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MBA Jobs: Students Look Abroad For Fast-Growth Careers

By taking a risk and moving abroad, MBA graduates can gain employment opportunities in fast-growing markets and regions which offer greater leadership roles.

Tue Dec 9 2014

Ole Rodland’s view from the Fornebu area of Oslo, Norway, frames a cold expanse with a whiff of snow in the air. The Nordic scene at Accenture’s Norwegian base is a long way from Lyon, the city in eastern France where Ole mustered ambitions to broaden his horizons. The strategist will be hoping for a white Christmas.

“I have never worked in Norway before and I am a new hire at Accenture, so there is still a lot to learn,” says Ole, a graduate of EMLYON, the French business school. “Our cohort was a diverse group with 17 nationalities and even more professions,” he adds. “Their insights and experiences enriched the learning experience.”

Ole is one of a growing number of MBA students who are looking abroad for their post-graduation careers.  

The US, UK and Europe were long the first-choice education destinations for business students but Nordic regions such as Norway, Asian cities Singapore, Beijing and Shanghai, and the Middle East and countries in Africa are increasingly appealing to MBA graduates.

By taking a risk and moving abroad, they can gain employment opportunities in fast-growing markets and regions which offer greater leadership roles. In big European cities job markets are crowded and living expenses high. But further afield, managers are often lacking and business offers unique cultural challenges.

It is something that many students have ambitions to do, but which sometimes get lost in transition from one career path to the next.

But they are finding a value in overcoming obstacles by living overseas. "Yet it is precisely such skills that are increasingly required by global companies competing in a rapidly changing environment.”

No longer the preserve of a few, international MBA recruiting is being seen across a wide array of industries and global regions.

Bain & Company, the management consultancy, hires MBAs for its Asia Pacific offices in Japan, Korea and China, to name but a few locations.

General Electric, the American conglomerate, has rotational programs across regions including southeast Asia.

Financial services companies such as American Express and technology groups Amazon and Infosys also offer global mobility to MBA students.

“The world’s your oyster at Infosys. We have offices all over the world,” says Julia McDonald, head of talent acquisition for EMEA.

In Mexico, Sandra Valdes is working for Sensata Technologies in the global automotive industry. She began an MBA at MIP Politecnico di Milano in Italy but soon realized she wanted to launch an international career. “It was time for an update,” she says.

“The atmosphere was perfect to learn in – an international class and a mix of professional backgrounds,” says Sandra.

A growing number of HR managers in the Asia Pacific region, Latin America and the Middle East are now informed about MBA education. This is particularly true of businesses in the Gulf.

“They are always looking for managers that do not just have technical abilities but also all-round leadership, and professional soft skills,” says Michael Lu, global vice president at Hult International Business School, which has a campus in Dubai.

“This is especially true for a place like Dubai, where there is a large percentage of expats mixed with locals in the private sector,” Michael says.

Like many business schools, Hult has established campuses abroad to develop closer ties between its students and businesses overseas.

Others have moved into China, such as Audencia Nantes of Europe, which teaches an MBA and other courses with two Beijing-based universities – the Beijing Institute of Technology and Tsinghua University.

Shanghai in particular is emerging as a careers cluster. Bobby Huang, a former research analyst at RCI Capital Group in Canada, banked on the Chinese city to move out of financial services. 
After joining the Master of Finance program at the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance he soon found a career at Deloitte, the leading professional services group. 
"The international experience broadened my thinking, allowing me to look at problems from a different perspective," says Bobby, who graduated in 2013.
"The MF degree has definitely prepared me to start a career in consulting. We have practiced every possible skill required for any real-life working scenario at SAIF," he says. "This has provided tremendous benefits."

Global employment opportunities are also the product of new clusters of business schools in regions including Africa and Latin America, which are growing in popularity.

In 2002 only four Latin American business schools were internationally accredited, for example – but today there are 17, says María de Lourdes Dieck Assad, dean of Mexico’s EGADE Business School.

Philip Kotler, professor of international marketing at Kellogg School of Management in the US, says: “Emerging market economies are showing a higher rate of growth that the mature markets of the west and Japan. 

“A maxim in marketing says: go where the growth is. If you don't choose to work in China or India, chose one of the 10 ASEAN countries which are showing very high growth and opportunity.”

For Ole in Norway, EMLYON made sense for pursuing a global career. Among other reasons, he chose the French business school for an MBA because of its wide international network. “The group had a great dynamic and the atmosphere was electric at times,” he says.

On landing a job at Accenture in Oslo, he adds: “The MBA was a door opener for me.”

Student Reviews

emlyon business school




On Campus

Intense courses, helpful professors

I am an international student in my 3rd year and I love going to this school and do not regret chosing it for my BBA. The classes are helpful, professors are always there to help as well and we have a very understanding administration.




On Campus

Leadership in an amazing city

I decided to do my exchange in Emlyon because I wanted to get out of my comfort zone, and I found a space with very capable People.. participatory, empathetic and full of leadership. I will never forget Lyon, apart from giving me an unforgettable experience, he gave me great friends




On Campus

A lot of opportunities professionally and socially. A unique program in France.

You can choose your courses and do your internship, exchange whenever you want. It's flexible and adapted to the needs of each student. A great program and a great city! Professionally, it opens a lot of doors for you to find internships or jobs in France or abroad thanks to the network and career events.




MSc in Digital Marketing

Combining both worlds into one, this course gave me all the on-demand technical skills in data science while maintaining a business-oriented approach. Thanks to the strong academic profile of this university I was able to secure an internship and full-time job at Amazon.




Top Business School fostering innovative entrepreneurs

EMLyon is one of the best business schools. The campuses, associations and courses offered provide the students with the best options to build the future they have chosen. The various opportunities to study and work abroad also offer a deeper understanding of the world, not only economy-wise but social, which helps the student become as well a better individual and not only a pre-formated business school student.




Emlyon campus in Paris

It has a great international community and you have access to many international tools, courses and professors. I had many networking events and workshops for students. Campus and some details of the program could have been improved or need to be bigger in order to have a better student life.




On Campus


Overall good content and good activities. Lack of administration but still ok. Good flexibility and liberty offered to the students. Finally, the amount of internship is also a good way to improve qualifications.




Good Reputation and International Business School

The course was not well adapted but it was up to the mark. The professors are very well experienced and their experience comes in handy while working on assignments. The facilities on the campus are top class. Truly professional. I really like spending time in the learning hub and using all the available resources. Lyon is an amazing city. You will never get bored.




On Campus

MSc International Hospitality Management

The best educational experience of my life so far! It’s been full of exposure and great connections. From Lyon to London, Paris, Los Angeles and Las Vegas! Truly an exceptional way to discover the world of hospitality.




On Campus

Real networking opportunities

- meeting new people, specially professionals during seminars or evening meeting at school. - going abroad to study luxury - being involved as an ambassador to promote the school and the program I was into (MSc LMM) - having such a great professional core




On Campus

white baccalaureate in the world of work

I really appreciated the MS SDAI as a whole. The teaching staff, the different subjects, the university exchange, TEM... I started my internship in a consulting firm having acquired a solid foundation. Downside for CentraleSupélec, which I found far too academic for a program such as this.