Business schools around the world are increasingly focusing on globalizing their programs. Schools are offering student and faculty exchanges, programs abroad, and required study trips abroad, as well as opening campuses in foreign countries.
Yet, an article in the Wall Street Journal questions whether or not this trend is built on realistic expectations. Of course, the schools want to enhance their international reputation and “prepare their students for work overseas,” but are these endeavors really beneficial for the students?
Warren Bennis, professor at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business believes, “To become sophisticated enough to work and live in another country, you have to be there for at least six months to a year.”
Moreover, according to the WSJ article, recruiters responsible for hiring MBAs for global positions say that “a school’s efforts alone often aren’t enough to nab an international job.” Diverse classrooms and working on case studies about international companies is just not going to cut it.
Bottom line: “There may be a disconnect between schools’ globalization efforts, and specific skills employers want in job candidates.” For example, global consulting firms are looking for applicants who are proficient in other languages and have experience working with international companies. As a result, although some schools are coming up with creative and innovative ways to “go global,” their efforts will not always give their students a leg up.
On the bright side, David Smith, managing director at Accenture, feels, “a broad global outlook, including understanding nuances in other cultures and a willingness to relocate, is key for landing top positions. Two otherwise identical applicants would have to prove they know how international markets differ from domestics ones, and show that they know how to manage expectations to team members in other countries.”
In the end, the question remains whether treks to emerging markets and courses on international business are enough to create a truly “Global MBA.”
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