What have you been told about applying to business school? With the advent of chat rooms, blogs, and forums, armchair “experts” often unintentionally propagate MBA admissions myths, which can linger and undermine an applicant’s confidence. Some applicants are led to believe that schools want a specific “type” of candidate and expect certain GRE scores and GPAs, for example. Others are led to believe that they need to know alumni from their target schools and/or get a letter of reference from the CEO of their firm in order to get in. In this series, mbaMission debunks these and other myths and strives to take the anxiety out of the admissions process.
In the past, we have addressed the prevailing MBA admissions myth that a “right” professional path exists for applicants to follow. Just as there is no ideal position to have pre-MBA, there is no ideal life experience either. International experience, for example, is not a prerequisite for admission to top programs, so a lack of international experience does not suddenly disqualify you.
One could fairly say that admissions officers want a geographically and experientially diverse class and that most MBA candidates these days have some international exposure, either through travel or work. However, keep in mind that international experience is not limited to physically being out of the country. If you are dealing with suppliers abroad or running a weekly conference call with a team in another country—even if you are an American dealing with this from the United States or an Indian managing these tasks from India—you still have international experience.
However, even if you are an American working for a U.S. company with a U.S.-based product or service and U.S.-based customers—as unlikely as that is these days—you are not applying with one hand tied behind your back. Again, there is no checklist at the Admissions Office. If you have not had the personal resources or the professional opportunities to gain international experience, you can still become a business leader—the two are not mutually exclusive. So, like all candidates, you will need to explain to the MBA admissions committee how your degree will help you achieve your dreams. Gaining an international education and international experience through your MBA may just be a crucial step in reaching your goals. 📝
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