MBA from IIMs or Abroad: Which is Better?


Aarushi Jain
Updated on Mar 23, 2023 01:40 PM IST

Whether you pursue your MBA from IIM or abroad, it is an expensive programme that requires a significant financial investment. As a result, when deciding to follow the curriculum, the overwhelming choice is whether to study MBA from IIM in India or MBA abroad. A student must devote time and energy in addition to money to obtain a degree. As a result, making the appropriate choice is important.

MBA from IIMs or Abroad: Which is Better?

MBA from IIM or Abroad: The Master of Business Administration (MBA) is still one of the most popular professional programmes for Indian students studying in India and abroad. Let us be honest: an MBA degree is a significant financial and time investment, and we understand that you cannot afford to make the incorrect decision. 

Let us simply state that we realise why it is important for you to make the proper option regarding whether to pursue your MBA from IIMs in India or abroad. And it is for this reason that we have created this article.

Thus, whether you are planning to take an MBA degree right now or will surely apply for it in the near future, this article will teach you all you need to know about whether to study for an MBA from IIM or abroad.

MBA from IIM vs MBA Abroad: Differential Analysis

Given below is a synopsis of what to expect while pursuing an MBA in India vs abroad:

MBA IIM, India

MBA Abroad



Global exposure

Visa permit not required

Practical knowledge

A comfortable settling

Extensive curriculum


Limited curriculum and classroom experience

Costly at first

Average salary after MBA

Tedious admission criteria

Less beneficial if you move abroad

Work experience preferred

Read ahead for a detailed analysis and a conclusive discussion of these factors to help decide whether you should pursue your MBA from IIM or abroad. 

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Benefits of Doing an MBA from IIMs in India

Many aspirants face a dilemma when it comes to higher studies and especially, if it's a high-investment course like MBA. Students often wonder if it is worth making an investment in an MBA degree in India from the mecca of management studies, i.e. IIM, or applying to one of the top B-schools abroad. Pursuing MBA abroad can tempt anybody, especially if we hear about the MBA experiences that others had when they attended Harvard, Stanford, or any other B-School abroad. Let us swiftly break that bubble for you and enlighten you about the proven advantages of pursuing an MBA from IIM in India:

Affordability and Early Return on Investment (ROI)

One of the most significant benefits of pursuing an MBA from IIM in India is that it will be far less expensive than pursuing an MBA elsewhere. Even if you eliminate all ancillary fees such as airfare, accommodation, and living expenses, the tuition cost of an MBA from a foreign university can be quite costly. The cost of getting an MBA degree is extremely costly in almost all of the popular study-abroad destinations.

In India, a two-year MBA programme would cost somewhere around INR 20 lakh or more (at IIM Ahmedabad – the best B-school in India). The return on investment for top-ranked IIMs is often rather pleasing as students graduating from these institutions earn an average income of INR 20-22 lakh and more. The bottom line is that an MBA from an IIM in India will be far less expensive than an MBA abroad.

No Need for a Study Abroad Visa or Permit

When comparing MBA from IIM in India with MBA abroad, you should consider the difficulty of obtaining a student visa or permission. It goes without saying that a student visa is not required to study in one's home country. This may seem insignificant, but the amount of work required to obtain a student visa to pursue an MBA abroad is substantially high. Getting an MBA admission to a B-School abroad and then being denied a visa, or being unable to obtain a visa that permits you to work after the course, can seriously jeopardize your MBA dreams. Whereas, if you are doing an MBA from IIM in India, you are in no need to invest money, time and energy in this process.

A Comfortable Setting in Home Country

A familiar background is also important. Getting an MBA from IIM in India means you will be at the finest possible location. More significantly, when in the country, your complete network will be operational. Remember that your network will eventually become your source of employment through referrals and connections. As a result, you will want robust connections in a familiar arrangement or location, which takes a long time when you decide to study MBA abroad.

