What Is An International MBA?

International MBAStudents who are pursuing an International MBA in today’s economy might be heartened to learn that things are finally looking up in the business sector. In addition to dramatic increases in MBA enrollment here at home and abroad, studies estimate a full 7 percent increase in MBA candidate hiring and salaries for the class of 2014, according to Business Because.  Those numbers look only to improve in coming years as the economic rebound continues in the United States and takes hold internationally. It’s in those international locales where the international MBA is being defined. Those with an eye on globalization and the role of the business as an international force are increasing choosing this program over the more traditional offering on American college campuses. What is it? What does it entail? Is it a better choice for today’s students?

All the Joy of American Business Programs with an International Venue

Though the MBA is one of the biggest graduate school programs at universities in the United States, it historically has not been the choice for business professionals in Europe and Asia until recently. During the past two decades, however, the number of MBA programs abroad has exploded. Students and schools in the United States are now taking advantage of the proliferation of MBA programs internationally. Major business schools like Penn’s Wharton School of Business now cooperate with international universities and offer students the ability to study in foreign venues for the majority of their credit hours. Other students opt simply to enroll directly with an international school and complete an MBA that’s recognized both abroad and here at home.

The Curriculum: Are There Significant Differences?

The most pressing question many candidates have about an International MBA is whether or not the curriculum is substantially similar to that required by most American schools. Typically, there are quite a few similarities. That’s because most American and international programs are accredited by the same agency: The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business. As a rule, the AACSB requires a near-uniform commitment to institutional research and management education. There is, of course, some room for flexibility, and that’s where the most significant differences exist.

International MBA programs are likely to have a global focus than a similar program offered stateside. The combination of an overseas location and a high concentration of American students means that the university can infuse the program with courses relating to Asian or European trade, international business regulations and best practices, and management of a global workforce. Even cultural sensitivity makes an appearance in some of these programs.

Related Resource: Human Resources MBA

Is it Worth It? Is the Degree Better Than a Traditional MBA?

When it comes to deciding whether or not an International MBA program is worth it, the answer is decidedly “maybe.” The program is most useful to those students who intend to live or work abroad, or at least those who intend to work in a global company with a presence in other countries. The program’s prestige offers candidates a decidedly large boost when looking for mid-level or high-level management jobs, but that same boost could be obtained by studying the traditional MBA at Wharton’s Philadelphia campus, just as one example. Even so, today’s business students need a way to differentiate themselves in a market that’s becoming crowded with MBA graduates. An International MBA might just be the best way to provide that differentiation.

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