Guest Posts

European MBA: A Unique Experience

April 30 2013 By The MBA Exchange
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by Christophe Coutat, CEO and Founder of the Access MBA Tour

When choosing between business schools in Europe and the United States, the main thing to keep in mind is that the decision is very personal. Take a good look at the available options and do not let yourself be influenced by rankings. If your background fits in better with a school that may be a little outside the top 10, 20 or 30, don’t let that worry you. Here are some of the advantages European business schools have over their overseas counterparts. Less Expensive. The two-year program is still considered to be the American standard for the full-time MBA. In Europe, the duration of an MBA program is one year or eighteen months, which becomes less expensive than a two-year program and entails lower overall living costs. Nevertheless the quality of the programs can be very high, which explains the growing number of triple-accredited business schools in Europe. More Specialized MBA Programs. Europe boasts schools that are known for certain specific core competencies. Ranked the best European business school by the Financial Times in 2012, IE Business School is, for example, the perfect place to develop your career with its focus on innovation, diversity and entrepreneurship. A More International Network. Reports by GMAC state that 38% of participants in US business school are from foreign countries. The percentage of international students in European MBA programs is 83%. Due to this, the teaching language at most business schools in Europe is English. University alliances and exchange programs contribute to highly diverse and international student bodies, and ultimately expand personal networks and ability to work on a global level. IESE Business School, which offers the fifth best worldwide MBA program according to The Economist in 2012, has between 26 and 28 exchange partners including 16 top US schools, such as Columbia and NYU-Stern. In 2010, IESE became the first European school to open its New York City campus. High MBA Salaries. During times of economic growth or in times of crisis, it is important to have a diploma that employers favor. 87% of the European business school graduates of the class of 2012 was employed after graduation, according to a GMAC survey. Getting a European MBA is also a great opportunity to change careers or find a better job, as 43% of graduates found new employers after graduation. The median starting salary for all management program graduates in the Old Continent is higher by more than US$22,000. Last year, MBA employees in Europe were even better paid than in America – US$108,355 compared to US$100,000. Better Return on Investment. The Financial Times value-for-money rankings show that European schools are doing better than their American counterparts. With all due critical attitudes towards such calculations and lists, the top 10 European and American schools would be as follows: The first 10 are made up of European institutions and the second 10 are American. The question of business school quality is open to debate, and can never be fully resolved. Although, in terms of ROI, the European MBA seems to be gaining the upper hand. More Experienced Classmates. The age of MBA students in Europe is generally higher than that of American schools. This may give experienced professionals who want to go back to school an argument in favour of the Old Continent. On the other hand, US institutions accept more a larger number of students in their programs. Smaller Classes, More Individual Attention. The size and culture of a school are often overlooked when considering business schools. In general, US business schools are larger, with an average intake of 287 full-time MBA students, compared with 124 in Europe. Professors in the US may therefore have a limited amount of time for individual work with each student compared with professors in Europe. Better Career Mobility. Thanks to the Bologna higher education accord, European degrees are recognized in most countries within the Eurasian continent, giving unprecedented access to career opportunities worldwide. This also means that MBA graduates are not confined to working in the country they graduated, but can benefit from the pan-European job market. Cultural Diversity. Cultural differences between European countries shouldn’t be underestimated when considering the added value of an MBA program. Historically-built attitudes and social order vary greatly and create a secondary learning environment outside the classes. Language Learning Options. It is a well known fact that a new language is most efficiently learned when in the foreign country. Even though English i the teaching language of MBA programs, students have the option to perfect their language skills with native speakers outside of the classroom. ONE-TO-ONE MEETINGS: THE FIRST STEP TO ADMISSION Created ten years ago, the renowned Access MBA Tour travels to 65 cities every year with a hundred international business schools. Access MBA gives selected candidates the chance to meet individually with Admissions Directors of top-tier MBA programs. MBA candidates have twenty minutes to convince recruiters of their eligibility for admission as well as to determine which MBA program is the best for them. Being held for the sixth time in New York, representatives of Full Time, Part Time or Distance Learning programs will be present at the One-to-One event on Wednesday, May 22nd 2013 from 4pm to 9:30pm at the Warwick New York Hotel. Some of the business schools participating in the Access MBA Spring Tour 2013 include: London Business School, INSEAD, Duke University – The Fuqua School of Business, IESE, HEC Paris, IE Business School, Cass, ESADE, Hult International Business School, Manchester Business School, EDHEC Business School, Nottingham University, University of Chicago–Booth, SDA Bocconi, Northwestern University–Kellogg, IMD, University of Cambridge, Copenhagen Business School, Durham University, International University of Monaco. “It is a unique experience and so much better than a traditional fair where you often feel a bit lost. Here we are guided, accompanied and individually oriented at each step. The individual meetings enabled me to think in more detail about what I want and now I know where I wish to apply”, explains John Alvine, who participated in last year’s event in NYC. How can you take advantage of Access MBA’s exclusive services? All you have to do is register online on and bring your CV to the event. Early registration is recommended as places in One-to-One meetings are limited.