International Students and the US MBA

There are a number of tasks one has to deal with before enrolling in business school, especially as an international student. I’ll lay out my list here – it’s specific to a UK student and Kellogg, but it should help a few of you out there nonetheless. Some of the links will require you to have a Kellogg ID – I wish they didn’t, as it’s not the kind of information that should be secured. Click on for the blow by blow list.

Exit tasks

  • Quit your job
  • Arrange a replacement in your house if you’re renting
  • Move out of your house
  • Terminate your services (e.g. mobile phone, internet, rent)
  • Sort out a leaving do, if you’re planning one

Kellogg Entrance tasks

  • Decide if you’re going on the pre-school trip, KWEST
    • Select which trip you’d like to go on
    • Submit a deposit
    • Sign & send back the uncomfortably comprehensive waiver form
    • Ensure you have the relevant vaccinations, and proof of these if necessary
    • Get extra medical insurance
    • Send a cheque with the balance
  • Determine whether you want financial aid. This is a loan – scholarships are awarded on entry, and if you didn’t get one, that’s the end of that.
  • Submit a mugshot to the school
  • Select Wingspan assessors. This is similar to getting references – you’ll need to find people you’ve worked for and ask them a bunch of questions about your performance to date.
  • Submit a medical history to the Health service, including proof of immunisations.
    • In the UK, you probably had an MMR jab when you were a munchkin, and a TB jab in your teens – but you might need a booster.
  • Obtain medical insurance. Northwestern has a standard insurance deal with Chickering. This is probably the easiest item to complete – simply log into Northwestern’s Caesar portal, select “Enrollment”, select “Health Coverage Plan”, then review the small print and look forward to a hefty debit on your student account. Easy!
  • Obtain dental insurance. The above plan does not include dental, and we British are apparently notorious for bad teeth.
  • Complete the pre-enrollment classes. More posts about that to follow.

US Entrance tasks

  • Ensure your passport is valid for the duration of the visa.
  • Find a house. In the US, most people use Craigslist for this task.
  • Get a visa request form
    • Select whether you’d like to be an F-1 or a J-1 student. Most people are F-1 students. Usually, you’ll only pick the J-1 if you are government sponsored.
    • Next, you need to apply for the form that let you apply for the visa. (Seriously.) If you’re going for the F-1, that means you’ll be applying for an I-20 form. There are a bunch of things you’ll need to submit when applying – basically to ensure that you can support yourself while studying.
  • Get a US study Visa. There are number of tasks to be completed – lists available here and here. You’ll need to schedule an interview with the US embassy, where you’ll be required to pay the SEVIS visa application fee of $100. This is done by credit card at the time of interview. You’ll also need to take a few items …
    • The main visa application form DS-156
    • The supplementary form DS-157 for males between 16 and 45.
    • The contact & work history form DS-158.
    • The I-20 form you recieved
    • A mugshot that meets state department regulations.
    • Evidence that you have enough cash to pay for your schooling and support yourself over your time at college.
    • Evidence that you have ties to the UK, i.e. family, employment or property here.
    • An undamaged passport. If you’re not a UK citizen, your passport needs to be valid for the study period plus six months.
    • If that’s all a bit daunting, there is help available. Further useful information is available on this forum. There are also lawyers in the UK ready to advise people on these issues – some examples are here, here, here, here, here and here.
  • Ship your gear to the US. A colleague of mine used this company, and they seemed to work well for him. They also provide a handy checklist for what you need to organise for US customs.
  • Book a flight out there.

Arrival Tasks

  • Check in with the International office

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