As international experience becomes increasingly valuable in our ever-globalizing business landscape, the appeal of an MBA abroad is driving a higher number of U.S.-based applicants to seek out international MBA programs.
And an international MBA is not without its positives. Several European MBAs compress the traditional two-year program into eighteen months or a year, saving a young professional precious time spent away from the workforce, and if one considers the U.S. dollar’s relative strength when compared to European currencies at the moment, an international MBA can become quite a cost-effective option!
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Moreover, all top U.S. companies are international in their scope, and the ability to work across borders can certainly be a marketable aspect to a recent MBA’s hiring prospects, plus foreign language expertise if in a country in which English is not the primary language could help to distinguish you from your competition.
But as with any business school, it’s not just what you know – it’s who you know. If you already attended a U.S. institution for undergrad and have worked primarily in U.S.-based companies professionally, the expansive value an international MBA can bring to your network could be astounding, allowing you to leverage relationships from all over the world in order to achieve your goals.
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It’s also worth noting that demographics play a role such that it’s commonplace for European MBA students to be in their late 20s or 30s, so if you’re on the more matured side of the U.S. applicant pool, you might find better luck (and better camaraderie) and a London or Paris based program, where length and rigor of work experience is valued over undergraduate work or lofty ideals and ambitions.
So, what’s the downside? It differs with every applicant, but in general, the consensus seems to be that the condensed schedule of European MBAs makes the workload very demanding and the time constraints tougher. Perhaps the largest negative is that the name brand of an international MBA may be less easily recognized in the U.S. than a U.S. institution would be, which is to say that if you definitely want to work in the U.S. for the entirety of your career, it might behoove you to stick to a well-known U.S. school.
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