European applicants have a lot to consider when applying to business school. Should they stay in Europe or go abroad? Should they pursue a one-year or two-year degree? Many members of Fuqua’s European Club (myself included) were grappling with these very questions when applying to MBA programs. We’ve put together a few pieces of advice for prospective students, and we hope this information will be helpful as you consider this next step in your life and career.
1. There are some key benefits to studying in the U.S.
“MBA programs in the U.S. attract a very diverse group of people from around the world with different experiences and backgrounds. All of this diversity is brought to the class discussion. I wanted to learn from classmates that have different experiences and perspectives on problem-solving.” – Matea Ferk, Croatia
“Business schools in the U.S. have a reputation for being the best in regards to the academics and resources available to students. When I was looking at MBAs both in Europe and in the U.S., I felt that the U.S. schools provided a more immersive experience that encourages your growth both professionally as well as personally.” – Federico del Bono, Italy
“I had the experience of studying abroad through Erasmus before and knew I wanted to experience studying in another country again. Additionally, U.S. schools are always ranked highest globally and have unbeatable networks and brand names.” – Fiona Cruickshank, U.K.
2. A two-year degree can benefit your career and network.
“My job before the MBA was different—regarding its industry, function and geographical location—than what I wanted to do after graduation. Because of my desire to shift careers, I felt that a two-year MBA would provide me with a unique opportunity. I could intern for the summer, proving to my future employer that although my work experience prior to the MBA wasn’t as relevant, I was able to fulfill and excel in a new job function, in a new industry, and in a new country! It is a much smaller risk for employers to hire you as a summer intern than for a full-time role.” – Federico
“I wanted a two-year program to enable me not only to do an internship and try something different but also get involved in different clubs and activities and explore my interests. I am an ‘industry switcher’ so I wanted the opportunity to have an internship to try something completely different and still have my second year to cement my direction and career decisions.” – Fiona
“Business school is an incredible experience. I wanted it to be longer, not shorter. I wanted to develop new skills, build new relationships, and find a new job. I didn’t want to rush through it.” – Saule Agdauletova, Russia
“I believe the two-year program is an essential part of the MBA experience. The extra time allows for considerably more opportunities to fulfill goals, take on challenges, and build relationships.” – Ben Phillips, U.K.
3. Consider the values of the community you want to join.
“I came to Fuqua mainly because of Team Fuqua and the supportive community, and it exceeded my expectations.” – Matea
“The maturity and open-mindedness that students show on a daily basis never ceases to impress me.” – Ben
“I love the ethos here. You hear all about Team Fuqua, and that is undoubtedly true and evident throughout all you do here. For me though, this encompasses so many intangibles above and beyond everyone looking out for and helping each other (which they do!). Our faculty is funny, relatable, and approachable—we laugh a lot in class and I’ve found my professors want to know you, chat with you, and help you. That surprised me and it’s such an underrated but important part of the ‘feel’ of learning here.” – Fiona
4. Location will impact your MBA experience, so decide what matters to you.
“I have never been bored here! There are so many things to do.” – Saule
“What surprised me the most about Durham was the variety of activities you have only a short drive from campus. If you are like me, and you have always lived in big cities, don’t discard Duke just because it’s not in a big city. I almost made this mistake, luckily I didn’t, and trust me, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me!” – Federico
“Durham has been one of the more surprising things about coming to Fuqua. I thought it was a small town and wouldn’t necessarily have great shops, restaurants and a variety of activities. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It is way bigger than I thought and there is literally everything you’d want here, from amazing nature and outdoor scenery to great bars and restaurants, great malls—even axe throwing!” – Fiona
5. Get connected with schools that interest you.
“I would advise applicants to reach out to current students or alumni to understand more about the school, the benefits of the two-year MBA program, and how it can accelerate your career.” – Matea
“Connect with the Europeans at Fuqua for honest advice and perspectives.” – Fiona
“Talk to as many people as you can, and find out as much as you can before applying. I made my decision to come to Fuqua after visiting for Blue Devil Weekend. I would highly recommend making the effort to visit as you won’t regret it.” – Ben