Why Going to Business School Abroad Gives You a Career Boost, According To a Columbia MBA | TopMBA.com

Why Going to Business School Abroad Gives You a Career Boost, According To a Columbia MBA

By Linda M

Updated April 15, 2021 Updated April 15, 2021

Does going to business school abroad give students a significant advantage in the job market? We discuss it with Zhen Tian,  MBA student at Columbia Business School, to discuss how his international degree is giving him a career boost.

An MBA is regarded as a valuable degree in almost every part of the world. By focusing on helping students develop timely business skills and expand their network, it can be a fast-track ticket to a top-tier managerial and executive career across sectors, including consulting, finance, and tech.

But can going to business school abroad give you a significant advantage in the job market, or is it better to stay local?

 TopMBA caught up with Zhen Tian, current international MBA student at Columbia Business School, to discuss how doing an MBA abroad can give you a career boost.

A local professional background

Zhen began his higher education in 2012 at Renmin University of China, where he studied International Economics and Trades. It is there, by taking courses such as microeconomics, macroeconomics, game theory, finance, and econometrics, that he developed a passion for problem-solving, and a desire to enter the investment industry.

To further boost his skillset during his undergrad studies, Zhen joined multiple extracurricular activities, such as the debate team and the P&G club, where he began making connections with students and alumni from other industries, such as venture capital and consulting.

After graduating from Renmin University in 2016, Zhen went on to land his first job at Hitone Capital, a real-estate private equity firm that focused on urban renewal investment as an analyst, where he spent the following four years.

However, in 2020, despite his successful track record at the company, Zhen began thinking more seriously about his career projection.

He said: “After four years at Hitone Capital, I had built two track records, from fundraising and investment to asset management and exit. It seemed to me that my work would remain constant in the next few years, meaning that my learning curve at the company would not be as accelerated as it had been before.

“At the same time, I also noticed I was lacking systematic knowledge of finance and the ability to cooperate with international partners. I realised I was keen to develop that knowledge, as well as leadership skills and a more international community experience.”

An enhancing international experience

After looking into different business schools, Zhen applied and was accepted into the MBA programme at Columbia Business School in 2021 – which, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, he is currently attending remotely from China.

He said: “Columbia Business School is one of the best business schools in the world, and the only M7 school in New York City. I was excited about its world-class faculty, but also about the opportunity to meet legends from the fields of finance, real estate, and other sectors of business.

“While the pandemic has challenged my studies, Columbia Business School has done its best to optimise the experience.”

Zhen says education at an American b-school is “really different” from what he is used to in the Chinese education system – something he believes will help him develop his skillset faster and more efficiently.

He said: “At CBS, there’s more pre-class preparation, which increases my workload but also enhances my performance in class. There’s also a focus on real-life case studies, many of which are managed by CBA alumni, which have helped me learn about how to apply the knowledge and have made me more motivated in trying to absorb these concepts.

“Lastly, there are a lot more interactions with professors and my peers. Professors give us multiple chances to ask questions or share personal views during class, and a big part of our assignment relies on group work. It’s definitely helped me learn how to better cooperate within a team.”

Bringing back the right knowledge

After the MBA programme, Zhen hopes to join a global private equity firm. He says his MBA experience – enhanced by his participation in business school clubs such as the CBS Real Estate Association and networking opportunities with alumni – have put him on the right path towards achieving his goal.

He says: “My MBA journey will ultimately enhance my network, and equip me with an international horizon and necessary business toolkits, with new leadership and management knowledge.

“I highly recommend that people with a similar background to mine pursue an MBA in a different continent. A diverse experience like learning abroad can really have a positive impact on one’s success. Understanding international dynamics and knowing how to communicate with people from different backgrounds is and will always be incredibly important.”

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

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Written by

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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