International MBAs Vs Domestic MBAs

international mba vs mba

The MBA continues be the most prestigious degree in business – and one of the most popular advanced degree in higher education. In 2016, some business schools saw MBA applications more than double their totals from 2006; the US News top 10 business schools received nearly 5,500 applications.

What explains this surge in popularity? First, return on investment. While upfront tuition costs can be expensive, MBAs dramatically increase salary potential and accelerate career advancement. Some programs boast a 10-year ROI as high as 250-325%, and many MBA graduates receive five-figure signing bonus (which can help offset student debt). On a related note, an MBA degree also offers career stability: every industry and every sector – public and private – need business professionals with technical expertise, leadership skills, and strategic insights. That means MBA graduates have career flexibility, too. Of course, business and finance are a popular landing zone for MBA grads, but many go on to careers in public policy, healthcare, information systems, and more.

With that in mind, most MBA programs include specialization opportunities, which allow students to complete a traditional MBA curriculum as well as specialized course work in an area of professional interest. Among the most popular of these is in International Business, which considers business management fundamentals – such as finance, marketing, human resources, and strategic management – in a global context.

Interested? Let’s compare the two to get a better idea which degree is the right fit for your needs. First, the traditional MBA.

Reasons to Earn a Traditional MBA

Despite the profusion of MBA specializations – which in addition to International Business include Supply Chain Management, Accounting, Entrepreneurship, and Real Estate – there’s a lot to be said for a traditional MBA degree.

One, it’s more than enough. MBA degrees already require a substantial amount of work, and very few employers expect specialized course work on top of MBA course work. (And some specialized MBA degrees do consist of additional credits.) Unless you’re sure a specialization will help your career, the traditional MBA can be a safer, more flexible bet that’s broadly applicable and might include better long-term career stability. Whereas specialization courses may change from year to year, particularly because they tend to emphasize technical skills, the MBA core is an established set of fundamental courses that companies which hire MBAs know and understand. Further, if you’d still like to introduce a customizable aspect to your MBA, you can select electives to round out the degree.

Sample MBA Core Courses

  • Managerial Economics
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Managerial Quantitative Analysis
  • Asset Valuation
  • Marketing Management
  • Production & Operations Management
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Business Communication
  • Business Strategy

Sample MBA Elective Courses

  • Business Innovation and Technology Management
  • Consulting
  • Corporate Finance
  • Corporate Strategy
  • Data Analytics
  • Digital Marketing
  • Global Finance & Emerging Markets
  • Global Supply Chain
  • Information Management and Analytics Technology

Reasons to Earn an MBA in International Business

For better or worse, we live in a globalized age, which includes global business activities. On the one hand, this presents enormous opportunities: emerging markets, foreign investments, multinational businesses, cross-cultural communications, and more. At the same time, challenges abound. How do we handle domestic and international policy issues? How do we bridge age-old cultural and socioeconomic barriers? How do we manage increasingly large, often cumbersome organizations?

These are pressing concerns, and the MBA in International Business addresses all of them. Paired with a rigorous core curriculum, International MBA graduates receive in-depth instruction from global leaders in business, policy, and strategy. Where a traditional MBA covers the standards, the International MBA’s multidisciplinary approach trains students to solve real-world business challenges using a variety of skills: from risk management to organizational leadership, critical thinking, and more. You’ll also gain first-hand experience as you go: many programs feature an immersive component that places students in a foreign country for certain modules of the degree.

The MBA in International Business is for students with a clear career plan, and if you know you want to help businesses navigate globalization, this could be the degree for you.

Sample MBA in International Business Courses

  • Global Strategic Management
  • Managing the Multinational Enterprise
  • Comparative Institutional Systems
  • Global Supply Chain
  • Global Finance
  • Global Marketing
  • Quantitative Methods
  • Managerial Accounting
  • Financial Accounting
  • Human Behavior and Organization
  • Operations Management

Job Prospects and Salary for MBA Graduates (Either Track)

According to US News, the average salary for 2016 MBA graduates was just under $130,000. At topanked business schools, 2016 graduates earned between $150,000 and $160,000.

Keep in mind, that’s recent MBA graduates. Over the course of their career, MBA graduates can expect to enjoy significant salary advantages over non-MBA graduates.

Most important, job prospects continue to be high. Per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, business and financial jobs are projected to grow 10% over the next decade, faster than the average for all occupations, adding about 774,000 new jobs. Management occupations – the jobs most MBA graduates have – are projected to increase 8% over the same time period, resulting in over 800,000 new jobs.

However you chalk it up, MBA and International MBA grads have excellent job prospects and broad career flexibility. For anyone interested in business, international or domestic, both will put you in a position to succeed; it’s a matter of doing your homework to determine which one works best.