Governments around the world spend a huge amount of money on education every year. This includes setting up institutes of higher education or expanding the reach of the ones that already exist.
Yet, given a chance, every single student wishing to pursue their MBA from the likes of Stanfords and Harvards of the world will jump at the opportunity. With growing popularity of international MBA, students have more options to choose from, and not limit themselves to only the biggest names alone.
What does an international MBA offer that a degree from a home-grown institute doesn’t? Does the word ‘international’ mean only attending B-schools in the U.S. or Europe? If it does, then why do European & US students reach out to business schools in other countries to do their MBA?
Many in the field will explain this word (‘international’) by way of diversity among students in the class. Universities would be wary if their student pool had majority of students from one particular culture, community or country.
So, you’d notice almost all the B-schools will more or less be open to sharing the diversity of their students in terms of gender, nationality, culture, and the like. Even US and European students prefer to pursue their course from a place that gives them the opportunity to study in a more multi-cultural environment. Then you can basically work with just about anyone, anywhere in the world.
And then of course, it looks good on your CV as well!
Now, let’s come to the point. What are the benefits of an international MBA degree? Quite a few. Let’s go through these one by one. For all of you out there, one reason could be more important than others so this list is definitely not in any order of priority.
6 Benefits of an international MBA degree
1. Gets you closer to your dream job
Most students who enroll for an international MBA, are professionals. They have a few years of work experience post which they opt for higher study. So, they are already earning a decent amount.
Yet a foreign degree shines bright on your CV giving you an edge over other competitors at the work place. Higher the ranking of the B-school you graduated from, better chances of your dream company hiring you. And in a leadership role! You stand in good stead to take over a role in senior management, as that’s what an international MBA degree trains you in.
Following a global curriculum in terms of business, marketing, management, sales and operations along with understanding the various facets of leadership from an international perspective makes you understand business in a different way. You get the confidence to work in any organization in any part of the world. An impressive stat shows that one third of all Fortune 500 companies are led by MBA graduates from around the world. For instance, Mary T. Barra of General Motors is a Stanford GSB MBA, Mark Bitzer of Whirlpool Corp. is a St. Gallen alumnus, David B. Burritt of United States Steel Corp. has an MBA from UIUC, Tim Cook of Apple has an MBA from Duke, Jane Fraser of Citi is an MBA alumnus from Harvard, Michael Hsu of Kimberley-Clark has an MBA from Chicago Booth, Ramon Laguarta f PepsiCo is from ESADE, Wlamart’s Doug McMillon’s MBA is from Tulsa’s Collins College of Business, Mastercard’s Michael Meibach has an MBA from Passau Germany, Doug Parker from American Airlines Group got his MBA at Vanderbilt’s Owen, Sundar Pichai of Google is from Wharton, PayPal’s Dan Schulman is an MBA from NYU Stern, Darren W. Woods of ExxonMobil is from Kellogg Northwestern, and more.
2. Expands your professional footprint
For many professionals, stagnation sets in quite early in the career. After a year or two of learning, it generally more of the same in the years to follow. The biggest culprit is the lack of variety at work.
For bosses, it’s more productive to get an experienced employee to continue doing what they have been doing for years. This is why the learning stops and the daily routine becomes a mechanical chore.
One big advantage of an international MBA degree is it gives you the chance to expand your area of interest. From a business operations profile, you can learn about business development, or from manufacturing, you can go into consulting. The program is developed in such a manner that it ensures you get an overall perspective and necessary training to shift your career focus.
3. Gets you back into school
Talk to the MBA aspirants, and you’d know that one of the reasons why they want to ditch their job or life they are living, is to take a break and do something constructive in the period.
There’s nothing better than going back to being a student – sitting down in a room full of people who don’t know you, jotting down informative content, looking up at the professor with eyes full of awe at the knowledge that s/he is spewing.
Well, you do end up spending a fortune on this experience, but actually taking time off work is could give you a much needed break from all the corporate baggage you’ve been carrying all along.
You don’t have to carry your office with you anywhere, no late night office calls, no travel for work. There will be time to think of that business idea you have been toying with in your head. You can chit-chat with new friends and do not feel the urge to network with them for work. It can be quite an experience being a student again.
4. Expands your network
As a business professional, one of the key requirements of your job is to network with people from various industries. In fact, almost all companies encourage their employees to network with people other than their colleagues. You never know which connection gets you more work.
And while pursuing an international MBA, you have the opportunity to meet like-minded individuals from various industries, from around the world. It is the best setting to make life-long friends and extend these partnerships beyond the classroom.
Some of them may just go to head some top-notch organization later in life.And that’s not all. B-schools globally tend to nurture their alumni so as to have an extended network of their wards. You’d have access to such a huge alumni network too who can always counsel, mentor and even help you find a good job.
The professors and guest lecturers from various disciplines and industries too shoot up the excitement factor of these degrees. You can learn so much from these accomplished people from various walks of life. These will be invaluable connections.
5. Feeds your entrepreneurial ideas
Most B-school students and even those working in the world of business, keep getting ideas about starting their own business. Some of them do pursue them and also are successful, but some fail at it.
An international university environment gives you a first-hand experience of meeting such a diverse crowd who come from various nationalities, communities and languages. You can learn from them the hows, whys and whats of starting a business and being successful at it. You’d know what may work and what wouldn’t in your kind of environment.
The course curriculum dissects the phenomenon of entrepreneurship, and offers opportunities to students to work together in teams on some such projects.That would be almost like getting practical training in starting your own business someday.
6. Gets you out of your comfort zone
On your MBA application form, you’d list down reasons that make you competent enough to be considered eligible for admission. These would invariably include having studied at some of the best institutes in your own country, work experience with a coveted brand, and your role in the growth of the company. That’s really good.
But when you go out there in a foreign land, you’d see that you are not alone. There will be students as successful as you (if not more) all around you. That will be your OMG moment.
You’d have to do everything to prove yourself to you once again, probably un-learn what you already know, and learn a new skill everyday. May be learn a new language. But the good thing is, you can expect your fellow students to be wiser and mature with their past experience, hence there will be a lot of team work, cooperation and knowledge sharing. There will be more opportunity to learn how to manage a diverse team. Learning in such an atmosphere can be really satisfying.
There are other benefits that we haven’t covered (like a high compensation package that could cause your peers to go green with envy). All these come with strings attached and there are no guarantees that you may reap some (or any) of the 6 that we’ve covered here. We’ve covered these in other articles. Read them as well, rather than getting bedazzled with these reasons.
Look at the decision from your personal point of view and decide if you should or shouldn’t go for an international MBA.
If you’re confused about the decision and want to be sure you’re taking the right decision (before spending $150K-$200K on the degree), here’s something that may help: Career counselling
Read these related articles:
– How to get into the best MBA programs in the world
– How international student exchange programs work
– 7 Reasons when an MBA is not worth it
– Things to do once you are in the MBA Program
– Experience of a candidate who competed with top-tier MBA to make it into Google
And for an outlook during the uniquely challenging Covid pandemic times – MBA during COVID pandemic