Is it better to get an MBA in the U.S. than elsewhere?
June 4, 2012 10:41 AM   Subscribe

Is it better to earn an MBA at a 2nd or 3rd tier b-school in the U.S. or a top 5 b-school at a developing country? Especially if the student is planning on eventually returning to the U.S., will that MBA be accepted in the U.S. in terms of a job offer, considering it’s globally accredited?

The school is one of top 5 schools in a developing Asian country that offers an intensive global MBA program. The student is able to study abroad for a few weeks in the States and then for a couple of weeks in Singapore. If one plans on returning to the States, would this degree transfer in the U.S. job market? If not right away, eventually in the near future?

I don’t think I’d be able to get into a top U.S. MBA program, and mediocre b-school degree has its limitations, like everything else.
A lot of people come to the states to earn an MBA, but what would be a good reason to study at a different country?

I don’t have a good answer to give people when they ask, why would you go there to get an MBA as an American when people are trying to get an MBA from the states?
posted by icollectpurses to Education (9 answers total)
I have a less than top-tier MBA and it's fine for what I want to do. What do you want the credential for? To impress employers? Most won't be impressed, it's just a box they can check off on your application.

If you're really intersted in a global MBA, because it's so interesting and exotic, you better be aiming for something in the International Businss arena, and you should probably be able to speak that language.

Are you financing this boondoggle or are you being offered scholarships? My company paid for b-school. I don't recommend going into debt for this. At all.

Get a job at some corporate place, and have Tutition Aid pay for your degree.

Also, I don't recommend an on-line degree. Even my degree is better than that.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 10:47 AM on June 4, 2012

I don't know about MBAs, but in engineering, most of the people reading your resume have no idea if "Shanghai Tech" (obvious fake school name) is China's equivalent of Stanford or a community college. This actually happens a lot, because so many people in this field were educated in other countries (many come here to earn master's degrees, though), and in general we just assume that whatever school you went to is fairly average if we haven't heard of it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 10:54 AM on June 4, 2012 [2 favorites]

London School of Economics, maybe. "One of the top five schools in developing Asian country"? Assuredly, this will not get you in the US--unless, for instance, you are/become fluent in the language and go into cross-border business with that country. I could see it having some use in that case.

But, if it's not an economic stretch for you, and you want to do it for the experience, I'm sure it would be interesting. I don't think US lenders give loans to study abroad, as far as I've heard, though.

It's important to keep in mind that the MBA is, to no small extent, a networking experience. There is some hard work there, a, if not the, principal value to it is building connections. What connections will you make at this far-flung school? I'm sure there are great ones to be had--but give it some thought.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 10:57 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

//My company paid for b-school. I don't recommend going into debt for this. At all./

This. I got my MBA at a tier 2 (I guess) school whose part-time program is always ranked top 20. My employer paid for it, and it's nice that I'm smarter for having attended, but I can't say it really did anything for my career. Honestly, I've always thought that people were more impressed with the act of getting an MBA at night school (wow, you work full time and are getting a Masters degree?) than they were once I graduated and was just another guy with a MBA.
posted by COD at 11:50 AM on June 4, 2012 [1 favorite]

Honestly, I've always thought that people were more impressed with the act of getting an MBA at night school (wow, you work full time and are getting a Masters degree?) than they were once I graduated and was just another guy with a MBA.

I'm not sure they're even impressed with the whole nights and weekends thing to be honest.

I got it, I got a decent education and I sometimes sort of use it, and frankly if you're in the mid-nineties co-hort, you can skip a stone across the cube farm here and hit someone with an MBA.

My school would have cost about $40,000 if I had paid for it myself.

There's no freaking way.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:00 PM on June 4, 2012

What is your goal for getting an MBA?

Going to a top-tier school in Asia will not help your US career in most companies.
If you can't get into a top tier (top 20) school in the US, please, please, please don't go into debt to go to school. Find a job that will pay for a night MBA instead.
posted by LittleMy at 2:51 PM on June 4, 2012

Response by poster: I am not going into debt for it. I see a common theme that the degree is not worth the debt. If you have the money or were offered scholarship, would you do it again?

I am hoping to work for a multinational company from here for a bit then work at a more international level or have my own venture, down the line. MBA from this school will provide a valuable network at a top level then if I am unable to transfer to their U.S. office, I can do my own thing.

I am sensing that the general consensus is not even get the MBA...which is something I definitely want.
posted by icollectpurses at 9:13 PM on June 4, 2012

Best answer: The conventional wisdom is that experience trumps a degree. However, degrees are often preferred or even required by many major corporations to move beyond a certain point on the ladder, so it's quite understandable that you want the degree. What I hear from you is that the Singaporean MBA program will be far swifter than most US programs. This is excellent for giving you more time for job experience, but it will not impress US companies for an initial hire. Once you have the job experience, your MBA is typically a secondary consideration.

Above all else, consider which program is more likely to offer better business contacts and networking opportunities. If you meet a professor or alumnus who knows someone who hires for a good company, that opportunity may be the most valuable thing you take away from the entire program. This isn't to say that an MBA education is worthless, just that it is more difficult to make good business contacts than it is to study fields of business.

One last thought on the matter, do you speak fluent business-level Mandarin or Malay? If so, an MBA from Singapore may be a great complement if you're interested in businesses with a major presence in Singapore or Malaysia. If you don't, an MBA from Singapore may give the wrong idea.
posted by Saydur at 12:53 AM on June 5, 2012

Response by poster: Saydur, I am fluent in several of Asian languages. I agree with you that experience is better than a diploma, but I feel the need for an advanced degree in order to take my career to the next level, and also have an opportunity to broaden my international network with top multinational companies that this particular school can offer. With my language fluency and cultural knowledge, I felt that getting an MBA in a different country is at least just as beneficial. The only problem is the mass criticism I am getting, especially when people in Asia are spending money trying to come to the states to get a degree, I am doing something backwards. Thank you for your comments, all.
posted by icollectpurses at 2:47 AM on June 5, 2012

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