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5 Advantages of Studying MBA on H1B or L1 visa in USA ?

If you do not know, as an international you can study either full time or part time when working in USA on H1B or L1 Visa.  One of the most attractive degrees working professional pick is MBA. Some do it for career progression and some do it because they want to open a business and some do it because they are passionate about management. In fact, studying MBA in USA is totally worth it even if you do not make more money in job. As internationals working in US on Advantages Working H1B visa MBAH1B, we try to question the value behind our investment of time and money for getting degree. I will list few of the advantages that can help you make an educated decision.

Advantages of studying MBA in USA on Work visas like H1B or L1

  1. Employer Sponsorship for education or Affordability: Typically, if you work full time in a good company ( NOT desi consulting companies ), they offer complete or partial  re-imbursement of tuition fee towards MBA or any higher education that matches your professional goals.  For instance, Harley Davidson completely reimburse the tuition fee even it is 100,000 dollars, there is no cap. On the other hand, companies like Kimberly-Clark have an annual cap of 5,000 to 10,000 dollars. It varies depending on the company.  Worst case scenario, the company does not sponsor anything for MBA,  you are making money  and you can either save or afford to take loans and pay tuition fee. Because you are working you can afford expensive education like MBA though an international.
  2. In-state Tuition Eligibility: This is not applicable if you are applying for private schools. But, if you are applying to top state university Business schools like University of Wisconsin School of Business, Ohio State University Fisher School of Business,  as a H1B visa  or L1 visa holder, You are eligible for instate tuition if you work in a state for more than one year and pay taxes. The only catch is, you have to be in the state for more than an year and you have a good business school in that area.
  3. MBA Projects – Live Company Data and  Managers help: When you are studying MBA, you will be given assignments and projects to work on. Most of the times, you will be asked to do projects on your own set of data or data from your work. If you are working, you have access to all the company data and you can use live data. For instance, if you get a Business Trend stats project, you can use the company’s sales data to forecast. It helps you apply knowledge learnt to your work and the company you work for. If you are not working, you may have hard time to work on live data. Also, for change management classes you will have to interact with higher level managers or directors, if you work you have easy access to them. You can also ask them to be your mentors too. I did the same thing for projects and I have mentors too. It really helps !
  4. Networking with Working Professionals for Career Growth : Typically, if you are working full time and take MBA classes, you will be taking classes most of the time in the evening  or weekends and majority of the students will be working full time just like you. The fact is, it is a great place for you to network with professionals in other companies. There are good number of managers in the class too. Everyone see your work and you get to discuss, if you want to make a career change or move to other higher role or different company, the network you build in class can be of great help.
  5. Career Growth with Work experience : One of the biggest advantages of studying MBA while working is, your work experience is ticking, you are never without a job or not working…What it does is, by the time you graduate, you have accumulated your work experience and as well as gained a Masters degree. It is a win-win scenario. Imagine, if you are full time student on F1 visa, you are not working, that time is just student and you are not getting work experience accumulated for your career. Logically, it is a great combination and lets you easily switch to management roles once you graduate with MBA even though you were in low level during studying MBA.

Also, another advantage is, if your wife is interested in studying on H4 visa in USA, some advantages for her are like in-state tuition and also both of you are in same class and can study together. My previous boss did the same thing. It can be a little overwhelming, but many do it !

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  1. Hi, Thank you so much for the article!! I am on H1B visa in California from 2.5 years and I would like to do MBA. Do I need to write GRE/Toefl exams in order to be eligible to apply? Also I will be in-state student here, will I have a lower fee comparatively? Thanks for your answer in advance.

    • Yes, most of the good schools require you to take GRE for sure. You may get waiver for TOEFL, if you speak to the school as you work in US. Well, you may be eligible in state schools in California. Check with a State University in your state or their website.

  2. Hi Kumar,

    Now I am working on my L1b visa.4 years completed on L1 visa.now I am planning to do my MBA in USA.Can I do both full time job and MBA parallel.And after 1 year my visa time will be completed,so what are the options to continue with my studies and job as well

    • Sudha,
      Well, one thing is you can try to move to H1B ask your employer to apply for that and start your Green Card processing so that you can continue to stay after the time ends for L1/H1B. You can alternatively, convert to F1 visa, do it full time for one year and get the courses done and then switch back to L1 or H1B.

