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Why MBAs In The US Are Best For Global Business Careers

Joining an MBA in the US means learning about business from the perspective of an economic powerhouse—here’s how business schools in the US can prepare you for a global career


Thu May 11 2023

The location of your MBA program matters if you want to pursue a global business career—whether this means working in a new country after graduating or joining an international corporation in your home country.

All facets of business demand knowledge of the global business sphere and an acute understanding of how to build relationships with international clients or target certain markets.

Attending a top MBA program in the US means gaining relevant managerial and leadership skills from the perspective of an established superpower on the world stage.

Here are some key reasons to attend a business school in the US if you want to pursue a truly global business career.

During an MBA in the US, you’ll be in the hub of international activity

Learning about global business in the US means being immersed in a country at the heart of world trade and investment.

Elko Klijn is an associate professor in the Department of Management at Old Dominion University (ODU) Strome College of Business. He designs the global business elements in the ODU Flexible MBA program and has research expertise in topics such as international business, corporate governance, and joint ventures.

“In the US, you’re in the hub of the majority of international activity,” he says, “so there’s no better place to learn about international business.”

Of course, the US is one of the largest economies in the world, with an estimated nominal GDP of around $20.49 trillion.

ODU is based in Norfolk, Virginia. One of its neighbors is the Port of Virginia—one of the largest ports in the US. 

The Hampton Roads region is a key area for maritime trade and transportation. 

You’ll learn the theory behind global business

There is a key difference between learning about business and learning about global business.

If you’re looking to launch a career at a multinational company, then you’ll need to know about the latter to succeed.

“The ODU MBA has global business at its very core,” Elko says.

In the ODU MBA program, students can learn about the technical side of global business in courses such as Global Macroeconomics and International Business Issues.

Meanwhile, the focus on international business is woven into core MBA courses such as marketing, strategy, and finance.

You can apply your knowledge of global business to real-world projects

There’s little value in learning about global business from the confines of the MBA classroom.

That’s why MBA courses integrate experiential learning opportunities, helping business school students graduate from the program ready to hit the ground running.

“What makes the ODU MBA distinct is that students get the opportunity to learn how to be proactive and entrepreneurial, which is key to working in global business,” Elko says.

Previous experiential projects have involved students advising boards of directors at companies in the Hampton Roads area, including a major wireless security system provider, on how to internationalize.

Such projects might involve researching and analyzing entry into new markets such as Europe, and then providing a report to the board.

“The experiential learning helps students learn how to make decisions for these clients,” Elko says.

Since many of the projects involve group work, students can learn to better understand cultural differences and become accustomed to working with others from diverse backgrounds.

Some MBA graduates have even found jobs at the companies they worked with during the ODU program.

You can learn from global faculty in an MBA in the US

Learning about global business matters tends to be more enriching when the course leaders have experience that spans beyond the US.

Elko himself is originally from the Netherlands and has experience working in the UK as well as the US.

There are also other faculty in the Department of Management with experience working across Asia, including China and Singapore.

Such faculty can offer insights into what it’s like to work in different regions and the cultural differences to be aware of in the business world.

You will be prepared for a global MBA career

It is important for students to learn about business beyond the domestic lens and this is no truer than in the US.

“The US is an economic powerhouse, but its businesses in the US primarily focus on market opportunities within the country itself—many people underestimate the opportunities of international business and trade,” Elko says.

“The ODU MBA is designed to help business leaders position themselves at the forefront of global business and respond to international opportunities,” he says.

The fact that eligible students with an F-1 visa can apply for the Optional Practical Training (OPT) visa—allowing students to stay in the US for 12-months after graduation—means that the US continues to be an attractive destination for international students.

In terms of the kind of careers students can land, Elko believes the ODU MBA opens an array of options.

Due to its proximity to a large military base in Norfolk, the ODU MBA has established itself as a military-friendly MBA program.* Previous graduates have used their transferrable skills from the military to land consulting roles at multinational firms such as Booz Allen Hamilton.

Other possible career routes for ODU MBA grads include financial manager, human resources manager, and logistics manager.

“An MBA makes you incredibly versatile and the skillset you gain from the ODU MBA positions you well for pursuing a global business career,” Elko says.

*International students are not permitted on US military bases for jobs / internships for security reasons.

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