MBA for Immigration, worth it?

Hi guys,

I did my undergrad at a top Indian college (think #1) and then straightaway enrolled at an MBA program in India (Indian Top 5). I had interned at a top consult (think McK, BCG) and subsequently joined Goldman in their Asset Management division as a multi asset macro trader. After a couple of years, I moved into a multi asset manager selection role in the alternatives space at one of the largest family offices in Middle East. I am pretty happy with the work here, but over long term I think moving to US has better career prospects for me. I want to work for the best fund of funds in the industry (think Blackstone). I will accept my destiny if I get a fair shot at the elite firms I want to work at and get rejected because of my caliber. Problem is I don't get a single response from any firm I write to. I believe the major issue is work permit and maybe my current experience, which is at a family office in Middle East.

I am 25 right now. I am contemplating if a second MBA from Harvard, Wharton, Columbia or Booth, assuming I get in, will help me reach the firms where I may want to spend the next 10 years of my life.

Adjusting for PPP and taxes, I am already making more than what I will make post MBA even as an associate at Blackstone. But I think this should be a positive marginal NPV move over next 30 years.

Let me know what you think of a second MBA just to get into a more elite firm at a more preferred location.

I have also cleared CFA all levels and I hold FRM and CAIA charters.

Thanks for your help in advance!

Comments (38)

Feb 20, 2017 - 10:24am
dornelbr, what's your opinion? Comment below:

So you're willing to go through:

  • the selection process of a top MBA
  • paying for the studies + living expenses in the States

To try to get a job where you will possibly make less money than you do today, just to live in the US?

I think maybe the MBA can increase your chances a little bit, but in the end the question will still be whether the firm will be willing to sponsor your Visa, which will probably be a bit challenging considering the current political climate (and popular opinion too) regarding immigration to the country (even if "highly skilled" as your case would be).

Best Response
Feb 20, 2017 - 12:50pm
Gumball3000, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If you decide to go for another MBA stateside you'd have CPT, OPT and, if timed correctly, two shots at H1-B. If you can get the right paperwork sorted out you could also get additional internships in between (if program allows this from a time-perspective). AFAIK MBA does not qualify as STEM and OPT can not be extended (limited to 1 year). Unless there is a sudden, extreme change in the nature of the immigration process (which is possible, BTW) this route has a good chance of securing a H1b, assuming you focus all of your efforts on getting into a top program and also that an employer is willing to sponsor you.

Your current job applications from abroad will probably not be answered because employers assume (correctly) you don't have the right to work in the US. Since most employers won't sponsor H1bs the easier route would be finding an employer with office locations in the US and abroad, join them and then move with an L1 after 1 year of employment (you could have done that at GS, i.e.). Maybe your current employer has an office in the US?

Resources re: H1b-bill:

Chances are, this reform might go through during your studies in the US (plus any other current immigration reform papers that are not public yet). Try to understand the implication before you make a decision, as difficult this may seem at this point.

  • 5
Feb 28, 2017 - 6:31am
Ehmerica, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly, go for a doctorate or a different masters rather than another MBA.

Only two sources I trust, Glenn Beck and singing woodland creatures.
Feb 28, 2017 - 6:55am
davidsmith150, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Honestly, go for a doctorate or a different masters rather than another MBA.

Yes you are right.

Jun 10, 2017 - 10:34am
urbantravel, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Honestly, go for a doctorate or a different masters rather than another MBA.

I never understood why some people get two master degrees instead of doing a doctorate degree instead.

Apr 8, 2019 - 9:44pm
Whatever1984, what's your opinion? Comment below:
Honestly, go for a doctorate or a different masters rather than another MBA.

I never understood why some people get two master degrees instead of doing a doctorate degree instead.

I can see it in situations where the degrees are in complimentary but non-overlapping fields, like finance and programming. Being very good in both can add more value for someone than being great in one and clueless in the other. The number of programming types that work in finance, yet are clueless about the basics is amazing. I haven't gotten a degree, but I've taught myself basic programming, because it's easier to do some things myself than to get budget approval and explain a project in excruciating detail to a programmer.

