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U.S. is Top Location for Attending Business School

The United States remains the most popular country to pursue an MBA program, according to the a recent survey released by the Graduate Management Admission Council. Called the Prospective Students Survey, the report indicated that 72 percent of prospective students said they preferred to study in the U.S. while six percent chose the United Kingdom, four percent Canada, three percent France, and three percent India. Two percent of prospective students preferred China, one percent Singapore, one percent Netherlands, one percent Germany, and one percent Australia.

The reputation of a country's education system, the attractiveness of its location, possibilities for career preparation, and improved chances at an international career were selected as the top reasons prospective students preferred to study in a specific country. Some 16,000 students participated in the survey.

"I absolutely love my school and my program," said Laura Mohseni, a student at the Fully Employed MBA program of Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management in California. "I am meeting and interacting with so many amazing people and learning to think critically about U.S. and world issues."

MBA student Mohseni and MBA graduate Stephen Charko provided feedback on the attributes of their MBA programs, which are located in the U.S and Canada respectively. Meanwhile, Abigail O'Connor, assistant dean for external relations and MBA director at Longwood University's College of Business and Economics in Virginia, said completing business school online could be another option -- as virtual MBA programs allow students to pursue an education from wherever they are in the world. It goes to show that location does matter -- whether it's a specific area or from your own home.

Business School in California

For Mohseni, the Westlake Village Graduate Campus location was crucial to her program. As the general manager of Riverbench Vineyard and Winery in Santa Maria, Calif., her job involves directing all aspects of the winery business and its tasting room. The vineyard is 420 acres and winery production totals 5,000 cases. She's opening a second tasting room in Santa Barbara this fall and said she enrolled in an MBA program, specializing in general management, to fine-tune her financial skills and to learn to do her current job better. Describing it as "outstanding," she said her MBA program "absolutely" offered great career preparation at a superb location.

"While Santa Maria is a good hour's drive from Santa Barbara, we have the same coastal influences and weather," Mohseni said. "The lifestyle here -- being outdoors, a strong focus on food and wine and agriculture, and a concentration of small businesses -- is one that makes everyone envious. I live in paradise!"

MBA Co-Op Program in Canada

Charko graduated from McMaster University's DeGroote School of Business in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, where he specialized in Management of Innovation and New Technology. His MBA program, known as the MBA Co-op Program, combined academic and work terms. A business consultant, Charko now works as director of business operations and marketing at local clean-tech water company AlumCAS. What he's doing now, he said, would have been "unfeasible" had he not gotten his MBA.

"The co-op program is very well regarded by employers," he said. "Many international students attend McMaster -- and other Canadian business schools for that matter -- because of the professional employment opportunities. McMaster is located close to Toronto, the top economic center in Canada, so employment opportunities are close by."

Online MBA Programs are also an Option

An online MBA program may also be an option for some students due to its flexibility in terms of geographic location and time, according to O'Connor. As long as students have a high-speed Internet connection, they can live anywhere in the world, she said. They're also able to continue their MBA work when they travel. Since online courses at her school are asynchronous, she said, students aren't required to be online at the same time professors or other students are connected. However, students must meet deadlines and participate in summer residency programs, where they attend seminars and work with professors and colleagues.

"Students in an online program also become proficient with using many of the e-tools of business and communication," she said.

Online MBA programs rely on e-mail, discussion boards, blogs, wikis, podcasts, among other tools. Therefore, O'Connor said, graduates should be ready to collaborate virtually in the corporate world. Furthermore, she said, asynchronous MBA programs provide students with an opportunity to participate in ways they may not be able to in the traditional classroom.

"The shy student, who would be reticent to answer a question in a live classroom, can thoughtfully consider his or her answer first," O'Connor explained. "The student, who raises his or her hand before fully formulating an answer, now has to take the time to reflect. The result can be more and better participation from all students."