European business schools are relatively new to the MBA game, with the degree first taking off in America, but they are ahead of their even newer peers in Asia. Demand for business masters degrees on the European continent has surged in recent years.
The popularity of European MBAs is attributed to their more diverse student intakes, shorter programs with a lower opportunity cost and open immigration systems that facilitate a global career.
Europe’s business schools have also raised their game when it comes to teaching and research quality. Europe is home to some of the world’s oldest educational institutions and their business schools are similarly renowned, sometimes topping rankings of MBA degrees produced by financial news publications.
The post-MBA job prospects in Europe remain good and overseas students may have an easier time securing a study and work visa than in the US or other parts of the world. European schools are also leaders on sustainability, which is gaining favor with a younger generation of students who want to make a positive impact on the world, not just make money. Here are the top-10 MBAs in mainland Europe:
Insead may style itself a global business school, but its roots are in Fontainebleau, a town southeast of Paris. Since its foundation in 1957 to promote European reunification after the second world war, Insead has established campuses in Singapore and Abu Dhabi. Students on its MBA program – currently ranked the best in Europe and fourth globally by the Financial Times — rotate between the three bases, giving them a global perspective on business. An intensive 10-month program, it offers good value for money.View School Profile
HEC Paris is one of France’s leading Grande Ecoles – elite French institutions that have educated much of the country’s business and political establishment. HEC’s success in key MBA rankings by the FT and others is compounded by high alumni salaries and pay increases. It has a powerful alumni network, across Europe and beyond, graduating more CEOs of global Fortune 500 companies than any other institution in Europe. HEC also has strong entrepreneurialView School Profile
IESE Business School is based in Barcelona, Spain. The MBA is focused on general management and cross-cultural learning. It can be completed in 15 or 19 months, leaving enough time for an internship, which is a proven route into the banking, consulting and consumer goods sectors. The program is taught in both Spanish and English, with Spanish language classes available. This gives the high proportion of foreign students a chance to learn a language that can open the door to career opportunities after the MBA, both in Europe and in other parts of the world.View School Profile
IMD Business School, on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland, has strength in the global mobility of its alumni. The school is also highly rated for having 98 percent international faculty. The 12-month program has a low opportunity cost and offers a high return on investment. It focuses on boosting leadership skills in digital, entrepreneurial and global business environments.View School Profile
The MBA at SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy is one of the highest ranked in Europe. Its location in Milan, a hub of culture and innovation, is a perk. The program also emphases experiential learning, with students hearing from inspirational leaders from iconic brands including Prada, Gucci and Google, which helped design the curriculum.View School Profile
IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, is also highly regarded on the continent. Its one-year International MBA program was ranked 8th worldwide by QS. It is focused on generating leaders who drive positive change in the world. Nearly half the course is customizable, so students can tailor the learning experience to their professional goals. IE also prides itself on honing an entrepreneurial mindset through experiential learning experiences.View School Profile
The Otto Beisheim School of Management is one of the best in Germany, according to the FT. The school in Vallendar strives to maximize learning, global exposure, professional networks and leadership impact. There are study trips to the US, India and China that help to cultivate a close-knit and diverse alumni network. The 12-month program is also geared towards career-changers who are assisted by a highly ranked career center.View School Profile
The Rotterdam School of Management in the Netherlands strives to educate leaders who will be positive change-agents. They learn soft skills — critical thinking, problem solving, communication et al — as well as the dynamics of management, leadership, organizations and business. Many graduates pursue careers that make a positive contribution to society or the environment, often staying in the Netherlands — a leader when it comes to sustainability.View School Profile
St Gallen, in German-speaking Switzerland, leverages its location to include in the MBA 70 companies each year, through its renowned career services department. The MBA is taught in English over 12 months and draws a highly diverse intake of students. The job prospects are good, with 83 percent of the class receiving an offer three months from graduation, on average. Many of St. Gallen’s students pursue jobs in the finance industry after their MBA, in Switzerland or elsewhere in Europe.View School Profile
ESMT in the German capital puts on a one-year MBA that is personalized, with significant international and cross-cultural components. The course itself focuses on innovation, technology, big data, sustainable business, globalization and entrepreneurship. Living in Berlin is an advantage, with the city home to one of Europe’s most important thriving technology and startup scenes.View School Profile