Business schools are becoming increasingly international. Among US programs, for example, our research shows that 37 percent of applicants are international, while among European business schools the rate is even higher at 79 percent. Overall, 58 percent of applicants say they plan to apply to schools abroad. For students, commutes that cross borders—and sometimes oceans—to get to class are not uncommon.
There are many advantages to commuting long distances. A significant one is reputation. In fact, we have found that the quality and reputation of business schools is the most important factor for applicants when they decide where to apply. If a business school has a global reputation, then a long commute may be worthwhile. Executive MBA programs are structured for students who work full-time—often offering classes only on weekends or every second or third week of the month—and that makes them especially attractive to long-distance commuters.
But commuting long distance is not always easy. If you’re considering making the world your campus, here are a few ways to make the commute easy and productive.
Use every opportunity to study for your EMBA
Many airlines and trains today offer in-flight WiFi access (usually for a fee). That means it’s easier than ever to get work done while you’re commuting to class. Even a delayed flight is an opportunity to get ahead on readings, a project, or enjoy some much-needed downtime. While commuting long distances may sound challenging and time consuming, the advantage is that you will be away from home and work—where it may be difficult to focus—when you are attending classes. So, you can use your time at the hotel or on campus to throw yourself into your studies without personal or professional distractions competing for your attention.
Coordinate with other commuters in your EMBA programs
Long-distance commutes are not unusual among EMBA students, and you may not be the only one doing it in your program. You could even end up encountering people at the airport who you recognize from class! The cohorts for many EMBA programs are fairly small and getting to know your classmates is something that will likely come easily. As this happens, coordinate aspects of your commute with them to save time and money. For example, in some programs, long-distance commuters carpool or rideshare to campus together from the airport or their hotel. Also, if there are other people commuting from the same city as you or transferring through the same airport, you can use these times together to study or work on team projects. This is a great way to get to know your classmates better and expand your professional network.
If you’re interested in learning how else an EMBA can help you develop your network, check out Are You a Graduate Business School Candidate? Learn How an EMBA Can Unlock Networking Opportunities.
Stay motivated by rewarding yourself
Commuting long-distance to business school and earning an EMBA is an impressive feat. Staying motivated throughout can be a challenge, however. A major benefit of getting an EMBA is the promotions, leadership responsibilities, and an increase in salary that tend to come afterwards. The EMBA Council’s 2019 Student Exit Survey, for instance, found that the average bonus and salary for EMBA students rose from $205,008 at the beginning of their program to $232,663 by the time they graduated. These professional rewards are important motivating factors for those who become an Executive MBA candidate. However, it’s important to reward yourself and celebrate achievements in the short-term as well. Throughout your studies, try to schedule in some downtime during and after your commutes to refresh your motivation.
It’s also a good idea to give yourself a reward after you graduate in recognition of your accomplishments. By that point, you’ll have accumulated enough frequent flyer points to take yourself on a much-needed vacation. Or, if you’re sick of airports by then, maybe staying closer to home is more enticing!
Want to get into an EMBA program?
Find out how an Executive MBA test like the Executive Assessment can help.