The world of business is increasingly global in nature. Ease of communication, travel and trade will only accelerate this trend in the future. The Wisconsin School of Business therefore strongly encourages all business students to seek out at least one international study opportunity over the course of their undergraduate career, whether for a semester, a summer term or a shorter program.
As a BBA student, you can study abroad during almost any term in your college career, but there are important factors to consider in deciding when. The more complex or ambitious your undergraduate program is (with additional majors, certificates, athletic or extracurricular commitments, for example), the more you will need to plan in advance to fit study abroad into your academic career. Early planning will ensure you have the widest range of choices and make the most profitable use of your time abroad.
The information below will help in your planning and conversations with your academic, career and study abroad advisors.
Prospective Business Students
You need not be accepted into the Wisconsin School of Business BBA program in order to participate in a business study abroad or exchange program. WSB programs are developed with BBA degree requirements in mind, however, and preference is given to BBA degree candidates for most programs. If you apply to study abroad before being admitted to the BBA program, you should keep alternative plans in mind.
Attend the Study Abroad Fair and see the list of business study abroad programs to learn what is available. Attend drop-in or group advising to learn more about studying abroad on a business school program.
Mapping Your Study Abroad Experience as a BBA Student
While the business school does not currently offer any semester-long programs that accept freshmen, some accept students for the summer after their freshman year. Business and pre-business students may also participate in other UW-Madison study abroad programs during their freshman year. Most offer courses that will count toward the minimum of 52 credits in non-business/economics courses required to complete a BBA degree.
Students who enter the UW with advanced standing may also be considered sophomores by credits for purposes of participating in a business study abroad program.
There are several reasons BBA students should consider studying abroad during their sophomore year:
- More remaining degree requirements means more course choices and more programs that can meet your academic, professional and personal needs
- Fewer commitments such as internships that can constrain your time abroad
- An additional year in college to apply your global experience to advanced coursework, career preparation and pursuit of employment
- More opportunity to study abroad a second time!
This is traditionally the most popular time to study abroad. Knowing your major(s) will help you choose up to two courses (in each one) that will meet major requirements, plus one or two courses to fulfill the business breadth requirement.
As a BBA student, it may be possible study abroad during your senior year, but you will need to choose a program carefully to ensure you can meet your remaining degree requirements there.
Applications for Wisconsin School of Business study abroad and exchange programs may be due earlier than you would expect. In general:
|If you want to study abroad
||You should apply in
|This coming summer
|Next fall or next spring
See the Study Abroad Application Process for more information and specific deadlines. Late applications may be accepted for programs with space available after the initial round of applications.
Business Course Considerations Abroad
- Business majors who study abroad in their junior year should take the core (“300”) course in their major before studying abroad
- Business students in general should take no more than two courses abroad in their major (or in each major), with the exception of International Business majors
- International Business majors may take as many International Business courses as desired
- Courses in Finance, International Business, Management & Human Resources, and Marketing are among those commonly offered abroad
- Courses that meet requirements for the Operations & Technology Management major and the Supply Chain Management certificate are occasionally offered abroad
- Courses that meet requirements for the Accounting, Actuarial Science, Information Systems, Real Estate, and Risk Management majors are rarely if ever offered abroad
- Information Systems, Operations & Technology Management, Risk Management & Insurance, and Supply Chain Management majors should plan carefully to avoid missing certain major courses which are offered only in fall or only in spring in Madison
- The business “breadth” requirement is one of the easiest to fulfill while abroad
- Each participant on a semester-long business study abroad or exchange program must complete at least two business courses abroad, regardless of major, school or college
- Participants must meet all prerequisites for courses taken abroad
Identifying Programs That Are Right for You
Wisconsin School of Business Global Programs offers programs curated specifically for students of business. In general, any business study abroad or exchange program can meet the academic needs of any business student (except International Business majors, who must study abroad on a WSB or IAP program that aligns with their particular region of emphasis). Each business student should consider additional factors as well, and keep in mind that they may study abroad on any UW program that meets their academic, professional or personal needs.
For students hoping to take business courses abroad, a good strategy is to consider first all business programs as well as UW programs approved for International Business majors. Students not finding their best fit among those programs may then want to look at other UW programs.
Questions to Ask
Your Major Advisor(s)
- What classes must I still complete for my degree (liberal studies, core, major requirements, breadth etc.)?
- Are there any requirements I should—or must—take on the Madison campus?
- Are any of my required courses offered only in fall or only in spring on the Madison campus?
- Will I need more non-business/economics credits in addition to my liberal studies requirement?
Your Study Abroad Advisor
- What classes can I take abroad?
- How and when do I select courses for my program?
- When will I know course equivalents for courses in my program?
- What is the class structure like abroad?
Your Career Advisor
- Can I network abroad?
- Can I use Handshake abroad?
- Can I interview while abroad?
- Does going abroad change the recruiting timeline?
- What is the best way to communicate with employers while I am abroad?