Meet Andrew Wright

Employers also highly value international experience; it can really set a job candidate apart, and I feel my career prospects are much wider now....

US University: The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Anderson School of Management
US University Website:
US State: California
Level Of Study: Postgraduate
Length Of Study abroad: Full Degree
Field: Business
Course: Business
Region From: Greater London
Hometown: St. Albans, England
UK School/University Attended: University of St. Andrews (MA in Russian, 1999)
Years Abroad: 2008 - 2010

I decided that the two-year MBA programmes offered by US business schools would give me the best opportunity to go beyond a wide overview of the sectors and functions of business to gain a really in-depth understanding of areas that I wanted to boost my skills in, like finance and entrepreneurship. Employers also highly value international experience; it can really set a job candidate apart, and I feel my career prospects are much wider now.

I was able to take part in a wide range of academic and extra-curricular activities, to travel, and to build a great international network of friends and acquaintances. As a result, I believe that I had a deeper experience and developed more than I would had if I remained in more familiar territory. After visiting several US universities, I also realised that I preferred the West Coast culture to the East Coast institutions that European students usually favour. UCLA Anderson was a great choice: it was a very strong graduate school with a relatively quantitative orientation and a strong focus on entrepreneurship, is situated in the major economy of California but with strong Pacific Rim and Latin American influences, and is a great place to live in and travel from. For me, the MBA programme was an opportunity not just to learn some new skills - I could have done that from anywhere - but to meet different cultures, personalities and viewpoints, and to experience a part of the world that I would not otherwise have got to know as well.

If you're dedicating significant time and money to furthering your education, the US is a great place to do it. My favourite academic experience is of getting to present my team's Advanced Management Research project - essentially our Master's thesis - as the only non-practitioner to speak at the Chicago Microfinance Conference. But, my best memories overall are of the extracurricular activities like going to Las Vegas for the MBA Poker Tournament, organising an International Food Festival, or playing with my covers band at events like the Challenge 4 Charity weekend at Stanford University.

US culture places a great value on communication and presentation skills, and this is reflected in the standards they expect in application essays. When writing applications, take great care to show introspection and give admissions officers a sense of your unique abilities and values, and then hone your story to make it flow well and sound right to an American ear. I found visiting the schools to which I was applying was really helpful: not so much to learn about the schools themselves, since they provide plenty of opportunities to learn about them through the web, discussions with alumni, and admissions fairs, but because it's also important to choose a place to live that suits you, and that is something that is impossible to do remotely. I certainly changed my mind about which offer would be the best fit for me after travelling to the US.

MBA students can get loans through the NatWest in partnership with the Association of MBAs (AMBA). AMBA will approve loan applications for any genuine MBA programme, not just those that are members of the Association.

*Please note the Fulbright Commission does not endorse any product, university or service.

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