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MBA Pay: The Impact of Moving Overseas



Last Updated on January 3, 2024 by Robert C. Hoopes

Moving internationally after obtaining an MBA may negatively impact pay prospects, according to a new study conducted by professors from the Wharton School, London Business School, and Utrecht University. The study, which analyzed survey data from 1,322 MBA graduates, found that those who made one or two international moves experienced less pay growth compared to those who stayed in their home country.

Surprisingly, the study also found that MBA graduates who made more than four international moves, known as “Superglobals,” saw substantially higher pay growth. This challenges the common belief that international experience leads to higher compensation. The authors of the study were taken aback by the negative relationship between initial international mobility and pay, suggesting that the financial benefits of international moves mainly go to a small number of MBA graduates who have extensive global experience.

Given these findings, the study suggests that MBA graduates considering moving internationally should carefully weigh personal enrichment, professional opportunities, and pay when making their decision. Moving abroad can provide personal enrichment through exciting experiences, exploration, and immersion in diverse cultures. Additionally, foreign countries may offer more compelling professional opportunities, with growth and learning prospects that may not be available in the graduate’s home country.

However, the study advises that those who prioritize pay may be better off staying in their home country to maximize their compensation and financial stability. It is important to note that while these findings provide general implications for those considering international moves after business school, they may not represent all MBA graduates globally.

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Overall, this study sheds light on the potential trade-offs of moving internationally after obtaining an MBA. While it may offer enriching and unique experiences, it is important for graduates to carefully consider the impact it may have on their pay prospects.

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