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留学必读:Global Experience: What Schools Want  

2016-12-06 01:44:35|  分类: DIY留学综合信息 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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留学必读:Global Experience: What Schools Want


BY: CAROLINE DIARTE EDWARDS ON MARCH 17, 2016

Caroline Diarte Edwards. Caroline is a Director at Fortuna Admissions, a prominent MBA admissions consulting firm, and former Director of MBA Admissions at INSEAD. Fortuna is composed of former Directors and Associate Directors of Admissions at many of the world’s best business schools.

 

 

More and more MBA programs are emphasizing the value of international experience in applicant profiles. Substantial international experience can help candidates distinguish themselves in the applicant pool for any business school, from the M7 to the top programs in Europe and Asia. However for an increasing number of schools, such experience is virtually a requirement. INSEAD, London Business School, IMD, Oxford, Cambridge, and HEC Paris all emphasize the importance of a “global mindset” and “international exposure.”

As Director of Admissions at INSEAD for seven years, I saw some candidates who unfortunately failed to convey the extent of their international exposure, or failed to communicate effectively what they had gained from their experience and how this would translate into a valuable contribution to the MBA community. Capturing and leveraging this experience is an integral part of our work with many of our clients at Fortuna Admissions. So what exactly are schools looking for, and how do you know if you’ve got what it takes?

What counts as international experience?

International experience that may be relevant to your business school application could include:

  • Periods spent studying or working abroad – from a few weeks, to years
  • Growing up in another country or other countries
  • Short-stay business trips abroad for meetings or training
  • Working for a multinational where you are exposed to international business
  • Working with clients in different countries or with cross-cultural teams
  • Vacation trips if there is some element of challenge, learning or community engagement (e.g. 2 weeks helping to build a school in rural India, a month studying Japanese in Tokyo, or even an extended backpacking trip).

Why does international experience matter?

Demonstrating “fit” – Schools want to make sure you will fit into the school culture. European/international schools attract a heavily international student body, as do schools such as Columbia in the heart of New York, and international experience will help you be sensitive to the range of the social norms and tendencies of diverse cultures.  This ability to mesh well socially with international crowds will also serve you well on the recruitment front.  It is increasingly apparent that to be successful in high-level business environments, you need to be able to communicate successfully with people from different countries and cultures.

Building a broader perspective – International experience helps you diversify your skill-set and broaden your perspective.  You’ll have a deeper understanding of how business trends and behaviors vary in different markets. MBA classrooms emphasize the exchange of ideas and the importance of building tight-knit learning communities. Since community-learning experiences are enriched by diverse backgrounds, international experience can bring tremendous value to the classroom.

Developing transferable skills – In addition to a broadened perspective, spending time outside your home country will help you build a spate of useful and transferable skills and traits: maturity, independence, initiative, communication skills, adaptability, and the ability to empathize with people from different backgrounds. These skills will help strengthen your connections and friendships in the business world, whether you’re in your home market or abroad, and will help you operate effectively across different organizations.

How do schools evaluate international experience?

Schools will look at your international experience stats, including the total length of time spent outside your home country, and the range and diversity of countries you’ve spent time in.  For example, as a US citizen, a year spent studying in China will carry much more weight with the admissions office than a year in Canada.

More importantly, beyond the tally of time abroad and countries and continents visited, schools are curious about what you gained from your experiences. You may have extensive exposure to foreign territories, but what wisdom can you impart about your time there?  How will your experience be an asset in the classroom? What insights can you share with your fellow students? You could drop two Americans in New Delhi for a week, and one would come home with tales of terrible traffic and weird foods, and the other would be talking about the juxtaposition of tremendous wealth and grinding poverty, and the impact of the caste system on work place relationships. Schools are evidently interested in candidates who have the most meaningful insights to share.

What if I haven’t spent much time abroad?

While it’s difficult to get accepted into top international schools such as INSEAD and LBS without significant international exposure, the schools also recognize that not everyone has had travel opportunities, and the admissions committees will cut some slack especially for candidates from a modest background or an emerging economy.

 

If your international experience is lacking, there are other ways to impress these schools.

Highlight international teamwork – Emphasize the diversity within your office and organization. If you work on an international team, with international colleagues or you work virtually with colleagues or clients abroad, describe what you learned from these experiences and how they helped shift and enhance your perspective.

Highlight depth of experience – If you’ve spent even minimal time abroad, convey the depth of this experience. Sometimes, even short experiences can significantly deepen your knowledge about and insight into another culture. For instance, you may have had to quickly improve your language skills, or deal with a very challenging situation that was completely outside your comfort zone. Show that you have the qualities that will make you competitive in international markets: adaptability, flexibility, curiosity about other cultures, ability to adapt your communication style to your audience or culture, and good listening skills.

Highlight cumulative experience – One of our recent clients at Fortuna Admissions was concerned that he could not point to a lengthy period abroad. However, when he added up the total time he had spent on frequent business trips outside his home country, it came to well over a year. Try to quantify your total time spent abroad, and don’t underestimate the value of the international exposure you may have accumulated over the years.

Show international ambition – Remember to show that you are excited and motivated to further your understanding of international business. Communicate a clear vision of your career goals and be sure to incorporate an international element. Lastly, detail how being a part of a very international alumni network will be relevant to you. Convince the admissions committee that you want to work in an international market, and you’re ready to start making the connections now to ensure that that happens.

While having an international perspective may be a hygiene factor for candidates applying to international schools, it can also be a great asset for candidates looking for a way to stand out in the applicant pool for any highly competitive MBA program. (See also How to Stand Out in the Application Pile). Top schools such as HBS and GSB emphasize heavily the value of diversity and bringing a unique and innovative perspective to the classroom. Highlighting the broadened perspective you have gained from your international experience can be a great way of conveying the unique value of the insights you can bring to the school’s learning community.

 

 

以上内容摘自:

http://poetsandquants.com/2016/03/17/international-experience-schools-want/

 

 

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