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Why Study Abroad? International Master's Students Give 5 Key Reasons

Thinking of studying your master’s degree abroad? These five international students share their reasons for deciding to apply to international programs

Tue Apr 16 2024

Studying a master’s abroad presents an exciting opportunity to learn new skills, discover alternate career paths, and make lifelong friends. But deciding where to go can also be a challenge. 

After all, there are tons of factors to consider. From the subject material, to the cost, to the location, it can be hard to pinpoint what exactly makes the right program for you—or even, which course elements you want to prioritize. 

A good way to start is asking yourself exactly what it is you want to get out of the program. Are you looking to reskill? To make connections? To launch an industry-specific career? Or are you more about creating memorable new experiences? 

To find out, we asked master’s students currently studying at top business schools exactly why they chose their international programs. Here’s what they said:

Why study abroad for your master’s?

1. To experience living somewhere new

One major appeal of going abroad for your master’s is the chance to engage with a whole other lifestyle and culture.  c09e065c80960c8a4114b2d6f7a72b01ca5b9610.jpg

It’s what attracted South African student, Keenan Fourie (pictured right), who chose to study a Master in Accounting at HEC Paris not only for its strong reputation in accounting and finance, but also the opportunity it presented for him to experience life in another country. 

“Being from South Africa, I had the dream of living and working in France and I knew that HEC would take me one step closer to achieving it,” he says. 

While on the program, he has been able to connect with top companies across Europe, including McKinsey in Paris and AB InBev in Belgium—further cementing his dream of establishing a career overseas. 

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2. To gain international experiences 

Of course, it’s not always necessary to move abroad for your master’s to gain international experiences and connections.  73246131b408050cc9df3f56cc50ecb4094c6a77.jpg

For Matthew Donnelly (pictured right), who studied his undergrad in Ireland, one of the most attractive aspects of the University College of Dublin (UCD) Master in International Management (CEMS) program was the opportunity it presented to study abroad for a semester.

“I wanted to continue my studies in a course that had an international outlook, and I found that at the CEMS program at UCD,” Matthew says. 

One of his program highlights is the term he spent studying in Cologne, Germany, which allowed him to work on projects with a diverse range of people. Students can also study in a range of different locations, including the US and Japan. 

3. To access greater career opportunities

If you’re looking to go down a specific career path, it’s important to look at schools that offer connections to your desired industry. 5cc5ab4632e19c61f3c2b186a5cc93e06f06d445.jpg

US-born Natasha Jourdan (pictured right) was convinced to study an MSc in International Luxury at ESSCA School of Management based on the school’s strong links to famous fashion brands such as Louis Vuitton, Chanel, and L’Oreal. 

“ESSCA's program offered an opportunity within the internship part of the program for global exposure and international networking. Also, graduates of the ESSCA MSc in Luxury Marketing have strong prospects for employment in the luxury industry,” she says. 

4. To broaden your skillset

No matter which master’s program you aim to choose—be it in accounting, marketing, or business analytics—it’s a good idea to make sure the curriculum will provide you with a wide skillset.  adb053efb26da56dcf3ec2e65569ec7b668abcf9.jpg

For Katherine Villalobos (pictured right), who is now studying a Master in Finance at London Business School, it was important that she would have the opportunity to tailor her degree to her specific needs—especially since she was travelling all the way from Costa Rica. 

“When I was choosing which Master’s in Finance that I wanted to join, I took into account which one will not only give me the technical skills that I was looking for, but also where I could grow my leadership and soft skills. And I think that the huge range of electives that LBS offers [gave me] that opportunity,” she says. 

5. To experience a different teaching style

Different schools can use a variety of teaching methods, so it’s important to understand which approaches best suit your needs. 1891fd6a7d229eda12a214eda0919c1e0566c253.jpg

Given that Swiss national Severin Hasler studied international relations on his undergraduate degree, it was crucial for him to find a program that would cover the managerial basics, as well as one that incorporated a more hands-on teaching style. Fortunately, he found this in the Master in Management at Rotterdam School of Management. 

“I really enjoy the Dutch education system as it is a lot more interactive than what I am used to. Instead of one big exam at the end of the semester it is usually a continuous assessment of your knowledge through different individual and group assignments,” he says.

From making friends across the globe, to finding new job opportunities, studying abroad for your master’s degree can be a great move for your future career.