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MBA in India vs MBA Abroad - Which one is better in 2024?

Updated on 18 April, 2024

Master of Business Administration (MBA) is one of the most sought-after postgraduate courses across the globe. Most students expect to get placed in a reputed organization right after completing their MBA, at a good profile with a decent salary package. It is a two-year course if done full-time, working professionals can opt for the 1-year executive MBA from selected universities and business schools. A major dilemma amongst aspirants is whether to opt for an MBA in India or abroad. However, the business school from which students are pursuing their MBA has a strong impact on building their profile.

Every year more than two lakhs applicants register for The Common Admission Test (CAT), to secure admission to MBA. CAT is used to shortlist candidates for the tier-1 business schools in India, including IIMs and 1200 other B-schools. Some of the other entrance exams that the MBA aspirants prepare for are SNAP, XAT, NMAT by GMAC, and IIFT. Candidates, who want to do their MBA from a foreign country, have to take tests like GMAT or the GRE. As per Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), around 30,000 Indian students take these tests every year, and at least 80% crack them and apply for their MBA in their preferred countries.

Apart from India, the USA is one of the most preferred destinations by Indian students. The other popular destinations where many Indian students are found applying for MBA are Australia, Canada, the UK, and Singapore. The MBA programs in the US mostly come with a two years duration, while in the UK and Singapore, the duration is one year or so. 

In the tussle between MBA in India vs abroad, there is no winner as it depends on the aspirations of the students and if they are willing to invest more money in their education to receive higher returns. Everything comes with its unique advantages, and both options can be understood if we discuss them in detail.

Read More: MIM vs MBA – Key aspects worth knowing | Reduce cost of master’s abroad by 20 lakhs

Type of MBA in India vs Abroad

Types of MBA in IndiaTypes of MBA abroad
Full-time MBAFull-time MBA
1-Year MBAExecutive MBA
Executive MBAPart-time MBA
Part-time MBADual MBA
Distance/ Online MBADistance/ Online MBA


Top B-Schools Abroad vs Top B-Schools in India

Studying MBA in India vs MBA abroad in their top schools cannot be compared since they vary in many aspects. While the top B-schools in both India and abroad offer excellent future prospects, they differ in terms of admission process and work experience requirements.

To study at a top B-school abroad, students need to have relevant work experience of at least four years and an excellent academic record to get the best management degree. On the other hand, top B-schools in India do not require their students to have work experience. 

Though the subjects taught in top B-schools in India and abroad might be the same, they differ in terms of the exposure offered and the curriculum that is followed. Some of the top B-schools in India also have exchange programs through which students can find better opportunities abroad. 

Top B-Schools AbroadTop B-Schools in India
Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford UniversityIndian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
Harvard Business School, Harvard UniversityIndian Institute of Management Bangalore
Wharton School of the University of PennslyvaniaIndian Institute of Management Calcutta
HEC ParisIndian Institute of Management Kozhikode
MIT Sloan School of ManagementIndian Institute of Management Delhi
London Business SchoolIndian Institute of Management Indore
IE Business SchoolIndian Institute of Management Lucknow
INSEADXavier Labour Relations Institute (XLRI)
Columbia Business School, Columbia UniversityIndian Institute of Management Kharagpur
IESE Business SchoolIndian Institute of Management Bombay

Source: QS Rankings 2022 and NIRF Rankings 2021

MBA from India

MBA is one of the most sought-after courses in India that is opted for by many students, right after they complete their Bachelor’s. Many working professionals also do their MBA as it helps them to improve their chances of growth in their careers. Let us talk about all the information about MBA that can help one to make up their mind to go for the course.

Cost of Study

Our budget for anything can act as a big deciding factor. And if you want to do an MBA course, then finding out information about the cost is important. The cost of an MBA depends totally upon the institution you are choosing. If you do it from IIMs, it will cost you around INR 8 lakh to INR 23 lakh. The program fee for MBA PGPX for one year from IIM Ahmedabad is INR 28 lakh. However, if you do your MBA from tier-2 business schools in India, the program fees will start from INR 8 lakh. 

Entrance Exams for the MBA 

There are many entrance tests for MBA in India; however, the most popular one is the Common Admission Test (CAT). CAT is comparatively more challenging than the other tests, and it assesses the verbal, logical, and quantitative abilities of the candidates. The highly prestigious business schools in the country like IIMs accept CAT scores. The candidates who clear the cut-off score are invited to participate in Group Discussions and Personal Interviews. The other entrance tests for MBA in India are SNAP, XAT, NMAT by GMAC, and IIFT which also work in a similar way.

