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Best Business Schools in Europe

Best Business Schools in Europe

Top B-Schools in Germany, France, UK, Spain, Switzerland, Portugal, Italy, Denmark

With around 50 countries, comprising the continent of Europe, it houses some of the oldest and the most prestigious universities in the world. Think 9/10 of the oldest bricks, aimed towards higher education, were laid down in Europe. University of Bologna, in Italy, beat University of Oxford by 8 years with its first lectures having begun in 1088.

University of Cambridge, University of Sienna, University of Paris, Salamanca, Padua, Naples Federico, and University of Coimbra, are some of the others that were built somewhere between then and the year 1300.

But age is not the only factor taking the wise-meter off the charts, for European universities. Some 35 of the top 100 universities in the world are European. That’s recent rankings (by QS) not requiring you to dust off the library mites from the pages of history!

In this article, we dive into the study of Business Administration (And related) degrees in Europe. Why study in Europe and what are some of the best Business Schools in Europe? We also look at the various flavours of MBA programs offered by these schools, namely full-time, part-time, executive, and joint MBA.

Best MBA colleges in Europe for International / Indian Students


Why choose Europe for your MBA?


Quality of MBA

Over 35 out of the top 100 MBA spots are coveted by European Business Schools, according to Financial Times Global MBA Rankings (2018). This has been a consistently impressive turnout the past some years, thus catching up with the world dominion of MBA rankings held by USA.

Tuition fees are generally far lower than the North American counterparts. When compared to the highly denting annual college fees amounting to north of $60,000 in USA each year, tuition in Germany for instance is mostly borne by the state or is extremely cheap, within a few thousand Euros.

This may, however, not always be a given for professional degrees like the MBA. However, tuition costs are greatly reduced when you consider the fact that most full-time MBA programs in Europe have a duration of one year.

MBA tuition fees are comparable, though with the advantage of a shorter program structure to begin reaping the ROI and repaying loans, early.

Working in Europe also affords salaries in one of the strongest currencies in the world. As far as professional degrees like MBA are concerned, average salaries in Europe lie in the range of $72,000 to $110,000, the higher range being the second highest after North America.

Read Average MBA starting salaries

Location and Networking advantage

Europe’s history and its meticulous preservation as such makes for an education in itself. Even war-torn areas have some historical lessons to serve up. That’s for the traveler in you.

While many European countries have their own languages and the medium of instruction does tend to be in the language of the region, a majority of institutes offer either the opportunity of English medium courses/degrees or have provisions to be taught their language in a formal setting. Thus, gaining the added advantage of a foreign language education in the combined deal.

As for a truly global and international exposure is concerned, Europe offers the whole package – varied cultures, and languages, in relatively free-to-move-around borders within the European Union.

The continent is very well-connected by road, train or cheap local airlines. Traveling around to build on the already global move to study abroad can be an additional blessing for many who yearn for the experiential education. International networking is, thus, a cake-walk.

Employment edge

According to the 2017 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey Report (received from 959 employers from 628 companies and over 51 countries), 64% respondents in Europe report company expansions.

Hiring projections are also promising. In 2016, 66% of Fortune 100, 500, Global 100, Global 500, as well as publicly traded companies hired MBAs. Among the surveyed, 64% recruiters are open to hiring internationals (22% planned to hire and 42% were willing to hire, back in 2017).

Nearly all European countries have favourable student to work visa options to enable a transition from learner to being gainfully employed. Germany, France, and other European countries have the EU Blue Card work permit for non-EU nationals with jobs with a minimum required salary.

UK offers an extended student visa to provide enough time for job hunting, etc. France also offers a “Talent Passport” permit to specialized professionals who have something significant to offer to the French economy. MBA with good credentials might be a contender.

Excellent work-life conditions

Working in Europe also means that you may be able to access some of the countries with the best work life balance in the world. Countries like Germany, Norway, Denmark, and France are known for their labor friendly laws that make working over the weekends tantamount to some sort of a minor crime!

Also, maternity and paternity leaves are among the friendliest in the continent. For instance, France offers over 3 months of paid family leave, while countries like Italy and and UK offer between nearly five and nine months off with a percentage of the full pay guaranteed. Germany has been known to grant up to 14 months between both parents.

Quality of life in Europe

It is difficult to assimilate the living costs throughout Europe, considering the different economies that comprise it. However, to give a general idea, we have listed below some of the countries that have the best business schools in the world – Germany, UK, France, and Spain (source Numbeo).

Cost Per Month Germany (Munich) UK (Oxford) France(Paris) Spain(Barcelona)
Food $300 $230 $380 $250
Rent for one BHK $900 $1,100 $1,000 $700
Quality of Life Index* 189 162 129 140

*Overall quality based on safety, pollution, health, purchasing power, commute, climate, income, and cost of living. Higher the index, the better is the quality of life. Prices are in USD. For comparison, Quality of Life Index is 139 in New York City and 88 in New Delhi.

