Are Overseas Students Avoiding MBA Programs over Immigration Debate?

Companies in the US are becoming reluctant to hire overseas workers over concerns that the Trump administration may further tighten the US visa system. Graduate Management Admission Council data has shown a fall of as much as 10.5% in the number of international students applying to study in the US compared to 2017, with US applications dropping by 6.6%, the fourth consecutive year of falling applications.

While the best business schools have weathered previous drops, even the best-known and oldest institutions in the US, such as the NYU Stern School of Business and Harvard Business School, have reported falls in the number of MBA applications in 2018. They are mainly in international candidates, despite the business education market booming in other areas of the world, such as the Asia-Pacific.

Experts attribute the troubles of business schools in the US to several causes, with political concerns as well as uncertainty over immigration policies, particularly on access to US visas for students, partly to blame, according to Pete Johnson, the assistant dean for UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business’ full-time MBA program. Johnson points out that near-full employment in the US, as well as the nation’s strong economy, are also partly responsible for the drop.

One of the major concerns for international MBA students is access to jobs in the US. US firms are less likely to hire overseas graduates than was the case last year, according to a Wall Street Journal survey.