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Business Education Resources

Why would you want to study business ?
Why would you want to study for a PhD ?
So how much does business education cost and how difficult is it to get in ?
How much will I make after graduation ?
What do people study during the program ?
OK I am on. How do I go about it ?

Resources purpose:

I collected these links and information during the process of applying to Business Schools. Some of the links have been added recently. Resources on this page primarily address questions of these who wish to pursue Business study at the Graduate level (MBA - Master of Business Administration or PhD - Doctor of Philosophy). Some of the information here is based on my experience as a PhD student and my wife's experience as an MBA student at the William E. Simon Graduate School of Business Administration, University of Rochester. Presently I am an Assistant Professor of Operations and Information Management at The Wharton School of Business, University of Pennsylvania.

Note that in order to study at the graduate level you must have at least a Bachelor Degree (no less than 4 years of formal study). Note also that the application process is a very lengthy one: you have to start it AT LEAST 12 months before the actual intended start date of study. SO HURRY UP !

First let me mention that the common myth about education is: I am too old for education. I can not sit in the same class with kids. The truth is that average age in a business school is about 29 which means that significant part of the class is above 35. It is never late to study !

Disclaimer: all the information on this page reflects my biased opinion about business education in the USA. This information mostly pertains to the top business schools as defined in the Rankings below. My experiences and perceptions need not be uniformly true and are meant to help other people rather than criticise anything or anybody. Some of the information on this page is of interest to Russians only.

If you do not find information you are looking for, try some other sites with similar resources:

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Why would you want to study business in general?

There are several reasons:

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Why would you want to study for a PhD ?

PhD program takes 4-7 years and only 20-50% of these who start eventually graduate. There are, however, some very good reasons to do a PhD.

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So how much does business education cost and how difficult is it to get in ?

Education at the MBA level is usually expensive ($10,000 - $25,000 per year) and scholarships are hardly available. However, recently most top schools started offering loans to anyone admitted (including foreigners). If you plan to stay in the USA after graduation it makes a lot of sense to apply only to the top 20 - 30 schools (see rankings below). In the USA jobs for foreigners are not readily available and one with an MBA from an unknown school has a much lower chance of getting a job. The competition level during the admission process varies with admission rates of 7-25% for top schools.

Education at the PhD level is FREE and students are paid a stipend that amounts to $15,000 - $30,000 per year. Usually many opportunities exist to earn more money (teaching, research assistantship). Upon graduation majority of PhDs start academic jobs (professor) or go into consulting. The length of the program is 4-7 years depending on the research progress. Competition in the best programs is fierce with admission rates of 3-5%. Note that it is NOT necessary to have any business education/experience to be admitted to the program. What is much more important is a sound mathematical/statistical training and maybe some knowledge of economics.

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How much will I make after graduation ?

After an MBA program salary varies greatly. The most important factor determining your salary is a previous working experience. Many people mistakenly assume that good grades help a lot but as far as I can see there is no correlation at all. A base salary is probably in the vicinity of $85,000 per year, plus or minus $10,000. I have rarely seen (russian) MBA graduates making significantly more or less. It is possible to obtain a significant signing bonus or tuition reimbursement (up to another $20,000). There is also a huge variability in salary growth for MBA graduates. It appears that it is not impossible to make $250,000-$500,000 a year with 10-15 years of experience.

After a PhD program majority of graduates goes into academia. Salaries there range from $100,000 to $160,000 with finance/accounting on the higher end. Lower bound is usually true for public schools while private schools provide a higher bound. Remember, however, that professors have a working year of 9 month so work during the summer is optional. Professors do not get a signing bonus but they do get "research budget" that is used for all kind of purposes (books purchase, computers, software etc). It varies from $5,000 to $15,000 per year. Other benefits at the universities are much better than the average company offers.

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What do people study during the program ?

Lots of stuff. My page has a list of courses that PhD students take. For courses that constitute an MBA program you can check a page of any specific program. Also, this site has in-depth description and lots of links for various fields of concentration.

OK, I am convinced. How do I go about it ?

How to start ?

Study English. For these who live in Moscow the best bet would be to visit American Educational Advising Center. It has a reasonably good library and there you are likely to find people who share the same goal - education. And, of course, it is free. I personally had no idea about existence of this center. Instead, I found all the necessary information on the Internet. So my advice - Yahoo !


First of all, there are two test that you must pass. These are common for MBA and PhD programs. However the similarities end here:

 Foreigners are more likely to need this Test of English language.
GMAT is another mandatory test (some PhD programs require GRE instead).
Here you can download sample GMAT.

