The B-School Experience Is More International Than Ever

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Recent alumni report more international travel and greater diversity in their b-school experience.

Because business leadership in the 21st century requires a global perspective, the business school experience has evolved considerably over the last stretch of years to be more international than ever. This insight comes from GMAC’s 2018 Alumni Perspective Survey, which surveyed nearly 11,000 business school alumni globally to understand the growing internationalization of graduate business education and assess its outcomes.

For example, the survey findings reveal that recent alumni are more likely than earlier alumni to report studying abroad and traveling internationally as a part of their business school experience. Among alumni that graduated in 2016 or 2017, 42 percent report that they traveled internationally as a part of their program and 24 percent studied abroad. Among alumni that graduated between the years 2001 and 2005, 23 percent traveled internationally and 10 percent studied abroad. Among alumni that graduated in 1990 or earlier, just 2 percent traveled internationally and 2 percent studied abroad.

But an international education is more than just traveling and studying abroad—it also includes elements like a globally-oriented curriculum, classmates and faculty from diverse world regions, and co-curricular activities with an international focus. Recent alumni are more likely to report these elements were a part of their programs, too. For instance, alumni who graduated in 2016 or 2017 report an average of 48 percent of their coursework had an international focus, compared with just 14 percent for alumni who graduated in 1990 or earlier.

In addition, 59 percent of alumni who graduated in 2016 or 2017 report their business school class was very diverse internationally, compared with 9 percent of alumni who graduated in 1990 or earlier. Among responding alumni who graduated in 2016 or 2017, 43 percent were international students, compared with just 6 percent of alumni who graduated in 1990 or earlier. Recent alumni report more frequent and higher quality interactions with international students as a part of their business school experience.

Not surprisingly, given the global nature of business today, alumni who had a more internationally-oriented curriculum tend to report stronger career outcomes. For example, alumni who strongly agree that they have received more promotions than peers without their degree report an average of 40 percent of their curriculum had an international focus. Alumni who strongly disagree report an average of 34 percent of their curriculum had an international focus.

International and domestic alumni alike rate the value of their graduate management education highly and express satisfaction with their educational experience. The Net Promoter Score® of international and domestic students is excellent—an indicator of positive word-of-mouth recommendation. Knowing what they know now, more than 9 in 10 international and domestic alumni would still pursue their degree.

Are you ready to start your journey to becoming a global business leader? The journey begins by exploring what program types you’re interested in, and finding your best fit program. Get started on the School Search tool today!