An MBA offers the opportunity to challenge yourself in an academic setting while making connections and broadening your cultural awareness. When it comes to applying for jobs after graduation, having those three letters on your resume can have a huge impact on your prospects.
So, what’s the impact of studying an MBA across multiple business schools?
At Asia School of Business, MBA students gain the opportunity to spend up to three-weeks of their studies in the US, undertaking an immersion period at the prestigious MIT Sloan School of Management. Come graduation, they have a further option to enroll at MIT Sloan in a nine-month STEM-designated Master in Management Studies (MSMS).
To find out how studying across two continents at top global business schools makes for a unique experience, BusinessBecause caught up with Idris Kamaruddin, a graduate of both the ASB MBA and MIT Sloan MSMS, and Blessing Odiaka Afakwu, a current ASB MBA student.
A more in-depth academic challenge
Graduating from an MBA shows employers you’ve overcome a highly rigorous academic challenge. Boasting a prestigious business school on your resume can therefore have a large influence on hiring managers during recruitment.
Not only does studying across two business schools provide extra weight on your resume, it also offers you another environment within which to challenge yourself and continue your development.
Blessing (pictured) undertook her MIT Immersion period earlier this year. Taking place over just a matter of weeks, she says it brought a large change of pace to her studies.
“ASB gives you a ramp up period to adjust to the environment, but MIT was a huge rush with a lot of information in a very short time.
“MIT was more pressured, there was more competition and more expectations from you as a business school student,” she adds.
Studying in different environments meant Blessing was able to learn about key business theories within different contexts and case studies. This helped to enhance her skills and gain a more comprehensive understanding of business fundamentals, which was one of her key goals when enrolling in the program after spending the majority of her career in engineering.
“I wanted to transition beyond purely technical areas to business management, more towards thinking about business from a strategic, financial point of view,” she says.
“It’s given me the opportunity to learn new skills that I have not learned before, particularly in economics, finance, accounting, and innovation.”
Experience diverse cultural environments
Equally important in your development during an MBA is the impact of life in a new environment. When living and studying across two countries, each home to different cultural nuances, this makes for an even more diverse experience.
For Idris Kamaruddin (pictured), this was a key reason behind choosing to stay on after his MBA degree and enroll in the MSMS program at MIT. He’d spent time in both Malaysia and the US before applying for his MBA, but was keen to build on these experiences.
“It’s a great cultural experience, in terms of food, location, sightseeing, different types of weather, all of these kinds of things,” he explains. “It allowed me to appreciate the intricacies of different cultures that I maybe wasn’t aware of before.”
Both ASB and MIT incorporate a variety of team-based tasks and group projects into the curriculums, encouraging students to work alongside and learn from one another. Learning within a diverse classroom—the current ASB MBA cohort comprises a highly diverse classroom of international students—made this a powerful experience for Idris.
“You get to experience very different viewpoints and get great exposure to different groups of people,” he adds. ”Everyone has their own viewpoint to add in class discussion and it was just very refreshing.”
Now, having graduated from both ASB and MIT, Idris can rely on a widespread, highly diverse network of former classmates and professors, as well as industry experts he engaged with while studying.
“It opens a lot of doors—not just doors to job opportunities, but doors to access information or resources or even if I ever want to travel anywhere.”
Access a variety of career opportunities
Both Idris and Blessing enrolled in the ASB MBA to take the next step in their career journeys. They were attracted to the variety of career opportunities offered within the program, which is built upon the MIT motto ‘mind and hand’ and therefore prioritizes experiential learning.
All ASB students get the chance to spend valuable time outside of the classroom within the Action Learning journey that runs throughout the curriculum.
An Industry Trek sees them spend time in a new country, working with business leaders and experiencing local cultures. A Business Practicum tasks teams of students to work with companies to solve their key business issues, while teams of students also undertake three-week projects within various locations in Asia and hosted by top companies.
Similar opportunities are available when students travel to the US: Idris was able to spend a period of his MIT studies working on a project with McKinsey & Company, one of the Big Three consulting firms.
“It gives you a flavor of different industries,” he explains. “It allowed me to understand what I wanted to do and what I didn’t want to do, so it helped me to steer in the right direction.”
Today, Idris works within a strategic role as a senior associate at Gallagher Re, one of the world’s largest insurance brokers.
For Blessing, the chance to gain practical experience and explore different career paths has been similarly valuable. She enrolled in the program without a clear post-MBA career in mind. Excited to continue exploring, she now feels confident she will be able to succeed after she graduates in 2024.
“It just makes you more confident that you can solve problems and that you do have value and can actually make a difference in the world,” she explains.
“If you are someone who wants to know what it feels like to just explore everything, I think this program is great, it’s a route that allows you to learn and grow.”