Admissions Blog

U.S. News: Go Global as an MBA Student

By 24th March 2016 February 3rd, 2018 No Comments

Source: U.S. News

By Arlene Weintraub,
March 23, 2016.

Business schools are adding a range of options to help students gain experience in international markets.

Language training and company internships may be part of the international experience offered to MBA students.

Language training and company internships may be part of the international experience offered to MBA students.

[dropcap]T[/dropcap]he University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business is one of the multitude of business schools that have focused on broadening students’ horizons over the last couple of years.

Some schools simply add a quick spring break foreign tour to a semesterlong course; others, like New York University and Duke University, have opened satellite campuses in fast-growing economies, where they provide business courses to native students as well as to visiting Americans.

Many are partnering with foreign b-schools to provide “action-based” learning that allows students to complete real projects for multinational companies. Some experiences come with language training and company internships.

Michigan student Lonzyo Holcomb, who spent one week in Brazil and another in Ecuador working with a services development team for General Motors, and his classmates assessed a premium service offered by GM in Brazil and the viability of rolling it out elsewhere in South America.

“Because of technology, boundaries across all industries are breaking down,” says M.S. Krishnan, associate dean for global initiatives. “The contextual and cultural immersion in important markets becomes an advantage for students when they go into the job market.”

Many of the experiences are focused on providing the knowledge large companies are looking for as they expand into emerging markets.

NYU’s Stern School of Business has created a series of market-specific courses, for example, by partnering with business schools in 25 countries that provide course materials used for the semester and host students for one- or two-week trips.

NYU also has set up its own – mostly undergraduate – campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai that offer degrees to locals and are a base for traveling graduate business students. Those taking the course about China begin visiting the Shanghai campus this spring.

Among the companies that have been hiring Stern graduates with international experience: McKinsey, Apple and Samsung.

The list of countries that open their doors to U.S.-based MBA programs has grown so diverse that students can choose from a wide range of ultraspecialized pursuits, from entrepreneurship in Israel to fashion in London to telecom in India.

In the summer of 2015, five Massachusetts Institute of Technology MBA students worked in Malaysia with an Asian regional airline to redesign its scheduling system.

“They did data analytics using a number of different software tools,” says Charles Fine, dean of the new Asia School of Business, launched last year as a partnership between MIT and Malaysia’s central bank. “They proposed a new approach to scheduling that would generate over $100 million in profit.”

The airline is now implementing the students’ recommendations, he says.

Even students who are working full time and earning their MBAs at night are now offered travel abroad.

Gabriella Pearlman, a physician and student in the University of Pennsylvania‘s Wharton executive MBA program in San Francisco, took a one-week trip to Cuba, for example, as part of a project with other students to develop a business plan for starting a medical school in the country.

“I wanted a program that would give me an opportunity to go somewhere and use my health care background,” says Pearlman, who plans to transition into hospital administration.

Many business students are looking for much more than a week or two stay. Wharton’s two-year joint MBA-master’s program with Penn’s Joseph H. Lauder Institute of Management and International Studies now provides for two months of study in one of more than 20 locations and includes language instruction.

The Lauder component is designed to enhance understanding of cultural differences. Alumni have landed jobs with organizations ranging from the International Finance Corp. to major pharmaceutical and tech giants. Those choosing the Africa specialty, new in 2016, start in the summer, learning French and traveling for two months throughout the western region of the continent to work with companies and meet local officials.

“If you look at the 20 economies that are growing the fastest, 10 are in sub-Saharan Africa,” says Mauro Guillen, director of the Lauder Institute. “It will be a very important part of the global economy.”

Meanwhile, some students are opting to earn their entire MBA abroad. Surveys by the Graduate Management Admission Council report that 3.2 percent of U.S. students now say they prefer to get their business degrees in Europe.

One of those adventurers is Scott Gabrielson of Minneapolis, who decided to enroll in the University of Oxford Said Business School in London after looking around for a program that would allow him to earn an MBA in one year instead of two.

Gabrielson, 28, had been working for an investment bank but knew he wanted to start a clothing label, and he saw Oxford as the best one-year MBA program located conveniently in the center of a world fashion capital.

After he graduated in 2015, he launched Oliver Cabell, a fashion label based in Minneapolis that plans to market high-end clothing and accessories at discount prices. The Oxford program “helped me really understand digital marketing, supply chain logistics and reputation management,” he says.