Should I look East for my MBA?

Nov 5, 2013
Tags: B-School, Choosing the Right School, School Selection

Yvonne LiSubmitted by Yvonne Li, MBA director, Admissions and Career Services, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

If you were a potential MBA candidate in the 1970′s and 1980′s, and were to ask your friends and colleagues where to pursue your MBA, the resounding answer would be the US. Business schools started in America and today the largest number and many of the most prestigious institutions in graduate business education can be found there. Nevertheless, in the last two decades or so, European business schools have gained a foothold and increased their reputation as leading global institutions for business education. Today, many schools from countries such as the UK, France, Switzerland, and Spain are at the top of the global rankings for business programs.

Consider Looking Eastward for Your Graduate Business Education

Download FREE GMATPrepAs the largest and most populous of the continents, Asia has gained unprecedented wealth and economic power faster than any other region of the world. Currently, Asia represents 60% of the world’s population, where China and India alone count for more than 2.3 billion consumers with increasing purchasing power. In less than two decades, the aggregate GDP of Asia-Pacific has nearly doubled and continues to grow rapidly. Under many accounts, China will overtake the US GDP this decade, and already surpasses the US in highway mileage, and number of skyscrapers.

Although the world economy and business is clearly swaying eastward, when I go abroad and speak to potential prospects, most still tell me that they are looking west for their MBA. Why? Perhaps because of past trends? Perhaps because of the prestige of western schools?

As of 2013, more than a handful of global MBA and EMBA programs, including those of CEIBS, are ranked among the Financial Times Top 15. These programs are comparable to their counterparts in the west in quality and reputation, and also offer students the unique experience of living abroad and learning how business is conducted in this unique and complex part of the world–where business tends to move faster and relationships play a dominant role. I would guess that if you checked the rankings only a few years back, you would not find any Asian programs there. The trend here is also clearly in favor of Asia.

I therefore relate all this to a quote by Wayne Gretzky, the famous hockey player. When asked about the secret to his success in the game, he replied, “Don’t go to where the puck is, but to where the puck is going”. I would pose a similar piece of advice to those currently considering where to do apply for their MBA.