Updated October 29, 2020.
On behalf of AACSB International, the world’s largest association and accreditor for business education, we write to strongly oppose the Strengthening the H-1B Nonimmigrant Visa Classification Program, which is the antithesis to the thriving U.S. educational system and will further erode international student access.
This rule seeks to limit the issuance of H-1B visas, required for many nonimmigrant workers in the United States, by amending the definition of a “specialty occupation” to require a “direct relationship between the required degree field(s) and the duties of the position.” This amendment has the potential to negatively impact learners and employers who recognize the strong benefits and value of degrees in business administration—including both the highly sought-after MBA and general business undergraduate degrees. AACSB member schools reported more than 110,000 learners enrolled in U.S. MBA programs in the 2019-20 academic year, with international students comprising 10 percent.
AACSB believes that this limitation will constrict the talent pipeline in the U.S., especially within the context of leadership and management acumen. Degree programs in business administration—at both the bachelor’s and master’s levels—provide learners with the knowledge, skills, and abilities required to lead today’s industries, communities, and economies. Business schools prepare leaders through relevant curriculum, clearly defined competencies, effective and impactful teaching, and support services to ensure each learner’s successful progression. A business education creates opportunities for leadership and growth within any career path.
Further, AACSB’s belief in the positive societal impact of business schools hinges on our shared commitments to diversity and inclusion in collegiate business education. International students selecting to study, and then seek employment, in the U. S. are key to the higher education ecosystem—leading to creative opportunities, enhanced cultural awareness, and an appreciation for diverse and inclusive perspectives on a local and global scale. All students, those home and abroad, benefit from these shared experiences and as a result are well-prepared for successful careers. Restricting eligibility for an H-1B visa to potentially exclude business administration degrees will limit the talent pool for U.S. companies competing in a global market.
Student and faculty mobility across universities, along with supportive immigration policies across governments, creates access to the world’s top talent. International students also contribute significant revenue toward school operations through tuition, housing, and living expenses for the duration of their studies. The economic impact of policies restricting international mobility will detrimentally impact not only the financial well-being of U.S. institutions already suffering the effects of a pandemic, but also the ability for business education to contribute to the continual improvement of the world’s industries and societies.
Business school graduates can be found leading every industry, community, government, and economy. The U.S. should not only enable the best students from around the world to study in the country—it should encourage mobility for learners all over the world.
Caryn L. Beck-Dudley
President and CEO