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USA vs UK MBA Programs

The United States and the United Kingdom are both home to some of the world’s top B-schools. However, there are important differences between the MBA programs offered in each country.

From Stanford, to Yale, to the London Business School, to Cambridge, both the United States and the United Kingdom host some of the world’s most prestigious B-schools. The United States has the world’s largest economy, where five of the top ten Forbes Global 2000 companies are headquartered. Additionally, US businesses have a strong history of recruiting fresh MBA grads. For many, US MBS programs can open the door to high-paying careers in US-based multinational corporations.

Meanwhile, the UK is recognized as a global financial capital, where international students make up over fifty percent of the MBA population. These programs offer excellent opportunities to network with classmates and business alike. For applicants seeking a career in global finance, technology, or health, the UK offers an array of specialized options.

Number and Type of Programs

The first major difference between the USA and the UK is the number of available programs. The United States offers over 1000 programs, whereas the UK hosts 131. There are differences in teaching philosophy too: US MBA programs tend to focus on case studies and practical administration, whereas UK programs tend to emphasize theory. With such a large number of programs, both countries provide ample opportunity for students to custom tailor their degrees.

Program Length

The length of each MBA program is another important consideration when choosing between US and UK B-schools. Traditionally, US MBAs are two year, full-time, and in-person programs. For students who have the ability to relocate and dedicate several years to full-time study and research, the US can be an excellent option. UK programs, on the other hand, are based around a twelve-month intensive model. Both countries are also home to a growing number of part-time and/or remote options for students who want to build their academic schedules around work and family commitments.


Though tuition fees vary greatly from school to school, in general, MBAs are much more expensive in the United States, where annual tuition averages $50,000-60,000. This figure can be much higher at elite US institutions. In the UK, tuition varies greatly but usually falls between £31,000 and £88,000 GBP annually. Since UK programs run for twelve months, this fee is only paid once, whereas annual tuition in the US must be paid for each year of study.

Options after Graduation

When selecting a program, it’s also important to look at employment statistics and salaries for recent graduates. Fortunately, in the UK and the USA, most MBA graduates are highly successful. According to data gathered from 134 full-time US-based MBA programs by US News, 84.6% of graduates were employed within three months of earning their degrees. Of the 131 reporting schools, the average annual salary plus bonuses for 2021 MBA graduates is $105,684. In the UK, the three-month employment rate is slightly higher at 85%. As for annual salaries, UK MBA graduates earn GBP £55,000 (USD $72,400) on average. Though this figure is lower, it’s also worth considering that the tuition and cost of living is also lower in the UK.

For international students who want to live and work in the US or the UK after graduation, it’s important to consider the visa options that are available in each country. Many US B-schools offer Optional Practical Training (OPT), allowing students to stay and work for an additional year with their student visas. However, the immigration process becomes more complex after completing OPT. In the UK, most international students can secure a Graduate Visa, allowing them to live and work in the country for two additional years. This can eventually lead to a Skilled Worker Visa to stay in the UK long-term. For more information on the immigration process for each country, check out our blog post on Visas for after Graduation: What International Students Need to Know.


Despite their differences, the United States and the United Kingdom are home to some of the world’s very best B-schools. At the end of the day, the best program is the one that aligns with an applicant’s budget and interests, and that allows them to achieve their goals. Never hesitate to reach out to request more information and arrange campus visits before sending off applications or committing to programs. You can also contact a Crimson MBA Advisor for more support.

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