Emory’s 2020 MBAs Plead For Retroactive STEM, But The School Isn’t Budging

Emory University’s Goizueta Business School


“I am MBA (Class of 2020) graduate from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. I am working with Amazon as a Senior Financial analyst; so far I was able to work with them through my OPT work authorization, which ends in Jun 2021. While Amazon did file a H-1B application for me, my application was not picked in the lottery this year; this has left me with with no choice but to leave the country and transfer to Amazon’s India office.

“We (all international students) have been chasing the program office for well over two years now about getting our program accredited as a STEM course but all we ever got was false hopes and promises. For the longest time we were told that the STEM accreditation would come soon, than as we all graduated we were told it will be retrospectively done for our class as well. However, when the time came to do it retrospectively the school decided to leave us on our own.

“I hope that the program office and officials would reconsider their decision of not including Class of 2020 for STEM accreditation.”


“I’m an international student and I’ve graduated from the Goizueta MBA program in May 2020.

“The main reason I’ve chosen Emory was for its excellent track record of placing its students in the Consulting Industry, especially Big4. But, as soon as we joined, we were shocked to learn that most of these consulting firms (3 of the Big4) stopped accepting applications from international students as they were not willing to sponsor visas for non-STEM degrees. Hence, it was always our top priority right from the start of the school to communicate it to our program office on how important STEM designation was for international students.

“There were many promises from the program office, and we were assured every month that progress was being made. But, at the end, after 3 years, nothing materialized. All we were told by the university was: ‘We will have opportunities to request retroactivity again in the future but there is no pathway to approval at this time,’ which is very disheartening as it would have no use to us after a couple of months.

“I joined a financial services company post-graduation and the organization did file for my H-1B this year. But, like most of the international friends from my batch, I did not get through the lottery this year and would have to leave the country soon.

“I feel it is very hypocritical of the university when during our admission, they say things like ‘The small size of our class helps us provide individual support to our students, both academically and professionally’ and when we ask for STEM after our graduation, they just say: ‘These decisions are very hierarchical and take a long time.’ I still do not understand why they are not able to provide us with any transparency around the process, and are unable to explain the bottlenecks.

“I just hope that the university would reconsider their decision to not make the MBA program STEM retroactively, and I would be able continue my employment here to help payback my loans and support my family back in India.”


“So many efforts were put by international students to make Emory MBA as STEM, yet school didn’t care to listen or sponsor on behalf of our community. It was disappointing to see that they couldn’t make a STEM retroactive for the 2020 Class, and now many of us are facing visa issues, some having to relocate outside of the U.S., some facing unemployment issues, heavily impacting career growth.

“It’s a lot of mental and financial stress during these Covid times as planning to relocate is tough. On top of that, ones with family here, such as myself, are impacted more heavily since this challenge affects the whereabouts of our entire family. I wish school was more understanding and considerate, unfortunately it’s not.”


“I’m a 2020 alum of Goizueta Business School at Emory University. I wanted to share with you my story and my thoughts on the past year. I had my offer rescinded last year and had to start looking for opportunities again much later in the year. As the degree wasn’t STEM, I only had one year for OPT and I had to spend part of it looking for an opportunity that too amidst the Covid pandemic. I was looking for jobs with a timer on the number of days I could work and had more than one interview where the tone changed drastically when they got to know that I only had eight or nine months of valid visa.

“Most of the international students accumulate large debts that would be very difficult to pay off if they were to return to their home countries, and I was in the same boat. I was fortunate that a member of my MBA cohort had started a company and offered me an opportunity there while I looked for other opportunities. Fortunately, I did get an offer this January, but I only had six months of valid work authorization. In this year’s H-1B lottery, I, like a lot of my international classmates, did not get through and am potentially being forced to leave the country. I’ve talked to at least six of my colleagues who haven’t gotten through the lottery and all of them are very relaxed since they have STEM extension. This was something that we had anticipated and warned the school about multiple times but it feels like our warnings fell on deaf ears.

“Lastly, our class had been pushing the school for the STEM accreditation of the degree for the past two years and they were extremely slow in getting the process through. As a result, the number of opportunities also decreased as a lot of the big tech companies, such as Facebook and VMware for example, predominantly hire internationals with STEM extension. The ranking of Goizueta has also fallen in the past years and as per the program management office, average GMAT score dropping (generally driven by the international candidates) played a role in it.”


“My story is fairly vanilla: European student came to U.S. (Emory MBA) on F-1 visa, didn’t get H-1B. While I enjoyed the two years I spent at Emory, made good friends, and landed a good job, I have been left with a bitter aftertaste because of the STEM debacle. My feedback is in three (high-level) points:

“1. Delay tactics hurt planning. We were lobbying the school for STEM from day 1 and they just kicked the can down the road by telling us 1) they were working on it 2) that we had it 3) (after graduation) that we had it for a reduced class list, then 4) that it wouldn’t be retroactive (February 2021, five months before OPT expiration). The back and forth just flattens trust, and the last minute U-turn doesn’t give much time for career planning …

“2. Hesitant recommending the school to others. I get lots of questions from Europeans asking about U.S. MBAs in general and Emory specifically. I couldn’t recommend Emory last year because of STEM. Even with Emory now offering stem to future internationals it’s tough because the school was behind peers and wasn’t transparent. It will likely be the same on other issues …

“3. Left out at work. Most of my international MBA 2020 peers at the company I work for have STEM. I don’t. This leads to some question marks at work.”


“The program office gave us false promises throughout two years about working on STEM for our class. Despite our continuous effort to support and push the process, we only got the confirmation that everything was fine and on track. But of course, everything was not fine. I personally missed many job opportunities due to visa issues which is essentially due to lack of STEM. In some cases, I got interviews with recruiters just to be rejected after they found out that I didn’t have either H-1B or STEM.

“In the next two months, when my OPT ends, I will be stuck in the U.S. neither being able to work nor being able to go back to my country as my country closed borders due to Covid-19. I felt betrayed by the program office’s and Dean Brian’s promises on STEM. They left international students like me with huge debts and stuck in miserable situations especially during this pandemic. Since international students only have access to private loans, we didn’t even get an extended moratorium on it due to the pandemic and we anyway pay exorbitant interest rates. We had lots of talk with the school but no solid explanation was ever given for not having retroactive STEM. The school support for us is totally disappointing and unacceptable.”


Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.