From OUR EDITORIAL STAFF we have been looking for the opinions (also the feelings) of different experiences that postgraduate students have had. It is something interesting for us to learn about, both future Business Schools students and the administrators and managers of these educational institutions. Undoubtedly, they are also very necessary inputs for the teaching staff of the schools, because it often happens that not everything that is said about the experiences of students is something that is so clear.
Although there are prestigious media that have identified the name of a former student, we are not going to do it. But we have collected some information that will become totally anonymous, both in terms of names and educational institutions, not countries or cities.
The choice of Saint Petersburg responds to a very good demand that the postgraduate student has imposed
In the case of a graduate who chose Saint Petersburg, he stated that he was always curious to get out of the usual paths taken by postgraduate students, referring to the fact that the usual destinations are the United Kingdom and the United States, preferably. This graduate indicated that many of his friends and family chose destinations that are often chosen, as is the case of the British capital London. And this case in particular shows a special interest in breaking with this custom and opening up to places he had not been before, in order to get out of his comfort zone and see how things are done in different countries. But also, this graduate student had a general interest in Russian culture, language and people. He was informed that Saint Petersburg is stunningly beautiful, and that the institution he was going to attend had an excellent reputation. This graduate especially highlighted that foreigners have an advantage which means that they can manage to get a place (student place) financed by the government, which is what he did, so he did not have to pay for his study program.
One factor he has pointed out is that the political situation between Russia and Europe is not always easy, so in all sincerity (this is his particular position) he believes that in this way he helps build bridges instead of burning them, in addition to importance that cultural exchange represents for him (as for almost all international postgraduate students).
From Australia to Copenhagen
Another case is that of an Australian student who studied in Copenhagen, Denmark. The first thing she is asked is what is the advice that she would give to people who are considering studying an MBA abroad?
She, already a graduate, says it very simply: “my advice is to reflect on why you want to do it. Whether it’s building your business toolbox, developing your professional network, changing industries or jobs, or moving to a new country, it’s important to reflect on your goal so you can focus on what matters to you throughout the MBA” .
Without a doubt, this interview leaves us with some very interesting pearls, since it is making technical learning (the toolbox that is undoubtedly a reality in any self-respecting MBA) compatible with the construction of a professional network, which has implications for your personal and professional development after the course, whether in the company where you work looking for a promotion or simply looking for a new job. She gives a lot of value to this matter of studying internationally, precisely to accelerate these processes of professional networks and improvements in jobs, as well as salary, because in fact it happens.
It also indicates that this year of a student’s choice ends up being very busy, so having your goals clear is key to achieving them. And this case is one of the many postgraduate students who take this choice very seriously, they thoroughly investigate which are the most suitable schools and countries based on their personal desires and especially the type of specialty they are looking for. There are reasons that lead to study an MBA in a certain country that are strictly cultural, as an experience that prevails over the very essence of the postgraduate course. This is also something that this graduate has pointed out and from what we have researched, it occurs in a large percentage.
Because they look at the subjects that the chosen program consists of, in which, as this graduate says, she paid special attention to the leadership and personal development programs. But she says that you also have to consider all those additional elements that are part of the experience, such as accommodation, transportation, cost of living, etc. For this reason, he suggests investigating in detail all the practical aspects that become part of this exchange, starting with the location of the school, all the elements that make up the total cost of doing the course and living in that country, and the duration of the program. In this case, she prioritized a few schools she wanted to apply to and sent out the applications. And she says it very eloquently: “you have an exciting journey ahead of you”.
From the United States to the heart of Europe: Belgium
Another respondent is a US citizen who has studied in Belgium. Logically, being in the heart of Europe (because of being the capital of the EU) is something that seduces many students. In this case, what this graduate did is move two months before she started her MBA, in order to adapt to a new society and culture, look for a job and start with calm and concentration. But the remarkable thing about this experience is that she says that she was immediately able to apply the new knowledge that she was acquiring in the MBA in her new job. Obviously this excites anyone. For her, this possibility of automatically implementing a large part of the new knowledge acquired in her job became a clear advantage for her subsequent professional development.
But it is also very interesting the experience that this graduate student recounts, which can serve as inspiration for thousands of cases of Spanish students who are currently considering this possibility. What she highlights as a very important value for her CV are the following factors:
-Thanks to this MBA that she had a clear financial specialization, it led her to study the company’s annual reports (her new job) and take a closer look at them.
-Also for other subjects that were part of the program, led her to interview colleagues from different departments (always in the new company) to understand and analyze the approach that the management was applying.
– Also, as a public affairs leader, it was critical for her to gain a deep understanding of her new company.
-The success of her function (in her new role) was based on in-depth knowledge of the business and close collaboration across many departments, including regulatory, commercial, operations and research functions.
It is evident that she demonstrated to have a theoretical and practical capacity to be able to apply in a very short period of time the knowledge and experiences that she was acquiring in the MBA. Of course, the inputs she received from the teachers in charge of the subjects came into play here, the works that had to be presented, the exchange of information and knowledge plus experiences with other MBA colleagues and especially, the other exchange of experiences and training with their colleagues in the company. She says that her MBA enabled her to connect and collaborate cross-functionally in a more meaningful way across geographies and departments.
From Colombia, South America to Germany
Another case of great interest is that of a Colombian student who did her postgraduate studies in Germany. And she is tremendously clear about the question that the pollsters asked her about what and how has the MBA helped her in her career?
Her response is forceful: “it has really changed my career”.
She had been working for two years in the Colombian Stock Exchange, and once she decided to take the international step, now one thing is very clear: that the MBA has changed the idea she previously had of having a successful future working in a large and well-known company. What is the reason for this way of thinking? Because the MBA and the experience in Germany have taught her that there are tons of opportunities to build a successful career by being innovative and focusing on responsibility.
She highlights an aspect that seems extremely important to us for those who aspire to grow personally and professionally, to be in a position to become new leaders. And this is because in her case (it may be that of thousands of postgraduate students) that she became aware with this experience that it was capable of generating an impact on her life and her development. Because she believes that this personal and professional development begins right now with the will to be a new leader for the more or less immediate future, depending on other circumstances that also concur.
She believes that you have to start doing something in the present and understand that it’s not just about growing in a big company, but about building and helping small businesses grow.
From Switzerland to France
Finally, the case of a Swiss student who decided to study in France, and who points out as something that surprised him about the MBA and that is a fact that not everyone refers to: how calm people are in a business school.
It is obvious (this graduate points out) that there is an exceptional environment (we would say exquisite) in terms of experiences, knowledge, clashes of cultures, learning what multiculturalism means and acting in multidisciplinary teams. This experience can only be comparable, and in part, to when you are working in a multinational company and the candidate is assigned to another country with a middle management responsibility.
He believes that what happens is that these international experiences to study an MBA abroad become a real source of business for the student, both in the place where he is and when he returns to her country of origin.
One fact that is the best feature of this way of learning is that this graduate said that the surprise for him was that in this course there were 34 participants, from 17 countries, and they all had different positions and executive backgrounds. Very enriching.
Most of the people had fairly important positions, since their companies paid for the program. It was interesting for him as it opened his eyes and he is glad he did.