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Top Business Schools in Europe: Should You Get an MBA In Europe?

June 19 2023 By The MBA Exchange
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Are you considering pursuing a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree in Europe? Look no further! There are numerous compelling reasons to choose the best MBA programs in Europe. From breathtaking scenery to a vibrant culture, international exposure, and the opportunity to position yourself for a global career after graduation, Europe has it all.

Europe may align perfectly with your past experiences and future goals. Alternatively, you might be seeking to broaden your perspective, embrace diversity, and immerse yourself in various cultures. Whether you dream of studying in Paris or Madrid, working in the financial services sector in London, or engaging in a multilingual learning environment, a European business school can provide an excellent starting point. The finest business schools in Europe can rival the top programs offered in the United States.

Why do an MBA in Europe?

Every MBA candidacy is unique. Your story could have unusual twists and turns. You might have a good GMAT score, but a low GPA for most MBA programs in the U.S.  Maybe you’re interested in pursuing your MBA while continuing to develop your career by utilizing options like executive MBA (EMBA) programs or part-time programs. You could even complete your MBA online.

If you have a global perspective and aspirations, the top business schools in Europe could be the perfect fit for your experience and ambition. Europe’s leading business schools have a rich history of academic and professional excellence.

Opting to pursue your MBA at one of Europe’s top business schools offers a multitude of advantages. These schools often boast highly diverse student bodies, and some provide opportunities for multilingual instruction. Throughout your MBA studies, you may have the chance to travel and immerse yourself in different environments and cultures, thereby enhancing your understanding of the global business landscape.

Regardless of your background, obtaining an MBA degree from the best programs in Europe will expand your horizons, equipping you with the skills and knowledge necessary for future career success, just like top programs in the United States. Renowned business schools in Europe offer specialized MBA tracks in areas such as entrepreneurship, finance, and international business.

Benefits of Pursuing an MBA In Europe

Here are some of the advantages European business schools have over their overseas counterparts. 

Less Expensive

European business schools offer several advantages over their overseas counterparts. One of the key benefits is the cost-effectiveness of their programs. Unlike the American standard of a two-year full-time MBA, European MBA programs typically last for one year or 18 months. This shorter duration translates to lower overall costs for students. Despite the reduced duration, European business schools maintain a high quality of education, which is evident in the increasing number of triple-accredited institutions across Europe.

A More International Network

Most European business schools conduct their programs in English, contributing to a highly diverse and international student body. Additionally, university alliances and exchange programs further enhance the global exposure of students, allowing them to expand their personal networks and develop the necessary skills to thrive in a global business environment.

More Experienced Classmates

European business schools often attract a higher age group of MBA students compared to their American counterparts. This characteristic appeals to experienced professionals who are seeking to further their education. By studying in Europe, these individuals can benefit from the collective wisdom and diverse experiences of their classmates, enriching their learning journey.

Smaller Classes, More Individual Attention

The size and culture of a business school play crucial roles in shaping the learning experience. European business schools, in general, have smaller class sizes compared to their US counterparts. This smaller student-to-faculty ratio allows professors in Europe to devote more time and attention to individual students, fostering a more personalized learning environment. In contrast, professors in the US often have limited availability for one-on-one interactions due to larger class sizes.

Access to Global Opportunities

Thanks to the Bologna higher education accord, European degrees are widely recognized across the Eurasian continent. This recognition provides MBA graduates from European business schools with unparalleled access to career opportunities worldwide. Unlike graduates from other regions, European MBA holders are not limited to working in the country where they graduated. Instead, they can take advantage of the pan-European job market and explore diverse professional avenues.

Cultural Diversity

The significance of cultural diversity within MBA programs cannot be overstated. European business schools encompass a wide range of countries with distinct historical backgrounds and social orders. This diversity creates a unique learning environment that extends beyond the confines of the classroom. Interacting with peers from different cultural backgrounds broadens students’ perspectives, enhances their cross-cultural communication skills, and prepares them to thrive in a globalized business landscape.

Perfecting Language Skills

While English serves as the primary teaching language in European MBA programs, students have the opportunity to refine their language skills outside of the classroom. Immersed in a foreign country, students can engage with native speakers and practice the local language, further enhancing their linguistic proficiency. This language learning aspect adds an extra dimension to the overall MBA experience and equips students with valuable intercultural communication abilities.

Still Interested? Let’s look at some program specifics!

Best MBA Programs in Europe

Wondering which are the best business schools in Europe? It can be hard to figure that out, especially if you’re not European yourself, or if you’re applying across language barriers. In ranking business schools in Europe, the team at The MBA Exchange takes factors like acceptance rate and tuition into account, as well as graduate success and program prestige. 