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Benefits of Doing an MBA Abroad

After looking at the benefits of pursuing an MBA from IIM in India, here are some of the hot perks or advantages of pursuing an MBA abroad:

A Once in a Life Time Global Exposure

One cannot disagree that the most important advantage of pursuing an MBA abroad is gaining global exposure. So what precisely do we mean by ‘global exposure’? When we say global exposure, we mean worldwide networking and opportunity to deal with global concerns. Although the term global networking is not often used, studying abroad will surely place you in a classroom with students from all over the world. This will give you a better understanding of how things function in different nations throughout the world. Furthermore, your network will eventually become your net worth. At that point, having a worldwide network will undoubtedly be advantageous.

A global MBA will provide you with knowledge and expertise in dealing with global concerns. With this, you will be able to assist any organisation in navigating not just domestic markets but also worldwide markets.

Gaining Practical Knowledge

MBAs throughout the world follow a radically different educational path than other courses. B-Schools outside of India often employ a variety of tools and approaches to improve your learning experience. The learning method is very participatory and immersive. You will gain hands-on experience in your profession through a variety of internships and exciting projects. And this is something you can demonstrate during a job interview. Your work will do the talking.

Extensive Curriculum in a Multicultural Setting

A stronger and more extensive pedagogy and curriculum are guaranteed. B-School teaching methods in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Australia are vastly different from those in India. Western business schools use a wide range of tools and strategies to enhance student learning experiences. In addition, the learning process is very engaging and immersive.

Furthermore, in international programmes, you will be surrounded by experienced peers from many ethnic backgrounds. This implies a faster learning curve and more useful ideas from other batchmates with industry experience in a variety of professions. A great deal of learning occurs from the varied perspectives of classmates, which in turn prepares you to cope with complex difficulties while assisting a firm in negotiating its move not only via domestic markets but also in the global pitch. Furthermore, networks are becoming recognised as one's net worth. As a result, having an international network will undoubtedly be beneficial.

Related Reads:

Why 2023 Could Be a Good Year to Study Abroad?

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Disadvantages of Doing an MBA from IIMs in India 

You must have been convinced that nothing beats an MBA from IIM in India. However, please, hold your horses. When you make a final decision on your MBA programme, consider what you may miss out on if you study in India rather than abroad.

The Course Curriculum and Classroom Experience 

MBA programmes in India at prestigious IIMs contain a variety of courses like lectures, case studies, and group projects. Students must participate and contribute to problem-solving activities or case studies. Yet, in India, an MBA classroom will be packed with freshmen, with only a handful having job experience. As a result, learning would be purely theoretical in nature. The programmes of India's IIMs are mostly concerned with how things function in the country.

Indian business schools seldom adopt an international perspective, even though students may participate in study abroad programmes for a semester as part of their Indian curriculum.

Average Salary After MBA 

The average income differential between yearly packages provided to IIM students in India and those offered at the leading B-schools overseas is enormous. Graduates of IIM-A and IIM-B earn between INR 20 and INR 25 lakh on an average. Alumni of Ivy League institutions and top-ranked universities such as Harvard and Wharton, on the other hand, earn an average income of INR 50+ lakh.

Less Benefit if You Move Abroad

If you want to work in the United States or Europe, an MBA from India may not provide you with a competitive advantage. If you want to work in the United States or anyplace else in the world, you will have to compete with young professionals who have received their MBAs in that country. If you plan to do your MBA abroad, you will be able to specialise in the field in which you want to work.

The specialities available in other countries are highly specific to skill sets. As a result, people who have completed their MBAs there may be favoured over you when it comes to being hired for a post.

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Disadvantages of Doing an MBA Abroad 

Everything in life has both positive and bad aspects. Hence, no matter how lovely the picture of studying abroad seems to you when reading the preceding part, there are certain drawbacks to consider. It is more like a cost for all the benefits it provides. And now we will discuss the downsides of doing your MBA abroad.

MBA Abroad is Costly! 

The most apparent and virtually unnecessary point to make in this respect is that earning an MBA abroad can cost significantly more than getting an MBA from an IIM in India. You spend more for the MBA programme, and you get the impression that your profit is not related to your costs. You can save money by enrolling in one-year MBA programmes in the United States or Europe, but you must carefully consider the returns before deciding on the best school for you. An MBA abroad will be substantially more expensive than an MBA from IIM in India, regardless of the duration of the course.

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MBA Abroad: Expense or Investment!

