Understanding the Motivations: a Qualitative Analysis of Israelis Holding a Bachelor's Degree who Pursue an MBA Abroad

Ayelet Sasson


Motivations for study abroad have been studied mostly from a quantitative point of view. This study attempted to understand those motivations through qualitative methodology, by getting "into the heads" of international students using a multiple case study approach. Participants were 15 Israeli Hebrew-speaking graduates. Data sources included in-depth interviews with the students, a business professor, as well as official program documents. Findings show that while intrinsic motivations recur in the data, that are in essence the selling points of an MBA, stressing experience and gaining knowledge and skills, the dominant motivations are instrumental and at times even fantastic and extreme, although presented implicitly in the discourse. All these motivations reflect a mismatch between students’ perceptions of MBA education and the actual reality of getting a graduate business degree abroad, which has serious ramifications for students' learning experience and the way in which efforts and resources are prioritized.


study abroad, international students, business education, motivations

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.17583/qre.2017.2475

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Qualitative Research in Education | ISSN: 2014-6418

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