Best European MBA for Switzerland/Austria/Bavaria, Financial Services/Consulting/Technology


Hello,

I am a 32 year old male who currently lives and works in Canada. I have 13 years of work experience in Financial Services and Consulting, and a business masters degree from a well-regarded regional school with a 660 GMAT. I'm looking to relocate to the DACH region (ideally Zurich) for family reasons.

My career ambitions are focused around managing technology programs for financial services organizations. I would be happy pursuing this within a role at a Bank, as a consultant, or as a product owner for a technology company. I'm considering the MBA as a way to expand my network and connect me with employers in the region.

Because of my connection to Zurich, St. Gallen would be a good fit. However, my German is mediocre (B1 at best) and I have heard about the challenges of competing with native speakers for jobs. I would consider Germany/Austria as well, or even other programs on the continent.

Is St. Gallen my only option? Would the part-time be worth consideration? Would my profile even be suitable for this school? Does anyone have a sense of how hard it would be to just get a job without the MBA and worry about an EMBA later? What are my options?

Thank you for your help and consideration

Hello,

I am a 32 year old male who currently lives and works in Canada. I have 13 years of work experience in Financial Services and Consulting, and a business masters degree from a well-regarded regional school with a 660 GMAT. I'm looking to relocate to the DACH region (ideally Zurich) for family reasons.

My career ambitions are focused around managing technology programs for financial services organizations. I would be happy pursuing this within a role at a Bank, as a consultant, or as a product owner for a technology company. I'm considering the MBA as a way to expand my network and connect me with employers in the region.

Because of my connection to Zurich, St. Gallen would be a good fit. However, my German is mediocre (B1 at best) and I have heard about the challenges of competing with native speakers for jobs. I would consider Germany/Austria as well, or even other programs on the continent.

Is St. Gallen my only option? Would the part-time be worth consideration? Would my profile even be suitable for this school? Does anyone have a sense of how hard it would be to just get a job without the MBA and worry about an EMBA later? What are my options?

Thank you for your help and consideration
quote
Duncan

You need the DSH not the MBA. 

You need the DSH not the MBA. 
quote

You need the DSH not the MBA. 


Hi Duncan - thanks for the quick response. Can you elaborate a bit more? Are you suggesting I just need to ramp up language and focus on the job hunt?

I'm targeting C1 German from Goethe at some point in the near future. Any reason you recommend the DSH specifically?

I still wonder if the MBA would pay dividends from a networking and connections perspective. My living costs would be free when studying since I can live with family. Not sure how much that changes the calculation. Thanks again for your help.

[quote]You need the DSH not the MBA.&nbsp; [/quote]<br><br>Hi Duncan - thanks for the quick response. Can you elaborate a bit more? Are you suggesting I just need to ramp up language and focus on the job hunt?<br><br>I'm targeting C1 German from Goethe at some point in the near future. Any reason you recommend the DSH specifically?<br><br>I still wonder if the MBA would pay dividends from a networking and connections perspective. My living costs would be free when studying since I can live with family. Not sure how much that changes the calculation. Thanks again for your help.
quote
Duncan

Language skills are more important than an MBA unless you are targeting the traditional post-MBA associate roles. Imagine what you could do in a solid year of networking outside of an MBA. One coffee appointment every day would give you way more quality time than an MBA. 

Language skills are more important than an MBA unless you are targeting the traditional post-MBA associate roles. Imagine what you could do in a solid year of networking outside of an MBA. One coffee appointment every day would give you way more quality time than an MBA.&nbsp;
quote

That's a fair point. Seeing as I'm past those associate roles, the ROI calculation probably doesn't make as much sense. Nonetheless, I have found the Swiss market to be a tough one to crack, especially coming from Canada. My perception was that having a European accreditation would mitigate some of the shortcomings of my profile and cover a few gaps in my professional training. I also feel that the networking opportunities through the program would be stronger than whatever I can conjure up on my own. 

I'll continue focusing my efforts on language in the meantime. Any additional advice you have would be appreciated. Thanks for your help

That's a fair point. Seeing as I'm past those associate roles, the ROI calculation probably doesn't make as much sense. Nonetheless, I have found the Swiss market to be a tough one to crack, especially coming from Canada. My perception was that having a European accreditation would mitigate some of the shortcomings of my profile and cover a few gaps in my professional training. I also feel that the networking opportunities through the program would be stronger than whatever I can conjure up on my own.&nbsp;<br><br>I'll continue focusing my efforts on language in the meantime. Any additional advice you have would be appreciated. Thanks for your help<div><br></div><div>
</div>
quote
Duncan

The MBA is a Anglo-Saxon qualification held by few Swiss. German and French will be much more useful. 

The MBA is a Anglo-Saxon qualification held by few Swiss. German and French will be much more useful.&nbsp;
quote

The MBA is a Anglo-Saxon qualification held by few Swiss. German and French will be much more useful. 


This confirms what I've heard from friends and family. By chance, would you happen to be aware of any program in the broader DACH region that are more tailored to helping non-German speakers integrate into the German workforce? I've also read on these forums somewhere that doing an intensive language program and then using a Masters degree (potentially even at a Hochschule) to reach a professional level would be a better route. These could be Plan B and C if my employment opportunities don't transpire adequately.

If you have any recommendations on language training as well, that would be helpful - I've taken a few Goethe courses and found the pace unsuitable for my needs. Something within Zurich/Munich/Innsbruck region would be ideal. Thanks again for your help.

[quote]The MBA is a Anglo-Saxon qualification held by few Swiss. German and French will be much more useful.&nbsp; [/quote]<br><br>This confirms what I've heard from friends and family. By chance, would you happen to be aware of any program in the broader DACH region that are more tailored to helping non-German speakers integrate into the German workforce? I've also read on these forums somewhere that doing an intensive language program and then using a Masters degree (potentially even at a Hochschule) to reach a professional level would be a better route. These could be Plan B and C if my employment opportunities don't transpire adequately.<br><br>If you have any recommendations on language training as well, that would be helpful - I've taken a few Goethe courses and found the pace unsuitable for my needs. Something within Zurich/Munich/Innsbruck region would be ideal. Thanks again for your help.
quote
Duncan

I studied at the DKFA at Munich University, and that is a good option if you also take a conversation-based programme and get tutoring on accent reduction. Speaking frankly, there are good, often free, integration courses organised by the state and Volkshochschulen but most white professionals prefer private or university options. Every university either has a language school or partners with one. IHK qualification are a great option for picking focussed function vocabulary but you will be studying alongside younger natives. Not a major issue. There are various courses aiming at the Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf and that's an obvious option since it's aimed at B1 and B2 speakers. 

Get your family member to speak to the local town hall or international student office at a university. They will know local options. 

[Edited by Duncan on Mar 12, 2021]

I studied at the DKFA at Munich University, and that is a good option if you also take a conversation-based programme and get tutoring on accent reduction. Speaking frankly, there are good, often free, integration courses organised by the state and Volkshochschulen but most white professionals prefer private or university options. Every university either has a language school or partners with one. IHK qualification are a great option for picking focussed function vocabulary but you will be studying alongside younger natives. Not a major issue. There are various courses aiming at the Zertifikat Deutsch für den Beruf and that's an obvious option since it's aimed at B1 and B2 speakers.&nbsp;<br><br>Get your family member to speak to the local town hall or international student office at a university. They will know local options.&nbsp;
quote

This is helpful, practical advice. Thank you Duncan! Really appreciate you taking the time to reply.

This is helpful, practical advice. Thank you Duncan! Really appreciate you taking the time to reply.
quote

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