solve my problem…..

    my engineering aggregate is 67%

  37. Hi,

    I would like to know something about Missouri State University. I am a resident of Chennai. And there is an ISMS programme in Madras School of Social Works, which is sponsored by Missouri State University, which gives a one year diploma and a direct entry to the 2nd year MBA programme of the Missouri State University (of course if their required GMAT and TOEFL criteria are met) I would like to know about the university and the prospects of placements after graduation. If u have any info, kindly help.


  38. @Nilesh: If you are interested in MS, it is better to first come to US, do MS and work for a while, say 3 years, then you can decide, whether MBA is necessary at that point in time.

    1. hey thanks for the reply…

      it was a vague idea i had considering the heafty salaries people doing mba get…

      im cocentrating on my gre for now…hope i do some good over there..

  39. im planning to do my MS next year in the us…im doing my BE from mumbai university…im an average student…now i was planning to pursue mba after doing my MS…if its feaseble as you ve mentioned …

    how much experience do i need…?

    and will i get a good enough salary after i do my mba…say from a good buisness school because ive done my masters..?

    and will it be worth the salary ill get compared to a masters degree…?

    and is there a chance for me to get in a good buisness school cosidering my average acads for now..?f yes ..what should i do

    i nowthese are too many questions for me to ask too early…but ill be really grateful if ull clear these doughts for me..

  40. I have finished my btech. Now planning for an mba in usa. But now im realy confused about the course which i need to take. Could u all sugest which course will be the best.

  41. @Jubin: If you are a fresher just out of college, I suggest you do MS. If you have 3 or more years experience after college, then you can do MBA.

    @NoName: MBA will certaintly help you. You can do part time MBA. Typically, there will 16 (3 credit hour) courses you need to take. On an average you can take 5 courses per year. So, it will take about 3.5 years.

    @Praveen: i think MS in finance will be sufficient if you still want to be in finance line.

    @S: Try MBA leadership programs in big companies like P&G, GE… also try freshers job search sites like All the best !!!

    @Afshan: I do know that few universities substitute,work experience for education in MBA. You can email to few universities and see.

  42. I have completed my MS and working as software engineer in a Big company. I want to get into management field and I think MBA degree will help speed up the process.

    Do you know how can I do MBA while continuing working as full time software engineer? And how much time it takes for MBA this way?

  43. Hi,

    How about M.S in economics/finance etc vs M.B.A.After finishing M.s will i get the same salary as mba or should i do mba too after ms

  44. Hi,

    I have done my Diploma and Engineering in Mechanical, I will be completing my MBA by March 2009 in US, I'm looking for a Management job, but I couldnt find one yet, could you all please leave me your suggestions to find a good job in this bad economy.


  45. @Ganesh : I do hav 3 yrs of wrk exp …..da only prob is i hav 15 yrs of education…..

  46. @Afshan — There are few universities that does give admission, but typically all the top universities ask for 16 years of eduaction + 3 years experience in industry for MBA admission

    @Sam — No specific reason — I got job even before completing my MBA, so I joined it. Now its little complicated to switch with immigration process.

    @Hussain — I am not sure about all the countries. The reason why people choose US is, it is relatively easy to get a job after the studies. Also the immigration process is also relatively smoother from student (F1) visa to job (h1b) visa to permanent residency (Green card) to Citizenship.

  47. Hi

    I was facing this dilemma whether to go for MBA or MS.But finally I've settled for MS. well, i would like to know is it really recommended to do MS in countries like US,UK or Australia as most students generally prefer to go..How about going for MS in Singapore, Canada, France or Sweden et al..Does it has the same value and opportunities as it has in USA or Uk?

  48. Hey,

    I have one question? …why are you working as DB developer?…when you actually finished MBA program….Is there any special reason?

    1. @Afshan :Almost all universities require 16 yrs of education but there are some universities in US that can grant you an admission to MBA program after 15 yrs of education.

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