Dave Wilson, President and CEO of the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC), says an MBA gives graduates the rigor and discipline to successfully navigate the new global economy.
"As you deal with global enterprises you are going to have lots of challenges every day because the space you are working in is that much more complex," he says. "An MBA forces people to think in a structured way about the problems they are confronting."
Why a North American MBA?
According to one study published by the GMAC, the vast majority of students from Asia, Australia, Latin America, and Europe who plan to work outside their country of origin choose to earn their MBA from schools in the United States or Canada. And most U.S. and Canadian students said they plan to stay in North America to obtain their MBA.
North American schools are popular with both domestic and international applicants for a reason: Students enjoy an education increasingly focused on expanding knowledge and work opportunities on a global scale.
Many North American schools anticipated the importance of a global perspective and have taken steps to empower students to expand their horizons. "A number of schools recognized the economy was going to be global," Wilson says. "In some cases they have opened campuses overseas and added faculty...they created alliances and exchange programs. North American schools have done a first-class job of building a network of schools worldwide."
'Internationalizing' the MBA
For most schools, however, this process of "internationalizing" the MBA is about more than hiring more teachers and planting global roots; they must remain globally relevant by acknowledging learning international trends.
In Europe, for example, there is a current drift toward waiting five to seven years after earning undergraduate certification-as opposed to U.S. managers who tend to wait only two to three years-before earning an MBA. That desire to possess pre-MBA work experience is changing both the look and proficiency level of the world's business leaders.
International students benefit two-fold from the global experiences that many North American business schools now have to offer. In addition to earning an MBA from a renowned institution and becoming immersed in its culture, students can take advantage of those schools' study abroad opportunities. By observing additional markets, aspiring managers can double their global experience and, more importantly, increase their competitive edge.
And when it comes to options, North America has more schools and programs to choose from than any other region in the world, and through excellent career advising, schools can help groom and position their MBA students for the best jobs anywhere in the world. "All the (North American) schools focus heavily on placement," Wilson says.