Published in: St. Louis Commerce Magazine
Author: Laurie Burstein
Students with a passion for international study have more opportunities than ever to increase their marketability by earning their MBA overseas. Three top universities in the St. Louis region offer comprehensive international MBA programs for students to study and work abroad while earning advanced business degrees.
The University of Missouri-St. Louis' International MBA offers a two-year program where students study one year abroad, one year in St. Louis, and complete an international internship. Students earn two master's degreesóone from the program's partner schools and one from UM-St. Louis.
The IMBA program started four years ago as an extension of UM-St. Louis' undergraduate international business program started 11 years ago. This program has ranked in the Top 20 in the country by U.S. News and World Report for the last six years.
UM-St. Louis' six global partner schools are located in Austria, China, Japan, India, Mexico and France. Studies focus on international markets, importing and exporting, multi-national finance, strategy and managing global enterprises in both traditional and nontraditional, as well as emerging and growth economies.
Thomas Eyssell, Associate Dean and Director of Graduate Studies and professor of finance at UM-St. Louis, says the IMBA program has really taken off since it began four years ago.
"Our international business program has been our fastest growing program," Eyssell says. "Since we live in a global economy, students are very quick to recognize the importance of international experience in terms of their marketability."
Eyssell adds, "When students complete the IMBA program, they come out with two degrees and international work experience. This program really enhances our graduates ability to get a job whether it's an international job or in the U.S."
The program accepts both foreign students who study in St. Louis, as well as American students who study overseas. All students pay the in-state Missouri rates of $350 per credit hour.
Last year Webster University School of Business launched its own Global MBA program. Graduate students study at Webster's campus locations in five international business capitals: Geneva, Leiden, London, Shanghai and Vienna. Students live and study in each of the five locations for nine-week terms during the 11-month program.
In Shanghai for example, students study managerial economics and management accounting. In Vienna, courses include international law and business, strategy and competition, and visits to multi-national corporations. In London, students study advanced corporate finance and visit the London Stock Exchange. The program fee is $40,000 which includes housing, tuition and books.
"Our students really have a passion for international study," says Anne Browning, director of Webster's Global MBA program. "Our program lets students interact with the business community in five major international business centers."
"Students today understand they have to be able to operate on a global scale," Browning continues. "In today's marketplace, they have to be able to work with a diverse group of people and understand international business principles. Our Global MBA program helps students learn to adapt to new cultures. This experience is invaluable when they begin to look for a job."
The first year of the program included 11 students, with three from St. Louis. One of those students is Kevin Boggeman. In an e-mail from Webster's campus in Shanghai, Boggeman says that he has found the program to be very rewarding.
"I was thinking of studying economics and international development when I came across Webster's Global MBA. I became very excited about the possibility of studying business in different parts of the world. It seemed like the way real education should be," Boggeman says who next heads to Vienna, Austria.
He continues, "The best part of the program is the international community in the classroom. I was glad to find that each of my classes is largely made up of students from our host country (as in the Netherlands and China) or is made up of a mix of students from all over the world like in Switzerland and London."
After graduation, Boggeman says he plans to start working in the area he is most interested inócorporate social responsibility and non-profit management. "Part of the program is a career-development class that helps us hone in on jobs. Webster is also helping us make connections with people in our fields of interest."
International study is also a component at Washington University's Olin School of Business' fulltime MBA program. Olin provides students with an opportunity to broaden their global perspective through a variety of overseas study options. The two-year program costs approximately $42,500.
The Olin Business School offers exchange programs in England, France, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Spain and Venezuela. Some programs last for three weeks or students can opt for a semester-long experience.
Associate Dean for the Olin School's MBA program Joe Fox says Barcelona and Hong Kong are popular with students. Fox agrees that international education is very useful.
"Overseas study gives students a global perspective, prepares them for a global marketplace, creates a comfort level with cross-cultural differences and customs," Fox says.
He continues, "Any company that operates in the global economy, and they all do in one way or another, will benefit from employees who are more savvy, worldly, experienced and prepared."
Mark J. Brostoff, associate dean and director of the Weston Career Center at the Olin Business School at Washington University, works with MBA students looking for overseas internships and careers. The Career Center helps to place students with multi-national corporations in overseas internships with companies such as Emerson, Johnson & Johnson, and Anheuser-Busch In-Bev.
Brostoff says students who study abroad can really differentiate themselves.
"Overseas study and internships are very strong resume builders," Brostoff says.
"In this economy, global work experience helps students to distinguish themselves when looking for a fulltime position after graduation."
Brostoff says some of the specific ways students who study abroad gain traits employers look for include:
Brostoff adds, "Overseas study and work experience provides students with an opportunity for 'outside the classroom' experience which recruiters look for."
As the world becomes even more "flat," today's students understand the importance of going global to obtain an advanced degree.
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