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Why Applications For European Business Schools Are On The Rise

For Melinda Aulie, 28, studying for an MBA degree meant returning to her birthplace – Europe. Although she obtained her bachelor’s degree in business in the US (Westmont College), she decided to choose a program at HEC (Paris) business school to have a more international experience than she would at the school she chose originally (Kellogg).

US business schools provide a lot of diversity, but there is much more of it in Europe. To become a global entrepreneur, European multinational experience is needed, Financial Times reports.

European MBA Programs Are Becoming More Popular

Currently, the popularity of European business schools is growing, while US business programs are seeing a certain degree of decline. First of all, European programs give their students a more nationally diverse experience (some schools have 90% of international students); also, their courses are usually shorter than in America: sometimes, a full MBA education is only a year long.

According to GMAC, the company that provides the GMAT test, only one-third of US business schools experienced an upsurge in applications this year compared to 2016; while in Europe, it was two-thirds. Foreign applications are the main factor of the growing popularity of European MBA programs.

For Melinda, studying at HEC is much better than graduating from a US-based school: she will graduate this year after only 16 months, much faster than most American MBA students. Such a short period doesn’t remove you from your workplace for too long, while allowing you to build a network with your classmates.

Problems Experienced By European Business Schools

These hopeful prospects don’t mean that European programs have no concerns whatsoever: the state of the European economy has not been satisfactory in years, and it cannot but influence business schools. With a lack of available jobs in Europe, many potential students might reconsider entering European MBA programs.

There is another severe problem for the European business education: political uncertainty in several regions, like Spain with the Catalonian independence vote. Catalonia is where one of Spain’s best business schools is headquartered. However, political problems do not have such a debilitating influence on European business schools, as most of their students are from other countries and can easily move to another place to look for a job.

Unlike companies, business schools are not so dependent on local economy. They can obtain funding at an international level and from their alumni from all around the world.

It’s still unknown what effect on business education will come from separatist political votes, like in Britain and Spain. Britain has seen a rise in applications, as the pound of sterling became much cheaper compared to the euro; hence, many international students saw the opportunity to obtain their business education at a much lower price. Still, one-fifth of European schools experienced a well-expected problem: many applicants didn’t show up for business courses this fall.

The same can be said about faculty working for European business schools: some teachers chose to leave their jobs facing political unrest and declining economy, which signifies potential understaffing for several MBA programs.

Learn more about European business education on MBA25 webinar “A Taste of MBA”!

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