Study Abroad

Pros and Cons of Earning an MBA Abroad

If you've got an MBA in your sights, consider earning it abroad. Learn about the pros and cons to understand how an overseas MBA can advance your career prospects.

Key Takeaways 🔑

Two women with headscarves look at a laptop outside.

A Master of Business Administration (MBA) can advance your career in a variety of ways. Although there are numerous business schools in the US that offer this advanced qualification, there are plenty of reputable and internationally-ranked MBA programs abroad. Earning an MBA overseas comes with a list of benefits but there are also some potential disadvantages. Learn about the pros and cons of studying your MBA abroad to make an informed decision about your educational future!

Read more: The Pros & Cons of Earning a Graduate Degree Abroad

Pros of earning an MBA abroad

Two Black women talk while sitting at a table.

Going abroad to earn your MBA seems like a win-win: get an advanced degree while living in a foreign country. Let’s look at the major pros.

Read more: Why & How to Earn a Graduate Degree Abroad

International networking

If your goal is to break into the world of international business, then earning an MBA abroad is a great place to start. Completing a graduate degree in another country will not only introduce ties to local businesses and professionals but to classmates from a wide range of backgrounds. Business, after all, is all about networking so an overseas MBA is a great place to start cultivating your professional network. According to a LinkedIn study, over 60% of professionals say that their network opens up more job opportunities. This can be your first step toward a new position after graduation.

Language learning

If you study outside of an English-speaking country, you’ll have priceless opportunities to learn another language. Even though English is a major language in the business world, Mandarin Chinese and German are close behind. Speaking more than one language opens doors for anyone, but being multilingual can be especially helpful for businesspeople.

Read more: The Pros and Cons of Learning a Language Abroad

Lower cost

Higher education costs aren’t cheap. Investopedia reports that students attending private universities for their MBA can easily rack up between $100,000 to $200,000 in debt over a two year period when factoring in tuition, books, and living costs. Going abroad to earn an MBA might just save you some money in addition to the other benefits. Below, we highlight some of the top countries for earning an MBA abroad and their average tuition costs.

A way to learn cultural practices in business

In the same vein as language skills, understanding the cultural practices of other countries boosts your value as a businessperson. Learning things like greetings and workplace norms will help ensure you avoid possible offensive behavior or speech. For example, business practices tend to be more formal in Germany than they are in the US. In China, business is often conducted during meals. If you earn your MBA abroad, you can experience and start to internalize these cultural and business practices firsthand.

Opportunities to work abroad after graduation

If you plan to relocate abroad for a longer period of time (or permanently!), doing an MBA in another country potentially gives you the right to stick around for a year or more after graduation. For example, graduates of master’s programs in Germany can extend their resident permit for up to 18 months after earning their degree. In the UK, graduates can stay up to two years. Those who find work during this period can usually ask their employer to sponsor them so that they can transition to a more permanent visa after the graduate scheme time limit is up.

Potential cons of earning an MBA abroad

Three students sit on stairs outside with a laptop.

Going abroad to study an MBA has a lot of perks, but depending on your personal circumstances and your goals, it may not be right for you. Take a peek at the potential cons to see if it fits into your advanced degree plan.

Miss out on networking in the US

While networking is a pro of earning an MBA abroad, it can also be a con depending on your goals. If you plan to return to the US after your studies to continue your career, you studies abroad could potentially stunt your further networking opportunities in your local area.

Different styles of teaching

If you attended university in the US for your undergraduate degree, you’ll be acquainted with the way most programs work. US university programs generally consist of lectures with your workload including exams, quizzes, projects, readings, and weekly assignments. Your final grade tends to be a combination of all of these items. Studying an MBA abroad will be different in every country. In the UK, for instance, MBA students will be expected to do a lot more independent study with fewer assignments due. This means you’ll have to be on top of time management, probably more so than you were in the US.

Hard to work locally if you don’t speak the language

When attending university abroad, most countries make it possible to work legally during your studies. Depending on where you study, jobs may require a certain level of fluency in the local language. If you pursue a part-time gig in the service industry, for example, you’ll definitely need to be able to speak to customers. If you don’t have conversational language skills, this will limit your opportunities to make some extra cash.

Read more: Can You Work While Studying Abroad?

Top countries to earn an MBA abroad

Although the top four MBA programs globally are located in the US, international options are not far behind. Other highly-ranked programs can be found in Germany, the UK, France, Spain, and Australia.


A city with a river running through it.

Tuition at top ranked business schools

  • Average monthly cost of living: $1,200-$1,800

Germany is Europe’s top economy making it a perfect place to earn your MBA. Germany is a student-friendly country that welcomes diversity and has notoriously low tuition for international students. MBA students will be right at home among the country’s numerous major multinational companies like Volkswagon, Allianz, and Siemens.

Read more: What You Need to Know Before Studying Abroad in Germany

The UK

An aerial view of the city of London with buildings and a river.

Tuition at top-ranked business schools

  • Average monthly cost of living: $1,600-$3,000

Ranked among the top financial cities in the world, London is a great destination for future MBA students. Although not the cheapest for both cost of living and tuition, London is brimming with multinational corporations including KPMG, Barclays, Deloitte, and PwC.

Outside of London, other top-ranked business schools are located in Oxford, Cambridge, Coventry, Manchester, and Edinburgh where the cost of living is a little more affordable.

Read more: What It's Really Like to Study Abroad in the UK


A city view of Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Tuition at top-ranked business schools

  • Average monthly cost of living: $1,400-$2,000

Whether you speak French or want to learn, studying for your MBA in France is a great option. Most major programs are taught entirely in English but living among local students and residents will give you plenty of opportunities to improve your language skills. If you’ve got your sights set on the City of Light, you’ll enjoy more than just the cultural and historical delights of Paris. It is also home to Europe’s largest business district, La Défense. Here you’ll find around 500 companies including 15 Fortune 500 businesses – perfect to get your foot in the door with the major players!

Read more: What to Know Before Studying Abroad in France


Large buildings on Gran Via in Madrid.

Tuition at top-ranked business schools

  • Average monthly cost of living: $1,100-$1,350

Spain may have a reputation as the land of sunshine and siestas but this country does mean business. Some of the world’s top MBA programs are located here and although the tuition fees are higher than in other locations, the cost of living is affordable. Spanish is also a global language, especially if you plan to work with other Spanish-speaking breakout economies in Latin America like Mexico, Venezuela, and Argentina.

Read more: 10 Do's & Don'ts When Studying Abroad in Spain


A beach with a city in the background.

Tuition at top-ranked business schools

  • Average monthly cost of living: $1,750-$3,000

Australia consistently ranks highly for quality of life, safety, and inclusivity. The Land Down Under is home to people from over 200 countries and is strategically located with business links to strong economies across Asia. Earning your MBA in Australia will also make it easier to ease into the English-speaking workplace while still offering international opportunities. Last but not least, if you love the outdoors and an active lifestyle, you’ll be right at home in Australia.

Read more: 13 Things to Know Before Studying in Australia

Advance your career with an MBA abroad

Two people shake hands at a business meeting.

Earning an MBA at an overseas university can have a big effect on advancing your career and earning potential. The new language skills, cultural awareness, and extensive international network you gain will be sure to wow any employer. After weighing the pros and cons, we hope you see that the benefits are numerous. Don’t wait, start your MBA abroad journey!