HEC Paris, France

At the head of the list of the best business schools in Europe, and one of the very top ranking business schools Europe boasts, there’s HEC Paris. Located in Jouy en Josas, France, HEC Paris offers a 16-month MBA program based on an eight-month foundation period and an eight-month customized phase.

HEC Paris connects you to a global network of partner schools like HKUST Business School, London Business School and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business. HEC Paris graduates more CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies than any other of the top of business schools in Europe. The HEC MBA program emphasizes entrepreneurship, leadership, innovation and career transformation.

HEC Paris intakes are in September and January.

London Business School, United Kingdom

With a location in the finance center of the city of London, London Business School (LBS) is one of the best business schools in Europe from which to launch your career in finance, entrepreneurship and more. LBS is second of the ranking business schools in Europe considered by the Financial Times 2021, and also sits at number two in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2022.

The two-year program touts its 92% employment success rate for students within three months of graduation and offers top-tier networking and career-building opportunities.

London Business School intakes are in September and January.

IE Business School, Spain

Another of Europe’s top business schools, IE Business School, located in Madrid’s financial district, Barrio de Salamanca, holds triple accreditation from the EFMD Quality Improvement System, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business and the Association of MBAs. 

The IE Business School MBA program emphasizes global insight and cutting-edge technology. IE Business School offers a range of full-time and part-time MBA programs taught in English and Spanish.

IE Business School intakes are in September and January.

INSEAD, France

With feet on the ground in France and Singapore, INSEAD offers a unique dual-campus experience that stands out from others of Europe’s top business schools. A diverse student body enjoys an enriched 10-month accelerated MBA environment, with parallel locations in Fontainebleau, France and Singapore. 

INSEAD optimizes your education to your career interests, with more than 70 elective courses available.

INSEAD intakes are in August and January.

IESE Business School, Spain

Located in picturesque Barcelona, IESE Business School, the graduate business school of the University of Navarra, is ranked number one in the world and is definitely among the best business schools in Europe.

IESE’s two-year MBA program prepares graduates for industries including consulting, finance and technology. IESE graduates often fan out to seek employment and career growth in other locales after graduation, giving IESE a widespread and diverse network of alumni.

IESE intake is in September.

ESADE Business School, Spain

ESADE Business School offers a variety of MBA programs, from a traditional full-time MBA degree in Barcelona, Spain to a Global Executive MBA program that reaches from Barcelona and Madrid in Spain to Washington, DC and New York in the United States and then to Bangalore, India! That’s some intense preparation for any international career.

ESADE intake is in September.

Oxford (Said), United Kingdom

Oxford University is a UK landmark, a historic bastion of educational excellence. The Oxford Said 1-year MBA program has a long legacy graduating the business leaders of the future – most MBA graduates from Oxford Said go on to careers in financial services, consulting and technology. Oxford is only about an hour out of London by train, so you’ve still got plenty of sightseeing opportunities!

With an MBA from Oxford, you also benefit from the Oxford Business Alumni (OBA) network, an official community of more than 18,000 b-school grads around the world that maintains a presence in more than 140 countries with over 60 dedicated global ambassadors – a significant boost to your future career connections.

Oxford Said intakes are in September and January.

Cambridge (Judge), United Kingdom

The other UK giant of historic educational excellence, the University of Cambridge is similarly located about an hour’s train ride out of London. Cambridge Judge’s MBA program is one of the best business schools in Europe for students interested in E-commerce and internet technology, a sector that many Cambridge Judge graduates pursue after completing their studies.

Cambridge Judge intake is continuous throughout the year

Ranking the business schools of Europe and just looking at the range and diversity of the best MBA programs in Europe, your takeaway should be that there’s a truly staggering range of possibilities available to a motivated person.  

What are the best MBA programs in Europe for YOU?

The opportunities available at the leading business schools in Europe surpass those found at schools across the globe, offering you the chance to explore a wide range of post-graduation paths. Your individual struggles, accomplishments, and untapped potential deserve a platform to thrive. It is crucial to believe that such a place, your rightful place, exists out there. Perhaps it awaits you at one of Europe’s finest business schools!

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.  You might have to reach for your b-school dream if you’re targeting the best MBA programs in Europe, and that’s ok. European business schools are a reach that is well worth the effort.

You’ve got strengths to offset the weaknesses in your applicant profile and still impress an admissions committee. But you’ve got to identify them, and when it comes to international MBA applications to the top business schools in Europe, that can present a tough task. It’s challenging enough to optimize an MBA candidacy without throwing cross-cultural differences into the ring! So get an expert on your side. At The MBA Exchange, we hand-match each client with an experienced member of our consulting team, taking care to find the right MBA consultant for your candidacy. Then, we can help you choose the right MBA program for your goals. Get started on your European business school journey by filling out your free profile evaluation today.