Business School Trends in 2015

The MBA degree continues to evolve, as more and more business schools expand their focus to include greater numbers of women, international opportunities and experiential learning requirements, and new formats like online degree programs and free MOOCs.

Current and prospective applicants always seem interested in the latest trends related to graduate management education. I recently spoke with John Dodig at the education website Noodle to talk about what’s going on in the world of MBA admissions these days, and want to share some excerpts from our conversation here.

You’ve talked about how “white spaces” — or the things between the listed items on someone’s resume — can convey just as important a story as the bullet points on a person’s MBA application. Do you think that your “white spaces” along the way are typical of someone with an MBA?

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I think a lot of people apply for MBA programs, and they kinda want to fit into one of four traditional types of jobs — like marketing, consulting, banking, entrepreneurship — and as time goes on, seeds are planted during the program. Whether it’s immediate or gradual, there are often a lot of twists and turns. So, in a way, it’s typical to have a lot of these twists and turns and to end up finding yourself. Yes, I would say I was typical in the sense that there isn’t really any typical.

Do you work with a lot of American students who are interested in going to business school abroad? Or, on the flip side, do you work with a lot of international students interested in studying in the U.S. for an MBA?

We do both, for sure. I would say probably there are more international students who want to come to the U.S. than the reverse, but we’re definitely placing plenty of Americans in international programs. And that is something that I think has grown a lot over the past 10 years — the growth of different types of programs, different options, and the increased popularity of programs outside the U.S.

Is there any big advice that you give to international students who want to come here for business school?

I think there can be challenging logistics for people who are coming from abroad to go to school in the U.S. In the beginning, things are a lot harder, ranging from financial aid, to finding housing, to overcoming some culture shock and finding their way. It’s very common for someone in the States to have friends in their class, you know, people they know from college, or just throughout life. But coming internationally, they may know no one. It can just be more challenging.

My advice would be, in the beginning, be realistic. Take it slow. Being careful and clearing all those hurdles can lead to a very, very rewarding experience.

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