Graduate-level education is tough going – no matter where or what you choose to study. And, it costs money (regardless of where or what degree you pursue). So, if you’re planning to head back to university, why would you go somewhere new? Wouldn’t that make it harder and more expensive?
Perhaps it’s better to look at the return on investment rather than the difficulties and costs.
Adding an international component to your graduate-level education is likely to increase your investment (in your future) in innumerable ways. You’ll grow and change (which everyone expects), but you’ll also become more appealing to your prospective employers (a serious bonus). And, depending on your circumstances, you may pay less while learning more (who knew?).
Employers find international experience incomparable
Employers across the globe are looking for international experience and cultural awareness. They don’t want the same solutions; they want people that can make changes and adapt quickly. Employers want to know that their people can work as diverse teams and communicate across the globe.
It’s something an international master’s degree can offer, as Rohan, a British MBA candidate at Georgetown University, believes.
“In the world we live in today, business is conducted on a global scale. Advancements in technology have made the world a lot smaller, and grad school opens the door to thinking globally.”
Major international firms certainly want to see these skills, but smaller employers need them too.
And master’s grads overseas find another (not so hidden) employment benefit when applying for jobs – they can choose to return home or remain in their host country (as long as visas are in place). That effectively doubles employment opportunities before even considering new territories.
An international education demonstrates to employers that you’re mobile and upwardly so. They want employees and company leaders that can adapt and adjust.
With new perspective comes the ability to make decisions and ask new questions
If you’re anything like Rohan, a year into your studies, you’ll be able to look back and see a definite, positive change.
"I am more confident in my abilities to make the right decisions and lead teams in executing projects. This culmination of change can be attributed to the multi-cultural and diverse mix of classmates that I interact with on a daily basis.”
You'll be challenged as soon as you step outside your home country. And, you will learn from it. At times, it will be tough, but you become a better you, able to accept new challenges and create new possibilities.
You can chalk it up to personal growth, but these are skills that any employer (or entrepreneur) demands in business too. Figuring out where to shop for groceries in Singapore or how to deal with a visa issue in France may not seem like the development of soft skills, but they are.
And then there are increased communication skills. Even if you study in English, and it’s your mother tongue, you’ll have to figure out new expressions and develop simpler ways to communicate your message – without offending anyone. That’s an almost priceless skill in any language.
When the language of instruction and the local language aren’t what you speak at home, you’ll quickly realise the benefits of speaking more than one language – something employers already know.
Why wouldn’t you consider studying your master’s abroad?
You might believe there’s no way to save that kind of money as Dan Edoma, an MBA candidate at IE Business School thought. Coming from Uganda, he never dreamed he would attend an international programme.
“Applying to graduate school back then had one major limitation, financing the entire postgraduate plus the high cost of living abroad. In addition to financial constraints, inadequate information about top graduate schools is problematic.”
No one is going to tell you that an international master’s education is cheap. It’s not. But, it is an investment, and it is possible to find the finances to make those dreams come true.
As Dan discovered, it might be less exhausting than you think.
“Financing a graduate school has been made easier today, and there are quite a number of options that prospective applicants can look into: school-based scholarships, external scholarships, and student loans. These options have made graduate school education more accessible and more affordable to many people, particularly international students.”
And, there’s a reason so many organisations are willing to jump on board with finances and scholarships. An international master’s degree is valuable – especially when the same opportunities don’t exist in your home country (and, often, even when they do). The return on investment from an international graduate degree is impressive – even if the programme doesn’t land in the top ten on ranking lists. Your future income and abilities multiply exponentially with the experience.
And it’s worth it. You can ask anyone, including Rohan. He recommends getting “out of your comfort zone and take on everything that’s thrown at you. It’s definitely a work hard/play hard environment that will ultimately benefit you in ways that you never thought possible!”
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