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Road To MBA in USA
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Road To MBA in USA - June 10th, 2006

It is talked of as the land of dream fulfillment, of cutting edge quality, of mega bucks and of life as you want it to be.

Whatever you have heard about the U.S., it's true. And getting an education there is probably the simplest and most reputable way of being a part of the great American dream. It's also eminently affordable, if done the right way.

U.S. boasts of top Business schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton which are respected worldwide. Information on all this, and lots more, is available here.

Explore this site for all details about doing an MBA from a US business school.

Explore US MBA Information



- Eligibility
- Application Procedure
- MBA Tuition Fee, Cost & Expenses
- Scholarship & Financial Aid
- Part-Time Work while Studying
- Post-MBA Jobs & Employment
- Foreign Student Issues
- Student Visa Information
- Helpful Organizations in your City
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Eligibility
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ViJiT
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Eligibility - June 10th, 2006

Eligibility

Undergraduate Degree:

Almost all US universities require 16 years of undergraduate education. That is, four years of education after High School/Junior College.

If you have a three year degree from an Australian, Indian, New Zealand university or such similar three year degree programs, you will not be eligible for admission to most MBA programs. You would require a professional four-year degree like engineering or other such courses.

Three year Graduates

If you have completed a three-year degree program like BSc, BA, BCom from an Australian, Indian, Pakistan, Bangladesh, New Zealand, Sri Lankan universities, the advisable plan of action to maximize eligibility for US business schools is to do a Post Graduate degree like MSc, MA or Mcom, before applying to business schools in USA.

A one-year university affiliated program will make up for the fourth year required. The key point is to ensure that the program that you do is a recognized university program.

IMPORTANT :

* Professional programs like the CA, ICWA, part time diplomas from a university such as those in management, communication may or may not be accepted, though most MBA programs now accept the Indian CA qualification in lieu of the fourth year graduation.

* Independent certificate courses offered by private institutions like Aptech, NIIT, etc. will most likely not be accepted. The decision is based on each university’s individual evaluation.

* One-year education of a two-year degree course (like M.Tech., M.A. etc.) may not be accepted by most schools. The full course has to be completed for qualification, unless there is a recognized university examination at the end of one year.


Note: No standardized policy exists regarding the acceptance of such programs. Some universities may accept the three-year Graduation Degree for a few programs. But keep in mind that preference will be given to candidates with 16 years of undergraduate education.

Work Experience:

Most US universities recommend/require a minimum of two to three years of work experience. Though some universities may accept you without any work experience, preference will be given to candidates with work experience.

GMAT:

GMAT is required for almost all universities in US. It is also one of the most important criteria for admissions. If you are planning to study in a US business school, you must score high in this exam. For more information on GMAT, check out About GMAT

Note:
For international students, GMAT is required not just for admission but also for student visa. Your chances of getting a student visa to US are weakened if you do not take the GMAT, even if you have an admission from a business school.

TOEFL:

This is required by almost all universities in US. It is a fairly simple exam for most students who have studied in English medium throughout. The minimum scores required for most universities range from 550 to 600 on the paper based TOEFL and 213 to 250 on the computer based TOEFL.



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Application Procedure - June 10th, 2006

Application Procedure

This section explains the process of applying to US universities for an MBA program.

Requesting Application Forms

Application Requirements

1. Academic Record
2. Standardized Tests
3. Work Experience Details
4. Letter of Recommendation
5. Essays / Statement of Purpose
6. Interviews

If you have any doubts or require any further information, please use our Helpline service.

Application Forms

Send enquiries at least 15 to 18 months before the proposed date of admission. There are two ways to get application forms.

1. Requesting Application Forms via email : You can request application forms from the universities website. Most universities have a form on their website which can be completed online to request application material.
2. Downloading from the university website : Many universities have a downloadable and ready to print versions of their application forms on the net. These can be used for applying just as regular forms.


Application Requirements


1. Academic Records & Transcripts

Your past academic record is one of the most important deciding factors in securing admission to a business school in USA. Most business schools require you to have a reasonably good academic record. Each university has its own minimum requirement for its MBA programs, which are flexible depending on the candidate’s profile.

