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Why More MBA Students Are Staying Local

With COVID-19 disrupting international travel, more MBA students are considering business schools closer to home. We speak to three MBA graduates to find out the advantages of studying local

Mon Oct 26 2020


The coronavirus pandemic has turned business education on its head. Restrictions on international travel, socially-distanced classrooms, and economic instability have thrown up new challenges for would-be candidates. 

In this environment, many business school candidates are reconsidering international study, and choosing an MBA in their local area. Going local removes the obstacle of international travel and allows you to reconnect with—and give back to—your local community. 

To find out why so many students are considering this option, and what it’s like to complete an MBA close to home, BusinessBecause caught up with three business school alumni who did just that.

“You really feel ingrained in the community”


Chelsea Gardner began her career in Chicago, but when the time was right for business school, she knew she wanted to return home.

Born in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and raised nearby in Pittsboro, Chelsea remained in state for her undergraduate degree at North Carolina State University, but left to join Edelman, a marketing and communications firm, when she graduated.

“Going to Chicago was my first big adult move—from a small town to a huge city,” she explains with a laugh. 

During her three year stint with Edelman, Chelsea worked in pharmaceutical communications, which soon piqued her interest in the industry. Going to business school had always been on the cards, and with her new found career goal of moving into healthcare, now was the ideal time.

She decided to return home, enrolling on the full-time MBA program at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.

Studying close to home meant she could spend more time with her family, and focus fully on the program in a quiet, familiar setting.