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Mission Admission: What About European Business Schools?

Mission Admission is a series of MBA admission tips; a new one is posted each Tuesday.

This week, we consider another option for MBA candidates looking to broaden their business school choices: European business schools.

Although many applicants who are competing for places at the top U.S. business schools are well aware of the strengths of the MBA programs at INSEAD and London Business School, even more options are available beyond these two, including IESE, ESADE, Oxford (Said), and Cambridge (Judge). These four schools in particular have been aggressively playing “catch-up” with their better-known brethren by raising funds and dedicating them to scholarships and to enhancing their global brands. Those who know their business schools are also aware that IMD offers a boutique MBA program with remarkable international diversity, very highly regarded academics, and a stellar reputation with international employers.

So, numerous options are available, and each can be explored on its own academic merit, but is earning your MBA in Europe, in itself, a good choice for you? For many, the key issue in determining this is where they would like to be after completing their education. If you are seeking to work in Europe, then clearly, these schools offer an advantage over all but the top five or six schools in the United States. (Harvard Business School, for example, can probably open as many doors in Europe as INSEAD can.) However, if you are seeking to work in the States, then the European schools will not provide the pipeline of opportunities that a top-15 American school could provide, particularly for those who hope to work in a niche industry or with a company that is not a well-known international brand.

Still, beyond the employment picture, studying abroad offers intrinsic value. Two years in London, Fountainbleu, or Lausanne could certainly be its own reward…




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