Universities in USA have their own marking and evaluation systems, which are considerably different from the marking system in other countries. They follow the GPA (Grade Point Average) system which is based on the 5 points scheme " A, B, C, D & F.

It is advisable not to convert your marks in your education system of grading to the American Grade Point Average system or any other system since the conversion may not be accurate. You may attach an explanatory note from your college to indicate your rank in your class and/or university.

The letter may also indicate your relative place in the class and the university average, along with the number of students in the class and the number of colleges and students in the university. You may also provide any other information or documents that you feel may help you in the admission process.

Students applying to the MBA programs are required to submit an official transcript (mark-sheets) from each college or university that they have attended after secondary school with complete details of the subjects/credits involved (for each year) and other details like correspondence courses, diplomas etc.

Most universities ask for the transcript (mark-sheets) to be sealed in an envelope and signed and attested across the seal by the registrar. This procedure is to be done for each and every college that you have attended. Some universities may ask for more than one copy of the transcript.

If the transcripts are in a language other than English, they must be translated into English only by the issuing authority or university.


2. Standardized Admission Tests




GMAT:
The most important test for admission to the MBA program in a US business school is the GMAT - Graduate Management Admission Test. GMAT is required by almost all business schools in US.

You have to report your GMAT scores to the university along with your applications.

For complete information about GMAT, check out: GMAT Test.

For more information on GMAT Prep resources & books, check out: GMAT Preparation

TOEFL:
In addition to GMAT, most international students from non-English speaking countries have to take TOEFL exam.

For more information on TOEFL, check out TOEFL Test


3. Work History


Admission to most good business schools and MBA programs requires a couple of years of work experience. While this is not mandatory for all schools, it definitely is preferred by most business schools.

Your work experience is one of the most important criterion for business school admission.

A detailed Résumé is an important part of your application. It should include all information of professional work experience along with details like position(s) held, achievements and scope of work.

Find Résumés a Problem? Check out our Résumé Section for tips.


4. Letter(s) of Recommendation


Letters of reference or recommendation letters play an important role in admission to the MBA program. A recommendation letter is a signed statement from a person who knows you well professionally or has taught you in a subject that is related to the course you are applying to.

The author or teacher must indicate his position, how long he/she has known the applicant and in what capacity. He/she should briefly discuss the need, importance and usefulness of the study the applicant proposes to undertake.

Authors are usually asked to rank applicants in their letters of recommendation, which helps admission officers to interpret the academic credentials of foreign students. Students should obtain letters of recommendation (often on the prescribed forms sent by the institutions) from people who know them as a person as well as a student or a professional. You may like to request your author to give concrete examples that show your qualities, strengths etc. to help your case.

Many universities have their own format and questions that have to be answered by the person who is giving the letter of recommendation on your behalf. Letters, which do not give enough information, can jeopardize a candidate’s chances of selection.

For more details on letters of recommendation, formats and tips, check out Letter of Recommendation

Note: Even if not mentioned, it is advisable to include at least two letters of recommendation in your applications as they increase your chances of getting admissions.


5. Business School Essays

The personal essays play a very important role in the process of evaluating your application for admission to the MBA program. They give the faculty assessing your application their most significant impression of you as an individual. This section is the key to distinguish your application from other suitable candidates and a chance to market yourself.

When there are fifty students with similar academic background and similar GMAT scores, it is their application essays that make or break their application.

A personal statement should include your reasons for choosing a particular course, the suitability of your education and experience for the chosen course, and your personal interests and career goals.

Some courses like Business School courses will have their own essay questions and format. Others may ask for a résumé or reasons for applying to that particular course.

For more details and tips on application Essays, check out our Essays section



6. Interviews

Interviewing prospective candidates is getting common in the US business school admission structure. Most top business schools will take your interview to know you better.

The interview could be with a business school representative or "third party" representatives, staff, faculty or alumni of the college or simply a telephonic interview.

These interviews are usually informal and more of an opportunity to exchange information. The interviewer will try to judge your abilities and interests.



