Top North American business schools for Asian students
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Top North American business schools for Asian students

Everyone knows there are those certain degrees that people not-so-secretly scoff at. To your face, they’ll nod and smile and congratulate you on your decision to study for that liberal arts or performance degree. Then they’ll turn and roll their eyes at what a poor choice that is.

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Queen's Business School MBA grads frequently report that their degree was well worth the investment. Pic: Queen's Business School

Rarely does the decision to take a degree in business elicit such a reaction. Be it a bachelor’s degree in business or finance, an MBA or any other form of business training, most would agree that this is a wise academic and career move indeed.

Elite business programs train their graduates to compete and succeed in their fields. Courses in management, sustainability, development, tax, accounting, and other business essentials equip students with the hard knowledge and skills that they can apply across multiple business sectors. By first testing their theories and strategies within the classroom environment, business students have the chance to be bold but learn from their mistakes. This way, when the time comes to take on a leadership role in the real world and make decisions on behalf of their companies, business graduates will already have some experience and know-how to do this in a capable way.

The website MBA.com reported that in 2011, 51 companies around the world noted that they were focusing on improving performance and investing resources into their services, creating fresh opportunities for management degree holders. This indicates that while the global economy continues to struggle, opportunities are opening up in certain areas. Business school graduates may be uniquely qualified to take advantage of those opportunities.

The site also reported positive hiring projections for 2012, including that 74 percent of companies plan to hire MBA holders this year, 59 percent plan to hire individuals who hold specialized degrees, and 51 percent intend to hire candidates who have a Master’s in Management.

Additionally, the site quoted 75 percent of graduate business degree alumni from 2011 as saying their degree was essential in landing their jobs. All of this makes a strong case for the value of attending business school.

Because there are so many business schools currently in operation, many of which do offer highly specialized degrees, students would do well to carefully consider the field in which they want to make their career. While undergraduates may simply seek to take a broader degree in order to grasp the fundamentals of business, graduate candidates should think a bit harder about their choices. What are your career goals? What area of work are you interested in? What are your priorities? This will help ensure that you enroll in a program that will interest you, and that will be worth the investment of time and money.

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Pic: George Mason University

Of course, not all business programs require that students drop everything to return to school full time. In fact, many top schools offer Executive MBA programs geared specifically toward professionals who want to study and work. Other MBA programs also tend to be held on a flexible basis, so earning this advanced degree becomes quite a manageable and achievable goal.

The schools listed below represent some of the best in North America, and are well worth considering for Asian students seeking a study abroad experience. Some of the world’s top companies have their headquarters in North America and international students may have the opportunity to network with professionals from these corporations or see first-hand how they operate and affect the societies around them.

Such opportunities would be particularly valuable to students who hope to work in North America. But even those who simply wish to study in the U.S. or Canada and return to their native country can gain a great deal by studying at one of these universities. By learning in a diverse, multicultural setting, students have a chance to understand an entirely different business culture. With faculty who bring to the classroom years of experience, networking and practical knowledge, students have access to resources and feedback they are not likely to experience often in their lifetimes.

The rewards of studying for a business degree, particularly an MBA or specialized Masters’, are numerous. Not only do such degrees carry prestige and open doors to new positions and promotions within a company, those who have advanced degrees can often command higher salaries. And those who choose to forge this path at a North American institute will have unique opportunities to take advantage of and draw upon.

QUEENS UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, CANADA
The Queen’s University Business School represents the top tier of Canadian education. It has earned a distinctive reputation among the Canadian business community, and is accredited by The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International). BusinessWeek has named the Queen’s Business School as the best in Canada, and as being among the best in the world for its full-time and Executive MBA degrees. Queen’s business courses available to students include a bachelor’s degree in commerce and four separate MBA programs, in addition to other graduate study programs. Queen’s bills its Commerce program as the most prestigious undergraduate degree program in Canada. Read full profile…

GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT, USA
George Mason University, situated a stone’s throw from the United States capital in Fairfax, Virginia, places in the top 15 percent of excellent business schools in the country and the continent and offers its students and graduates a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow and launch their careers. With a commitment to innovative, forward-thinking business practices, George Mason University’s School of Management offers several undergraduate and graduate business degrees. The school’s location and strong reputation among the academic and business communities in the region and the country afford students access to excellent resources and opportunities. Read full profile… 

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Pic: George Mason University

HEC MONTREAL, CANADA
A premier study destination for once and future management professionals, HEC Montreal promises students a lucrative return on their investment to study at this top Canadian business school. International students will find a warm welcome here, as they will live and learn in a multilingual environment. Knowledge of both French and English will be an asset to those who choose to come here, however. HEC Montreal offers an MBA, Executive MBA, and a Ph.D. in Administration. Additionally, the school offers a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. HEC Montreal caters to the needs of both undergraduate and postgraduate students alike, and provides opportunities for current professionals to grow through Executive Education and certificate programs.

THE UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO BOOTH SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, USA
The University of Chicago’s Booth School is a name that carries great prestige in the United States and around the world. The Booth School’s talented, experienced and reputable staff train students in the essentials of business knowledge and give them a leg up when it comes to propelling their careers forward. Here, the academic and business worlds are closely intertwined, as students and faculty stay abreast of significant happenings in the corporate and economic sectors. The Booth School offers several MBA programs that are specifically designed to allow working professionals to pursue their advanced degrees while not interrupting their careers.

THUNDERBIRD SCHOOL OF GLOBAL MANAGEMENT, USA
Thunderbird offers an exceptionally broad range of business and management programs and consistently lands quite high on international rankings lists. The diverse course offerings cater to an international student body, and include programs of interest to managers and to those closer to the beginning of their careers. Not only does the school run business-specific courses, staff also conduct classes in customized language and culture programs and pre-MBA intensive English programs to assist non-native speakers. Thunderbird runs several centers for business research in areas such as ethics in international management, global entrepreneurship and global energy studies, among others.

THE RICHARD IVEY SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, U. OF WESTERN ONTARIO

The Ivey School offers a wide selection of business studies programs, from undergraduate to Ph.D. degrees. In terms of MBAs, Ivey’s options include a one-year MBA, an Executive MBA and an Accelerated MBA, aimed at students who have already earned the Honors Business Administration degree. Students who do not have previous business work experience but have an interest in the field may be interested in Ivey’s Msc in Management degree. No previous experience is required and is designed to allow degree candidates to build on that which they have already learned through their undergraduate studies.

THE FUQUA SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, DUKE UNIVERSITY, USA
Duke University is often synonymous in the minds of the public with its much-talked about athletics program. But this well-known school in the American south is also known for its exceptional academics, and that reputation certainly extends to its business school. The Fuqua School may be of particular interest to international students given the global scope of the school’s overarching mission. The university describes Fuqua as “the world’s first legitimately global business school,” and teaches for degrees such as a Cross Continent MBA and Global MBA. Numerous other advanced degree programs are also taught here.

MAX M. FISHER SCHOOL OF BUSINESS, OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY, USA
Another U.S. university that is well-known for its athletics, The Ohio State University also boasts a strong academic program, including the Fisher School of Business. Within the past two and a half decades, the Fisher School has grown tremendously in terms of the quality of programs it offers and its international reach. Ranked among the top 25 business schools in the U.S. for undergraduate and graduate programs, Fisher offers numerous MBA and advanced degrees, as well as three Ph.D.s and Executive Education courses. The Fisher School boasts state-of-the-art facilities and what the school claims is one of the only “fully-integrated management education campuses in the nation.”