As companies look to expand in geography and diversity to keep pace with an increasingly global economy, international experience—sometimes referred to as a global mindset—is a qualification that seems to be popping up more and more on job postings across a variety of industries and sectors. And while you can probably infer from the self-descriptive nomenclature what an employer might be looking for in a globally-minded individual, the tougher part is figuring out how you can gain this valuable experience—particularly if your organization does not offer international development opportunities in-house.
Accelerated international MBA programs are gaining traction as a means for students and working professionals alike to broaden their cultural perspectives and gain the global business acumen employers are seeking in senior-level talent.
The International MBA: An Exhilarating Learning Experience
Often available as an accelerated one-year curriculum, international MBA programs offer students the opportunity to live, work, and study around the world in a dynamic, fast-paced environment. Lectures are supplemented by hands-on learning experiences such as company site visits and international consulting projects, which allow you to see firsthand the successes and challenges faced by businesses worldwide. This contextual learning not only provides invaluable exposure to how multinational organizations operate, but also helps to further solidify the concepts you have acquired in the classroom through real-world applications.
An Accessible, Affordable Alternative
While universities around the world are designing more internationally-oriented curricula throughout their degree programs, international MBAs are designed with global learning as the primary focus. These degrees have the potential to yield an even higher return on investment than their traditional MBA counterparts, particularly if you choose an accelerated program. With just one year out of the workforce, not only do you save the cost of another one to two years of foregone salary, but according to Forbes, the typical one-year international MBA graduate is able to pay off the investment relatively quickly—within just 2.3 years.
If cost is a prohibiting factor in your decision to pursue an advanced degree, be sure to ask about financial aid and tuition discounts as part of your research. Many times, these funds are set aside exclusively for students taking advantage of study abroad or other international learning opportunities.
Professional, Real-World Training & Support
Whether you’re jumping straight into your MBA after completing your undergraduate studies or taking a leave of absence from work, an international MBA is a natural catalyst for career advancement. If you’re currently working, you can take the skills you gain and apply them within your current role—and if you’re just entering the workforce, you will be doing so as a highly competitive candidate well-versed in the principles of international business and cross-cultural management.
As an international MBA student, you should have full access to the university’s career services, which can provide job placement, salary negotiation, networking support, and more. And speaking of networking, the relationships you develop through global site visits and other international learning experiences—as well as those you forge with your fellow MBA peers while traveling the world—provide a strong foundation upon which you can grow your future network.
Have the Time of Your Life
Sure, an international MBA provides a world of opportunity with often unprecedented ROI potential, but more than that, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience that will help you grow immensely both professionally and personally. Immersing yourself in a variety of different cultures with a close-knit, diverse group of fellow MBA students will provide you with a uniquely global perspective that can be applied across many aspects of your life.