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MBA Tuition Fee, Living Cost & Expenses
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ViJiT
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MBA Tuition Fee, Living Cost & Expenses - June 10th, 2006

MBA Tuition Fee, Living Cost & Expenses

Tuition Fee

US business schools fall under two major categories:
- public (state supported), and
- private (independent) institutions.

International students’ tuition expenses at state schools are based on nonresident costs, which are still usually less expensive than those of private universities.

It is important to note that the cost of a program in a US school does not necessarily affect its quality.

A brief idea can be got from the following table:
University Type Tuition Fees (annual in U.S. Dollars)
Private School (High Cost) $ 30,000
Private School (Low Cost) $ 15,000
State School (High Cost) $ 20,000
State School (Low Cost) $ 10,000

The tuition fee is different for different universities and varies widely with courses. It can vary from as low as $ 8000 a year for state universities to as much as $ 35000 per annum for some private universities.

For example, Colorado Technical University offers the MBA program for less than US $ 10,000 a year, while many top schools like Harvard Business School and Wharton Business Schools have a fee structure of around US $ 30,000 per year.

For more specific details, please check out the university websites or contact the universities.



Living Expenses

The approximate annual living expenses during the MBA program is about $12,000, which includes accommodation as well as other daily expenses. However, the expenses are different for different people depending on the lifestyles and this is just a rough idea. The main expenses can be split up as:
Rent $ 400 per month
(you can live alone with that amount in a place like Auburn or share an apartment with 6 people in NY)

Groceries $ 150 per month
Utilities $ 150 per month
Phone $ 100 per month (if careful with international calls)
Sundry $ 200 per month

So, about $1000 per month is a good estimation. Mostly people can survive between $700-$1000 a month.

The key here is to share apartments/houses so that you save on the utilities, fixed charge portion of phone and to some extent on groceries.

Note: The approximate currency exchange rate is: 1 US $ = Rs. 46
For the latest conversion rates, Check out http://finance.yahoo.com/m3



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Financial Aid - June 10th, 2006

Financial Aid

It is important to understand that most universities do not offer financial assistance to international students for a program like MBA. The few who manage tuition waivers and assistantships usually get it after they reach the university and usually after a semester.

It still makes sense to take a loan. This is because the kind of jobs that you would get on completion of the MBA program, you should manage to pay back your loans within a year or two.

A typical loan required for an MBA program in a mid tier university in US would be about Rs. 15 lakhs. (Many banks offer education loans)

On completion of an MBA, you would typically get a job with an average salary of say US $ 60,000 per annum (This could vary depending on how you perform in your program and job interviews). Remember, you have to perform well in your program to get jobs.

After taxes and expenses, you could easily save about US $ 10,000-15,000 or more a year. This means you can pay back your loans in about two years. Imagine, trying to earn this kind of money anywhere in the world in such a short time. That's USA for you.

Coming back to the types of financial aid, we have:



[hr]

Sponsorships

This is perhaps the simplest option of all. The university presents an official estimate of study and living expenses, and you get a letter or affidavit from your parents or a rich relative, in which they declare their income and support for your studies. This is satisfactory for both the university and the visa authorities.

[hr]

University Funding

This kind of funding is usually the most common. Unfortunately, most of the university funding is for research based and science programs and not for the MBA programs. The different types of financial help available:

Types of Assistance

Merit based assistance is awarded in many forms, from tuition waivers, various types of assistantships, to fellowships. The most common are listed here :

1. Tuition Waiver : This means that the student does not have to pay the tuition fees at the university. However, general fees (for the use of university facilities like the library, computers, and sports and health services) usually have to be borne by the student. A tuition waiver is frequently awarded in conjunction with a scholarship or teaching/research assistantship.
2. Scholarship / Fellowship : This is usually an outright grant based on the student’s academic ability and performance. Hence, Only a truly outstanding student may be considered for this type of award, before enrolling at the university. A full scholarship would pay for a student’s entire living expenses at that university, whereas a partial scholarship would require additional funds from the student. These awards are few and very competitive.
3. Assistantship : Most students who receive assistance usually do so in the form of an assistantship, i.e. a cash stipend sufficient for their living expenses, and/or tuition waiver. To get this, they have to work for a maximum of 20 hours per week. This work normally consists of teaching and research activities. Teaching assistantships are more likely to be in universities, which have large undergraduate classes whereas research assistantships tend to be more common in those fields and universities in which considerable research is in progress. Information brochures of most universities give this information.

