5 Reasons Why Americans Go Abroad for MBA Studies

What good is an international business degree if there’s no international living involved? American MBA programs that offer international degrees are losing their appeal. Typically, these programs feature detailed case studies and projects that focus on international corporations and business practices.

Additionally, these programs offer a brief summer trip to a foreign city; often, these trips are not free. As an alternative, graduate students want to experience the nightlife, food and language of Germany, France, Britain, and other foreign countries.

The days of theory and limited application have diminished.

Here are five reasons why more American students are packing their passports and heading East to study business.

1. Accelerated Programs

A majority of foreign MBA programs require one year of course work. Many American programs require two years of rigorous study. With over 90,000 GMAT scores sent to European MBA programs in 2012, American students are taking advantage of the faster paced business curriculum.

One year of efficient business studies lessens the financial burden on students.

2. Cheaper Tuition

With less time in enrollment, foreign international programs are cheaper. Top domestic business schools charge over $150,000 in tuition expenses. Harvard Business School, the premier American business school, currently charges $186,000 for two years of academic studies.

In comparison, top business schools in Berlin and London charge roughly $50,000 in tuition.

Some of the other top tier international programs such as Insead MBA in Paris and IESE MBA in Barcelona and Madrid charge less than half the costs of Harvard’s program. These international business programs offer incredible returns on investment as many products of these international business cohorts earn at least $135,302 three years after graduation.

3. Global Perspective

Attending a foreign business school gives MBA graduates a genuine global perspective and experience. Studying for a full year in a foreign program translates into a rich experience learning new languages, customs, foods and more.

One year of studying abroad outweighs the American international MBA program experiences.

Students considering foreign MBA programs should not worry about language barriers. The international language of business is English. Adding to the global perspective, the demographic makeup of international business programs varies. This adds enrichment to classroom discussions, relevant opinions to brainstorming sessions and verification to textbook claims.

4. International Career Pathway

The fourth reason that Americans go abroad for their MBA lies in career opportunities. Foreign employers look for international experience from Americans. Top international corporations that recruit from global business programs include Deutsche Bank, Morgan Stanley and Deloitte.

The benefits of studying with peers from diverse backgrounds enables American students to build an international network. Lifelong relationships are built in graduate and professional school programs. According to Business Week, the demand for MBA talent is growing in India, China, Brazil and Russia.

5. Stand Out

With over 400 domestic MBA programs available, the amount of MBAs awarded has increased. Competition amongst fellow MBA degree holders has remained fierce. Thus, Americans looking to stand out may consider going overseas.

Through the addition of foreign language skills, an international network and knowledge of foreign business practices, Americans can stand out via the road less travelled.

Although international business studies abroad may not be a great fit for everyone, those scholars who are flexible and international focused will benefit from this growing trend. “Faster”, “cheaper” and “unique” describe the global MBA experience. In 42 countries worldwide with promising returns on investment, Americans eager to jump start their business and entrepreneurial careers should consider studying abroad.

Leonard Wilson, Jr.

Sources: Business Week, USA Today, The New York Times
Photo: University of Pittsburgh