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Three Reasons an MBA Opens Doors in Emerging Markets

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If you’re interested in pursuing a career abroad, an MBA degree can help you stand out in the global job arena.

 While developed economies continue to demand MBA talent, political instability and policy changes have made an impact on their desirability among students. Alternatively, emerging markets are appearing as attractive and rewarding locations for b-school alumni. Not only do they offer the opportunity to acquire irreplaceable business acumen, they can help you effectively position yourself for international success. Read on to discover some of the top reasons taking your MBA to a developing country can be a catalyst for your career.

Thinking on your toes

Frontier markets are often fast-paced, unpredictable, and quickly evolving. Engaging in a rapidly changing business environment allows you to apply theories you’ve learned in the classroom and discover how to adapt to circumstances faster. As an MBA grad, you’ll bring strategic insights and a unique point of view to a growing economy. According to the Harvard Business Review (HBR), recent MBA grads are often nimbler than their seasoned counterparts and can generate innovative, out-of-the-box ideas without past experience to cloud their ingenuity.

Developing economies also allow you to flex your newly-acquired knowledge and gain invaluable ground-level experience. As Amit Sinha, head of database and technology marketing at SAP, recently told Fast Company, “[MBA] Graduates who have worked on projects in emerging markets develop a unique blend of experience in innovating solutions, along with collaboration and teamwork, can-do attitude, and humility.”

Diversity, humility, and teamwork

The ability to work well in diverse teams and communicate effectively with multicultural colleagues are some of today’s most in-demand skills. In your MBA program, you’ll develop these skills through group work, consulting projects, networking, and internships. In an emerging market, you’ll leverage these interpersonal strengths to work with teams that come from various backgrounds and that often share cross-functional responsibilities. “You develop humility, by learning how to take feedback,” Sinha says. “You might have ideas in principle, but when you go into a country, you have to listen to a variety of people…” By operating in an emerging economy, you also gather understanding of the complexities surrounding these locations, such as rapid growth, political volatility, and rising populations, which HBR says can set you apart when thinking about markets in your home country.

More jobs, with more impact

Emerging economies have overtaken developed markets such as the United States and Europe in their demand for MBA talent. As reported in the Graduate Management Admission Council’s™ 2018 Corporate Recruiters Survey Report, 90 percent of Asia-Pacific employers planned to hire MBA grads in 2018, more than any other region. While developing economies can present greater risk than their established counterparts, opportunity abounds. If you’re interested in being a part of the “next big thing” emerging markets can offer entryway to startups, both local and multinational. In 2018, 87 percent of startup companies planned to grow, and 77 percent planned to make MBA hires.

The nature of growing economies often puts them at the forefront of modernization and sustainable business. Many new technologies are the result of needs identified in the developing world, and reverse innovation, or cultivating ideas first in emerging markets and then taking them to developed countries, is proliferating. HEC Paris alumna Triin Visnapuu told Fast Company about her move to Morocco: “I wanted to give back to the world as I feel quite fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience the things that I’ve experienced in my life. I also wanted to challenge myself….” If you too want a career that gives back, seek to make a positive impact on our planet, and/or want to challenge yourself professionally, an emerging market may be the key to your career.

An MBA can be a valuable asset in an emerging market and launching your career in these environments can accelerate your practical experience, expansion of interpersonal skills, and access to career opportunities. As you evaluate different b-schools, consider programs that offer a pathway to emerging markets, and use the Program Finder feature to connect with more programs that align with your preferences.