If you are an online MBA student, you likely chose this format for the convenience and flexibility it offers. Now that you your worries about set class times and commuting are over, you might be tempted to skip all face-to-face activities—including the global experience. Before you make the decision to decline this opportunity, there are a few things to consider about this growing component of today’s online MBA programs. Most educators, program directors, companies, and MBA graduates agree that skipping the global experience is probably a bad idea. The main reason to take advantage of these overseas opportunities is marketability.
According to Fast Company, international experience, “especially in emerging markets, differentiates MBAs from their domestic-bound peers.” In a recent article by the publication, Amit Sinha, Head of Database and Technology Marketing at SAP said, “without question, I’m far more likely to hire MBA graduates who have had management consulting experience in emerging markets over graduates who have not.”
Because companies are operating in so many different countries, the more experience with different cultures, languages, and local business practices MBAs can bring to a company, the more they can help expand that company’s’ global reach. In a Financial Times (FT) article, Peter Lacy, Managing Director of Strategy for the Asia-Pacific region at Accenture said “our clients increasingly operate seamlessly across borders. Our people need to be able to do the same. That mindset comes from being exposed to new business cultures and experiences that come with international placements.”
The vast majority of online MBA programs offer global experiences that, rather than spanning months or semesters at a time, last from as few as three days up to one, two or three weeks. The reason for this is online programs cater mostly to adult, working students, so they understand that flexibility is crucial to accommodating students’ hectic schedules and career goals.
So where do MBA global experiences take place? Pretty much anywhere in the world. Good examples are the online MBA programs at Kelley School of Business (Indiana University) and D’Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University. Kelley provides the opportunity for students to “gain valuable experience as a global leader,” during a two-week experience in Latin America, Africa, Southeast Asia, India, and Native American communities. For a longer experience, students may travel to Africa, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, the Middle East, Latin America and across Europe for several months or more.
Kelley’s global experiences provide students with the opportunity to work with partner companies to help solve a real problem in an environment they’ve never experienced before. In addition to helping students develop problem-solving, leadership, and project management skills, Kelley says students will develop a “deep” understanding of local business culture.
D’Amore-McKim School of Business offers a Global Projects Course that it says is a “transformative, global experiential learning opportunity—one in which you not only travel abroad and polish your global acumen but work as a team to tackle a real business issue for a multinational company in their global office.” The experience lasts just one week and can take students to places such as Argentina, Brazil, Chile, China, and Russia.
Though fees for global experiences vary and may or may not be included in tuition, MBA graduates who take advantage of these opportunities say both the personal and financial benefits far outweigh the costs.
To find schools that offer online MBA programs with global experience opportunities, use our School Finder here.
Conboye, Janina. "How Valuable Is International Work Experience?" Financial Times. The Financial Times LTD., 06 Nov. 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2017.
"Global Experiences." Kelley School of Business. Indiana University, 2017. Web. 23 Oct. 2017.
"Global Projects Course." D'Amore-McKim School of Business. Northeastern University, 2017. Web. 23 Oct. 2017.
"Graduate Business Programs." D'Amore-McKim School of Business. Northeastern University, 2017. Web. 23 Oct. 2017.
Haynie, Devon. "Seek Online MBA Programs That Provide Travel Opportunities." U.S. News & World Report Education. U.S. News & World Report L.P., 13 Aug. 2013. Web. 23 Oct. 2017.
Korngold, Alice. "MBAs Without Borders: Experience In Emerging Markets Gives Graduates An Edge." Fast Company. Mansueto Ventures, LLC., 30 July 2012. Web. 23 Oct. 2017.