An International Master’s at home is an option worth considering as it offers many of the benefits associated with studying abroad.
Let’s say you want a career in an international environment and you’ve already decided to continue your higher education by pursuing a postgraduate degree. You are left wondering whether to study abroad or in your home country. Now, let’s say you’d rather stay close to your family and friends and never experience the feeling of homesickness. In that case, you may want to consider pursuing an International Masters degree in your home country taught in English.
Studying in English
Nowadays, everybody knows some English. But if you strive for a career in an international organisation, either in the business or non-profit sector, “some English” certainly will not be enough. You must be proficient.
As a student in an international Masters class in your home country, you will be required to communicate in English with your teachers and peers. Studying in English will significantly improve your language skills, enrich your vocabulary, help you better express your opinion, and enable you to communicate with ease in any international environment. Interacting and engaging with the international students in your class will also give you confidence in your ability to use the language, whether in a test, socially, or in the business world.
“English gives you transferable skills. You learn to write and express yourself well and learn communication skills,” says Eleanor Spencer, an MA graduate from Durham University in the UK. Expressing yourself freely in English will, no doubt, improve your chances of securing your desired job.
International Masters at home - a win-win situation
The jobs of the globalised future will not only require a good command of English, but also the ability to communicate effectively within an English-speaking work environment. An International Masters class usually brings together students of various nationalities, and as part of such a class you will be exposed to a diverse blend of cultures. Indeed, you will be part of a mix of so-called “local” and “international” students. The situation in which you will find yourself in would be similar to that of studying abroad, the difference being that you belong to the “home” team as opposed to the “international” group.
However, the experience will be largely the same if you adopt a mindset of curiosity and academic exploration. You might feel more comfortable because you will be at home, but that will not make classes and assignments any less challenging. And that’s a good thing. The value of the education that you will be getting will still be the same.
Irrespective of whether you are a local or a foreign student, you will still benefit from the professional expertise, intercultural exposure, and enhanced career opportunities that studying for an International Masters degree entails. The skills and knowledge passed by the programme are equally valuable to local and international graduates.
This is the strength of the International Masters programme – the ability to enhance your personal and professional profile through diverse cultural and academic learning.
During the programme’s various courses, classmates are often required to work in teams for projects, theses, or research papers. Thus, apart from developing their ability to work together, students also build intercultural competence.
And exactly herein lies one of the biggest advantages of any international Masters programme - intercultural exposure. The international Masters gives you the opportunity to promote cultural understanding and, through intercultural exposure, enrich your personality.
“We have a lot of nationalities in the programme, so you have to get used to working with people from different counties, from different cultures, from different rhythms, and this is something that you need to learn if you want to work in an international environment. International management is about complexity, and to manage complexity you have to really see the big picture. If you don’t see the big picture, you simply find the problems and not the decisions, so it is all about understanding how to manage complexity,” says Marc Vilanova, Academic Director of the Masters in International Management programme at Spain’s ESADE Business School. To put things in perspective, ESADE’s in International Management Class of 2015-2016 comprises 180 participants from 28 nationalities, of whom 90% are international students. This means that 10% of the students have decided to pursue an International Masters in their home country.
Check out: Pursuing a Masters Degree in Europe
In giving you exposure to foreign cultures, International Masters programmes equip you with the tools necessary to optimise cross-cultural interactions. They enhance your ability to understand and communicate with people from other countries, giving you a competitive edge in the future job market. Communicating with classmates from a foreign country will help you better adapt to new people, new situations and, subsequently, to new work environments once you graduate and land your desired job.
Better career opportunities
Becoming proficient in English, enriching your personality by getting in touch with various cultures, and acquiring advanced professional expertise are all advantages offered by International Masters programmes. But your vastly improved career outlook is arguably the most prized asset that you will obtain from the degree.
The simple fact that you have gone for the bigger challenge of studying in a complex programme taught in a foreign language already demonstrates to future employers that you are willing to go the extra mile in order to achieve more. It shows ambition and determination. Many students don’t have much to show in the way of work experience upon graduation, and every little bit helps when it comes to landing that first or second job. Having studied for an International Masters degree in your home country will position you one step ahead of a candidate with a similar profile who has opted for a degree taught in his or her native tongue.
“I decided to choose the Masters in European Business (MEB) programme when I was looking for an International Masters programme in business characterised by a strong practical approach. The MEB was the most attractive opportunity in terms of studying in a highly international environment and at an institution with an excellent reputation. The programme looked bound to help lay the foundation for an international career. I gained valuable insights into business and also learned a lot about different cultures and their distinguishing features. This programme was an important step forward for both my future career and for my personality,” says Ricardo Schaitanow (German), Masters in European Business (MEB) Class of 2014, ESCP Europe. He studied in Moscow and Berlin.
An international Masters programme allows you see a case, a problem, or a situation from a global perspective, which is invaluable for those looking for a job that requires strategic thinking. Seeing a problem from a global point of view may lead you to a completely different conclusion than seeing the same problem from a local perspective. Being able to see a case from many angles means that you can rely on a range of problem-solving approaches and make the best of any situation.
This article is original content produced by Advent Group and included in the 2016-2017 annual Access MBA, EMBA and Masters Guide under the title “Home Is Where the Master’s Is.”