  3. Hi ,

    Wish you a very happy new year. My wife did her MBA Finance and Marketing in India and came to US after getting married. She is planning to do her second MBA here. May i know what are the options available here. She also has H4 EAD now. Can she study with that ?? Also is it mandatory to write GRE/GMAT . Since she already did her MBA is there any crash course that she can take up and sit in campus interviews.

    Thank you.

  4. Hi,

    I am an IT professional having 14 years of experience. For the last 5 years I am in USA on H1B Visa. I am looking forward to pursue MBA from USA may be online/ Evening classes. Since I have only 1 more year of H1B visa remaining, can you please help me with the best possibilities I can have? Thanks!

    • Ranjan,
      If you want to continue to work and study, one of things you can do it take more classes and complete the program in One year. If you plan to study full time, you can always change your status to F1 and study even after you are done with H1B.

  5. Hi. i am on H1b and want to pursue MBA in US. I have done B.Sc Computer science in India and i have 4 + years of IT experience. Can you let me know the procedure and the materials to prepare for the test. Also please suggest me good course in MBA.

    • Padmaja,
      You can apply for MBA at any school and pursue it as part time. You will need to take GRE and maybe TOEFL. MBA is a management degree, you can choose emphasis based on your interest and career plan. The easiest thing for you is to call and setup an appointment with a school around you and get details on admission and the requirements. They may waive TOEFL, if you can convince them you have stayed in US long enough.

  6. Hi
    I am Priya I have done my Bca in 2013 from India and I am planning to go for further study in USA can I apply without iltes in USA for MBA

    • Priya,
      Usually for good schools, they require GMAT/ GRE and TOEFL. There are some schools that may accept IELTS as well. I always recommend taking standardized tests and going to better school rather than trying to cut corner and go to schools that are not with proper standards.

  7. Hi,

    I am a full time MBA ( did MBA from india) and working with a MNC in Gurgaon, which visa should i apply for to be able to work in USA as H1B is for engineers what options are available for Indian MBAs.

  8. I am planning to go to the US for work with a H1B. If I work for more than a year, & quit my job & then apply for a full time MBA, will the in state tuition be still valid, as I am applying from US directly?

  9. Hi,

    I have 2 Diploma certification’s from India

    1> 3 Years Full time Diploma in Electronics & Telecommunications from Karnataka India.
    2> 2 years Correspondence Diploma in Railway Engineering From Ministry of Railways New Delhi

    I have 10 years work experience and currently working in MA, USA on L1 B, I want to pursue higher education, I am interested in Management programs Please let me know what options do i have ?


  10. I have passed MS in Communications Engineering in December-2013 from Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.
    Interested for MBA in your Institute, but I have no visa
    Is there any opportunity for Short term MBA with sponsorship.
    If so please help me

    Kathakali Banerjee / India

  11. hi i am sai.
    i am having h1b visa and i am an indian living in the usa………can i do mba without writing gmat exam…….>?

  12. hi i am sai.
    i am having h1b visa and i am an indian living in the usa………can i do mba without writing gmat exam…….>?

  13. Hi,

    I am on H1b visa working in US. My visa expires in 2014. I intend to do MBA here. Please guide me with details of Online MBA programs. The cost involved and the universities offering the programs.

    • Rakesh – Your question is too general. You need to invest time and do lot of research online to understand the admission opportunities.

  14. Hello Kumar/Saurabh,

    I m working full time on H1 in US. My fiancee is in india and has a Btech with a full time 2 yrs MBA degree in marketing from india. She has plans to study after coming to US. What are her chances of doing a second MBA in US, if she has a decent GMAT score and 1.5 yrs teaching experience from an Engg. institute from India.
    What are the requirements for getting into a PHD in marketing or related field?
    Would appreciate if could point us to some useful information.


  15. Hi,

    I really appreciate your efforts to guide many like me.
    I am on L2-EAD and working in one of the biggies IT company of India. They are assuring to file my H1 next year. Which means I need to work on L2 till next Oct.
    Till that time to come over uncertainty, I am planning to join any short term course with my work, so I can continue my job here o F1.
    So can I join any course related to my job o L2 itself ?
    If required, can I convert my visa to F1 ?