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Tedious Admission Criteria

Best international MBA programmes have very difficult and competitive admission requirements, with multiple candidates from various countries fighting for the same seat. The GMAT or GRE score is just the first step. Applicants also have to submit their English language proficiency scores such as IELTS, TOEFL, PTE or Duolingo. The applicant's whole profile, including academics, job experience, career ambitions, and extracurricular activities, are given weightage. Another decisive element is the extraordinarily high quality of the writings and recommendations. Shortlisted candidates are then invited to an in-person interview. One thing is certain: an MBA abroad will expose you to a variety of work cultures, social practices, and languages.

Work Experience Criteria 

Unlike an MBA from IIM in India, job experience might be a decisive factor for an MBA abroad. Previous job experience allows students to produce high-quality MBA essays and obtain useful references from colleagues or managers, both of which play an important part in the admission process for MBA programmes abroad. MBA schools in the United States require 3-5 years of work experience, whereas those in the United Kingdom and Europe require 5-6 years.

Also Read:

GMAT Score Requirements for MBA Abroad

Best Countries to Study MBA Without Work Experience

How Do you Choose Between an MBA from IIM vs MBA Abroad?

While deciding where to pursue your MBA, bear in mind that you should not be following the herd but rather concentrating on yourself as a person. Do not travel overseas only because your friends are doing so, and do not stay in India simply because everyone says so. Your decision to pursue an MBA from IIM in India or an MBA abroad will shape the next 30-40 years of your life. You must make this decision on your terms. When deciding whether to pursue an MBA from IIM or abroad, here are some factors to consider:

  • Your background 

  • Your budget/finance 

  • Your long-term goals and aspirations

  • Your field of study and its scope 

To summarise, your MBA will be the decisive element in your career. As a result, before deciding to pursue an MBA from IIM or abroad, take a critical look at colleges both in India and overseas, thoroughly examine the return on investment (ROI), and only then make a selection while keeping your financial capacity in mind. Do not choose a college just because a friend or cousin has attended, and do not choose a country solely because everyone advises it. This is a life-changing decision; make it on your terms.

You can kickstart your MBA abroad application journey with our experts! Connect with them at and be a step ahead of others in the race! 

Find Out the Right MBA Specialisation that You Should Choose!


Is work experience mandatory to pursue MBA from IIM in India?

Work experience is not a mandatory requirement for admission in two-year MBA programmes in IIMs in India. For Indian applicants with work experience, one-year MBA programmes are a good option for executives at IIMA-PGPX, IIMB-EPGP, and IIMC-PGPeX (which appear in the prestigious FT global MBA rankings).  

What entrance exam is required to pursue MBA from IIM and MBA abroad?

The Common Admission Test (CAT) is a renowned MBA admission test in India for students interested in enrolling at top IIMs. Many of India's other top business schools, in addition to IIMs, accept and recognise CAT scores for admission. Those seeking admission to an MBA programme at a foreign institution abroad, on the other hand, must take the GRE and/or GMAT, which are conducted on a rolling basis and allow aspirants to select an exam date that is convenient for them.

What is the difference between the course structure of MBA from IIM vs MBA abroad?

Some countries' MBA course curriculum takes a more practical approach, with students studying case studies of various business firms to discover how to apply what they have learnt in theory into practice. In comparison, the majority of MBA programmes in India, including IIM's MBA, are still more focused on academic components; yet, this is an intriguing and engaging experience.

What are the top-ranking MBA colleges abroad?

These colleges are the most prominent when it comes to MBA abroad, offering a wide range of chances and placements as well as a strong alumni network:

  • Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

  • Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania

  • MIT Sloan School of Management

  • Harvard Business School, Harvard University

  • HEC Paris


  • London Business School

  • Columbia Business School, Columbia University

  • IE Business School

Which are the top-ranking IIMs in India for MBA studies?

The Indian Institute of Management (IIM) is India's top-ranked MBA programme. There are a total of 20 IIMs in India. Here are the top ten for applicants seeking to take an MBA from an IIM in India:

  • IIM Ahmedabad
  • IIM Bangalore 
  • IIM Calcutta 
  • IIM Kozhikode 
  • IIM Indore 
  • IIM Lucknow 
  • IIM Raipur 
  • IIM Trichy
  • IIM Udaipur 
  • IIM Ranchi 

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