Where In The World Do You Want To Get An MBA?
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Where in the world do you want to get an MBA?

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Pursuing MBA

Thanks to the status and availability of MBA programs internationally, you can go just about anywhere.

Why Study Internationally?

According to 2008 Global MBA® Graduate Survey, 24% attend a school outside their countries of citizenship. Historically, their main reasons for seeking a degree internationally have been to:

  • Get a better quality education than was available in their own country
  • Improve career opportunities
  • Broaden their international experience
  • Gain exposure to different cultures
  • Attend a school with an international reputation

Take the GMAT® exam

Quality MBA programs around the world require the GMAT exam as a major prerequisite for admission.  You may need to take the GMAT exam well in advance, as testing sites are not available everywhere in the world.  Typically, GMAT preparation can take several months, so you should schedule your test appointment well in advance of school application deadlines.

Study the Academic Environment

You should have a good understanding of the country’s educational style and culture. Are you expected to participate in group projects? What about class participation? Are you comfortable being challenged in front of your classmates? How are grades calculated?

There are no right or wrong answers to any of these questions, but you may be surprised to find yourself confronted by an unexpected style of teaching. For example, in many US MBA programs, students are expected to express their ideas, even if they do not agree with those of the professor. In some other cultures, that action would be considered disrespectful.

Support for International Students

To determine if a school is right for you, you need to look at more than just the percentage of international students. What countries do they represent? What resources does the school provide for international students? Can the school help with visa requirements? Put you in touch with its alumni in your country? Is the school willing to be flexible if you have special dietary or religious needs?


The cost of a graduate management education varies greatly around the world. To prepare a realistic budget, you need to have a clear idea of these costs, including living expenses. School financial aid offices should be able to provide information and counseling on costs, student loans and other financing.

Understand Job Placement Issues

Many students start an MBA intending to remain and work in the same country after graduation. But it may be difficult to get a job outside your country of citizenship, particularly if you don’t already have the required visas and work permits.

GMAC® research shows that historically, corporate recruiters prefer to hire people who already have the required permits to work in their country. So make sure you have realistic expectations regarding your international study and post-MBA employment. 

Get Answers from Schools

Look into what a school’s job placement office can do for you if you aren’t a citizen of that country. Even the best schools may have a significantly lower placement average for their international graduates than for others.

Ask such specific questions as:

  • How many companies that interview on campus are willing to hire international students?
  • What kinds of industries are willing to hire international students?
  • Are summer internships available to international students?
  • How Homesick Will You Be?
  • If you have never lived away from home before, or if your  family and personal relationships are very close, it’s important to consider whether you’re prepared to spend a year or two without hearing your language spoken or eating your favorite foods.

A school in the urban center may have a larger expatriate community than a more isolated, rural campus. Check with your country's embassy or consulate to find out if there are other expatriates in same area as the school you are considering.

Visas and Immigration

Visa issues have become more complicated in recent years. The schools you are considering can usually refer you to the correct government agency for student visas. Getting a student visa in some countries can take a long time, so plan ahead.

Connect with Other People

Just as networking is essential in the business world, it’s also important for prospective international students choosing an MBA program. To find out if a particular school or city is right for you, talk with people from your background who either attend the school or have graduated recently. See if the school admissions office can put you in touch with any alumni in your area.

And don’t forget to check online resources for other students. Ask specific questions about what it is like to live and study at the school you are considering before you make a final decision.

Other Options

There are numerous ways to study internationally besides applying to a school as an international student. Some schools offer international exchange programs. Others offer study aboard experiences, either through partnerships with schools in other countries or at their own satellite campuses in other countries. Some schools also have programs helping students get international internships. Because so many of these programs are school specific, the best source of information about these options is the individual school.