    Thanks once again.

    • Rohit,
      Well, you will not be able to work full time on F1 visa. Typically, F1 visa is for full time international students. If you really like to study, you should continue to study on L2 visa. If things go wrong in the mean time, you can change your status to F1 visa. You can consult the school you plan to apply to about options of studying on L2 visa and then do a change of status, if needed in the mean time.

  16. I will be going to US in a month in H1 and my wife in H4. Is it possible to enroll for study in H4 visa. If yes –any advantage(s) of F1 visa over H4 ?

    • On F-1, one can avail for scholarships, CPT, OPT and can apply for H-1 under Advanced degree quota. However, the fees are usually higher on F-1.

  17. Hello!

    I am concerned about whether or not I may take undergrad level courses while on h1? I need certain courses before I may undertake a Masters. Also I would like to know if I can pursue part-time study in computer science or engineering and not MBA and still qualify for the in-state tuition, given I already have a year’s worth of work experience in a particular state. Are there any states which do not participate in such scheme?



  18. Hi Kumar,
    I’ve done my com in India. And presently i’ve come to US on a T3 visa and I’m Planning to do my MBA here. In my future i want to work in google. and i want to do my MBA in Technology. Is there anything that i can do to get into that stream. Ive done BCom in marketing and also have a post graduate Diploma in Investment Management. Pls do suggest something..

  19. If you are paying for the tuition fee while on L1 or H1B. Is the entire amount tax free?
    or do we get some tax exemptions?

    Please can you explain.

    If my salary is $60000 every year.. and i pay around $20,000 dollar towards my MBA tuition fee. Am i tax for only $40,000 or i just get a percentage on $20,000 as my tax break.

    • You need to get 1098-T from your school, which would list the educational expense for that year. Assuming its 20K USD, your taxable income becomes 40K USD. You will then pay taxes on those 40K USD.

      For more information, read these IRS publications:

    • To avail full-time student benefits (CPT, OPT, qualifying for advanced degree H1 quota) – one needs to be on F-1. However, that is expensive as one needs to pay higher fees. Fees can be lower while studying on H4, but primary H1 needs to maintain status during the couse (which would allow you to maintain status on H4) and you cannot avail any job related benefits.

  20. i am a law graduate from india….n was thinkin of doin an LLM in US…bt after the low job prospects i am thinkin of doin an MBA form US MBA school….wud it b a good decision switchin my field…also what are the recent job prospects after an MBA in US?…awaitin for a prompt response..thanx…


    • Kiran,
      In my view, you should study what you are passionate about…not study something because of job prospects….Coming to your question, job prospects are always there, depends on where you study and how well you network….

  21. Hi,
    I am in India with H1B valid till 31-Mar-2011, means only 14 days and it will expire. Can my employer file my extension now while I’m in India because there is urgent need to fill-up a position in USA with my skills. Or, can I travel to USA and then file for premium processing?

    I Would appreciate a promt response. Thanks in advance!

    • Because you are too close to expiration date, you may be questioned about PoE about it. It is most likely that if they admit you in to the country, your I-94 will have expiry date of 31-Mar. You would then have to file for an extension ASAP. It doesn’t matter whether it’s filed as premium or otherwise, as you can continue to work and stay in US while your extension is pending (provided it has been filed timely).

      The other option, like you said, is to file for extension under premium processing, go for stamping (I guess your visa stamp expiry date is same as petition). Once everything is approved, you can travel to US. All this may take 1 month at least, and probably longer if RFE or 221(g) is issued.

      Entering US now, and filing for extension from US seems more favorable option as you need to travel ASAP. However, like I mentioned above, you always carry certain amount of risk w/ that. Just make sure you file your extension before your H-1 expires.

  22. Hi,
    I am on L1 Visa currenlty and it will expire on October 2011.
    If i enroll for part time MBA for a two year program that means it will go till 2012 or 2013.
    If my L1 visa fails to be renewed, what will happen to my MBA course which is not yet complete.

    Is it that they have to renew my L1 Visa and cannot reject it?
    Or they will give me a F1 Visa?

    Please guide.


