Top 10 MBAs in Europe for Low Work Experience

It is possible to get into a good European MBA with low work experience? Yes! 

The mantra of the MBA degree is that students learn just as much from their fellow classmates as they do from the esteemed faculty. So it makes sense that there is generally a minimum amount of work experience needed for admission to the top MBA courses. However, some business schools are willing to waive the work experience requirement to attract exceptional candidates; and other schools simply look for younger applicants with lower work experience. And what’s better is that many of these schools are ranked highly in global rankings and have the best accreditations.

Below are the top 10 MBAs in Europe for low work experience.

Rotterdam, Netherlands 70 Followers 202 Discussions
RSM Rotterdam

Three years’ work experience may not seem like much, but the low requirement has not dampened the quality of the cohort at the Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands, which takes a more holistic approach to applications. The school is ranked among the best in the world by the FT and it wants students with, rather than substantial work experience, a global mindset and soft skills like excellent communication. 

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Milan, Italy 58 Followers 186 Discussions
SDA Bocconi

On average at SDA Bocconi in Milan, Italy, students have five years’ work experience. Yet the range is between two and 10 years. And the school says that it will admit students with even lower years of work experience if they have an excellent academic background, test scores, transversal skills, and are motivated. Managerial experience is not required, either. 

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St. Gallen, Switzerland 32 Followers 124 Discussions
St. Gallen

MBA candidates at St Gallen in Switzerland may have about six years of work experience on average, but the school admits applicants with as little as two years’ working knowledge. St Gallen is undoubtedly one of the best Swiss schools, as it’s ranked by most of the major publications, including the FT.  

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Barcelona, Spain 49 Followers 212 Discussions
ESADE - Barcelona

With just two years professional experience required at Spain’s ESADE, this school is a fantastic option for high potential younger MBA aspirants. ESADE is one of Spain’s highest ranked institutions, and has a good international reputation. More than 90 percent of MBAs are employed on graduating and the average salary is a massive $149,000, a 116 percent increase on the pre-MBA pay. 

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Jouy-en-Josas, France 83 Followers 339 Discussions
HEC Paris

HEC Paris, with five years’ work experience required, is at the top end of the scale. But HEC remains a good option, given the caliber of the school, which is one of France’s elite Grande Ecoles schools of management. HEC is France’s second highest ranked MBA provider, according to the FT. 

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Madrid, Spain 99 Followers 344 Discussions
IE

Students need only three years of relevant professional experience to be considered for the International MBA at Spain’s IE Business School. IE has consistently been ranked as one of the nation’s best business schools. It takes a holistic approach to evaluating applications, so low work experience should not count against you, if your overall profile is strong. 

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Cambridge, United Kingdom 38 Followers 242 Discussions
Cambridge - Judge

Cambridge Judge is another institution that needs few introductions. The UK school is famous globally for the quality of its teaching and research. The average age of work experience on the MBA is six, which may seem high, but not if you compare it with the quality of the class. The average GMAT score is high at 696, with 44 nationalities in the group too. 

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Oxford, United Kingdom 56 Followers 238 Discussions
Oxford - Said

In Bloomberg Businessweek’s ranking of the best non-US MBA programs, Oxford’s course was at number four, above even its arch rival Cambridge Judge. The average number of years of work experience across the Oxford MBA cohort is just five, far lower other UK schools’ averages, which can be between of seven and 10. Which is surprising, given the quality of the Oxford school. 

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London, United Kingdom 135 Followers 416 Discussions
London Business School (LBS)

LBS is undoubtedly one of Europe’s best business schools, having been ranked in the top-five of the FT league table for the past several consecutive years. In the QS Global MBA Ranking 2019, LBS ranks first for employability, fourth for entrepreneurship, alumni outcomes, thought leadership, and is 16th for diversity. And yet the average amount of work experience is five years and overseas students usually have even lower work experience since their undergraduate degrees are longer than in the UK. LBS says it will admit candidates with under three years’ experience if they can demonstrate top academic credentials and evidence of outstanding leadership. 

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Fontainebleau, France 60 Followers 277 Discussions
INSEAD - Europe Campus

INSEAD in France does not even have a work experience requirement. It only suggests at least two years, with the current class average being 5.5 years. Still, this really lowers the barrier to entry to what is the leading MBA program in Europe, according to the Financial Times ranking. INSEAD is renowned for a short, cheap course that is seriously international: students study on three continents and there are 90 nationalities in today’s class. 

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