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More Americans going abroad for b-school?

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More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2008, 20:50
Just reading this article from Bweek - http://www.businessweek.com/globalbiz/c ... 188160.htm

in particular this paragraph caught my eye.

Economic and Geographic Diversity
The international mix of students at European schools also attracts applicants. Just 14% of 188 full-time MBA students at HEC-Paris, one of France's elite grandes écoles, are French, and just 5% of 215 full-time MBA students at Oxford hail from Great Britain—figures typical of top European programs. By contrast, 63% of the 900-strong MBA class at Harvard Business School and 55% of Wharton's 800 MBA students are American.



Any reason why the US schools are less diverse than the top European ones? Any reasons why Americans are less likely to be interested in being international than Europeans?
One reason I am assuming is because Europe is comprised of so many different overlty diverse cultures that it becomes second nature to be more curious about how other countries tick. There doesn't appear to be the same opportunity within the US to experience the extremes in diversity, therefore it hasn't evolved into the general American psyche.
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2008, 22:08
I am suspecting that the 55% for Wharton does not include green card holders (who are essentially American).

It should be approx 60%+ Americans for W. I have yet to see a top US school with over 40% internationals.
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 31 Mar 2008, 22:36
It's hard to say this or that is the reason why Americans stay in the US to pursue their degrees, but from my perspective, I think it comes down to a couple factors:

1) The teaching style/methodology/quality -- I participated in a business-exhange program to the University of Scotland and although the experience and education was excellent, the teaching style and approach to homework, papers, etc. were different from what I was used to. This would be one of my key concerns about pursuing my MBA overseas. I grew up under the standard US education system and college system so that's what I'm comfortable/familiar with.

2) Brand name/Credibility -- We all know about Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, etc... but we (Americans) probably don't know as much about some of the overseas schools unless we go out and dig for it and research the programs. Sure I've heard of HEC, LBS, etc. but if I'm going to work in America for a big company I'd feel more confident that the brand name (H/S/W) would go a LONG way. Not saying overseas schools cannot help Americans in this regard, but just generally speaking. Lastly, most likely Americans will end up working in America where these US schools will go further.

I think in the end it just comes down to job opportunities. Since most Americans (with top MBAs) will end up working for a large American company (most likely in America too), it just makes practical sense to get a degree from a US institution that has deep connections in America. Smaller companies also may not know just how competitive an MBA from HEC would stack up to an MBA from a top US program -- that, and the fact that the company probably does not have many employees holding HEC MBAs, etc.
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2008, 03:03
Great Topic Toga.

Although schools in Europe generally tell that they are more diversified than their USA peers, from my experience at both MIT and GSB ad weekend, I felt that people usually underestimate the diversity of a continental country such as USA (myself included) which was built form many different cultures. I come from a country with very similar diversity.

The point is that many “Americans” - hey we from south America are Americans too :P – are from second or third generations from families which migrated from European and Asian Countries, and many of that people still follow some traditions, speak languages and either have behaviours of their families’ culture. The melting of many cultures brings as much diversity as citizenship in my point of view. One thing is to say that a school have lots of citizenships in its student body, but I believe that diversity does not depend only in citizenship.

It is true though that the language diversity is much more explored at European Schools; nevertheless, even at schools in France and Spain the first language is English, and from my experience, students from USA schools (even internationals) have better English than their peers from European ones. I believe that the requirement for English at US schools is generally stricter than in Europe (please don’t take me wrong here).

In a nutshell, I believe that diversity is different from variety of citizenships.
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2008, 05:07
Going by citizenship Europe will be always be more diverse. Open work visa rules for schengen countries allows for more immigration and diversity by citizenship. Also smaller population of France/UK is also a limiting factor for number of students from each country. It would be interesting to see the number of Western Europe students in European schools.
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2008, 13:44
Toga, while I applaud you for always bringing the international aspect into our discussions, but asking why American schools do not have the "diversity" of countries compared to Europe is like asking why most people living in China are Chinese. :P

If you compare land area and population, the US is pretty much comparable to all of Europe (not including Russia). The difference is, there are like 20-30 countries in that same area. If you want to be a top business school in Europe, you HAVE to have great students from every country, whereas in the US, they can gather the top quality people with mostly Americans. But even then, 30-40% international students at most top b-schools here is nothing to laugh about, considering what others said, MOST people want to work for companies in the US afterwards. However you want to look at it, the MBA is an American creation and the US, while in lots of trouble right now, is still one of the economic powerhouses in the world.

EDIT: I concede, HEC Paris is pretty well balanced between all the continents, with about 25-30% European, 20% Asian and 20% Indian, and about 20-30% American (North and South).

But like kwam said, even if they're all "Americans", someone like me would not be the same as someone like terry12. Both of us are born and raised "American", but heavily influence by our native cultures. Add that to others who have 1st gen parents from various countries in Europe, Asia, and South America, and add the African American population in, it is quite a "diverse" setting here that is not really replicated anywhere else.