Who Should Apply?

Students have a greater chance of getting financial aid if they :

1. show evidence of a high level of academic achievement
2. achieve high GMAT scores
3. demonstrate financial need but have private funding to cover some of the cost. Financial need is not crucial for some awards.


[hr]

Bank Loans & Aid from other Sources (U.S.)


Bank Loans

These are the best alternative for students applying to the MBA program. One thing to keep in mind when applying for loans is that, in most cases, you need to have a co-signer who is a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. The co-signer is responsible for paying back the loan if you should default on it.

There are some banks that waive the co-signer requirement for specific schools. You should check this information from the school website.

As an example, Citibank provides loans to international students admitted to Harvard Business School without a co-signer. Another example is Bank of America providing loans without a co-signer to students at Kenan-Flagler, University of North Carolina (at the time of writing this, the CEO of Bank of America is an alumnus of Kenan-Flagler School of Management)

The terms of the loans usually require any interest or principal payments after graduation. Read the terms of any and all loans before you sign. Make sure you understand those terms and what your repayment schedule and fees entail. Ask for assistance in interpreting the fine print if you are having trouble understanding it.

We have seen that a lot of students are very debt-averse. If you have been accepted to a good program, your chances of getting a good job are very good and paying off the loan is not that big an ordeal as it seems. So, if you do get admitted to a school of your choice, we would recommend that you explore this funding alternative.

Other Sources

There are many other sources of funding especially for graduate students applying to the universities in US. These need some spadework. If you try hard, you may find the kind of funding that suits your needs.

A few good websites that offer information for international students are :

*

Financial Aid for International Students (www.finaid.org)
*

NAFSA Association of International Educators (www.nafsa.org)

[hr]

Scholarships in U.S.A.


1.AT&T Leadership Awards (For U.S. only): U.S. $ 5,000 awards for the students from the Asia-Pacific region going to the U.S. for study in any discipline. Six of the 36 awards went to Indians in 1998. Applications must reach the programme’s Malaysia office by 15th September. Decisions are announced by 31st December.

For more details and application form, write to USEFI or email [email address] or fax at (886) 2-2715-7013 (attn: AT&T Leadership Award)


2. Rotary Ambassadorial Scholarships: The scholarship amount goes upto U.S. $ 23,000 for studies in any subject and any country.

For any information, contact any Rotary Club office or write to:
The Scholarships Programme,
Rotary Foundation,
Rotary International, One Rotary Centre,
1560 Sherman Avenue,
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.A.



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Part-Time Work While Studying - June 10th, 2006

Part-Time Work While Studying

Employment opportunities for international students are limited. You should not plan on earning substantial money from a part-time job to help pay for your studies.

MBA is an intensive program and you will have many assignments to do. There will not be much time for part-time work.

On campus : Though international students are allowed to work on campus, these jobs are often difficult to obtain and do not provide sufficient funds to sustain education costs. Students with good academic standing have a better chance.

Most jobs involve working for a professor on some projects.

Off campus : It may be possible to for students to avail of limited off-campus employment, which is subject to strict regulatory guidelines.

It requires approval from US Immigration & Naturalization Service. This approval is not easy to get and depends on a special need.

Practical Training : In addition, there are opportunities for practical training which entail a period of authorized employment, designed to allow foreign students to have professional work experience while doing their MBA.

This internship is for around three months at the end of two semesters of study. This is good time to earn some extra income. If you manage to get an internship opportunity with a good company, not only will you earn well, but also it could translate into a job opportunity at the end of your MBA program, if they like your work.

For further details on part-time jobs and work opportunities, contact the foreign student adviser at the university, after you are enrolled.



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Post-MBA Jobs & Employment - June 10th, 2006

Post-MBA Jobs & Employment

If you have graduated from a top B-school, jobs are easy and usually guaranteed. Students graduating from business schools like Harvard, Stanford and Wharton, never have problems getting a job. Most of them have multiple offers. For most of the problems are a few lesser or extra zeroes on their signing bonus.

