New Zealand offers MBA students a world-class education combined with exciting extra-curricular activities and cultural diversity to boot.
For MBA applicants looking to study in a native English setting, it’s definitely worth looking outside the most common options like the US, Canada and UK.
On closer inspection, a not-so-obvious choice like New Zealand has a lot to offer the international students who choose to make its shores home while they study.
This combination of internationally recognized education, Lord of the Rings scenery and mountains and beaches all within easy reach of the cities is enough to compel tens of thousands of international students to set off for New Zealand every year.
Otago University is founded in Dunedin, a quaint city with Scottish history set in the nation’s far south.
Director of Executive Programs at Otago University’s Business School Ian Lafferty says Dunedin is 'a real university city – well, maybe more of a ‘town’ for some international students – but it’s certainly got a real university feel.
It’s this community feel, along with Dunedin’s scenic coastline and proximity to mountains for skiing and snowboarding that have helped bring foreign students to the small city in the south.
'We do attract a lot of international students to Otago,” says Lafferty, “but specifically to the MBA. The majority of our students are international students so diversity is one of the biggest aspects of our program, in terms of the student body and also the teaching body.'
This year Otago University’s full-time MBA is a class of 24 students from 12 different countries including Canada, Denmark, the USA, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Lebanon, New Zealand and even one student who identifies as Kurdish.
Lafferty says he has seen more and more international students wanting to stay in New Zealand after they finish their MBA.
'Previously, it was that they would come to study and then go home. But now the vast majority of our international students want to stay in New Zealand. Thankfully, the opportunity to stay and find work is something the New Zealand immigration authorities support.
'The government here has introduced a one-year job search visa so anybody who completes an MBA gets to stay for an extra year after they graduate to look for a job,' says Lafferty.
'I think New Zealand is quite attractive to international students in that regard. And MBA students at Otago are certainly taking up the opportunity. I’d say in general 90 percent of our international students want to stay. In fact, in last two or three years, they have all stayed and they have all got jobs, which is good news.'