Top Business Schools for an MBA in Europe

These have been obtained from well-known MBA ranking sites like Financial Times and QS MBA Rankings, and have particularly performed well over the years. (We also have top MBA Ranking made by MBA Crystal Ball, where we have the consistent performers among b-schools based on a weighted average of the past Financial Times (FT) Rankings.)

We have not included the top Business Schools in UK, in this list, as there is already another article dedicated to the same. Regardless, do keep in mind that the UK B-Schools rank among the top in Europe’s best business schools. Some of the top UK B-Schools are:

Here are the other top business schools in Europe, aside from UK’s.

No. Business School Country Average Post MBA Base Salary (Approx. based on 2017 reports)
1 INSEAD France/Singapore $104,000
2 HEC Paris France $113,000
3 ESADE Spain $109,000
4 IMD Switzerland $113,000
5 IE Business School Spain $90,000
6 SDA Bocconi Italy $93,500
7 IESE Business School-University of Navarra Spain $82,000 – $105,000 based on Industry
8 Erasmus Rotterdam School of Management Netherlands $70,000 – $90,000
9 Copenhagen Business School Denmark $92,000
10 ESSEC France/Singapore $102,000
11 EDHEC France $107,000
12 University of St. Gallen Switzerland $111,300
13 Mannheim Business School Germany $118,000
14 The Lisbon MBA Portugal $113,500
15 ESMT Berlin Germany $101,000


Full & Part Time MBA in Top B-Schools in Europe

Program Duration Total Tuition (Approx.)
INSEAD Full-Time MBA 1 year $97,000
HEC Paris Full-Time MBA 16 months $76,000
ESADE – Full-Time MBA 12-18 months $79,200
IMD Full-Time MBA 15 months $62,000
IE Business School Global MBA 18 months $59,200
IE Business School International MBA 1 year $83,500
SDA Bocconi Full-Time MBA 1 year $66,000
IESE Business School Full-Time MBA 19 months $102,000
Erasmus (RSM) International Full-Time MBA 1 year $58,500
Copenhagen Business School Full-Time MBA 1 year $51,200
ESSEC Full-Time Global MBA 1 year $52,000 on campus
EDHEC Full-Time Global MBA 10 months $51,000
University of St. Gallen Full-Time MBA 11 months $58,000
University of St. Gallen Part-Time MBA 4 days on campus per month $72,000
Mannheim Business School Full-Time MBA 12-15 months $46,000
The Lisbon MBA International Full-Time MBA 1 year $44,000
ESMT Berlin Full-Time MBA 1 year $50,500


Executive MBA in Top B-Schools in Europe

Program Duration Total Tuition (Approx.)
INSEAD Global Executive MBA 14-17 month $138,000
INSEAD-Tsinghua Executive MBA 22 months with 12 weeks on campus $125,000
HEC Paris Executive MBA 3 different part-time tracks in Paris $84,500
ESADE Executive MBA 16 months $72,300
IMD Executive MBA 15 months $108,000
IE Business School Executive MBA 15 months $65,000
IE Business School Global Executive MBA 15 months $90,500
IE Business School – Brown University Executive MBA 15 months $135,000
SDA Bocconi Global Executive MBA 20 months $92,500
SDA Bocconi Executive MBA 18 months
SDA Bocconi Executive MBA weekend 18 months
Erasmus (RSM) Executive MBA 21 months $59,500
Erasmus (RSM) Global Executive OneMBA 21 months $72,300
Erasmus (RSM)-University of Cologne Executive MBA 24 months $57,300
ESSEC Executive MBA 18 months $54,000
ESSEC-Mannheim Executive MBA: European Track 18 months $60,200
EDHEC Executive MBA 16 months
The Lisbon Executive MBA 21 months $35,000
ESMT Berlin Executive MBA 18 months $67,000

Besides the above, there are the big names like Belgium’s Vlerick Business School, France’s Grenoble Ecole de Management and EMLyon, Germany’s WHU Otto Beisheim, European Business School, HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management, and Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, Ireland’s UCD Smurfit Graduate Business School, and Netherland’s Amsterdam Business School.

This list is not exhaustive and many other b-schools, not mentioned here, are also recommendable.

Since programs are constantly being updated, to keep up with changes in demands, we encourage you to keep your minds open to some research into the management education opportunities in Europe. Explore the post-MBA options and hope your foray into a business education in the continent yields wonderful success.

Good Luck!
Here are a few links in relation to studying in Europe.

Sources:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7