Whether you decide to work first for a few years or immediately try to improve your knowledge and skills before looking for a job, studying after the undergraduate level is a decision to be taken very carefully.
Who needs to do a Master’s or MBA abroad? First of all, not everyone needs it, and for several reasons. There are jobs such as doctor lawyer or in science-related sectors where additional training is a must; there is no choice because the knowledge to be acquired is broad and it requires time to master it.
There are other jobs and industry fields where post-graduate education is a booster for a great career, but not an immediate “must-do”.
Most of the time, in fact, a good MBA or a Master’s degree course, especially in Business Administration or Marketing, requires at least 2-3 years of full-time work experience in the field, before thinking of applying. This is because a post-graduate course is not always (depending on the country where you intend to study) “theory based”; most of the time it is “practice based” and very much professional.
When choosing a Master’s degree or an MBA abroad the first thing to consider is if you really need it and why.
Do you need it because after a few years of working, it is time to increase your possibility of landing managerial positions at work? Do you want to open your own business? Do you need an upgrade to your studies after some time? Or alternatively, do you feel you lack practical preparation to step directly into a job after your first degree? All these are good reasons, but of course you will find yours.
If you are convinced that you want to attend an MBA or Master’s degree course, here are the most important decisions to make.
When? Where? What?
Do thorough research or ask for professional consultancy. The first step is to check which is the field of study you like, in which country, and possibly in which city or area such courses are available. This will make the choice much easier. Some of the most popular countries we in Italy advise for students for their Master's or MBA abroad are the UK and the US, but also Canada, China and the Scandinavian countries.
Look for the universities and business schools that offer the course you are looking for, and then rank them in terms of results, reputation, costs, course contents, length and requisites.
Prerequisites for admission are the most important factor. No matter how wonderful the course you selected and the university delivering it, if you do not meet the admissions requirements, it is not worth dreaming of it. Then, you have two realistic choices: giving up and choosing another course on which you have more chance of being offered a place; or working in advance to meet the admissions requirements.
Plan in advance
First check if you are required to have a specific certificate or exam result. Study in advance and plan to pass the required exams on time. Do you have to submit a dissertation on a specific subject or have some work experience? Do this first, and postpone the Master’s degree or MBA application until you are ready.
Master a language
Usually a common prerequisite is language proficiency, and this is not something that can be achieved last-minute. Languages need time to be mastered, so if you are, let’s say, at the intermediate level of proficiency, you have to consider at least 6-7 months, if not longer, of intense study (maybe even abroad) to become fluent in the language.
Work experience and placement
Master's degrees in some countries include some months of work placement, offered by companies partnering with the university. In some cases, especially for students that lack work experience, this is a valuable way of having not just an additional qualification but also being able to enrich your CV with practical work experience.
Costs and finances
Studying for a Master’s degree or an MBA abroad, especially in some countries, can be very expensive. For this reason, it is important not only to check the fees required for the post-graduate degree programme which you selected, but also the additional costs such as living expenses, books, accommodation, personal expenses, travelling back home from time to time, visa issues related to the possibility of working while studying, and so on. Make a clear plan and write it down. It can be disheartening, but it is important to be realistic about this aspect. You do not want to give up after a few months because you cannot afford to study any more, or need to ask for additional loans from banks and relatives.
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Scholarships are every student’s dream. It often takes a good amount of research and effort to find and to obtain one, but it is important not to give up, and to keep looking for additional information. Check out whether the university or business school offers any merit scholarships or financial assistance. What are the conditions and requirements? What about the application process and deadlines?
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Recognition of your qualifications
Especially if you come from another country or you plan to work in a country other than the one issuing the qualification, it is important to check its value and reputation in the industry you want to work in, and in the country of your preference. Each educational system is different and there is nothing like a universal mutual recognition scheme. You must carefully check whether your credits and qualifications are transferable to the country where you would like to move afterwards.
Still confused about which course to take? Our experts are happy to assist you to find the most suitable course of study for your career goal. Check out our website and blog in Italian and contact us at our office in Rome.