(The Free Press Journal publishes articles by study abroad consultants, Consulates, foreign universities, international students, and much more every Saturday to give its readers a glimpse of the world of overseas education.)
The year may be new, but the questions plaguing the minds of GMAT/GRE based MBA aspirants remain the same. A primary question for most is which country to pursue their MBAs from. Within that, there are multiple queries and doubts candidates have – will the country offer employment options? Is it inviting for foreigners or are there any issues to deal with such as language/cultural barriers? Howz the weather!? And more.
In this article, we examine the top destinations and some reasons behind those being popular. The list doesn’t change much from year to year but we do provide some context for the coming year too. And if you play your cards well, you may be able to !
The birthplace of MBA, the US remains the destination to beat. Not only for Indian candidates, it is the most popular choice for applicants globally aiming for the . For Indian candidates, the huge NRI population makes the cultural transition easier. The fact that the Indian base has made an impact there already means one doesn’t have to start from scratch in terms of establishing one’s credibility in an alien country. Add to that the aspect of language and you have a winning combination.
The popularity has also created a virtuous cycle meaning, the number of top program choices are a lot more in the US compared to any other single country or region.
Finally, in recent years, most top MBA programs have taken what’s called a STEM (short for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) certification which has made visa norms far more inviting, facilitating job prospects for Indian applicants.
Traditionally, going back to the days of the hallowed Cambridge and Oxford universities, the UK has been a top choice for Indian candidates seeking higher education. It fell out of favour for a few years though due to an adverse visa regime for students seeking employment post completion of their programs.
This has changed for the better lately which has led to a resurgence in interest for UK MBA programs. At MBA Crystal Ball, we’ve seen this leading to candidates going beyond the top 3 MBA choices in the country (read London Business School, Said Business School Oxford and Judge Business School Cambridge), to the next tier programs too. Like the US, the UK too boasts of a huge Indian-origin population and the language as well as dialect is even more amenable for Indians.
Canada scores over the US in terms of easier work visa regime. However, it is still not as popular given the dearth of quality options in the country. The brand of MBA programs doesn’t tend to carry beyond the country.
However, the country still remains a popular destination since it’s long been home to Indians, especially those from a certain northern state in our country. With Canadian politeness now being the stuff of folklore, Indians don’t find it too hard to settle here despite the unwelcoming/adverse weather conditions. The top MBA programs here tend to be Rotman School of Management, Richard Ivey and Schulich.
Given the proximity, one would assume that Singapore would be extremely popular as a destination for Indian MBA aspirants. While it does pop into the minds of most, the country's not-so-friendly work visa requirements favouring local residents means not many end up eventually pursuing the idea.
The two top choices here are INSEAD’s Singapore campus and NUS. The cost of living, cosmopolitan culture, location and many other factors do make it an attractive destination. However, without changes to the existing regime, we don’t expect it to be a big draw in 2023 either.
Australia is similar to Canada in some ways – ease of language, attractive living standard and friendly visa regime. Even so, like for Canada and even more so, it suffers from lack of well-known MBA programs that have a global brand appeal. The two top names down under are AGSM and Melbourne Business School.
We’ve observed that a lot of Indians already settled in Australia tend to pursue EMBAs instead of full-time MBA programs.
I know, I know. The article is about international and study abroad. But in the spirit of 2023 crystal ball gazing, it is important to put a short note on India as a destination for those seeking MBA through the GMAT/GRE route.
In the past few years, several economies have seen steps being taken that make them less open or inviting to international talent. In light of this, our home grown options such as ISB and the one-year full-time programs at the famed IIMs have grown in popularity. With India-shining story playing out (at least when you see the salary figures in the media), it may not be a bad option to consider India as one’s country of choice either.
Our work with candidates across the entire gamut of countries. From helping candidates select the right MBA programs to executing winning applications, and more, we have over a decade of experience and insights to pull from. The choice of country is eventually a mix of one’s , ambitions and personal preferences. Make sure you’ve taken those into consideration as well as have done a risk-assessment to identify the right country-program for yourself.
The author is the Chief Consulting Officer at MBA Crystal Ball, an MBA Admissions and Career Counselling service provider.
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