For Parents Whose Children Are Studying for an MBA in the US

For Parents Whose Children Are Studying for an MBA in the US

If you have a child who is studying in the US, you probably have many questions and concerns. Parents worry about making sure their children stay safe, about academics and about staying in touch. While you cannot be right there to provide support for your child as you used to be able to, you can take some steps to prepare.

  • What You Should Know About Security

    Parents worry when their children leave for an unfamiliar country. Knowing a little about how some basic matters work in the US can quiet some of your fears. You can also speak with your child and make sure he or she is aware of and will address these concerns.

  • Legal Issues

    Just like any other traveler, an international student should become familiar with the country’s laws. While some types of conduct are obviously criminal everywhere, the regulation of other behaviors can vary greatly from place to place. In the US, these issues can also change depending on the state and city where your child’s school is located. Even a very minor run-in with the law can result in serious problems for an international student. Many programs also have codes of behavior relating both to academic studies and the daily course of life. You and your child should carefully review all the materials the program sends you. Drugs and alcohol are both common on campuses and can present significant legal, medical and safety risks. Look into applicable local and university laws and standards and discuss this topic with your child.

  • Traveling

    Transportation can present a safety and security concern. Some cities in the US have reliable and safe public transportation. In others, an international student may need to rely on cab services or purchase or rent a car. Doing some research in advance can help you figure out the best and safest way for your child to access transportation. If your child will be driving, he or she should find out what to do in order to get an appropriate license.

  • Staying Safe

    Specific safety precautions to take can vary greatly depending on the area. Generally, it is safer to avoid being out alone late at night, but the definition of what is late can also depend on the location. Likewise, it is smart to avoid high-crime areas and to lock one’s door. Doing some research prior to your child’s arrival can reveal crime statistics about the college and its surrounding area, including the types and frequency of crime. If a student is new to the area and not entirely familiar with the language, he or she may want to exercise caution before trusting new people. Many international students can quickly build up a network of friends in their program who can provide accurate, current information about local areas and safety concerns.

  • Health Issues

    Medical issues can present challenges. If you know of a particular medical issue, you may want to look into whether the school offers appropriate support and accommodation. In the US, schools must generally provide reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities or medical condition; in practice, various schools may implement this differently. If your child uses a prescription medication, he or she may want to bring extra, along with a current prescription. Due to regulations, there may be limits on the quantity of particular medications one can bring into the US. In the event that an international students suddenly needs medical care, he or she will likely be able to access appropriate care. Various costs may apply. Many schools provide health insurance and some types of health services for their students. Check with the international student services office – many schools have a separate plan for international students, which differs from the regular plan. It can also make sense for your child to keep his or her current insurance plan. Review the policies closely in order to decide. The school may require international students to have a policy that covers medical repatriation. Before he or she leaves, your child should put together a copy of relevant medical records. In case of emergency or other medical problems, doctors may need information about vaccinations, previous health issues, allergies and medications.

  • Support From School

    Because an MBA student is an adult, you, as a parent, should not expect the school to micromanage your child’s wellbeing. However, many universities provide a wide range of support services for students.

  • Student Health

    Your school will likely have a student health center where students can get inoculations and see a doctor if they are sick. Many programs also have mental health centers with counselors who are familiar with the types of issues students tend to face, including anxiety, loneliness, depression and stress.

  • International Student Services Office

    As an international student, your child should also be in close touch with the school’s international student services office. Staff members at this office understand the concerns international students deal with. They can help with many types of logistics, including visa documentation. The specific types of support this office provides may vary, so be sure to speak with the one at your child’s school and learn what they can and cannot do for you. In addition to support from the international student services office, your child’s MBA program may offer its own orientation sessions. Many programs also have a dedicated advisor who works with international students.

  • Transportation

    In terms of transportation, some schools provide free shuttle service to a number of locations. Students may also qualify for reduced fare transit cards.

  • Campus Safety

    Universities in the US typically have their own campus security staff, members of which are present at various locations throughout the campus and can assist students with safety concerns. Schools may provide late-night escort services to walk students back to their rooms. In addition to following general safety precautions and exercising common sense, your child should attend the school’s safety seminars, which can alert him or her to specific concerns that may exist. You and your child can sign up to receive mobile alerts from the campus security office; these alerts can let you know about emergency situations or incidents on campus. Be sure to check out safety and student conduct handbooks. These materials usually describe the procedure for reporting a safety concern, evacuation protocols, rules to enforce fire safety and other relevant information.

  • Communication

    Keeping up communication with a child studying in the US can be challenging. Packed schedules and different time zones can curtail the times you get to talk. However, it is important both for your child and for your own peace of mind to set up regular communication.

  • Emergencies

    First of all, make a plan for getting in touch in case of emergency. In addition to having your child’s phone, email and physical address, you should also have contact information for someone in his or her location. Conversely, make sure your child has current contact information for yourself and other family members.

  • Checking In

    Your child will be busy with class, work and social activities, as is normal. Many families make a schedule for regular check-ins to catch up and make sure everything is going well. What you decide should be based on your and your child’s needs – there is no one-size-fits-all approach here. Some parents exchange a weekly e-mail while others may have a daily phone call. Discuss this with your child and make sure your expectations are appropriate and realistic. Regular communication that works for you and your child is key to providing the support your child needs as he or she navigates a new environment. You will also feel better knowing what is happening in your child’s life.

  • Helpful Technology

    Today, many technological advances make staying in touch even easier and cheaper. Apps such as WhatsApp allow you to create family groups where you can share messages and pictures with your whole group. You can also use various apps for video calling; some also let you connect to multiple people at the same time. Review your and your child’s data plan to figure out what works best. Many of these apps can work using Wi-Fi so you do not use up data. Most MBA students will not want to check in with their parents every time they go somewhere while studying abroad. They might want to let someone else, such as a friend or a roommate, know where they are going.

  • Other Contacts

    In addition to setting up a way of keeping in touch with your child, know whom to contact at the school’s international student services office. They can help with questions about academia, job opportunities, as well as practical matter relating to health, safety and visa issues. You may also want to establish contact with your country’s embassy or consulate in the area near your child’s place of study. The school’s website or online portal for parents can let you access important information and updates. Seeing your child leave to study far away can be difficult. However, with some research and planning, you can figure out how to stay in the loop and support your child even from afar. Continue reading on SchoolApply to discover more important advice for international students and their parents.

Levels Explained

  • Bachelor's

    A bachelor's degree (also called a first degree or undergraduate degree) is attained after receiving a post-secondary (high school) education and generally spans four years. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as bachelor or undergraduate students. A bachelor's degree is usually offered at an institution of higher education, such as a university.

  • Master's

    A master’s degree (or postgraduate or graduate education) involves learning and studying for academic or professional degrees. This degree is preceded by a bachelor’s degree and generally takes two years to complete. Students pursuing these types of degrees are commonly referred to as master's, or grad students.

  • Pathway

    Bachelor’s and master’s pathway programs are designed for international students who need additional English language and academic preparation before continuing to a degree program at a university. The purpose of these programs are to give students the confidence and skills needed to succeed in college.