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TimJul 3, 2024 12:00:40 PM7 min read

Top 7 Day 1 CPT Universities for MBA Programs

International students seeking Day 1 CPT often choose an MBA as their field of study. This is because to justify the need for CPT, your Day 1 CPT program must be closely related to your current job position. An MBA is a versatile degree, providing skill sets applicable to a wide range of positions. Additionally, some schools offer MBA programs with diverse concentrations, making them suitable for people from diverse backgrounds such as accounting, IT management, healthcare administration, and supply chain management. This article introduces the top 7 Day 1 CPT universities that offer MBA programs.

How to Select a Day 1 CPT School by Program?

Table of Contents

Why Pursue an MBA for Day 1 CPT?

1. Westcliff University (CA; FL)

2. Sofia University (CA)

3. CIAM (CA)

4. Monroe College (NY)

5. New England College (NH)

6. University of the Potomac (D.C.; VA)

7. Ottawa University (KS; AZ; WI)

Why Pursue an MBA?

(1)Job Relevance

CPT is a work authorization that supports academic training. To apply for Day 1 CPT, you need to prove that your current job is related to your academic program. An MBA program usually involves skills such as communication, organizational management, and leadership, making it easy to demonstrate the connection between your job and your studies. Choosing the right program can help you obtain CPT and reduce the likelihood of receiving an RFE.

USCIS’s explanation of CPT

(2)Logical Progression of Educational Path

Another principle for choosing a Day 1 CPT program is that it must differ from your previous degrees. Repeating similar degrees can raise suspicions from the USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), increasing risks in your future immigration applications. Since many international students hold degrees in technology or finance, choosing an MBA can make their educational path more logical.

(3)Career Advancement

An MBA is one of the most valuable degrees in the U.S. Many large companies require their managers to hold an MBA degree. If you aim to advance to a management role in your company, earning an MBA can provide significant advantages.


1. Westcliff University

Duration: 2 - 3 years

Intakes: Jan | Mar | May | Jun | Aug | Oct 

Annual Tuition: $12,265-14,100

On-Site Campus: Irvine, CA; Santa Monica, CA; Miami, FL                                                 

On-Site Frequency: 1 per semester

Westcliff University offers a dynamic MBA program that integrates Day 1 CPT, enabling students to start gaining professional experience immediately. The university focuses on providing a practical education with a global perspective, making it an excellent choice for international students.

The on-site frequency of Westcliff University is once per semester, allowing working professionals to balance their work and study. Another advantage of Westcliff University is its locations: if you live in California or Southern states such as Texas and Florida, Westcliff University would be a great option for you.

Westcliff's MBA program covers multiple concentrations, including healthcare administration and IT management, which are suitable for international students working in the healthcare and technology sectors.

Below are the 10 concentrations of Westcliff’s MBA program: 

  • Digital and Strategic Marketing
  • Strategic and Innovative Leadership
  • Financial Management
  • Global Business
  • Organizational Management
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Data-Driven Decision Making
  • Information Technology Management
  • Information Technology Project Management

Apply now

2. Sofia University

Duration: 1.5-3 years

Intakes: Jan | Apr | Jul | Oct   

Annual Tuition: $12,100

On-Site Campus: Palo Alto, CA; Costa Mesa, CA                                             

On-Site Frequency: 1 per month  

Sofia University's MBA program is designed to foster innovation and leadership. With its Day 1 CPT option, students can engage with Silicon Valley companies, gaining insights and experience in one of the world's leading business hubs. The program emphasizes holistic education, combining traditional business skills with personal growth and development.

Sofia's MBA program also offers a data analytics track, making it suitable for business professionals who aim to gain data skills.

Apply now

3. California Institute of Advanced Management (CIAM)

Duration: 2-3 years

Intakes: Jan | Feb | May | Jul | Aug | Oct

Annual Tuition: $13,000

On-Site Campus: Alhambra, CA                                        

On-Site Frequency: 2 per semester

CIAM offers a unique MBA program that prioritizes experiential learning through its Day 1 CPT option. The program is tailored to prepare students for the challenges of the modern business environment, with a strong emphasis on practical skills and real-world application.

Located near Los Angeles, CIAM provides students with plenty of opportunities to join the vibrant business industry in Southern California. By attending the program, you will be able to develop your network among a group of innovative business professionals.

