There are more than 3,500 universities in the United States, and about 500 of them have MBA programs. For those who are seriously thinking about getting an MBA in the States, a long and interesting path opens. 

Step 1: Define a Goal
This will help the answers to the questions:
Why do I need an MBA? What do I want to get out of education?
What do I want to do after graduation?
Am I interested in an international career?

To get a broad picture of the possibilities and limitations of an MBA, you can get advice from friends or colleagues who have similar experiences, and study reliable sources. Communication with real people, of course, is preferable: it helps to more accurately assess the risks of learning in the context of the global recession, as well as to learn in advance about the main difficulties of admission and study.
Step 2: assess your financial capabilities
At this stage, it will be useful to answer the following questions:
Will I pay for the training myself or will I negotiate with the employer?
If on my own or only with partial support from the employer, what is my budget? Will I need a loan?
What obligations do I have that may influence my decision or make my situation difficult during my studies (family, mortgage, etc.)?

After detailed answers to these questions, you will get an indicative P&L (profit and loss statement, profit and loss statement - ed.) - a file with a budget for admission and training in the context of several possible scenarios in terms of costs .
Step 3: Decide on the type of program
The answers to the questions of the initial two steps set the contour for the first decisive choice - the type of program that is optimal for a particular situation:

Online MBA
Lightweight version of the program. It contains fewer workshops, field trips and joint projects, saves money on moving and living in another country. Modern technology makes it easy and convenient to study online from anywhere in the world. This program can be combined with the main employment: continue to work, while receiving an MBA diploma.

Full-time MBA
Full-time training with a load of 35 to 55 hours per week. It implies a large amount of practical training, in-depth work on the development of a network of contacts, and internships. This format is much more expensive: in addition to the cost of moving and living due to the high workload, you will have to give up work (or significantly reduce it), which will also affect your personal budget. If the goal is to build an international career, then, of course, it is better to focus on the full-time MBA format, as it opens up much more opportunities to gain practical experience and make useful acquaintances with people from all over the world .

STEM certified full-time MBA Same as full-time MBA
, but with the addition of STEM specialization. The number of technical disciplines in such programs has been increased, as well as their cost, but they open up great prospects. The graduate gets the opportunity for further employment in the United States in a STEM specialty within three years after graduation, which will allow the future employer to apply for the H1B work visa lottery as many as three times (instead of one after the usual full- time MBA) and provide additional time for employment.
Step 4: Longlist Business Schools
A variety of ratings (for example, princetonereview) will help you choose and compare business schools and training programs. It is better to choose programs from the top 100 or top 200: as a rule, they are the ones that are heard by employers. It is also necessary to pay attention to the acceptance rate - the ratio between how many people applied and how many were enrolled. To increase the chances, it is worth adding to the long list of business schools with different levels of acceptance rate in order to protect yourself and provide an "alternate airfield".

The percentage of international students enrolled differs from business school to business. This information can usually be found on the websites of universities in the paragraphs of the MBA class profile or dean report. Without paying attention to the point of international students, you can easily make a mistake with the choice: it will be a shame to pass the necessary exams, write a lot of motivational essays, pay a fee for consideration of the application, but in the end you will not pass the competition, because the university does not focus on accepting foreign candidates. It is better to focus directly on business schools with an indicator of 30% of international students and above. For example, business schools from the top 100 with a lower percentage of international students are the University of Florida, Warrington College of Business (14%), North Carolina State University, Poole College of Management (23%), Boston College, Carrol School of Management (24%). From this point of view, Chicago Booth (37%), USC Marshall School of Business (41%), US Davis Graduate School of Management (43%), Arizona State University (58%) look much more attractive.
Step 5: choose the right school profile
Some universities specialize in specific areas. For example, MIT Sloan and Arizona State 

Carey are considered technological, their students are "hunted" by technology giants - Amazon, Google, and The Warton School, University of Pennsylvania specializes in finance. Often, recruiters of employing companies work on the basis of their campuses. Studying at a specialized business school in a specialized specialty significantly increases the chances of employment: the student immediately becomes the preferred candidate for internships or permanent positions. Otherwise, you will have to make much more effort to get an interesting offer.
Step 6: Gather Feedback on Career Services at the Business School
This is one of the most non-obvious points when choosing an MBA program. Upon admission, a person often focuses on how to pass the competition and get more favorable conditions for enrollment. However, choosing a business school with a well-established career service greatly simplifies the time-consuming task of finding a suitable job or practice. It is better to learn about career activities from second-year MBA students: most of them will gladly share their observations about which companies visit the campus, what support the career development center provides, and how active the alumni community is.
Step 7: Estimate Tuition Cost
For a U.S. citizen, the cost of studying for an MBA program is usually between $30,000 and $120,000, with an average cost of $61,800. At the same time, for international students, the check can increase up to one and a half to two times. For example, as of mid-March 2023, the cost of a full-time MBA at Pennsylvania State University-University Park (Smeal) for a US citizen is $28,196 per year, and for an international student is $45,004. Note that some business schools still provide partial coverage of tuition fees and even almost full. To qualify for a scholarship, you need to apply for consideration in the competition as early as possible - in the first wave of applicants, which usually takes place from September to December.
Step 8: Estimate the cost and living conditions in the selected region
Living expenses in the U.S. vary greatly depending on the state in which the business school is located. For example, the difference in the cost of living in Boston and Cincinnati will be more than 40%. Special services will help you make a forecast and correctly estimate future costs to make a final decision. It is worth noting that many universities provide support to students with children: they partially cover the costs of their education and development, provide financial assistance, provide medical insurance, and organize family activities. A student visa allows you to enroll your child in a public kindergarten or school free of charge.

In addition, the climatic factor is also important. Here, of course, everyone has their own preferences: someone likes a hot climate, someone likes a cool or temperate one. Due to the difference in humidity, the same temperature, for example, in Florida and Arizona will be perceived differently. And, if you are sensitive to climate, natural conditions must also be taken into account.

States also differ in public sentiment and dominant values. For example, California, Massachusetts, Washington, Colorado are considered more liberal, and Florida, Texas, Wyoming, and Utah are more conservative. This is an important factor, because it determines the public spirit around you, which can be especially acute in a new country.
And, finally, the secret ingredient, which is usually very simple - the road will be mastered by the walker. In the current realities, it is obviously more difficult to achieve the desired goals. Business schools, for example, may simply not come back with feedback. You need to be prepared for this and try to enter more universities, continue to act, no matter what.

Preparation for admission to the MBA is a separate analytical project that will require a lot of time and effort. However, taking into account the points described above, it will be much easier to make the best decision and choose a program taking into account individual goals, capabilities and preferences.