Should You Head Overseas and Earn Your MBA Abroad? |

Should You Head Overseas and Earn Your MBA Abroad?

By Ryan Hickey

Updated Updated

US students are increasingly traveling to get an MBA abroad, for both financial and professional reasons. Although the US has some of the top business schools in the world, many schools in Europe and Asia are at the top of global MBA rankings as well. Even for those not planning on attending one of the top business schools, overseas MBA programs are growing in popularity – and for good reason.

As MBAs become a more and more common advanced degree, studying abroad offers graduates an attractive element to add to their résumés. For multinational employers and small businesses alike, international business experience is a valuable quality that can only increase a candidate’s chances of getting hired and standing out against the competition.

Thinking of taking your MBA abroad? Here are four more reasons to consider it and a few considerations that might give you further food for thought.

1. Students who study abroad gain international business experience that might not be offered at traditional US schools. Students who study abroad learn firsthand how to approach cross-cultural and linguistic differences effectively in international business practices. Depending on where you wish to go, other students and faculty will frequently be as unfamiliar to a new country as you. A global perspective is essential in the international business world, so being able to learn from scholars with differing spheres of expertise and work side-by-side with other international students can be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

2. Studying with international students will enable you to gain an international network of professionals with whom you will work in the future, no matter where you live. Being able to compete in the US job market can be difficult in every field so anything, such as international business experience, that can help you stay competitive is imperative to being successful.

3. Tuition and fees are often significantly lower outside the US. Of course, depending on where you go, you may accrue more costs with travel and housing. Also, many MBA programs at top business schools overseas are less than 18 months in duration, as opposed to the typical two years or more in the US. Reasonable tuition and less time actually in school means that more time during your MBA abroad can be spent working for a company and gaining work experience to advance your career.

4. Students applying online might also find it easier to get into an MBA abroad for economic and demographic reasons. Not only is it good for students to diversify their learning, but overseas schools value US students’ perspectives in global markets. This means that some schools will be more likely to admit an international student. 

Keep in mind that while obtaining your MBA overseas has many benefits, there are some drawbacks to consider. For those with close family and loved ones, studying abroad for a year or more at a time can create a lot of stress and may prove difficult to commit to, depending on your home situation. Also, even though some of the MBA programs at top business schools in Europe and Asia are cheaper than those in the US, others are comparable in price. However, most schools offer the same federal financial aid packages that you would be getting at a US school. For those with ancestral links to the country in which you want to study, you may also qualify for discounted tuition, so don’t forget to check for scholarships. In fact, there are some scholarships only available to students who are studying abroad. Lastly, be sure to factor in housing, living expenses, tuition and the exchange rate when weighing up the financial pros and cons.

It is important to consider all of your options before making a decision as to whether studying in the US or internationally is best for you. Speak with your undergraduate school about other students’ experiences studying abroad, and with any prospective overseas graduate school about what they can offer you. Although obtaining an MBA abroad can be a bit more work during the application process, this will typically be rewarded with valuable international business experience that is highly regarded by US employers.

This article was originally published in . It was last updated in

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