overseas MBA UK/ USA This year more than 100,000 professionals of all ages will embark on MBA programmes at business schools across the world and a growing proportion will elect to study, not in their home country but overseas. In India, despite the development of major schools such as IIM and ASB, the tradition of studying abroad, particularly in the USA or Europe, is widely accepted but, if you are considering a move overseas, how do you decide which of these locations will suit you best?With its reputation as the home of management education – the MBA was ‘invented’ at the Tuck school in New Hampshire well over a century ago – the USA has long been a major draw for Indian students. However, its attraction has been undermined since 2001 due to the tightening of immigration regulations and the cap placed on visas for skilled workers from overseas which has reduced the likelihood of finding work in the country at the end of an MBA programme. Even though there are now strong signs of a change in attitudes to immigration in the US, as shown by the recent announcement of a near doubling of H1B skilled worker visa numbers, the difficult environment of the past few years has pushed many potential MBAs towards study in Europe. And, as these students graduate and spread the word about European programmes within India, the trend looks set to continue. A number of leading European schools are actively trying to accelerate the flow of students form India by instituting targeted scholarships. Insead in France for example has the Louis Vuitton award for Indian nationals worth up to €20,000, while the UK’s London Business School has its Indian Annual Fund scholarship worth up to £10,000. MBA at Grenoble School of Management in France, studying in Europe has its own particular set of advantages. “Unlike US programmes, most of the European MBAs only last one year, which means you are out of the workplace for less time, something that becomes increasingly important, the more experienced you are,” he says. “Class sizes in Europe also tend to be small, which means that you get a lot of individual attention from professors and lots of interaction with your fellow students. The student body also tends to be more diverse, both in terms of years of experience and national and ethnic background than in the USA.” This view that Europe recruits internationally diverse classes is backed up by statistics from many of the schools on the continent. Reims in France, for example, draws its student body from 27 countries, Solvay in Belgium from 30 and IESE in Spain from as many as 55. And while this can deliver benefits during the programme itself, it can also plug graduates into an international network that will provide support, advice and business opportunities throughout their career. The alumni association of Spain’s IE-Instituto de Empresa, for example, has members in 85 countries, while that of Manchester in the UK covers more than 130. The international nature and actual length of programmes in Europe are also deciding factors for Indian students, students , who opted for the MBA programme at Cass Business School in the UK. “didn’t want to take two years off, which would have been the case to study in the US or India. students are attracted to the UK because it would enable them to see business from an international rather than purely domestic perspective – something that is crucial given the unstoppable advance of globalisation.” For others, Europe has more to offer than just a business education. According to students , currently on the MBA programme at HHL in Leipzig, Germany, “ decision to study for an MBA in Europe was based on fascination for European languages. they wanted much more than an MBA degree, and living here in Germany has helped them get an inside view of the language, to see things that one would probably not understand in a language class back home. Then of course there’s the cultural beauty of the whole region. With monuments dating back to pre-Roman times, there’s a lot to see and learn. And if you have some free time, a weekend is all it takes to visit anywhere from Spain to Greece.” Aspiring MBAs will get the opportunity to meet admissions officers from both Europe and the USA when the World MBA Tour, the largest programme of business school information events visits India in July.