    • Raj, Typically schools in US give you 6 to 8 years to complete the course. You can either do it later after few years or you can Convert to F1 visa and complete your MBA. Any visa renewal is subject to review by USCIS and it totally depends on case..hard to just speculate the decision.

      • Kumar,

        I will be traveling to Alaska in mid November on L1 visa. Can I take part time MBA course on L1? Is it legal? Do I need to undergo any other formalities to make myself eligible for part time education in US.?

        Also If I have to travel back before the course finishes, then is it possible to complete it at later time?

        Thank You


        • Pawan, Yes, you can study on L1 visa. No, there is no formalities. You just have to check with the University and get going. You may have to take GRE and TOEFL for admission. Yes, you can complete in 6 to 8 years time depending on school.

  23. Hi…i am on L-1B visa and working in US. I want to pursue my higher studies but just wanted to confirm if it is legal to study full time or part time on L1 visa.

    • Rits, it is perfectly legal to study either full time or part time. The point is you have to be working and taking the course load. Full time vs part time is just based on how many classes you take. Your challenge is to manage course load and work if you take full time course load.

  24. Hi Kumar,

    I have done B.E in Electronics and Communication passed out in 2008.My employer has initiated my h1b visa.I want to know what all documents do we need to show USCIS.Like I have the below list
    All my educational marksheets and original degree certificates..
    Letter from Employer..
    Apart from all this ,do I need something else as well…Like migration certification from my last college.

    Warm Regards..

  25. Hi Kumar,
    In my H1B status it shows Post Decision activity.wherein it is written that on June 21,2010 we mailed your employer that we have approved this petition for Non-immigrant worker.
    Now,When Can I expect the interview call for them?
    How long will I have to wait more to enter in the U.S?

    Thanks & Regards
    Rohan Chawla

    • No. It is not. You can study on L2. If you want you can change to L2 though. You will have to work with your school International students office and they will help you on how to transfer.

  26. Kumar,
    You are helping me a lot in taking my decision. thanks so much for this. My question is that if I apply F1 then can I continue to work on L1 and later do COS L1 to F1 if my company ask me to go back India.
    Is it possible?

    • You can only be on ONE Status at a time. If you change to F1, then you cannot work on L1. There is no deal like having a back up and jumping to other. I do not think. This is just based on my knowledge and experience. You may have to consult with attorney for correct info. The best advice I can give you is, schedule an appointment with the school’s International adviser and talk to them about your situation. They will suggest you all options.

  27. Is F1 mandatory for doing MBA. I am here on L2 visa can I complete this. Is there any specific date to apply F1. what is the document required for F1 and what is the fees. Please help me

    • No, you do not need F1 for MBA. If you want to you have to file I-539 http://www.uscis.gov/files/form/i-539instr.pdf . Fee is around 300 dollars. You should check with the school you are applying for the full process and they will help you with everything.

  28. thanks for your response. I want to continue my job till my company does not tell me to go back to India. I read one comment on this site that in this case we can apply COS later but for this what should I tell to consultant. consultant can apply H1B with COS and in that case my L1 will be invalid after october and I will not be able to choose the good project in my local area.

    • Yeah, if you apply for change of status then ideally, you should change you status to H1. That said, I have seen few people who have stayed on L1 status and working. I do not know the exact consequences, some say it has impact in the long run…but I do not know.

  29. Hi Kumar,

    I am working with HCL and on L1. I have just joined MBA here and taking full time classes on weekends and in the evening. My problem is that I am in US only till october because my project will finish in october. Now please suggest me what shoud I do should i go for H1 or F1. I want to complete this MBA with job.

    • If you want to work and study, then your best option I think is to get H1B visa. If you change your status to F1 visa, you cannot work full time and you have to be enrolled full time and can only work on campus for 20 hrs. Find a job in a local company and get H1B sponsored by them, you can continue to work for them and also complete MBA too. I know it can be hard to find a H1B sponsor…but there is no better choice.

    • Yes, it is advanced cap. About Green card, it depends, not necessarily…There is an immigration reform that is due, it will decide…but it will not apply for MBA. Only STEM Categories. Check this article : http://redbus2us.com/news-immigration-reform%E2%80%93-green-cards-ms-technical-degrees-h1b-l1-rules/


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