An MBA program with an international aspect can help students raise their marketability in the workforce. 

According to Roger Bailey, co-director of the full-time MBA program and Joyce Steffan, director of the office of global business and the director of the center for international business, education and research at The Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business in Columbus, and Elad Granot, dean at the Dauch College of Business and Economics at Ashland University in Ashland, MBA programs with abroad trips offer unique opportunities.

“Before becoming an academic, I spent many years as an executive in a variety of companies and organizations all over the globe,” Granot started. “During my experiences, I realized the importance of gaining an international perspective to be competitive in today’s business world.”

Granot explained international MBA programs provide students with opportunities to learn from experienced businesses.

“By giving our students real-world experience in global markets, we give them the confidence and competitive edge needed to make an impact in their professional endeavors,” he noted. 

At Ohio State, students have the opportunity to go on trips abroad with their program.

“With how interconnected the world is, students need to be able to interact with that lens,” Bailey said.

Bailey and Steffan explained students can go on shorter global business expedition trips or a longer global applied projects trip.

“These programs are very popular and they interact with students from other universities,” Steffan added.

The global applied projects trip begins at Ohio State, where students work on a project for an international firm for seven weeks. At the end of the semester, students go overseas for three weeks to work on site.

“We find projects for every student that wants to travel because that is important,” Bailey said. “Every student has the opportunity to gain more experience and learn how to work in a global setting.”

Granot said international study tours, like the two that are offered in Ashland’s MBA program, help students grow on a professional and personal scale.

“In the past, our students have gained a global perspective as they’ve discovered the magical ‘city of a hundred spires,’ seen thousands of years of history in Israel, explored Tallinn’s food scene and toured major landmarks,” Granot recalled. “During these visits, students are provided with abundant opportunities to immerse themselves in cultural events.”

Granot explained these cultural events offer professionals a new point of view.

“These events not only offer an expanded point of view on cultural practices of the world but also provide students with a sought-after skill set that allows them to understand and analyze situations through a different lens,” Granot said.

Bailey said international experiences help MBA students see businesses on a global stage.

“The decisions that managers make tend to be myopic as they sometimes don’t look for things in the long run, sometimes ignoring how their firm interacts on a global stage,” he stated. “In order for students to interact on that broader stage, they need to get out of their comfort one and gain that perspective about how they can understand and interact with others in different countries.”

Steffan said students interested in international opportunities should consider the benefits of participating.

“Business is global indeed, so we want them to understand how to work in multi-locational teams,” she said. “They are learning how to build relationships and skill sets. And when traveling abroad, that’s the real world. We want to emulate what the real world is like.”

Bailey added, “When you move to this global level, they may be going to a country they could eventually work within their career. These are things they will take with them, learning to be comfortable with discomfort. That alone is worth the trip.”

Granot said it’s important to know what one wants to do.

“Outline the aspects you’re seeking to gain from an MBA program and begin the process with a clear and driven mind,” he said. “Our most successful applicants are individuals who are eager to learn from our facility with real-world experience, who are seeking to expand their academic knowledge and professional network and can demonstrate why this program is essential for personal growth.”

Publisher’s note: Elad Granot is a member of the Cleveland Jewish Publication Company Board of Directors.

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