Mission Admission: European MBA Programs?

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

This week, we consider another option for those looking to broaden their possibilities for next year: European MBA programs.

Although many candidates 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 the London Business School, even more options are certainly 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 also know 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 centers on 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. (HBS, 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 will provide, particularly for those who hope to work in niche industries or with companies that are not well-known international brands.

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

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