Why is the English-speaking world so appealing for business education?
An MBA abroad could be the opportunity of a lifetime to experience a different culture, explore a new mindset and build a valuable network of international contacts. Myriads of programmes are offered all around the world. Still, there is something about Anglo-Saxon schools that makes them very appealing.
Getting your MBA in the English language is an incredible asset. The reasons are obvious: English is the language of the world, all around the world. It is also the language of business, law, commerce and innovation. But MBAs in English are taught everywhere, in Argentina, Spain, China and Japan, so you no longer need to go to an Anglo-Saxon country to have that angle covered.
What makes Anglo-Saxon schools so much more attractive, then?
From an anthropological point of view, Anglo-Saxon countries such as Great Britain, the US and Canada simply have a longer history of great education, including business education, and successful economies that have been prospering almost continuously for centuries. So they have had more time than many others to make the mistakes that younger economies are struggling with even now.
It seems natural then that the top ten B-schools in the global rankings are almost entirely from Anglo-Saxon countries, namely the US and the UK (with the notable exceptions of INSEAD of France and IESE or IE of Spain). The sheer body of success stories – academic, business and social achievements – produced by those schools is certain to guarantee a safe place for them among the global elite.
There is great variety and differentiation within the Anglo-Saxon higher education systems too, especially within the US, where it is difficult to follow any unified model among universities. Although the UK system is much more unified, there is still an apparent division between Oxford/Cambridge, the other old schools, and the new schools.
At the end of the day, it is the overall attitude to and understanding of education as a means to an international career and achieving global thinking that draws so many people in. That, coupled with the higher level of practicality of the knowledge compared to the rest of Europe, for example, where even business education could be quite theoretical, is what makes the English-speaking world so different. In addition and very importantly, it is the general and total acceptance of business and personal initiative in all of their forms that make Anglo-Saxons so successful in business, regardless of where in the world they work
But even giants are not immune to global developments. The economic crisis of 2008 hit the US harder than many other countries in the West. Europe too suffered a great slowdown in the economy, although the UK seemed to handle the crisis better than the rest. However, it is now safe to say that the worst has passed and the West has been getting back on its feet. Prospects are back in town. So in 2015 the most common piece of advice would be to “stay where you are”, especially if you are in the Anglo-Saxon world. With the US back on track, and Europe restoring its financial and manufacturing strength, along with the development of new technologies in IT, energy and agriculture, the West is a promising place to be.
However, let us focus on the English-speaking world.
The US, the birthplace of the MBA, remains one of the most popular targets for international students. It has a long history and tradition in business education, but it also benefits from the popular belief that an American degree opens the door to the lucrative US market and to the financial markets in Europe, China and Australia where American degrees, especially high-ranking ones, are greatly appreciated.
In addition to the prestige of US MBA degrees, students there really benefit from the state-of-the-art facilities, the flexible curricula, excellent networking opportunities, the general openness to and support of entrepreneurship, and the huge monolingual market, including Canada.
Crucially, MBA candidates and graduates alike often dream about a career at a large American-based multinational corporation, or on Wall Street. The American dream is a prime motivator for candidates to aim for the US, and rightly so.
Wherever the US is first in education, the UK usually follows closely. It is a natural choice for much of Europe, the Arab world, India, Hong Kong, China and Australia. It is safe to say that UK programmes are the most internationally diverse ones, with some classes reaching up to 90% international students.
Apart from being a great location in itself, the UK offers tremendous business opportunities. One of the mightiest former empires of the world, it has natural partnerships with dozens of countries throughout the world, which represent an extended network of open and viable markets for businesses and job-seekers. The UK is also a powerful shipping and manufacturing nation and a leader in energy technologies and innovation, as well as in agriculture.
Unsurprisingly, the UK is home to some of the most prestigious MBA programmes in the world.
But much like New York and Wall Street, London is also a magnet for business graduates because of its promise of personal wealth, encapsulated in the skyscrapers of the City of London. Just be careful not to overwork. Life in the City is not like “Sex and the City”.
Unlike any “well-developed” country in the Western hemisphere, Australia has just marked 23 consecutive years of GDP growth. Its economy remains untouched by the hiatus that the rest of the world found itself in until only recently.
Australia has been gaining in popularity in the past few years, together with Canada, for a number of reasons. It is an English-speaking country, outside the West. It is a gateway to Asia, thus offering students a truly global perspective, and it is in the Asia-Pacific region, home to the fastest growing economies at the moment.
Due to its long history of a strong economy, Australian employers are used to hiring MBAs, making the Australian job market one of the most competitive ones for top managers. That also means businesses are aware and supportive of MBAs, and actively participate in the programmes.
Although the climate is not exactly fun, Canada is expected to see a 16% growth in demand for MBA graduates. It is home to some of the largest companies in the world and many of them, particularly in the financial services, are keen to hire new MBA graduates. It is thus one of the few places in the West (and the English-speaking West) that offers excellent job opportunities for MBAs even now.
Many candidates make the mistake of choosing Canada thinking it is basically the same as the US Unlike the States, however, which are largely focused on themselves, Canada looks for business internationally. Europe is one of its most important targets, but also Asia.
Major industries are oil & gas, mining, manufacturing, agriculture and forestry.
Anglo-Saxon schools offer a wealth of knowledge and tradition in educating active and entrepreneurial business-people and industrialists. The Anglo-Saxon world is open to creative and innovative business solutions, has massive experience using the banking system, and has a truly global outreach.
This article has been produced by Advent Group and featured in the 2015-2016 Access MBA Guide