MBA Course Structure

As far as the course structure for MBA in India is concerned, it may vary from one business school to the other. Although the basics are all the same. However, the MBA course structure in India is focused more on theories. The two-year MBA course is divided into four semesters. The main subjects that one has to cover in these two years include

  • Business Communication
  • Economic Environment of Business
  • Financial Accounting
  • Financial Management
  • Human Resource Management
  • Management Accounting
  • Information Technology Management
  • Management of Information System
  • Managerial Economics
  • Management Science
  • Marketing Management
  • Marketing Research
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Organization Effectiveness & Change
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Production & Operations Management
  • Business Ethics & Corporate Social Responsibility
  • International Business Environment
  • Legal Environment of Business
  • Project Study
  • Strategic Analysis and Strategic Management

Other MBA Specialisations

  • Finance, Marketing
  • OB & HRM
  • Production & Operations Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information Technology Management
  • Service Management
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On completing your MBA from a B-school in India, you will be placed through campus selection. Students can even get the opportunities to get interviewed by the top MNCs and even banks. You can look at the usual companies that visit your campus for recruitment to get a good estimate of the recruitment scenario when you graduate from there.


The salary range depends much on the B-school from which the candidate has done MBA. If the candidates have completed MBA from B-schools like premiere business schools IIMs and ISB, then the salary range can somewhere be around INR 18 lakh to INR 25 lakh.

Important Scholarships to Study Abroad:

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MBA from Abroad

Many Indian candidates wish to do their MBA in foreign countries. However, they must know that some of the best universities and business schools in the world demand at least four years of working experience from the candidates before they take admission to MBA. Let us find out some more information about MBA from abroad.

Cost of Study

The cost of an MBA course in foreign countries is one of the reasons why many candidates do it from India. In the US, the tuition fees for a two years MBA is from$90,000 (66,84,871) to $1, 40,000 (INR 2,975,544). The one year program will cost less, which is around $55,000 (INR 40,85,323) to $80,000 (INR 59,42,288). 

Entrance Exams for MBA

To pursue MBA from a foreign university, candidates have to undergo tests like GMAT and GRE. These tests are conducted on a rolling basis and give the candidates the choice to choose the exam date at their convenience. 

MBA Course Structure

As we discuss MBA in India vs MBA abroad, knowing the course structure is quite important. This helps the candidates decide whether to opt for an MBA from abroad. As the MBA abroad course structure is concerned, the approach is more pragmatic. The candidates get case studies from various business organizations to study. This further helps them put into practice all the things they learned in theory. Some of the subjects that are common in MBA abroad are 

  • Accounting and Management
  • Business, Government & the International Economy
  • Finance
  • Entrepreneurial Management
  • General Management
  • Negotiation
  • Organizations & Markets
  • Marketing, Strategy
  • Technology & Operations Management
  • Leadership & Organizational Behavior
  • Technology & Operations Management

The MBA specializations can be done in subjects like 

  • Marketing
  • Finance
  • Hospitality Human Resources
  • Supply Chain Management


Not all MBA colleges abroad offer placements to the students. Though some of the colleges may assist the students in their job hunt, none guarantee a placement. The students themselves have to find jobs. However, studying from a top B-school abroad adds value to a student’s profile and it becomes easier for them to get a job. Moreover, many B-schools abroad conduct industrial visits and workshops, which is an excellent opportunity to connect with potential employers.


Salary is one of the most interesting parts of doing an MBA course from abroad. Candidates who do their MBA from top-ranked universities like Harvard University or the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania can even get a salary of $1,05,008 (INR 78 lakh) per annum however the packages vary widely for other business schools.

Read More: Cost of masters in USA | Settle in USA from India

MBA in India vs Abroad: Eligibility Criteria

The eligibility criteria to study at a B-School in India varies across universities. Listed below are the standard requirements students need to fulfil to pursue MBA in India. 

  • Interested candidates must have completed 12th grade in any stream with a minimum aggregate of 60% from a recognized brand
  • Must have completed a Bachelor’s degree with at least 50% marks from a recognized university
  • Should crack the valid cut-off score in CAT/MAT/XAT/CMAT or any other equivalent exam

On the other hand, to pursue MBA abroad, the eligibility criteria are as follows:

  • Bachelor’s degree in any discipline from a renowned university with a CGPA of 7 or above
  • A work experience of two to four years on an average
  • Meeting the GMAT score cut-off set by a particular university
  • Appearing for a personal interview with the admission committee of a university


A student has to appear for the GMAT or CAT examination depending on their decision of applying for an MBA in India or abroad. The fundamental difference between GMAT and CAT is that GMAT is a global examination and its score is accepted by more than 2000 business schools. On the other hand, CAT is a national-level entrance examination to get admission to MBA and its scores are only accepted by Indian business schools. 

The GMAT exam is conducted by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), whereas the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) conducts the CAT examination. Some of the top MBA colleges in India like MDI Gurgaon, XLRI Jamshedpur, and Indian School of Business Hyderabad/Mohali accept GMAT scores for students seeking admission to these B-schools. 

The GMAT test can be taken up to five times a year and the minimum gap between two attempts should be at least 16 calendar days. The student cannot take more than five attempts in a rolling 12-month period and has an 8-attempt overall lifetime attempt. A student can appear for the CAT examination only once a year on a date specified by the convening IIM which is announced in July or August of every year.