Below are the 3 concentrations of CIAM’s MBA program:

  • General
  • Business Analytics
  • Project Management

Apply now

4. Monroe College

Duration: 2 - 3 years

Intakes: Jan | Apr | Sep

Annual Tuition: $12,495 (for those who already hold a master’s degree)

On-Site Campus: New Rochelle, NY                                        

On-Site Frequency: 1 per month

Monroe College offers an MBA program that is both flexible and career-focused. The Day 1 CPT option is ideal for students who want to start working in their field immediately. Located near New York City, Monroe provides ample opportunities for networking and professional growth.

Monroe College's MBA program is characterized by its diverse range of concentrations: besides healthcare administration and IT, it provides concentrations such as accounting, hospitality, and supply chain management. These diverse concentrations enables this MBA program to meet the diverse needs of international students from different career backgrounds.

Below are the 11 concentrations of Monroe’s MBA program:

  • Accounting
  • Business Analysis
  • Finance 
  • Marketing
  • Healthcare Management
  • Hospitality
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • International Business
  • Project Management
  • Supply Chain Management

Apply now

5. New England College

Duration: 2 years

Intakes: Jan | Mar | May | Jul | Sep | Nov

Annual Tuition: $92,40

On-Site Campus: Henniker, NH                                     

On-Site Frequency: 1 per semester

New England College offers an executive MBA program that incorporates Day 1 CPT, allowing students to gain practical work experience alongside their studies. The college emphasizes a personalized approach to education, ensuring that students receive the support and guidance needed to succeed in their professional endeavors. A great advantage of New England College is its affordable tuition. 

To apply for this executive MBA program, you must have either a master's degree from U.S. educational institutions or 3 years of work experience. However, this requirement also means that you will be join a vibrant network of experienced business professionals by attending this program.

Apply now


6. University of the Potomac

Duration: 2 years

Intakes: Jan | Mar | May | Jul | Sep | Oct

Annual Tuition: $11,125

On-Site Campus: Washington D.C.; Fall Church, VA                                      

On-Site Frequency: 1 per two weeks

University of the Potomac’s MBA program offers a comprehensive curriculum with the benefit of Day 1 CPT. This allows students to gain hands-on experience in the capital's diverse and dynamic business environment. The program is designed to equip students with the skills needed to thrive in various business sectors.

This MBA program provides as many as 16 concentrations, covering most fields where international students work in. Another great advantage of this program is its affordable tuition cost, making it an attractive option for students looking for quality education without breaking the bank.

Below are the 16 concentrations of Potomac’s MBA program: 

  • Accounting
  • Artificial Intelligence
  • Amazon Web Service
  • Computer Informatics
  • Education
  • Finance
  • Geospatial Intelligence 
  • Healthcare Administration
  • Hospitality and Tourism
  • Human Resources
  • Information Technology
  • International Business
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Project Management
  • Public Policy

Apply now

7. Ottawa University

Duration: 2 - 3 years

Intakes: Jan | Mar | May | Jun | Aug | Oct

Annual Tuition: $16,110

On-Site Campus: Ottawa, KS; Surprise, AZ; Brookfield, WI                             

On-Site Frequency: 2 per semester

Ottawa University's executive MBA program stands out with its commitment to developing ethical leaders. The Day 1 CPT option allows students to integrate classroom learning with professional work experiences, providing a balanced approach to education and career development. With multiple campuses in the mid-western U.S., Ottawa University provides an excellent alternative for students who find it challenging to travel to the West and East coasts for on-site classes.

This MBA program features two STEM concentrations: IT and Business Data Analytics. By choosing these two concentrations, students will qualify for a 3-year OPT after graduation, greatly increasing their chances to get an H-1B visa. 

Below are the 4 concentrations of Ottawa’s MBA program: 

  • Information Technology (STEM)
  • Business Data Analytics (STEM)
  • Operational Effectiveness (Non-STEM)
  • Healthcare Management (Non-STEM)

Apply now


Choosing an MBA for Day 1 CPT is a strategic decision for international students due to its broad applicability. This degree not only meets CPT requirements by connecting academic studies with job duties but also offers a clear progression from previous degrees. Furthermore, an MBA enhances career prospects, particularly for those aiming for management positions. By selecting the right MBA program, students can ensure a smoother CPT application process and gain valuable skills for future career growth.


Relevant Readings:

Selecting a Day 1 CPT School by Location

Day 1 CPT Cost & Scholarships



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