TopMBA.com takes a closer look at the international and domestic study experiences in North America, with insight from MBA candidates and graduates who selected either the US or Canada as their business school destination of choice.
Business schools in the US have continued to promote their programs to international students, fully aware of the importance of providing an international study environment that is reflective of the business world.
This has meant that anywhere between 20% and 50% of a US MBA class often comes from outside of the country.
However, the number of international students not getting into business school in the US is also extremely high, often explained by a lack of research and applying to an inappropriate selection of business schools.
MBA applicants hoping to gain entry into a US business school will often place high emphasis on inaccurate assumptions, with sometimes too little research into opportunities at other US business schools outside of a select group.
International applicants place more focus on MBA rankings than their domestic US counterparts. They often have little understanding of how each ranking is calculated and less awareness of which, if any, is most relevant to their situation.
Unfortunately, this means that many world class study opportunities are overlooked.
One of the ongoing difficulties facing international students is securing a post-graduation work visa to remain in the US. Although many international MBA students try to remain in the US, some of the most successful international students of recent years have been those who’s MBAs fit into their plan to return home, post-graduation.
Before my MBA, I was working at a power plant contractor company in Thailand. I knew that this experience alone wouldn’t be enough to run my family business in the future; and so I decided to apply to business school.
As a leading world economy, I chose to pursue my MBA in the US, and I was accepted at the Mason School of Business at the College of William and Mary in Virginia. Through its specialist programs in areas such as entrepreneurship, I was able to broaden my engineer’s view to an executive view.
However it was not only the academic experience that benefited me. The two years that I spent at the Mason MBA also filled me with culture experiences and friendships from diverse students, faculty and staff.
After earning my US MBA degree, I secured a position back home in Thailand as an assistant manager in Siam Brothers Corporation, a family-owned fishing rope and net manufacturer.
Many domestic US MBA students see a return to school as a great opportunity to start a new chapter in their lives, particularly after initially settling somewhere for a four- to five-year period following the completion of their undergraduate university degree.
For this reason, there is an ever increasing trend where students move further distances across the country to attend business school.
In times where businesses have been more selective in their MBA hiring, employers have held a decreasing reliance on locality and put more emphasis on finding the right-fit candidate for a role.
Almost gone are the days when post-graduation jobs were limited by where a candidate obtained their MBA degree. This has made the idea of studying in certain parts of North America a lot more appealing, and a great opportunity to spend 12- to 24-months in another city, state or region.
At the same time, part-time study has become a more attractive option during times of economic uncertainty. Business schools have adapted their programs with changing times, in some cases this has accelerated the time it takes to complete a part-time program, and in others it has increased the flexibility and specialization options available. Many part-time MBA options can also be studied from afar, with more modular options available where the study commitment is a few days per month, with more content and class interaction shifted online.
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, I worked as an IT Consultant for a Fortune 500 company in Washington, DC.
I looked at programs across the country most reputable for their master’s in management information systems (MIS) departments and with strong ties to top employers in the technology industry.
The Eller College of Management at the University of Arizona was a perfect fit. Their curriculum has provided me with the tools necessary to ensure my continued success. I’ve recently secured a position as a management consultant with IBM Global Business Services as part of their strategy and transformation group in Atlanta, Georgia.
Over recent years, business schools in Canada have been very keen to promote the opportunities available for MBA study in the country, many of which have developed alongside a very strong Canadian economy.
With Canadian MBA graduates reporting very competitive starting salaries and a high standard of living, combined with a welcoming visa system allowing students to stay automatically after graduation, more and more international students are looking to Canada to study their MBA.
For each candidate, Canada offers a variety of top MBA programs to choose from, with varying options in program duration, study method and locations – and each with world class international faculty and facilities.
Combined with ample job opportunities and a high standard of living, many MBA students consider Canada to be one of the prime study destinations in the world.
Before my MBA studies at Queen’s School of Business, I worked for the Fortune 500 financial services and commodities trading organization INTL FCStone, at the Chicago Board of Trade. I spent four years on the 24-hour commodities trading desk dealing with Asia-Europe orders.
On the desk, our team dealt with the final stages of an order in a process known as ‘execution’. We worked with a myriad of different clients such as the commodities exchange organization, the New York Mercantile Exchange (NYMEX).
I decided to take my MBA at Canada’s Queen’s School of Business because of the calibre of its one-year education program, its emphasis on continuous innovation, and its team-based approach. Although the vast majority of one-year MBA programs are in Europe, I thought it would not be a wise choice because the region’s five-year European credit default swap continues to widen.
After graduation, I plan to work with an integrated agribusiness company in a merchandising-export field, as there appears to be a host of opportunities since the breakup of the Canadian Wheat Board. In the long term, I plan to launch the first inter-commodity spread based hedge fund in Canada.