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6 Reasons To Get Your MBA Abroad

Author: Ethan Taylor

A growing number of U.S. students are heading abroad for their MBA studies – and with good reason. America may be home to some of the world's most prestigious business schools, but there are many advantages to undertaking an overseas MBA program instead of one in your own backyard. In fact, a number of revered institutions located across Europe (see Top European MBA Programs: The Short List) and Asia make regular appearances in the annual Top 20 Global MBA Rankings, so we've highlighted six convincing reasons a foreign study adventure should be on your radar.

1. Finish Faster

Many full-time European programs run for one year versus the two years typically required by U.S. institutions. Wouldn't you rather knock off your degree in half the time?

2. Save Money

Since foreign programs are typically shorter, that can translate into a significantly better deal than U.S. programs: Not only is the tuition bill lower, but students need to spend less time away from the workforce. Fees at elite U.S. MBA programs can surpass $200K, while European programs can cost half as much. A number of foreign schools have even obtained approval to allow U.S. students to finance their education through U.S. financial aid. And if the U.S. dollar is performing well, why not use it to your global advantage?

3. Advance Your Career

Studying abroad is an opportunity to immerse yourself in a (potentially) thriving economy and to establish a network in that region, which may lead to business or employment opportunities in the future. Gaining an international network not only strengthens your professional circle abroad, it could strengthen your job prospects back in the States. And by taking a risk and moving abroad, you potentially gain access to employment opportunities you never even knew existed.

4. Employers Love It

European schools report that roughly 80% of their students are non-nationals, while their U.S. counterparts only have 30% international students. Worldly exposure is very attractive to employers, particularly multinational companies that place a premium on international experience. In their eyes, experience abroad shapes a more effective player on a global stage, so a residential address for a year in Europe or Asia is going to stand out on any résumé, compared to a candidate who has stayed close to home.

5. Personal Growth

There's nothing quite like travel to broaden your worldly horizons. By living and studying in a foreign country, you'll gain an understanding and appreciation of another culture and its values. It's an opportunity to become more independent and self-confident as you step outside your comfort zone and navigate unfamiliar territory. You may even pick up another language – not to mention new friends.

6. More Chances to Get In

Top U.S. schools are fiercely competitive, and while MBA programs in Europe can certainly be tough to get into, you may be able to sell yourself better to an international school. And by applying to top schools both at home at abroad, you'll increase your chances of winding up at one. (See also How Americans Can Apply For European MBA Programs.)

The Bottom Line

There's a whole world out there. And given the number of high caliber business schools outside the United States, it can make sense to venture overseas for your MBA, especially if you're seeking employment with an international company. Ask yourself, Where do I want to work after graduation? Consider your career goals, and the type of employers you have your eye on, then weigh up whether studying locally or abroad is your best bet. International experience and a global mindset are appealing in anyone's language. Who knows what doors will open if you open your mind to the world?

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