If you are from a good middle-tier school, getting a job will be tough in the current scenario, but you can manage with some efforts. They key is to be very aggressive in your job search and to prepare well for the interviews.

Networking is the key in the jobs process, especially if you are targeting the bigger organizations. Use alumni resources in the best possible manner.

For students from lower middle-tier schools, getting a job is difficult. Being an international student, most organizations will not accept you unless you can prove you are good.

An employer has to spend a certain amount of money to process a H1 visa, that is required by international students to work in the US. So, your past records should demonstrate that you would be an asset to their organization.

The university you study in and your performance in the MBA program are crucial factors for employment.



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ViJiT
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Foreign Student Issues - June 10th, 2006

Foreign Student Issues

* Student Housing & Accommodation
* Student Health Insurance


Accommodation


Each institute has its own policy for housing and may offer a range of options for single and married students. In case of universities that do offer accommodation, you will be sent a description of the on- and off-campus options available as well as the actual housing application form.

Since most campuses have limited on-campus housing, it is extremely important to submit the application form early. University housing facilities may range from a dormitory, which may be shared with other students to an apartment for a family.

Some undergraduate universities may require students to live in a dormitory on campus.

Most graduate students live off-campus either by themselves or in small groups. Students applying can contact various Indian Students Associations in the universities they are applying to or write to us at Helpline for more details.

Most international students manage to find other international students for shared apartments. For a rough idea, check out Expenses for International Students

Rents vary greatly from state to state, depending on the location. All details can be found out from the associations.


Health Care

This is another very important criteria for financial planning. Most U.S. Institutes require that all students including international students be covered by an insurance policy that will protect them against medical, hospital bills if they get sick or are injured while studying at the college, as health care is very expensive in U.S.

The insurance policy is approximately about US $ 600 per year. It would be best to check this with the universities before you reach there.

The international student office of the business you choose to attend will supply the detailed information on insurance policies and the procedure to obtain proper coverage.

There are many good insurance deals available. However, this would require some research from your end. It would be a good idea to check out the various available options.



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Visa Information - June 10th, 2006

Visa Information

To enter the United States as a student, you must apply at a US Embassy or Consulate for a student visa. You can apply for a visa only after you receive the requisite I-20 or IAP-66 form from the institution you have been accepted to. This is a form that is issued by the business school and is a confirmation of your admission.

The visa that you would require to study a full-time MBA program in USA would be the F-1 - Student Visa. The F-1 visa is for full-time students enrolled in an academic or language program. F-1 students may stay in the US for the full length of their academic program plus 60 days. F-1 students must maintain a full-time course load and complete their studies by the expiration date listed on the I-20 form.

The information outlined below is designed to help you understand the visa process.

*Visa Application Procedure
*Principal Requirements for a Student Visa
*U.S. Embassies


Visa Application Procedure (Source: U.S. Embassy)


Applicants should apply at the consular section of the American Embassy any working day, Monday through Friday, during working hours of the consular section.
Documents required are :

* Valid Passport
* One Passport size photograph (In a specified format)
* A Non-immigrant Visa Application (Form 156) available from the Consular section.
* Other require forms. (Will depend on the country you apply from)
* Form I-20 executed by the authorizing official of institution concerned, signed by the applicant.
* Evidence of financial ability to cover the costs of the education and maintenance involved
* Visa fee to (to be paid in the currency mentioned)

When to apply :

An applicant may apply for a student Visa not earlier than 90 days before the registration date specified on the FORM I-20. If the registration date is already passed or the applicant cannot reasonably expect to arrive at the school by the registration date, the applicant should obtain an amended I-20 or a letter of extension from the issuing institution stating by what date the applicant may arrive.

After the Completed application forms along with the documents are submitted;

In most cases, the visa will be issued within a few hours or days of the submission of the application. In some instances, the process may take longer depending on the time of year, consular caseload or other factors.

If your application is denied, you should ask the Consular Officer for a "written denial decision." This will provide you with the official reason for your visa denial.


Principal Requirements For Student Visa



1) Acceptance by University

Acceptance of the applicant by an institution of learning for a full course of study is essential. Evidence in support of this requirement consists of a Form I-20 (Certification of Eligibility) filled out by the accepting school, and signed by the applicant and presented with the visa application.