A Comparative Study of GMAT vs CAT

Full form Common Admission TestGraduation Management Admission Test
Conducting bodyIndian Institute of ManagementGraduate Management Admission Council
Accepted byIndian business schools Global business schools
FrequencyOnce a yearThroughout the year
ValidityOne yearFive years
Mode of examinationOnlineOnline
EligibilityBachelor’s degree with a minimum of 50% marksShould have attained a minimum age of 13 years
Exam duration120 minutes187 minutes
Number of questions10080
Number of sections34
Exam fee₹2,200$250 if taken online, and $275 when taken to the testing centre

Source: iimcat.ac.in and www.gmac.com

Indian MBA vs. Foreign MBA- Pros & Cons

Determining where to pursue an MBA is an important decision requiring great investment in both money and time. Thus, every aspirant should explore all aspects of the course before pursuing an MBA from India or abroad. Let us now analyze and compare the variations between an MBA from India or abroad.

Pros of MBA in India vs abroad 

Pros of MBA in IndiaPros of MBA abroad
Familiar social environment to studyA plethora of course options available
Much cheaper cost of educationGood average salary after MBA
Work experience is not mandatory 
Placement guarantee 

Cons of MBA in India or Abroad

Cons of MBA in IndiaCons of MBA abroad
Lesser average salaryNo placement guarantee
Course options are limitedHigher cost of studying
Work experience criteria 

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Indian MBA vs. Foreign MBA- Work Experience Requirements

Regarding work experience requirements before joining an MBA, Indian business schools are comparatively less stringent. In fact, top-tier business schools of India such as ISB and the IIMs also admit students into their MBA programs who have little to no work experience. 

However, this is not true of every university abroad. Top business schools in countries like Canada and the UK reserve preference for students with at least two to three years of work experience.

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Other MBA Colleges in India vs Mid-level MBA Colleges Abroad

There is no doubt about the fact that an MBA abroad from a mid-level university would be better than studying it in a private institute in India. Though the cost of studying MBA at a mid-level university abroad is more than that of an MBA college in India, the return on investment is better. In fact, there are options to opt for a scholarship while studying abroad. For instance, an MBA in Germany from a public university would cost comparatively less and give the students the added advantage of studying abroad. Similar is the case with many Western European nations. 

So, before deciding whether it is better to do MBA in India or abroad, it is important for students to research various universities both in India and abroad. It would help them compare what perks the B-schools are offering and decide which one to opt for. 

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Is Indian MBA valid in foreign countries?

Yes, as long as the degree has the accreditation of the ‘All India Council for Technical Education’ (AICTE), it is valid in foreign countries. The MBAs of the best institutes in India, such as IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore, and ISB Hyderabad, are valid and internationally recognized as among the top 100 institutes to pursue MBA. Studying from these top-tier B-Schools in India is highly appreciated in some of the best countries like the USA, UK, Canada, etc. 

Students from India who want to pursue an MBA abroad can visit the website of upGrad Abroad. One of the premier higher education providers in India, upGrad Abroad provides students with end-to-end support in their transition to the university of their choice abroad. Some great educational institutions abroad run their programs in collaboration with Indian universities through upGrad Abroad. The benefit that the students get is the expert support of the upGrad Abroad team along with saving 1/5th of the study cost since a part of the course can be pursued online. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

Is it better to do an MBA in India or abroad?

If, as an aspirant, you can afford to pursue an MBA abroad, it will yield a comparatively better return on your investment. However, there are prestigious b-schools in India, too, as reputed as foreign universities globally.




Can an Indian MBA work abroad?

Yes, Indian MBA designations are fully valid in countries abroad. An MBA degree from prestigious institutions like IIM Ahmedabad and ISB Hyderabad are greatly regarded in countries like the USA, UK, and Canada.




Which countries are best for MBA for Indians?

The top five countries that are best for Indians to pursue an MBA are the US, Switzerland, Canada, Australia, and the UK.




What are the benefits of doing an MBA abroad?

Benefits of pursuing an MBA abroad include lucrative salary packages, better professional opportunities, personal development, etc.




How to choose between an MBA in India vs. MBA abroad?

Choosing between an MBA in India vs. MBA Abroad will depend largely on affordability. If you can afford an MBA abroad, it will surely come with a better return.




Is doing an MBA from abroad expensive?

The cost of pursuing an MBA abroad can range anywhere between INR 20 lakhs to 60 lakhs. For instance, the average cost of a two-year MBA course in the USA is between US$50,000 to US$80,000.




Is an Indian MBA valid in the US and vice-versa?

An Indian MBA is of course valid in the US; however, the kind of salary package you will get depends a lot on the business school that you have graduated from. If you have done your MBA from tier-1 business school, you seldom need to worry. And if you are concerned, if the US MBA is valid in India; even in that case, you get a green signal as it is very much accepted, provided the business school is recognized. Therefore, it can be said, no matter which country you pursue your MBA from, whether India, the USA, or any other country, you first need to make sure the business school is recognized and comes under the top tier B-schools. And passing with flying colors will only add value to your degree.





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Pratishtha Ghosh

A post graduate in Journalism and Mass Communication, Pratishtha enjoys penning down things significant. What interests her the most is exploring and researching on gamut of study abroad.

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