Choosing the best international Master of Business Administration (MBA) program may include a combination of objective factors such as program expense and test score requirements as well as subjective factors such as a student’s personal fit with what the program has to offer, whether or not classes can be taken online and what areas of specialization are offered. In addition, the ranking or prestige of the school, geographic location and length of the program may influence decisions on which international MBA program an individual student may choose.
As business has become increasingly more global and the pace of further globalization is projected to accelerate in the future, international MBA programs have adapted to meet the demand for business leaders whose knowledge and expertise extend beyond national borders. Many international schools are making curriculum changes to international MBA programs to become more international, multidisciplinary and cross-functional. When choosing an international MBA program, students should take into consideration what areas of focus are offered. Considerations may include what foreign language specialties are offered, whether the program includes a study-abroad option and whether the program has connections to offer internship assistance.
When choosing an international MBA program, university accreditation and reputation may be important considerations. The business job market is competitive, and graduating from a well-respected international MBA program may afford a student an advantage over other job candidates.
Several sources rank international MBA programs, including business magazines, news reports and financial reporting companies. Ranking criteria vary, but tend to include factors such as average salaries of graduates, overall test scores of the students and student satisfaction surveys. These sources are readily available through a quick Internet search. Some resources offer alternatives to those factors as well. For example, the Aspen Institute Center for Business Education in the United States publishes a “Green MBA” ranking, which evaluates a school's attention to social, environmental and ethical concerns addressed in business school programs.
Although international MBA programs may differ in terms of curriculum or area of focus, some programs tend to emphasize, excel in or favor one functional area of business over another. Functional business areas studied in an international MBA program may include accounting, communications, finance, information systems, marketing and operations. Researching programs that offer a specialization in a student's area of interest can be an important consideration when choosing the best program.
Geographic location of international MBA programs may also be tied to the length of the program. American-style international MBAs tend to be 2-year, full-time programs, while programs in other areas of the world tend to be 1-year, full-time programs. Other options include part-time MBAs, executive MBAs, accelerated MBAs and online programs, all of which may be completed while working and are geared toward students who work while completing their studies.