The European Touch

There are over 50,000 MBA students in Europe studying at about 500 business schools for a global population of 350 million inhabitants.  Although the number of MBA students is growing fast, it remains relatively small compared to that of the United States (250,000 graduates a year) which has a smaller population than that of Europe. How to explain the relatively small size of the MBA market in Europe? First, the MBA is relatively new in Europe. Second, the MBA is a US degree and until recently, an MBA was not the most prestigious business degree in Europe.   Third, European business schools started to internationalize their programs in the late 80’s and to offer MBA programs only recently. Finally, Central and Eastern Europe entered the free market economy only recently.

European MBA degrees meet the same needs as MBA degrees awarded elsewhere; acquisition of professional and academic skills for the business world. However, the European MBA degree differs from its American counterpart in three aspects:

The European MBA programs are usually 12 – months long and therefore shorter than many American programs…

Students’ profiles: European MBA programs are very international and their student population is around 30 years old.

Content: European MBA programs have to translate the diversity to the European continent and the particularity of the Western European economy.

European MBA programs are responsible for the development of the market in Europe where they have the largest market share. Internationally, six European MBA programs are regularly ranked in the Top MBAs by the global rankings: INSEAD, IMD, London Business, HEC, IESE and Instituto de Empresa. However, European MBA programs still need to increase their market share in Asia and South America where the US MBA programs have the largest market share.

What are tomorrow’s challenges for European MBA programs?

1) European BS need to diversify the format of their MBAs and offer formulas compatible with the working professionals

2) Develop partnership with US institutions

INSEAD with Wharton

LBS with Columbia

Cambridge with MIT

HEC with NYU

Rochester with the University of Bern

Purdue with GISMA

Duke with the University of Mannheim

3) Open campuses outside Europe

INSEAD and ESSEC in Singapore