Research: Is Moving Internationally for a Job a Smart Move?

Many MBA graduates consider moving internationally for their careers. But beyond the opportunities for personal and professional enrichment and the challenges of adjusting to new environments, what are the implications for their careers over the longer term — and especially for their compensation? To find out, the authors conducted a study of the career histories of MBA graduates from a leading European business school. They discovered that graduates who had moved internationally once or twice after their MBAs actually saw their pay grow less than graduates who stayed put. They also discovered that international moves had more positive implications for those who continued to move across countries — especially for those who became “superglobals.”

Many aspiring executives pursue international careers. Often, they ask us — in our MBA classes and later in our executive education programs — whether we think moving internationally will help or hurt their career progress. Will taking a job in a different country give them skills and experience that will make them more valuable to employers over time? Or will it set them back?


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