Students no longer feel the need to stay in their home country to pursue higher education. AACSB-accredited schools are appearing in all regions of the world, now spanning nearly 50 countries and territories, providing students with more opportunities to pursue top quality business education in almost every region of the world! My colleague, Colin Nelson, and I recently took a look into the differences in student mobility among different regions at different program levels, based on the results from the most recent Business School Questionnaire (BSQ) data. The table below shows that there are significant differences among different regions, and at different academic levels:
What about these data are most interesting to you? I immediately noticed the significant difference among undergraduate and doctoral students outside the host country in the Northern American region. The data illustrate a similar pattern in the European region, including a majority of students at the doctoral level studying outside their country of origin. However, the opposite trend is seen in Western Asia & North Africa, where we see the highest proportion of students outside the host country at the undergraduate level, and the lowest at the doctoral level.
However, motivations for student mobility differ among regions, as well as among students. Some students choose to study abroad in pursuit for a higher quality education; others may believe the international experience will enhance their resume making them more attractive to recruiters. In the European region, the presence of longstanding intergovernmental programs such as ERASMUS and the implementation of the Bologna Process clearly make a positive impact on the ability and inclination of students to pursue higher education across national borders.
Regionally, the percentage of internationally mobile graduate students enrolled at AACSB member schools is significantly lower in Latin America & the Caribbean, in Eastern, South-Eastern, & Southern Asia, and in Western Asia & Northern Africa, vs. in Europe and in Oceania. Northern America has a notably high majority of internationally mobile students at the doctoral level, while Oceania even has a majority at the masters-specialist level. Could these trends be a reflection of where mobile students think the better quality programs are, at those respective levels? Do internationally mobile doctoral students see Northern America and Europe as the hub for business doctoral research, while students seeking a specialized master’s program see the best offerings in the countries of Oceania?
There are a number of possible reasons for these distributions that the data alone can only suggest, not prove. However, it will be interesting to see how these distributions will change, particularly in emerging economies, where the presence of AACSB membership among business schools continues to grow.