Hugh Malkin Goes Abroad for an MBA

Hugh in the Schiphol Management Group Lobby

As the construction industry was collapsing in Florida, Hugh Malkin read the following in Fareed Zakaria’s book, “The Post American World”:

“Look around. The tallest building in the world is now in Dubai. The world’s richest man is Mexican, and its largest publicly traded corporation is Chinese. The world’s biggest plane is built in Russia and Ukraine, its leading refinery is in India, and its largest factories are all in China. By many measures, Hong Kong now rivals London and New York as the leading financial center, and the United Arab Emirates is home to the most richly endowed investment fund. Once quintessentially American icons have been appropriated by foreigners. The world’s largest Ferris wheel is in Singapore. Its number one casino is not in Las Vegas but in Macao, which has also overtaken Vegas in annual gambling revenues. The biggest movie industry, in terms of both movies made and tickets sold, is Bollywood, not Hollywood. Even shopping, America’s greatest sporting activity, has gone global. Of the top ten malls in the world, only one is in the United States; the world’s biggest is in Dongguan, China. Such lists are arbitrary, but it is striking that twenty years ago, America was at the top in many, if not most, of these categories. “ 

When Hugh decided to return to school for an MBA, he looked abroad. He wrote the following describing his reasons and his experience.

“I felt that I lacked international experience. However, when I researched American MBA schools and compared them to foreign MBA schools, I saw that American classes averaged 50% internationality while foreign schools averaged close to 90%. A 2011 New York Times article explained that US schools intentionally maintain 50% American students so they can strongly market an “exposure to Americans” as a benefit to potential international students. I am American so I decided to get what the international students were getting from coming to America. I chose to go overseas to the small but highly ranked Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University in the Netherlands.

“Our class of 112 had 40 different nationalities and just as many ideas about how businesses should be run. This gave me a completely different perspective on the American created MBA. Even simple ideas that I normally took for granted, took on whole new meanings when foreign voices spoke up. These voices, questions they asked, and the ideas they shared would not have been heard if any one culture dominated the class. Our professors would regularly join us as we discussed late into the night around a warm fire and a delicious assortment of alcohols and foods. Our school had handpicked experts in their fields from top universities to give us the most accurate and current view of the world.

“The Dutch company, Philips Electronics, gave me a chance to write the future strategy for their outdoor lighting segment. After presenting to a CEO of Philips Lighting, they offered me a position to implement my strategy in the US. I took the job and moved back to Atlanta. The contacts and recognition I have received in the US and internationally due to my successful daily interaction with three different countries is priceless.”

Hugh currently lives in Atlanta and works for Philips Lumec.

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