Ross | Mr. Automotive Compliance Professional
GMAT 710, GPA 3.7
Chicago Booth | Mr. Oil & Gas Leader
GMAT 760, GPA 6.85/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Seeking Fellow Program
GMAT 760, GPA 3
Wharton | Mr. Real Estate Investor
GMAT 720, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Chef Instructor
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Chicago Booth | Ms. CS Engineer To Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.31
Harvard | Mr. Climate
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Wharton | Mr. New England Hopeful
GMAT 730, GPA 3.65
Wharton | Mr. Digi-Transformer
GMAT 680, GPA 4
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Bangladeshi Data Scientist
GMAT 760, GPA 3.33
Harvard | Mr. Military Banker
GMAT 740, GPA 3.9
Ross | Ms. Packaging Manager
GMAT 730, GPA 3.47
Chicago Booth | Mr. Private Equity To Ed-Tech
GRE 326, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Gay Singaporean Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Electric Vehicles Product Strategist
GRE 331, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. BB Trading M/O To Hedge Fund
GMAT 710, GPA 3.23
Columbia | Mr. Old Indian Engineer
GRE 333, GPA 67%
Harvard | Mr. Athlete Turned MBB Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Ross | Mr. Civil Rights Lawyer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.62
Stanford GSB | Mr. Co-Founder & Analytics Manager
GMAT 750, GPA 7.4 out of 10.0 - 4th in Class
Cornell Johnson | Ms. Environmental Sustainability
GMAT N/A, GPA 7.08
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Trucking
GMAT 640, GPA 3.82
Ross | Mr. Low GRE Not-For-Profit
GRE 316, GPA 74.04% First Division (No GPA)
Harvard | Mr. Marine Pilot
GMAT 750, GPA 3.98
Harvard | Mr. Army Intelligence Officer
GRE 334, GPA 3.97
Harvard | Ms. Data Analyst In Logistics
GRE 325, GPA 4
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Comeback Story
GRE 313, GPA 2.9

Why Business Schools Want More H-1B Visas

Sheryle Dirks, Fuqua School of Business

Sheryle Dirks, Fuqua School of Business

At the Duke University Fuqua School of Business, Sheryle Dirks constantly sees the effects of the H-1B visa problem.

“I would love to see the restrictions eased on this,” says Dirks, associate dean of recruiting. “It’s hard not to feel that way when you see the bright and talented minds that come through our doors, and to see how talented and committed and eager they are.”

A couple of times a year, when representatives of America’s top 25 business schools get together, they discuss the H-1B issue, says Read McNamara, managing director of the Career Management Center at the Vanderbilt University Owen Graduate School of Management. “There seems to be consensus that there’s no silver bullet to the problem,” McNamara says. “The lack of clarity, the inconsistent policy making . . . the common misperceptions . . . the political dimension – when you stand back and look at it, it doesn’t make a lot of sense.


“The one thing that I would love to see is the numbers in the lottery broadened. Probably that dwarfs everything else. If I could wave a magic wand and make it happen, I’d have that number move up considerably.

“The kind of people that we educate here I don’t think are a hell of a big threat to the U.S. worker.”

University of Illinois College of Business associate director of MBA advising Elizabeth Chominski also favors an expansion of the limit on H-1B visas, to provide more U.S. opportunities for international MBAs from American schools. “Companies want to hire great talent and we live in a global society,” Chominski says. “If people are investing in an education here in the United States and want to be in the U.S. work force and be part of the work that these great companies are doing, I feel like we should support them.”

Given that their foreign MBA graduates will face a crap shoot in the lottery, and that many companies don’t sponsor H-1B workers, schools do what they can to improve the outlook, by approaching non-sponsoring companies with “consistent marketing as to the advantage of hiring our internationals,” McNamara says.

Read McNamara, Owen Graduate School of Management

Read McNamara, Owen Graduate School of Management

At Owen, foreign students with U.S. career ambitions are collared early on, with admissions officers filling them in on the visa difficulties they will face, McNamara says. For many of those students, the notion of a lottery-based system for allocating work permits is foreign. “They’re coming from a background where it’s pure meritocracy – the 3.99 GPA will win the job at home nine times out of 10 over the 3.93,” McNamara says.

“Because of those cultural differences we feel we’ve got to engage them the second their feet hit the ground here in Nashville. We seek out those unsponsored internationals as early as orientation. We separate them as a group and continue the educational process that the admissions people have already started.”

International students receive coaching and other guidance at the Owen career center, which holds “how I did it” workshops by international alumni in U.S. careers.


Foreign MBA candidates at HBS also receive career coaching, which can include advice on entry into companies – particularly in consumer goods and marketing – that don’t tend to hire under the H-1B, Piemonte says. “We talk to students about thinking about ways to identify opportunities within those organizations,” Piemonte says. However, he adds, because some industries and companies are less likely to hire H-1B workers, it’s likely that some foreign MBAs are tailoring their career choices to the reality of the visa system. “If a student has a long-term commitment to being in the United States, he or she is going to be more likely to first identify a field or an industry more likely to support them,” Piemonte says.

At the Illinois College of Business, the majority of foreign MBAs who want to stay and work in the U.S. find a way, either by winning the visa lottery or using a workaround such as getting posted overseas for a year and coming back on an easier-to-obtain visa, Chominski says. But, she says, international MBAs should keep an open mind. An Indian citizen, for example, who worked in India for a European company then obtained an MBA in the U.S., could be an excellent candidate to lead a firm’s new division in China or Brazil, Chominski suggests. “I wouldn’t advise anyone to focus just on the United States because there are clearly great opportunities on every continent.”

Meanwhile, the H-1B problem is taking an increasingly high profile in America’s top business schools, says Fuqua’s Dirks. “There really is no one answer to this issue, either on the side of how we prepare our students in the job search or how we work with our recruiters. There have to be lots of different approaches and lots of different answers because it’s just a really big issue and a really complex one, and one that changes a lot with changes in the job market and changes in immigration policy.

“The awareness of this as an issue and how it affects MBA programs in the United States is definitely rising.”

Part of a series on the U.S. job market for international MBAs

Part of a series on the U.S. job market for international MBAs

International MBA Students & The H-1B


H-1B Visa Cap Making It More Difficult For International MBAs To Land U.S. Jobs

Why U.S. Business Schools Want More H-1B Visas

How MBA Students Can Navigate The H-1B Visa Maze

The H-1B Visa Abuses That Make It Harder For MBAs To Work In The U.S.

Tuck MBA Offers Work Visa Advice

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