Written by Shimri Winters


The recent United States presidential election outcome has showed the world that Americans are taking a turn and looking for change in their country. Rightfully, the rest of the world is wondering what this “change” means to them. MBA candidates are no exception. Throughout the past few months, and most recently, with the election of Donald Trump, many international MBA candidates have contacted ARINGO wondering if the policies being voiced throughout the election campaign would in any way influence their MBA aspirations and post MBA employment possibilities.

The question we have been asked a number of times is: “Will the situation for MBA international students change due to Trump’s victory in the election”.

While we are not political consultants our research points towards one simple conclusion: The US Election outcome will not affect MBAs.

The simple answer is that as with any other issue in politics, no one knows for certain what the future will bring. The coming months will indicate more clearly the direction, which the US government will be taking over the coming years.

The main concern of most international students relates to migration as a whole and more specifically, their ability to obtain visa’s as well as find jobs in order to pay off their loans in the years following their MBA degree. While all valid concerns, we do not believe that things will change for MBA candidates over the next few years. Obtaining a US visa, green card and job permit has never been easy, and will likely continue to be a strenuous process. However, we do not believe that things will change for the worse for MBA candidates under the future administration.

It must be noted that migration issues that were mentioned throughout the elections relate largely to illegal migrants, and are therefore not likely to affect MBA graduates who came to the US with a Student Visa with an expectation to remain and work in some of the leading companies of the world, an interest of the US government. There is a concern relating to the ability to obtain a working visa post MBA (similar concerns have caused MBA applicants to shy away from the UK schools as it is not clear what their status will be there post-graduation due to the recent “Brexit.”). Job markets change frequently and therefore ARINGO’s advice to MBA candidates post Trump’s election is the same as our advice prior to the election: Be thoughtful in taking out your student loans, bear in mind that there is a chance that you will not obtain a US work permit following your graduation and of course, watch the news and remain aware of global trends.

It is also worth noting that Trump has expressed an interest in cooperating more closely with growing economies, such as the top 3 countries that have been sending the most students to the US in recent years: China, India and South Korea. Any cooperation with such countries is likely to consist of academic cooperation as well, which will work in favor of prospective MBA students from these countries in particular, but other growing economies as well.

One should also keep in mind that higher education is a huge business in the US, and that many of the top business schools in the country have a high rate of foreign students attending (a majority of which are paying for their degrees in cash!) and we can therefore rest assured that it is in the schools best interest to ensure that no policy decisions come in the way of their desire to attract international students.
For international students unfamiliar with the political system in the US it is also important to clarify that that in order to change US policy, the president will need to have a congress majority. Such a majority for controversial changes, including changes that could be of interest to international students, is seen by many political commentators as unlikely.

At this moment, Trump has not made any statements relating to international students. His own track record, as a Wharton alumnus and a business man, derive the conclusion that he understands and respects the value of International students and higher education.

In other words: the best thing we can all do in order to get a better understanding of how Trump becoming the next US president will affect the MBA industry is to be patient and wait for any official clarifications from Trump or his team. Nevertheles, at this stage, we do not see any indication to a change in the US policy regarding international MBA students.