Advice from an International MBA Student | Cristina from Romania, W.P. Carey School of Business

Cristina Krintea is a full-time MBA student at the W. P. Carey School of Business, with an emphasis in supply chain management. She is from Romania and speaks three languages. She has worked for Oracle Corporation, Colgate-Palmolive, Coca-Cola Hellenic and other well-known companies

Information about how the W.P. Carey School of Business, Arizona assists international MBA students can be found here.

The Application: What was your motivation for studying in the US? What did a US MBA offer that could not be found in your home country?

The U.S. has the most prestigious business schools in the world, which serve as a pipeline for future leaders. Romania has highly reputable programs at the undergraduate and Ph.D. levels, but it has yet to develop an internationally competitive MBA.

What obstacles did you face in your application process? Were there any advantages to being an international student?

I strongly believe I had an advantage in the application process because during the four years of work experience that I have, I had the opportunity to pursue roles with high visibility and increased responsibility because of the size of the Romanian market versus the U.S. market. If, in the U.S., my company needed a team of 70 demand planners to forecast sales, in Romania, I was the only demand planner talking to the executive team. Furthermore, coming from a different culture, you get to bring an extra flavor to the MBA and have the opportunity to explain why your international exposure will contribute to the experience of your peers in their future global careers.

After Acceptance: What support were you given by the school to help you transition to US life? Did the school give international students any extra orientation?

W. P. Carey delivered more than it promised by making sure that the international students are fully integrated. I think what is the thing that stands out is the accent specialist that they contract to help the students integrate in the business world through communicating clearly and effectively. The orientation days especially created for international students walk you through every aspect of the U.S. culture and help you understand what a professional, as well as a common sense of behavior is here. The school also offers a lot of clubs students can join. I personally chose to apply for board positions in some of them because it would expose me to interaction with employers, as well as school contacts, thus preparing me for a better integration in the workplace upon graduation.

What unexpected events or experiences did you face? Did you make friends with local students or hang out with the students from your country? Any major culture differences in the teaching style (or studying style) that took you surprise?

I do not see international students separate from the domestic ones because we have mixed groups and so make friends from all regions, who, in turn, have their own network. The most significant difference is the teaching style. If, in Romania, most courses were lecture-based, at ASU, all professors have team assignments asking students to work on cases or company assessments that really challenge them to apply the knowledge that they learn and solidify it for the long term. The collaboration and exchange of ideas is amazing and helps international students get an excellent insight on the future work environment because the internship will most likely be based in a U.S. company.

What advice would you give potential international MBA students? What would you have done differently and what did you get right?

The only advice I would give potential students is to really research the program they apply to and focus on all offerings that a program has because only when you find the best fit you will flourish. I chose ASU because it had a class of about 80 students versus the other larger MBA programs, the international electives, the national rankings of the school, as well as supply chain and the impressive list of employers recruiting on campus. Last but not least, reach out to ambassadors and ask as many questions about the school now because there might be many benefits that you cannot know just by browsing the website.

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