I would agree that most Americans would not be as interested in exploring the "extreme diversities" or be very curious about other countries out there, probably because we're so isolated on our own continent and have been a "superpower" for so many generations that the general psyche is not to really look "out" that much.

I think there's a balance somewhere in the middle between the European model and the US model, and most top schools are really ramping up their international offerings (with a long ways to go), so the trend is good.

With that said, even for a person who likes to experience "extreme diversity" (sounds like an ESPN X-Games type sport), I would not go abroad for my B-school education because I want to do business mainly in the US, somewhere that I'm familiar with, before branching out internationally. If I don't even want to go abroad, and I consider myself pretty "adventurous" for an American, then I doubt others would be that willing. :)
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 01 Apr 2008, 17:10
substantiating on kryzak's point:
if you lump together all europeans into one basket like all americans are then the number of countries represented in the student body at european schools would be pretty similar to the american schools. I would say that most european schools have about 30-40% europeans. Most european schools I have researched say they have about 40 different nationalities. How many of them would be Europeans!!!!! I think this is a good area to research.
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2008, 02:11
i suppose the key area to study (if you are looking at cultural diversity) is to see how diverse different states are as opposed to different countries in Europe.
Also as a counterpoint to different nationalities within the States, the same can be said of Western Europe. The colonial era, has evolved into a population where people from many different countries now also live inside them (Look at the Dutch, English and French national soccer teams).

There are 2.3 million British of Asian descent (Asians in the UK = India, Pakisatan, Bangladesh)
0.5 million from Far east descent (my demographic) etc. etc.

Anyway, the primary discussion point I am interested in is why there is less interest in looking abroad as opposed to Europeans which i think Kryzak explains quite wel. One thing i noticed whenever I have visited N.America, is the distinct lack of world news as opposed to other countries. It seems a lot more internally focused than other countries I have been to (Japan is quite similar, in terms of its media). The influence of the media is a factor which impacts multinational awareness.

It will be interesting to see how and if the focus of MBA students will change in the long term considering the growing economic powerhouses of India and China (see also Brazil and Russia). An interesting thing happening is the outsourcing of factory work from China to Vietnam, and the evolution from basic manufatcuring to advanced manufacturing in China... follwing on from the manufactuting evolution in Japan, Taiwan, S.Korea and Singapore. Whereas the traditional service industries are increasingly outsourced to India and Bangladesh, it has left the financial services in the hands of the West.

A question to as is will finance be relocated as well?

One are that is strong in the West is its innovation culture (see Silicon Valley in the USA and Cambridge and the M4 corridor in the UK)
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2008, 10:54
togafoot wrote:
i suppose the key area to study (if you are looking at cultural diversity) is to see how diverse different states are as opposed to different countries in Europe.
Also as a counterpoint to different nationalities within the States, the same can be said of Western Europe. The colonial era, has evolved into a population where people from many different countries now also live inside them (Look at the Dutch, English and French national soccer teams).


Actually, it's not really fair to compare a country that's only 200 years old and formed by "expansion" than a continent that's thousands of years old. The states are not that "diverse" from each other because they're generally made from similar people expanding westward from the 13 colonies. General regions may be different like the West Coast versus the South, but you will never find the same "diversity" between states as you do between countries in Europe. With that said, even with the populations of people living in different colonial countries that are not traditional "French" or "English", that population is relatively small in those countries. Looking at a national soccer team to see the "diversity" is like saying the NBA basketball teams represent the amount of African Americans in the US or the amount of Asians in the UC System represents the number of Asians in the US. :) I think few countries in the world can claim the amount of non-caucasian/European Descent people within a country like the US. Most countries are pretty mono-ethnic. In the US, caucasians will soon drop below 50% with the increase in hispanics (from all over Latin America), Asians, and African Americans. How many countries can claim that?

But like you said, that's not really the point of this thread. The US does need to have more world news and world awareness, I fully agree. it's the curse of a superpower I guess, which like you said, is similar to Japan's case. With business growing more and more global each day, the US will be left behind if it doesn't start looking more globally. I do think the b-schools are aware of this and are putting quite a bit of effort into expanding and improving their international curriculum. :)
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Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school? [#permalink] New post 02 Apr 2008, 15:11
another factor which could accelerate the evolution of US B-school curriculums will be the results of their students placement into industry if this downturn lasts. Moreover it could have an impact on where people apply if Elite International b-schools are less impacted in their placements because of the differing economic situations as potential students clamour to become more employable.

(NB: The reference to national soccer teams was an example that there are many people of different ethnicities in those respective countries rather than a representative view of the population).
Re: More Americans going abroad for b-school?   [#permalink] 02 Apr 2008, 15:11
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