The advantages of studying abroad are known to all – in terms of overall personality & career development and job opportunities abroad. In the last few years, the multi-location study abroad programs are gaining good popularity, especially those looking at to pursue business studies, or rather the Non-STEM programs.
Business school students are no longer willing to settle for programs in one country, especially at the undergraduate level. Students are now seeking programs that incorporate longer study abroad programs, international exchange programs and internships in foreign countries. There are also such multi-city business programs at the graduate level (MiM & MBA). However, this trend is particularly attracting the students at the Bachelor level.
The trend of the multi-location study abroad program has been primarily prompted by the globalized nature of the business and the growth of emerging markets.
Employers value graduates with international exposure. So, students feel that they need to immerse themselves in different cultures to secure job offers.
Another reason is the business schools’ never-ending quests to further diversify their classes with as many nationalities and cultures as possible.
We recently got in touch with Sayantan Banerjee (from Gurgaon, India) to get first-hand feedback of such multi-location study programs. Sayantan recently finished his World Bachelor in Business program from USC Marshall, HKUST, and Bocconi University.
Sayantan is currently enjoying his break after graduation. Soon he is going to join PwC in the US. I met Sayantan and his family last Sunday over a cup of coffee. We talked about the program, his experience as an international undergraduate student in the US, Hong Kong, and Italy, and the job opportunities abroad.
I believe this article will provide a good understanding of the multi-location programs to the prospective undergraduate students (and parents). After all, this happens to be my 150th article on Stoodnt.
Multi-Location Business Studies after Class 12
Study Abroad Experience of Sayantan Banerjee – USC Marshall, HKUST & Bocconi University Graduate
Could you please provide a general outline of your UG program?
In the World Bachelor in Business (WBB) program, a cohort of 45 students from across the globe study at three highly regarded business schools, each in a major economic and cultural zone. At the end of four years, students have completed the required coursework for all three universities, earning a bachelor’s degree from each institution.
In the first year, we took general education classes such as philosophy, social studies, and business communications. The second-year we dived deeper into business with economics, maths, accounting, and operations. The third-year we studied Law, global history and continued with corporate finance. The fourth-year we took classes on business strategy and ethics.
Learn more about the WBB Curriculum.
Why did you choose the USC program? Why did you think it would be better to pursue a Business program abroad rather than in India? Was there any particular reason for the decision?
I chose the program due to the immersive experience it gave me in 3 cities in 3 continents, and also because of the 3 degrees. Employment opportunities abroad were my primary driver to pursue my education abroad, along with the exposure of immersing myself in unfamiliar territory, living far away from home. I thought that would help me develop as a person better.
What’s your general feedback on the program? Would you like to share any particular experience during the program?
The feedback has been very good from students, parents, employers, and professors. This is a pioneering setup in the world of higher education and what started off as an experiment has paid off well.
The program gave me the opportunity to go on business trips in Argentina and Japan which, along with competitions in Hong Kong and the Netherlands were a highlight of my program.
What’s your feedback on studying abroad at the undergraduate level?
Positive and enriching – if you want it to be that way!
It really is about extracting as much possible from this rare opportunity provided to you.
Did you face any challenges abroad on the personal front (home-sickness, food/cooking, weather, financial crunch, different education system, safety, discrimination or anything else)?
Not lying or hiding here, but I faced no such major challenge that I can recall right now.
How tough was it to adjust to three different environments (or cultures) during the program?
A little bit, but nothing impossible. The challenges lay in the food, adjusting to the weather, language, along with the local students. Within a couple of months, it is easy to adjust in my opinion.
According to you, what are the advantages and disadvantages of attending such multi-location programs?
Advantages – exposure to multiple cultures, learning about business practices of three regions, language competency, employment mobility, enjoyment.
Disadvantages – moving home every year can be painful, saying goodbye to friends made in that city, and lack of club and society opportunities.
Any difference(s) that you would like to point out in studying in the USA vs Europe (Italy) vs Hong Kong?
Europe and Hong Kong tend to be more academic-focused and stress more on rote learning than the USA. Student-Professor interaction is the best in the USA as well. Subjects can get very technical in Europe whereas exams are really tough in Hong Kong.
How was your experience with the job-hunting process in the US as an International Student? Do you think that it’s hard for international students to find a job in the US, especially after studying Non-STEM degree and in the midst of recent changes in the visa & immigration policies?
Not the easiest, but not impossible!
Yes, it is a little tougher as a non-STEM student, but the student has to put in the effort to attend campus fairs and apply to as many places as possible. It is important to utilize the resources of the career office.
Would like to give any suggestions/advice to the students who are looking at to study abroad after Class 12?
Start early; it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Focus on academics, especially school exams. Be genuine in your essays, SOP & letters and do not lie or exaggerate facts. Take the help of online websites; there is a lot to guide you.
Few Important Excerpts from the Conversation with Sayantan’s Parents
The current job market in the US is a little hard for international students who are pursuing non-STEM degrees at the undergraduate level.
In Sayantan’s batch, there were around 7 international students (out of 45) who were non-US or non-EU nationals. Sayantan is the only student who got placed in the US within three months.
But, it is not at all impossible to get a job in the US as international students who are pursuing non-STEM degrees.
The job market is a bit more favorable for the Master’s graduates (in terms of Non-STEM) – MBA, MS Business Analytics, MiM or MS Finance.
Internships do play an important role. Sayantan had done a 2-month internship with PwC in Hong Kong during his 2nd year.
In Europe, the knowledge of the local language is pretty essential to get an internship, especially for business studies.
Grades are definitely important. But, more than grades, soft skills, internship experience, and networking play critical roles when it comes to getting a full-time job abroad.
In short, the main value of any multi-location program lies outside the classroom. The multi-location study abroad programs are not for everyone. If you are proactive, curious, and possess a go-getter attitude, then these programs are for you. Read more about the career benefits & advantages of multi-location study programs.
Acknowledgment: Thanks to Mr. Sanjib Chatterjee (Sayantan’s Uncle and an ardent well-wisher of Team Stoodnt) for setting up the Rendezvous with Sayantan.