The only difference between Asset Management and Investment Research is assets. I generally see somebody I know on TV on Bloomberg/CNBC etc. once or twice a week. This sounds cool, until I remind myself that I see somebody I know on ESPN five days a week.
  • 3
Feb 28, 2017 - 10:41am
jack_o_diamonds, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Have your tried networking with some of the executives, employees of your target company on Linkedin and stuff ? Considering your seriousness, they should respond and be able to answer your answers.

Feb 28, 2017 - 2:17pm
Fin123, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Given your background, credentials, and financial situation, your best choice might be the EB-5 visa program (EB-5 Info).

You receive a green card by investing $1M in a real estate project that will create 10 jobs. Just spoke with the CEO last night whose company does this as their business model - pool "high-net worth" foreign investors into real estate development projects.

Given your situation, I believe this option has a higher NPV and greater chance of success.

Feb 28, 2017 - 5:13pm
gryphus, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I've seen this done very well - there are a few hedge funds that specialized in pooling EB-5 investors and providing them with very agreeable interest rates. You can borrow the money for an EB-5 investment; generally it goes into a multifamily development or something smallish.

Once you have this in hand, you should engage a headhunter who will actively address the question of your Visa status. Your experience level also merits a headhunter instead of just writing to firms.

Feb 28, 2017 - 2:42pm
LeveragedTiger, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Almost no MBA program worth pursuing will admit someone that already has one.

"The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
Mar 1, 2017 - 3:08pm
finthusiast1313, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Agreed. It's not even an MBA, it's actually a diploma in management. Since front office roles in management, consulting and finance are so scarce as compared to the talent available, this diploma helps filter out the top candidates for these select roles. I know some guys at Stern and Wharton who've done their diploma at IIM.

Feb 28, 2017 - 10:47pm
Pokemon Master, what's your opinion? Comment below:

This is Trump's America now! We don't need smart foreigners anymore.... but seriously I don't get how someone like you has to jump through all sort of hoops to work here but the guy who fucked up my hero today because he can't read the ingredients on the menu is allowed to stay.

What downside is there to letting in foreigners with top notch credentials?

Mar 1, 2017 - 3:03pm
finthusiast1313, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Trump supported a merit-based immigration system in his recent address to Congress.

  • 1
Mar 1, 2017 - 11:36am
Gumball3000, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Forgot to mention two more options in my post above:

1) If OP has a qualifying citizenship there might be a chance to secure a green card with the DV lottery. Check out Chances are low but it is another legal way for long-term permanent residency in the US. Please note that Indian citizenship wouldn't qualify but other ones OP might be holding could. There is also the chance OP might qualify with the parents' citizenship (if different from own).

2) Marrying a US citizen. Do not marry someone for the citizenship alone, this is illegal. But nobody is stopping you from dating and eventually marrying someone in the US if you truly get along with that individual (bona fide marriage). If OP is in the market for a marriage at this point in life this might be a solution as well.

  • 2
Mar 1, 2017 - 3:09pm
RedRage, what's your opinion? Comment below:

OP why don't you stay in India and look for opportunities there? Based on what you have told us I would imagine you could have your pick of employer and a better chance at moving up the corporate ladder in India.

Not trying to be rude but there are plenty of great firms to work for in India and your degree will go much further than the US where it will be brushed aside...unless your real goal is to come to America no matter what.

  • 1
Mar 1, 2017 - 4:01pm
misternysguy, what's your opinion? Comment below:

If your MBA is from IIM-level school (and I guess ISB), I would suggest maybe trying to go into a PhD program. It sucks and takes atleast 4 years but you will be placed into a separate category for H1 applications where your chances of obtaining one will be much higher. If you got an MBA at a non-IIM or ISB, then go for MBA (it wont help you get into a different H1 group with greater chance for selection but a top-10 MBA does wonders for job prospects).

I am not really sure how the Visa system will be impacted during those 4-5 years you are doing your PhD with Trump in office but I know that many major H1-sponsoring firms are being reluctant about sponsoring in the current environment. They are scared of being called out for bringing in immigrants for work and they are worried about spending money on sponsorship only to have some sort of H1-ban that just results in them wasting money. It doesnt help that you are working in the ME. Unfortunately this is not the best time for highly qualified individuals seeking to work in the US.

