September 2012 issue

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Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes in the USA tend to have a practical and experimental teaching approach, equipping international students with the skills they need in the world of work. Claire Twyman investigates.

International students embarking on MBA studies in the USA tend to benefit from the practical focus of courses. At Williamette University in Salem, OR, where an MBA for Professionals and an Early Career and Career Change MBA can both be completed within two years, Aimee Akimoff explains that popular courses “incorporate experimental learning, or real-world projects”. She continues, “These include the Student Investment Fund, where students manage a portfolio of real money and invest in the stock market.” The university, which featured in Forbes Magazine’s Best Business Schools 2011 list, has added a number of experimental electives to MBA offerings recently due to increasing popularity, including courses in Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Management. The university also provides a “competitive merit-based scholarship programme for both US and international students, with scholarships from 10 to 100 per cent of tuition”.

And there are a number of other institutions providing further innovations. At Hult International Business School, where a one-year MBA can be taken at campuses in Boston, MA, and San Francisco, CA, students can study at a maximum of three locations with other campuses in London, Dubai and Shanghai. The collective student population comprises 120 nationalities, enthuses Margarethe Melesczuk, adding, “Students study in an international setting alongside other students from all across the world, putting theory to the test and devising practical solutions. The breadth of experience, insight and perspectives that students bring to the classroom provides an unparalleled advantage to our graduates.” And demand for MBA courses has risen consistently over the years, Melecszuk comments.

Meanwhile, at York College of Pennsylvania in York, PA, where MBA concentrations include Management and Finance, “most international students enrol on the dual degree programme, [which is] offered to qualifying students in their junior year [of a bachelor’s degree], and gives them the option to start taking MBA courses during their senior year”, says Ines Ramirez at the college. With the MBA programme typically lasting two years, “this cuts costs and time by one year”. In the past, the programme has enrolled students from India, China, El Salvador and Croatia, Ramirez reports, adding that the minimum Toefl score for applicants is 72 and six for Ielts.

The MBA programme at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA, an institution with a strong Christian background, has a large overseas student population. Bethany Conrad highlights, “While it is still a young programme, Liberty’s MBA [is] popular with students from a variety of countries – particularly those in Asia and South and Central America.” And new specialisations have recently been added to the MBA programme in order to add to its appeal. Students can choose a cognate in many fields, she explains, including Criminal Justice, Leadership and Public Relations, and the minimum Toefl score is 100. “However, for applicants who do not have a sufficient Toefl score, Liberty University offers a year-round English Language Institute that prepares students for MBA coursework,” she relates, adding, “The area’s safety, climate, natural beauty, friendliness and proximity to Washington DC are all attractive to international students.”

And at Gonzaga University in Spokane, VA, with a Graduate School of Business accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), internationals make up 10-to-15 per cent of the overall MBA student population. Kristen Paul explains that the MBA in Healthcare Management “is a hybrid model, offered half online and half in the classroom.” She adds, “[The MBA programmes has] a strong focus on business ethics, which differentiates it from many similar programmes. Gonzaga is committed to creating leaders who possess solid analytical, critical thinking, communication and team-building skills, as well as a strong sense of social justice.” International students also benefit from small class sizes, experiential learning opportunities and a personal academic advisor, she says, estimating costs per year at US$41,000, including living expenses.

“As far as recruitment [goes], we are considering building relationships with some of the boarding schools in Pennsylvania who enrol international students, so that they consider York College of Pennsylvania as an affordable option,” says Ramirez. “We might also implement a marketing campaign to the US educational organisations abroad.” Hult International Business School, on the other hand, “follows a highly selective process for engaging with higher education advisors”, according to Melesczuk. “Hult has also created Experience Hult events, which allow promising candidates to experience mock classes and participate in individual consultation sessions with admissions officers,” she adds.

The employability of MBA graduates worldwide

An increasing number of MBA graduates across the globe are finding jobs shortly after graduation, according to recent research conducted by the international Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC). Findings from this year’s annual Global Management Education Graduate Survey and Corporate Recruiters Survey show that 62 per cent of graduating MBA participants recieved job offers, up eight percentage points on last year’s figure of 54 per cent. Meanwhile, 79 per cent of surveyed companies said they were looking to recruit MBA graduates, up seven per cent since 2011.

“The MBA remains the core degree programme of business schools, while master’s programmes are gaining further acceptance by employers,” comments Eric Cornuel, Director General and CEO of EFMD, a company involved in conducting the survey. And Nicole Hall, President of the MBA Career Services Council and Director of the Career Management Center for the Schools of Business at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC, says, “The results provide critical insights for career services professionals into the skills MBAs must possess and the industries which offer the greatest potential for employment.”

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English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
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Quality English  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  

Impact English College  
Access Macquarie Limited  
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London School of Business & Finance  
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Mayfair School of English  
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University of Essex - International Academy  
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Yokohama International Education Academy  

EC English Language Centre  
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Pay to Study/FELCA  

Good Hope Studies  
EC Cape Town  
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Eurocentres Cape Town  
English Language School Cape Town  
Interlink School of Languages  
Jeffrey's Bay Language School  
LAL Cape Town  
Kurus English CC  
International House Cape Town  

International House - Sevilla CLIC  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  
Xul Comunicación Social  

EF International Language Centers  
Eurocentres International  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Study Gold Coast  


Besant Hill School  
California State University San Marcos  
ELS Language Centers  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Glenholme School  
Liberty University  
New York Military Academy  
Saint John's University  
University of Arizona  
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Zoni Language Centers  

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