The career of political science graduate Corey Ladick at Wisconsin’s Marshall & IIsley bank was on the right track, but he knew he would need a business-related education to move up in a corporate world.
So he started a part-time MBA class at a local college, trying to pick up business knowledge in evenings and at weekends. However, after doing it for a while it became obvious that the slow pace wasn’t ideal.
“I realized how long it would take me to complete it on a part-time basis,” said the University of Wisconsin La Crosse grad, so I decided to do it full-time.”
28-year-old Ladick, a Wisconsin native, has always enjoyed traveling abroad. He’s been to 27 countries, including a 12-month stint in South Korea’s Kyung-Hwa Girls High School as an English teacher during 2004 and 2005.
Based on a positive experience in Asia, he sees advantages in doing an MBA far, far away from home: “I asked myself: ‘how can I stand out from every other job applicant after I graduate?’ Studying abroad is a logical strategy for achieving some kind of differentiation,” he says.
The 28-year-old wanted to go to a developed Asian economy with a good reputation for education, so Singapore was a natural choice, along with Japan and Hong Kong. He started by researching schools on the internet.
Though he was accepted by National University of Singapore, National Chengchi University in Taiwan and Thunderbird School of Global management in the US, it was during the admission interviews when Nanyang Business School in Singapore stood out.
Ladick recalls: “My choice… was heavily influenced by the telephone interview during the application process. I felt that the attitude of the school was a good fit for me.”
Before he flew cross the Pacific Ocean, he read a book about Singapore and arrived prepared. He says living in Singapore can be “intimidating” because of the country’s reputation as a police state, but he says this is “much overhyped”.
In a country with four official languages, international exposure is an important part of the MBA experience offered by Nanyang Business School. The school’s full-time MBA class consists of 80 per cent international students, according to Ladick.
He says: “It’s one thing to meet people from different cultures, but it’s quite another [thing] to actually work, argue and compromise with them.
“Sometimes we sit down and no one sees eye-to-eye, and then we realize that it’s because things work so differently in different parts of the world!”
His study group is made up of six different nationalities.
Ladick, who scored 680 in his GMAT, is specializing in finance during his MBA. The core subjects on his course schedule include financial management, corporate finance, international wealth management and multinational financial management.
This is because he’s already had experiences in retail banking so more advanced financial knowledge seems like a “natural fit”, he says.
But he knows the current climate isn’t the best time for opportunities in the financial sector: “The most important thing for me [after finishing my MBA] is to find a company with multiple locations worldwide that would give me the opportunity to travel and live in different places,” he says.
“I am especially interested in management associate programs or graduates training programs,” Ladick adds.
But before committing to long-term work, Ladick is keen to see more of Southeast Asia with Taiwan, Brunei, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan on his list.
“I think international exposure is very useful for MBAs,” he says. “The value to someone involved in international business or working in a cross-cultural environment is obvious.
“Also, having international experience says a lot about someone in regard to flexibility, adaptability, ambition and the ability to work with people different from yourself or holding different perspectives.”
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