A phenomenological exploration of the holistic experiences of Bangladeshi MBA students at a UK university
This study aims to answer the main research question, ‘what are the holistic experiences of Bangladeshi MBA students at a UK university during their period of study?’ There is considerable literature on Chinese or Indian students studying overseas but no identified bespoke research on the entire study period of Bangladeshi students overseas. The purpose of the study is to explore the holistic challenges and coping strategies that occurred at different stages of the study sojourn of the Bangladeshi MBA students at a West London University. In addition, the purpose of the Doctorate in Education is to investigate an issue that is relevant in the workplace which is a higher education institution.\ud The research design is framed within a phenomenological approach whereby the research philosophy and methodology are defined as Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis. The qualitative methodology has normally been used in psychological research. Its relevance in this educational research is that it has enabled the acquisition of in-depth cultural and academic insights into the holistic experiences of the research participants.\ud The findings are based on two in-depth interviews conducted with each of seven MBA students during and soon after completion of their study. The interviews elicited four themes: reasons for study abroad and choosing to study for the MBA, experiences and challenges during the study period, coping strategies and post completion choices. The reason for study abroad was to enhance their educational and professional status whilst the essential challenges were psycho-cultural, educational and financial. The coping\ud strategies included self-reliance, working in groups and seeking support from family, other students and tutors, working long hours to subsidise living expenses. The post-completion choices included returning to Bangladesh to continue in previous employment or to pursue career change or to remain in the UK for further educational enhancement.\ud The implications of the findings are that longitudinal studies provide a more in-depth understanding of the entire study experience as they are better able to chart the various challenges at different stages of the journey. In addition, the implications for practitioners are that they need to reflect upon and adjust their teaching to include a more geocentric rather than ethnocentric curriculum when teaching international students.\ud The main contribution of this study is that it considers various stages of the journey and also adds pertinent information on each aspect of the holistic experiences such as psycho-cultural, learning and language as well as financial challenges and coping strategies. The study also confirms the increase in confidence and resilience of the Bangladeshi students over a period of time as well as the development of a third culture identity.\ud Keywords: Bangladeshi, international, holistic, challenges, coping strategies.