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Why US Undergrads Should Go to B-School Abroad

Why US Undergrads Should Go to B-School Abroad main image

According to a report by BusinessBecause, Gen Z Americans are 10 percent less likely to study at US business schools than millennials.

The study found that when Gen Z students go abroad, they tend to choose diverse destinations where English isn’t necessarily the native language, as opposed to millennials who have a stronger preference for English-speaking countries.

While the US is still Gen Z’s top choice for business school at 48.5 percent (compared with 57.9 for millennials), the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Singapore, Italy and Spain have all seen an increase in applications from Americans under 24 years old.

BusinessBecause predicts that Portugal, Ireland and Scandinavia will too become attractive destinations in the future.

Even though top American business schools maintain their prestige, these figures are extremely telling of the country’s struggle to appeal to younger generations, notoriously more global and human-focused than millennials or boomers.

But why are Gen Zers ditching US b-schools?

An increasing need for globalization

It’s no news that US immigration policies have become increasingly harsher towards international students, a shift that has caused a decline in b-school applications.

Gen Zers are damaged by this too. As people who grew up with the internet, becoming much more global in their thinking, interactions and relatability, the lack of international perspectives in education affects them considerably.

Moreover, Gen Zers are the most racially, ethnically and culturally diverse generation in the US, and as a consequence much more likely to seek environments that reflect their backgrounds and expand their personal experiences.

Now let’s take a look at the benefits of going to b-school abroad.

It’s easier to get into business education

Gen Zers have a real flair for entrepreneurship.

According to a Gallup research, students born after 1995 are more likely to want to start businesses in the future on their own rather than supported by government grants or incentives from the job market.

However, because US MBA programs require applicants to have a few years of work experience, younger undergrads eager to kick-start their career might opt for prestigious MiM courses in Europe and other countries around the world instead.

As Deborah McCandless, associate director of admissions at IESE Business School in Spain, said: “As schools outside the US have been growing both in number of top global institutions and in student numbers, so have their alumni impact and name recognition.”

It’s cheaper to go to b-school

Going to b-school abroad can be considerably cheaper than staying in the US.

Aside from lower tuition costs, local and foreign government subsidies such as federal student aid can save students quite a lot of money.

Degrees in other countries – particularly in Europe – are also shorter than American programs, often cutting student expenses by half for one-year programs.

And finally – living abroad can be significantly cheaper. In Germany, for example, rent prices are almost 35 percent lower than in the US. In the Netherlands, another popular destination for American b-school students, groceries cost 17 percent less.

It’s easier to get into the business world

According to a study by the University of California-Merced, 97 percent of students who study abroad are likely to be employed within 12 months after graduation, compared with 49 percent of the overall population.

Compensation figures also show that studying abroad benefits people in business: those with degrees from foreign universities can make at least US$6,000 (£4,604) more in starting salaries than those without.

This is likely because studying abroad takes the student experience to the next level – even more so for those who can acquire skills they wouldn’t develop to the same extent in the US, such as foreign language proficiencies.

Moreover, being able to adapt to a different education model shows employers that a candidate can adapt to different work environments too, undoubtedly increasing their career marketability.  

Should US b-schools be worried?

"If schools in other markets are able to attract Gen Z now while the US is less popular, it means they can establish a foothold in the market that will be difficult for the US to regain,” said Brandon Kirby, an American director of MBA admissions at Rotterdam School of Management.

He’s not wrong. Gen Zers’ inclination for globalization and adventure could cause a serious blow to US b-school applications in the future, particularly if American education continues to be in turmoil over immigration policies.

For this reason, the results of the 2020 Presidential election will play a key role in the future of business education. Until then, b-schools might just have to wait and see.

For more information on studying abroad, you can browse our resources here and here.

Written by Linda Mohamed

Linda is Content Writer at TopMBA, creating content about students, courses, universities and businesses. She recently graduated in Journalism & Creative Writing with Politics and International Relations, and now enjoys writing for a student audience. 

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