It’s widely known that a business education can be expensive, so it makes perfect sense to keep costs low when studying abroad for a global immersion tour. These 8 destinations are known for their affordability when it comes to travelling, living and dining.
Ranked by Forbes in 2017 as one of the cheapest places to travel, Vietnam has moved away from agriculture to become one of the world’s fastest growing economies. Contributing to its success is the South-Asian gem’s young, highly skilled population which has helped to develop the hi-tech and financial industries. Vietnam’s largest city, Ho Chi Minh, is becoming a startup ecosystem for young entrepreneurs due to its great value for money.
Cambodia’s garment manufacturing industry comprises 80% of export earnings, making it an ideal location for professionals interested in textiles and fashion. Low-cost labour makes Cambodia attractive to multinational “fast fashion” companies. Gap, Marks & Spencer and Uniqlo have long-standing relationships with Vietnamese clothing manufacturers. The tourism and agriculture industries also contribute significantly to GDP, and there’s a growing number of startups like EcoSense in Phnom Penh.
Turkey is an important bridge between Europe and Asia, and its economy is driven by travel and tourism, automotive manufacturing, textiles, agriculture and construction. With over 60 VC incubators, Turkey is also a smart choice for budding entrepreneurs. The legal system makes it easy for foreign startups to acquire investment. Plus, the cost over living is lower than the rest of Europe, and over 50% less than in New York!
Known for its delicious seafood and colourful buildings, Portugal is another emerging startup hotspot due to its low cost of living. The capital, Lisbon, is rapidly growing its tech scene - helped by a programme of accelerator funding, incubators and flexible coworking spaces. Luxury e-commerce platform Farfetch is Portugal’s biggest startup success so far, having raised more than $300m in VC from 15 investors, although other names to watch are Uniplaces student rentals, SaaS contact centre provider Talkdesk and independent app store Aptoide.
Cultural melting pot Morocco is famous for its phosphate mining, colourful clothing and spices, and it successfully trades these and more with neighbouring countries. But did you know that it also operates one of the best train networks in Africa? Train company ONCF offers a fast, cheap and reliable service, making it easy to get from Casablanca to Marrakech just over 3 hours. Add to this the mouthwatering dishes and lively music, and it’s no wonder many global hotel chains see Morocco as a strategic location for expansion. This makes Morocco a ideal place to learn about tourism and hospitality.
One of the fastest growing sectors in the Philippines is its technology outsourcing industry - but it isn’t just call centers. The Philippines is utilised by firms like Accenture for its expertise in software development and engineering design. There are even more reasons why it’s a must-see for travelling MBAs. Outside of the capital Manila, hotel rooms cost around $30 per night. Dinner from a street-side stall? Only $2.
Malaysia’s low cost of living and ease of doing business makes it a prime tour location for students interested in launching their own company. According to the World Bank, starting a business in Malaysia takes about 19 days. With manufacturing making up over 40% of GDP, Malaysia’s strength in producing goods like food, electronics and petroleum largely contributes to economic growth. So where should MBAs in Malaysia visit first? Prominent petroleum firm Petronas owns twin skyscrapers which are a popular hotspot for tourists and business people alike.
Baltic beauty Estonia is a leader in digital innovation. It has the third highest number of startups per capita, and it’s easy to understand why. The new e-Residency system allows anyone in the world to register a new business in Estonia, making it ideal base for today’s digitally nomadic professionals. Capital Tallinn has affordable bars and restaurants. Plus the all-in-one Tallinn Card provides access to transport throughout the city as well as museums, tours and attractions.