Second MBA in USA: Schools that will Accept, and Those that Won’t

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Second MBA in USA

There are many legitimate reasons why one would want to consider a second MBA in USA. Career progression, the need to learn advanced management skills in a specific topic area not explored in your first MBA, and the exposure and opportunity offered by top MBA programs are often the frequently quoted reasons.

  • Career progression

Often people who go in for a second MBA wish to learn the new secrets and talents of their trade. In order to cope with the changing demands of an industry, individuals with an ample amount of work experience get a second MBA to make sure they stay on top of their game.

  • To divert to another field

Individuals who change their field of specialization later in their careers also prefer to have an MBA in their new chosen field. This is to ensure that they can attain managerial positions in a novel field. Most important, is for them to gain the same level of expertise as they did in their previous position.

  • Exposure and opportunity offered by top programs

Candidates with MBA degrees from relatively lesser known institutions aim for a second MBA from reputed institutions to increase their credibility in the industry. This also adds to their job and growth prospects.

  • First MBA was without experience

Many students choose to get an MBA right after their undergraduate education without any job experience. These individuals would typically go for a second MBA after attaining some experience to boost their career to climb higher up on the ladder. This also adds to their field specific knowledge and exposure.

  • Prospects in another country

Indian students, who wish to make a career overseas like in the US, prefer to have a second MBA in their target country. This helps a professional gain geography specific education and attain credibility in a foreign atmosphere, thus leading to an amplification of their career options.


While Asian, Canadian and European schools are quite open to considering the candidature of applicants who already have a first MBA, not all schools in the US are as open. This article is meant to clear some of the confusion around this.


Applicants applying to an MBA with a first Master’s that is not an MBA should be aware that they do not need to bother with any restrictions imposed with schools on second MBA applicants. The restrictions are only for people who already have an MBA, and are not valid for people who have Master’s degrees in other areas, including in sub-areas of business management like Marketing.


Top US schools that accept second MBA applicants

Here is a list of top US bschools, all among the top 25 US MBA programs according to Forbes business rankings, that will accept second MBA applicants.

Please note that this does not mean that there will be no questions asked on the need for a second MBA – that is a legitimate question, and it has many legitimate answers. This means only that the schools in the list immediately below are open to considering candidates who have a first MBA:

MIT, Wharton, Harvard, Kellogg, Columbia, Booth, Yale, Kenan Flagler, Kelley, McCombs, Emory

Name of School Average GMAT accepted Average work experience (Years)
Massachusetts Institute of Technology     716 4.9
Wharton School of Business  732 5
Harvard Business School 730 4.7
Yale School of Management 730 5
Kellogg School of Management 732 5.1
Flagler College 697 5
Booth School of Business 730 5
McCombs School of Business 702 5.5
Kelley School of Business 666 5.6
Columbia Business School 725 5


US schools that do not accept second MBA applicants

The schools in the list immediately below will not accept second MBA applicants:

Anderson, Fuqua, Tuck

The Tuck School at Dartmouth has declared that they do not entertain applications of students who already hold an MBA degree, with a specific mention to the PGDM degree characteristic of Indian MBA Institutions. However, they are willing to look at your reasons for wishing to pursue a second MBA through your application essay. (Better pull your socks up for the essay!)

Schools that say, “Well, it depends…..”

Schools in the list below will accept applications from candidates with a first MBA. However, they require them to meet certain conditions (e.g. the first MBA should have been awarded by a non-US institution):

Stanford, Haas, Ross, Stern, Darden, Cornell, Emory


Name of School Average GMAT accepted Average work experience of candidates
Stanford Business School 734 4.6 years
Haas School of Business 725 5.3 years
Ross School of Business 719 5 years
Cornell Business School 696 5 years
Stern School of Business 721 5.2 years
Goizueta Business Institute – Emory   5.5 years
Darden School of Business 713 4 years


The Goizueta school at Emory does not allow applicants to apply after they have an MBA degree. However, they are willing to consider applications on a case by case basis, depending on the focus area of the previous MBA vis a vis the content of the Goizueta MBA.


GyanOne client Omkar Parab completed his first MBA from the Jamnalal Bajaj Institute of Management Studies. After working for four years with Standard Chartered Bank, he applied to Cornell University in the USA, and was accepted for his second MBA. Cornell is usually aversive to taking MBA candidates pursuing their second degree.


For second MBA seekers out there, planning your application strategy, presenting clear and cogent reasons for needing a second MBA (and don’t be defensive – there are plenty of excellent reasons you could give them), and choosing your schools wisely is therefore important when looking at US institutions for a second MBA. Plan well, and may success be on your side!


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One Response to “Second MBA in USA: Schools that will Accept, and Those that Won’t”

  • Sushail Mehta / / Reply

    Can one expect a significant jump in pay packages post a second MBA? With 10 years of work experience and an MBA degree in Retail management, would it be a good option to consider a second MBA?

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