2) Knowledge of English Language

Evidence that the applicant has sufficient scholastic preparation and knowledge of the English language, if required by the school to undertake a full course of study in the accepting institution. Proof of the required scholastic preparation is usually established by the I-20 from the institution involved and the entries on the form. To establish their knowledge of English, applicants are encouraged to take the “Test of English as a Foreign Language" (TOEFL), available in many countries around the world. For more details, check our Tests to be taken section.

3) Proof of Financial Resources

This involves proof that the applicant has sufficient funds to cover the total cost of education and stay in the U.S. This implies evidence of readily available funds to meet all expenses for the first year, and of the availability of funds for the following years from reliable financial resources. To satisfy this requirement applicants may show that funds are available from the educational institution, from their personal resources or from sponsors, (normally a very close relative) who have agreed to pay for their education.

If the support is from the educational institution, in the form of a scholarship, assistantship, on-campus employment, etc.,it is usually noted on the I-20.

If the support is from your home country, the applicant must produce bank books and statements or other documents showing a total amount in your currency equal to the dollar cost of the first year, and evidence regarding sources of funds for subsequent years. If the student is not paying his own expenses, an affidavit of support executed by the sponsor and sworn before a registered authority (a first class magistrate in India) must also be presented, along with financial evidence indicating the ability to carry out the undertaking.

If the support is from outside your country, the sponsor must provide a letter from his/her bank indicating that the sponsor has sufficient funds to cover the costs involved, together with a current notarized Affidavit of support stating willingness to finance the applicant’s educational expenses. The sponsor should also provide evidence of current employment and income.

With regard to sponsorship, particular weight is given to promises of support from immediate family members. Affidavits from less than immediate relatives and family friends do not carry the same degree of commitment as do affidavits from immediate family members and should be accompanied by a statement explaining in detail what compelling reasons the person has to carry out the promises made on the affidavit.

The Embassy emphasizes that the commitment contained in an affidavit of support is not a mere formality. The U.S. Government regards Affidavits of support to be binding, legal documents that oblige the sponsor to be financially responsible for the student during his/her time in U.S.

4) Proof of Non-Immigrant Intent (Existence of permanent residence)

It is difficult to prove that you intend to return to home country after your studies are complete even though you sincerely intend to. This is because by law, all non-immigrants are viewed as "intending immigrants." This means that the visa officer is under the assumption that you will be coming to the US and will remain in the US permanently.

You should carry with you documents that demonstrate ties to your home country and would help convince the consul of your intent to return. Such documents may include:

1. Proof of land ownership

2. Economic and Social ties are very important: An applicant's future role in a family business, academic institution, government agency, professional organization are all possibilities. Bring letters from appropriate parties to demonstrate such facts.

3. If other family members have studied in the U.S. and returned it should be mentioned.

4. Letters from prospective employers recognizing the need for specialized training offered in the U.S. can also serve to aid an application in the applicant’s home country.

5. Providing an explanation of why equivalent educational training is not available in your home country, if applicable.

Most importantly, Consular Officials want to hear from the applicant. At no time, is it recommended that the applicants bring family members with them to the interview.

If you prove to the Consular Official’s satisfaction that you intend to come to the U.S. solely for the purpose of study and will return to your home country upon completion of the program, a visa stamp will be affixed to a page in your passport. You should apply for a multiple entry F-1 student visa. With a multiple entry visa you can travel between US and your home country during the duration of your stay in the Unites States.



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Re: MBA in USA
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Re: MBA in USA - June 10th, 2006

Helpful Education Organizations



List of organizations that help students applying to MBA Programs and Business Schools in USA. This includes:

- Official University Representatives
- Government Agencies
- Education Agents
- Test Preparation Centers
- Private Counsellors


United States Education Foundation in India - Mumbai

USEFI, American Center,
3rd floor, 4 New Marine Lines, Mumbai-400 020, India

Tel: (022) 22624590 Fax: 22624595

Services Offered:
* Library facilities
* Basic & pre-departure orientation programs
* workshops that focus on different aspects of the application process.



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