MBA Study Abroad Programs: Should I study abroad?

June 20, 2012 in Program Profiles

MBA Program ProfilesNearly every top business school in the country offers MBA students the opportunity to study abroad.  These programs typically take place during the second year, in either the first or second semester.  Potential destinations for students range from Germany to Argentina to China to Australia to South Africa.  Here we present some of the advantages and disadvantages of studying abroad.

Advantages

As our economy becomes increasingly globalized, it is good to gain a broader perspective beyond the confines of American business theory.  If you are interested in international business, a study abroad experience shows a potential employer that you are interested in and able to interact with different cultures.  Studying abroad exposes you to the business culture and customs of another country, and helps you strengthen your language skills.  A study abroad experience can also give you more specific training in an area not covered by your American business school, be it luxury marketing in France or Singaporean business customs.  Finally, if you are interested in working abroad, studying in a country where you would like to get a job can present valuable networking opportunities.

 Disadvantages

At two years, the MBA program is already short, so you want to maximize every moment you spend in school.  Studying abroad limits your time at business school even further.  If you are not interested in international business and your future career goals do not include working in another country, there is no point in studying abroad.  Your time would be better spent networking at your business school.  Finally, studying abroad can make the job search more stressful.  Companies typically recruit new hires in the fall of their second year.  If you’re studying abroad at that time, finding a job through career services could be more difficult.