Generally TOEFL scores over 600 are acceptable. A higher TOEFL score does not give any advantages. GMAT scores of 600-700 are normal for top MBA programs. There are no cut-off GMAT scores and one with a very low score can still get an admission. For a PhD program GMAT scores of 730-770 seem to be acceptable.

American Educational Advising Center has all the materials you need to pass the tests. Alternatively there are several book stores in Moscow that sell foreign books. I used the one on Oktyabrskaya metro, next to the offices of Aeroflot, second floor.

When you know the results of the tests it is possible to find out which school is OK for you. As I mentioned before, it makes a lot of sense to apply only to the top schools. The links below give you some idea about which schools are the top:

Very comprehensive guide with a brief information about every school.
If you still can't find school you are looking for click HERE.

Business School rankings is very helpful tool in finding the right school:

First place to try. Rankings and lots of other stuff
This side-by-side ranking compiles 7 other.
Businessweek magazine is the most respectable ranking source one can find.
US News is another respectable source of ranking.
Huge number of rankings at one place.

Note that all the rankings above apply mostly to the MBA programs. There is a close correlations between rankings of the MBA and PhD programs with some exceptions. PhD programs usually have strong emphasis on certain fields of study. The only easy (but not necessarily right) way to figure out if the PhD program is well-respected in the field is to look at research record here or here . Finance majors might find this page particularly helpful. For Operations/Information Systems majors the best source is here . But again, ranking PhD programs is particularly difficult and any ranking can be done only in a specific major. The best indicator of the quality of the PhD program is quality of placement in academia so you might want to scan faculty pages at the top 20-30 schools in the area of your interest and check where did they graduate from.

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Three commonly made mistakes about transcripts:

There are two ways to translate your transcripts. The easiest is to go to a Public Notary that can translate into English. A very convenient one is situated in a "Globus" bookstore next to Lubyanka metro/square. Another way is to do it in the university if there is an International Relations department or something like that.

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Next step is arranging application. Note that the most crucial part of the application to an MBA program is essays. Nobody can teach you how to write essay and nobody knows for sure how the "right" essay should look like. The different schools look for different things in essays and the only way to find out is to read, listen, communicate and meet people. You might benefit from investing into a few books on writing MBA essays (check, for instance,

For PhD programs evidence of academic excellence and achievements is more important. It is nice if you have teaching and research experience or even publications. Recommendations will count for much only if they come from professors that supervised you, not from your place of previous employment.

Nice site with advices for these who apply to the MBA program

The best way to prepare the application is to talk to people like you are. You can do it here:

The most comprehensive MBA site I found so far
Business Discussion Groups are here
and another discussion here.

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PhD programs in Business Administration

 The problem with PhD programs is that information about them is hardly available. The only reliable sources are respective program's websites and of course this site. Another place you can check out is a web site of my friend: Pranab Majumder. Your best bet is to communicate with other PhD applicants on one of the discussion boards mentioned above. Also, invest some time to visit web sites of the top PhD programs and read through catalogs and other materials that are available there. I do not mind answering some occasional questions by PhD applicants so drop me a note. Here is the list of several top PhD programs in no particular order:

My former school, University of Rochester, Simon School of Business has the most comprehensive web site with downloadable application and catalog.
New-York University, Stern School of Business
Stanford University, Graduate school of Business
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Carnegie Mellon University, Graduate School of Industrial Administration
Columbia Business School
Harvard Business School Warning: Harvard Business School administers both a PhD program and a DBA program (Doctor of Business Administration) which are very different.
Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business.
Chicago University Very comprehensive site with admission statistics.

This advertising by the University of Rochester provides some useful data.

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Financial aid

As I mentioned before, PhD programs are usually free and all students are offered a scholarship. So the only expense is application fees and test fees. One important feature of PhD programs in business is that students' funding is centralized. This arrangement is very different from almost any other PhD degree (e.g., physics, economics, engineering etc.) where the key is to find a professor who has sufficient money (probably from research grants) to support doctoral students. Funding in business PhD programs does not depend on any particular faculty member and once you are admitted, it is guaranteed for at least 4 years (of course, if you perform in satisfactory manner).

Some links below might be helpful for these who want to find ways to finance an MBA program. Some of these links contain information tailored for Eastern European citizens but many of them are quite general. To summarize, there is NO practical way to do an MBA for free (unless you get sponsored by US government but see below for consequences).

At the very least you will need $20-$30K to cover first-year expenses. It is possible to make about $20,000 during the summer job and cover the second year.


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I will add links from time to time. If you can advise something I am currently missing please do so.

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For problems or questions regarding this web contact Sergei Netesin.
Last updated: 12/26/2004 .