Mar 1, 2017 - 4:26pm
Gumball3000, what's your opinion? Comment below:

The following resource "claims" that the proposed H1b bill might have a positive outcome for international MBA applicants in the US. Since the source is a GMAT provider I would be careful in agreeing with their suggested outcomes for highly-skilled immigrants. However, some of the conclusions might carry some truth going forward:

I have re-read Zoe Lofgren's proposal and, if approved as proposed, immigrant students might get a legal visa "bridge" from F1 to H1b. This could be in line with Trumps "merit based immigration" suggestion he outlined to the Congress yesterday.

At least MBA studies should count towards the 20,000 quota for H1b visas as it stands right now.

Despite all of these options OP would have the opportunity cost of his current income and additionally the MBA application process, several years of tuition, study and CoL to eventually face an immigration visa outcome based on chance rather than merit. While the odds are not entirely bad, looking at the total cost for this venture it might actually be smarter to go a different immigration path.

  • 3
Apr 25, 2017 - 8:24am
AshleySewell, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Yes, I agree with the points you have mentioned. MBA for immigration is really worth it because it is international recognized degree.

May 30, 2017 - 5:57am
chelsieanayas, what's your opinion? Comment below:

One thing that is not here that I think should be part of this game, click on it and play it. Your spirit will improve after a day of hard work and study. Have fun!

Jul 12, 2017 - 2:54am
florajohn225, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I'd suggest that you check out community colleges in Canada. You could also try universities even though generally the universities require a Ph.D. It probably depends upon your resume and your area of expertise.

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Apr 9, 2019 - 3:03am
Jasmine-Thompson1, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Thank for your writting. You have made it very clear that the problem is happening. I really like your way of thinking

Apr 17, 2019 - 11:55pm
thutrangctp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I like to read the comments of an article. Hope someone will give their own opinion on this article

Apr 17, 2019 - 11:58pm
thutrangctp, what's your opinion? Comment below:

I like to read the comments of an article. Hope someone will give their own opinion on this article

Apr 18, 2019 - 5:04pm
Canucklehead, what's your opinion? Comment below:

Saw many negative comments about the MBA. Though it's true many top schools don't accept applicants with MBAs, Dartmouth Tuck and a few others do. You can also try for a masters in finance or PHD (quant finance perhaps).

The bottom line is doing a post graduate degree in the US to secure a US work visa is a worthy endeavor. Few places on earth worship the MBA like in the US. It's easier to work for a global firm and get transferred over as a manager, but if that option isn't available to you go chase your dream. The pay gap can be rather significant in the US for banking and consulting vs. the UK/EU. Though most banks/firms pay NY salaries in Hong Kong, I know that isn't the case in most Asian cities.

The truth is, you'll have an uphill battle. You'll need to work really hard and the economics will blow while you're a student. As an MBA grad, I can tell you that the international students who succeed are those who can speak perfect American English, with minimal accents. Your experience should help you secure enough interview slots for you to land an internship. Be mindful that buy side jobs post MBA aren't as common. Hedge funds and AM firms do target PHDs for quant trading roles though.

I say go chase you dream. If you want it badly enough, you can make it happen. Don't bother wasting your time letting anyone say you can't do it. You're 25 and have great experience. You should be a superstar among MBA candidates. Most MBA candidates aren't all that impressive and in most cases they don't struggle to secure jobs that pay $125-$150 + $25-$50k sign-on straight after b school. Your investment would be about $200k USD + 2 years lost income. If that's worth it to you, relative to what you're making now then go for it. I did it, justifying the economics is difficult. But it's behind me and I have 30 years ahead of me, making 70-100% more than I made pre MBA + I feel really positive about the upside.

Oh don't forget the alumni network too. That perhaps is the main thing you're buying (second after Visa I guess). If you had connections of influence, we probably wouldn't be having this discussion in your case.

  • 2
Jul 4, 2019 - 11:33pm
ninazhudson, what's your opinion? Comment below:

In all the articles I have read and learned, I find your article the best. It is not long but still full of necessary information, you are a good writer, keep up!

Jul 25, 2019 - 3:02am
amanda-wallers, what's your opinion? Comment below:

but if you want to stay, you have to work very very hard. It's not easy at all

Sep 21, 2019 - 12:06am
thao33, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Nov 1, 2019 - 12:48am
vlo39844, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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Mar 6, 2020 - 12:27am
owz91686, what's your opinion? Comment below:

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