Internationalization of the MBA |

Internationalization of the MBA

By QS Contributor

Updated April 12, 2021 Updated April 12, 2021 looks at how the internationalization trend in MBA education has become the norm for business schools around the world. 

The QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2012

In a world that is growing more integrated by the year, the importance of future business leaders having an international outlook cannot be underestimated.

In their quest to ensure MBA students are given the international exposure needed to operate in the heavily globalized world that they work in, many business schools place a high importance on international class diversity.

As shown in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2012, European business schools are particularly good at attracting an internationally diverse applicant pool, which translates into high percentages of international diversity in their MBA classes. Employers clearly value this, as is represented by many European schools scoring well in the index of employer votes shown in the international management rating.

Meanwhile, many business schools in Asia struggle to attract international students to their programs, particularly in mainland China and India. With such globally influential economies, this is an area that some schools will need to work on in order to ensure that the region’s future business leaders are able to operate in the internationalized environment that they are needed in.

At the same time, it should be noted that for the most part, business schools in Asia are still very much in the developing stages. In fact, the rapid rise in the number of schools meeting the criteria for the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report in recent years is very impressive, and points to a fast-paced increase in the quality of the region’s MBA programs which are increasingly being recognized by international employers. Since 2004, 26 extra business schools based in the Asia-Pacific region have achieved an index of employer vote score high enough for inclusion in the report, bringing the total number of schools from the region to 36.

Though at an even earlier stage of development, institutions from Latin America and Africa and the Middle East are also showing promise in terms of employer opinion of their graduates. In Latin America, the fast-growing economies of Brazil and Chile have encouraged MBA employers to consider hiring from business schools located there. While in Africa and the Middle East, government investment and political change is likely to attract more schools to the region.

Rise of the BRIC nations

Throughout the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, one theme in particular stands out: Indian business schools are fast gaining popularity among MBA employers. In almost all specialization ratings, Indian schools have climbed considerably when compared to last year. This is even the case for international management, as while Indian business schools feature lower down the rating than they do in other specializations, they are still climbing and showing promise in developing a greater international outlook among their MBA graduates.

Mainland China follows its special administrative region, Hong Kong in gaining greater prominence among international employers of the country’s business schools. With close ties to the UK, and a financial powerhouse of the world, Hong Kong has long been considered to house some of the region’s most respected business schools, and features strongly in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report.

However, of recent years business schools located in mainland China are being viewed on a similar level to those in Hong Kong, representing a rapid rise in international employer reputation for China’s top business schools. In part this is due to close working ties with some of the most respected institutions in Europe, but also as a result of China’s huge economic expansion creating a need for international businesses to hire executives with a strong understanding of Chinese business.

Though the region’s management education sector is still developing, economic expansion is also the reason that we can see countries in Latin America improving their reputation among employers. Chile, though not one of the BRIC nations, and Brazil are home to the top four business schools in the region, showing significant improvements since last year. At the same time, both counties’ economies have undergone major expansion in the past decade, which has encouraged international employers to look to local business schools when hiring MBA graduates.

Russia is the only BRIC nation not represented in the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2012, a result of the strong focus among Russian business schools on local markets. While local markets are important to the country in order to ensure it caters for internal business needs, a greater international presence in Russian business school curricula could help the internationally reserved country to achieve greater global economic prominence.

Specializations in MBA education

Recent months have seen huge public protests around the world against the perceived greed of many high-level business executives and the organizations they run. Further, business schools received a degree of blame for what some believe to be a failing in the teaching of corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their programs. Whether or not the blame was rightly placed, MBA programs have evolved since the current global economic difficulties began towards the end of the last decade. Business schools constantly alter their MBA programs in order to reflect the needs of global business and the world they operate in, and the trend of an increased emphasis in the nurturing of CSR values is reflective of that.

Innovation and entrepreneurship have become greatly valued by MBA employers around the world. The two specializations, which are so closely linked that some business schools merge the two fields into one department, are also valued by governments as they look to business innovation and the entrepreneurial mindset of future business leaders to create economical growth during a tough economic climate. In Europe in particular, MBA graduates with innovative and entrepreneurial ideas in the field of finance will be of great use in helping the continent to avoid its own ‘Lehman moment’, which if it happens could plunge the global economy into previously uncharted financial difficulties.

This article was originally published in November 2012 . It was last updated in April 2021

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