Keystone logo

What Students Should Know About Business Schools in Emerging Markets

When you think of business school, programs in countries in emerging markets are very appealing. Here’s a closer look at what all prospective business students should know about studying business in emerging markets, along with an excellent way to position yourself to be accepted to an MBA program in one of these up-and-coming areas – the NMAT by GMAC admissions test.

Dec 26, 2019
  • Education
What Students Should Know About Business Schools in Emerging Markets

Obstacles and opportunities

Certainly, attending business school in an emerging market comes with its fair share of challenges, but there are many opportunities here, too. “While developed economies continue to demand MBA talent, political instability and policy changes have made an impact on their desirability among students. Alternatively, emerging markets are appearing as attractive and rewarding locations for b-school alumni. Not only do they offer the opportunity to acquire irreplaceable business acumen, they can help you effectively position yourself for international success,” asserts

There are many ways in which pursuing business studies in an emerging market can enrich your career prospects. These include:

1. Learning to apply and adapt knowledge in a uniquely complex context

Frontier markets are always changing. Factor in their inherent instabilities and uncertainties, If the goal is to learn how to quickly think on your feet while navigating toward solutions, then there’s no better environment to learn than in a dynamic and growing economy.

“Graduates who have worked on projects in emerging markets develop a unique blend of experience in innovating solutions, along with collaboration and teamwork, can-do attitude, and humility,” Amit Sinha, Head of Database and Technology Marketing at SAP, told Fast Company.

2. Acquiring first-hand experience working with diverse teams and perspective

Globalization means business landscapes are growing increasingly multicultural. Attending business school in an emerging market means you won’t just learn how to work alongside people from various backgrounds, but also how to leverage these differences into growth opportunities. This also means learning how to check your ego at the door in order to move forward.

3. Access to more jobs with more potential to make an impact

MBA talent is needed everywhere, but demand is especially high in developing economies. explains that if you’re interested in being a part of the ‘next big thing’, emerging markets can offer entry to startups, both local and multinational.

Plus, if necessity is truly the mother of invention, as the old adage goes, then the economic, technical, geographical, and infrastructural challenges found in emerging markets make them fertile territory for driving innovation. So if you are looking to work on cutting-edge business, developing economies have significant promise as they are often pushing the boundaries of innovation and sustainable business in the developed world, in a phenomenon known as “reverse innovation” or “trickle-up innovation”.

In addition to the benefits listed above, attending business school in an emerging market comes with yet another incentive: Top business schools in emerging markets also tend to be more affordable than other top business schools. This doesn’t mean you’re sacrificing quality, however -- of the 87 business schools in 33 countries across the globe that have triple-crown accreditation from the top three global accreditation bodies, 23 are located in emerging economies.

How the NMAT by GMAC can help

Now that we’ve made the case for studying business in an emerging market, it begs the question: How can you turn this goal into a reality? The NMAT by GMAC is designed with exactly this in mind.

Used for admission to some of the leading graduate business programs in emerging markets, including India, South Africa, Nigeria, and the Philippines, the NMAT measures the skills required for academic success in business school. First introduced in India more than 20 years ago, the NMAT is a candidate-friendly exam with no negative markings. It is also accepted by a long and growing list of leading business schools in emerging markets, including Lagos Business School, UCT, and many others throughout the world.

There’s a reason why this test has become a mainstream route into business school. As the business landscape changes, so do its needs. The NMAT by GMAT has been tailored specifically for MBA applicants to programs in fast-growing, emerging markets.

Kajal Hurilall from Cape Town, South Africa, says, “The NMAT exam was a pre-requisite for me to be able to apply into my MBA business school of choice. I found the practice questions were extremely useful because they helped me understand the format of the exam and the type of questions to expect for the different sections.”

And Gogaone Molosiwa from Botswana says, “The whole experience was like mental gymnastics, during preparation I literally felt my mind stretch and expand in an exciting and enlightened way. It was worth it because in the end it served my purpose: I got admission for an MBA.”

While attending business school in a developed market may seem like a safer bet, it’s also a conventional path with conventional outcomes. Conversely, the potential rewards from studying at a business school in an emerging market can be invaluable for future business leaders. If you’re ready to embrace the many opportunities that from studying and working in emerging markets, the NMAT by GMAC can open the door to an exhilarating and rewarding future...

Article written in association with Graduate Management Admission Council (NMAT by GMAC).

Find your perfect program

Use our search to find and compare programs from universities all over the world!

Joanna Hughes


Joanna worked in higher education administration for many years at a leading research institution before becoming a full-time freelance writer. She lives in the beautiful White Mountains region of New Hampshire with her family.

Find a program in these categories