Applying To An Online MBA Program As An International Student
The rise of the online MBA has opened up opportunities for many students to continue working while earning a degree. Perhaps one of the biggest markets for online MBA programs is the international student population.
According to U.S. News & World Report data, more than 20% of online MBA students at five schools were international.
In a recent article, Olena Reid, a U.S. News contributor, discusses factors that international students should consider before enrolling in an online MBA program.
Diverse student body
The lure of business school is that you can meet people from all over the world, share ideas, and benefit from a diverse student body. With online programs, that becomes more difficult.
Reid recommends that international students interested in enrolling in an online program seek out those that attract a diverse student body. One way to measure diversity at a school, according to Reid, is to seek out faculty who have experience working with international students.
“In my online program, some professors assigned students to self-reflect on their cultural identities and differences – what they believe regarding how the learning process should work and how different cultural backgrounds affected the way students interacted in- and outside the classroom,” Reid writes. “At a minimum, I received a much better understanding of differences between my home country and U.S. business culture.”
In addition, international applicants can also check a school’s website and find demographics of the online MBA student body. Diversity, Reid says, can provide unique perspectives and discussions.
“As an international student, you will have a different cultural background from many of your online MBA classmates,” Reid writes. “This diversity can be desirable for schools, since it brings fresh ideas, sparks healthy debate and helps all students learn more about business in other countries.”
Seek out immersion courses and schools with international faculty
Since online MBA students typically don’t get to meet with other students, it’s important to seek out programs that offer international immersion courses or trips.
“School-sponsored international trips—also called global immersions or global residencies—are one way online MBA students can maximize their networking potential,” according to the Princeton Review. “Since online MBA students don’t see their classmates every day, these immersive experiences abroad mark a huge opportunity to connect in-person with other students, faculty, and business professionals.”
Reid says on top of immersion courses, applicants should seek out programs with international professors.
“International professors can also bring a different perspective to local business news that you can apply directly in your professional environment,” Reid writes.
Connect with peers
Being in an online program doesn’t mean that you have to be disconnected from your peers. In fact, Reid says, there’s an opportunity to connect with other international peers who may share similar experiences.
“There is also a chance that, as an international student, you may not be entirely comfortable writing or speaking in English in front of the class,” Reid writes. “It can be helpful to connect with other international online students and share and discuss similar experiences.”
The biggest advantage to an online MBA program is that you can continue your career while taking part in your degree. With a diverse and supportive online program, you can have the full MBA experience and build a strong foundation for your career.
Check out our latest coverage on the most (and least) affordable online MBA programs.