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Best MBA in Ireland

Best MBA in Ireland


The grass is truly green on the Irish other side of the Atlantic. It gets plenty rain and sunshine to make the meadowest of meadows elsewhere green with envy! Castles, lighthouses, and century old pubs are quite common place and so is the tradition of gowning green and getting sloshed on St. Patrick’s Day.

But not all is about making merry in the land of the Leprechauns. It is also home to some of the most well-known universities. Especially when it comes to professional degrees like the MBA.

Irish B-Schools offer a cheaper and equally competent alternative to their European counterparts.

But that’s not all. Let’s take out a few minutes to explore what else makes Ireland a must-include in your list of international MBA destinations.

Benefits of an MBA in Ireland


Irish Economy

In recent times, Ireland has emerged as a transatlantic hub attracting capital of some of the world’s largest and most innovative companies, says a report by the American Chamber of Commerce US-Ireland relations. There are certain factors that work in Ireland’s favor.

– First, US multinationals prefer markets that are healthy and growing. Ireland, in this criterion, has remained a growth leader in Europe even after recent recessions.

– Second, Ireland has some of Europe’s youngest and most educated talent. It leads EU as having almost 10% higher qualified workforce than the average, according to OECD reports.

– Productivity performance is high which helps it to not only maintain high-value industries but also attract skilled talent from outside. US companies have directly created over 150,000 jobs in Ireland of which a significant number are associated with a direct multinational job. Employee headcount have also increased at about 80% of US multinational companies in Ireland.

– Recent research also indicates that Ireland is one of EU’s most diverse countries with 17% of its population with a place of birth elsewhere. Ireland also ranks high for adaptability and openness in culture.

– Pro-Trade Government Policies related to foreign investment also draws in high-valued enterprises like data electronics, computer software, medical, healthcare, and finance.

Ireland currently hosts the European headquarters of several software giants, a majority of US IT companies, most of the top med-tech companies, as well as a large number of firms dealing in financial services.

In Ireland’s favor lies its “political stability, ease of doing business, global competitiveness, competitive tax regime, research and development support and innovation in a post-Brexit English speaking country within the EU market”, according to the American Chamber of Commerce study.

Quality of universities and resources

In the recent past, Irish universities and institutes have dedicated their resources in promoting themselves to attract international students. The reasons mainly lie in the revenue generated by non-EEA/EU students attending their programs.

Program structures, scholarships, post study work permits, are some of the major attractions. The fact that Ireland sits at UK’s door, without the turbulence generated by Brexit, is also a reason why an increasing number of international students are considering Ireland for their study destination.

Their numbers have gone up by almost 50% between 2013 to 2017, according to a study conducted by the European Migration Network, with China, India, and most South Asian countries being the biggest exports of foreign students.

As for business schools, Ireland may not have as many famous names as the US or UK, but names like the University College Dublin’s Michael Smurfit Business School features among the top hundred B-schools for full time MBA in prestigious ranking lists such as Financial Times and The Economist.

Trinity College, Dublin City University are also formidable competitors in the global scene. The increasing number of international students by almost 50% in the recent past lies testament to the popularity of these higher education centers in Ireland.

Duration and Cost of MBA in Ireland

MBA programs in Ireland are usually shorter than the popular powerhouses in North America. They are also far cheaper. For instance, UCD Smurfit’s highly popular full-time MBA is $38,000 (Most affordable MBA Programs).

Compare that to say a close competitor in USA, SMU Cox’s tuition is upwards of $48,000. Scholarships are available to ease financing pains, even for international students. Favorable work permits, a healthy salary rise post-MBA, and employment opportunities are also a helpful cause towards making an Irish MBA desirable.

Life in Ireland as an international student

A majority of the residents of the country speak English, with a few Irish and fewer Scottish sprinkled here and there. So, getting around and being understood is not a major concern for internationals who have a good grasp of English. Cost of living could be steep. But with good job prospects on the horizon after an MBA, these can be managed quite comfortably.

Here is a snippet of what budgeting may feel like if you were to live in Dublin.

Cost of living per month Food expense per month Rent per month
$1,000 $200 $1,400 – $1,700

But cost and the ease of communication aside, it is one of those vacation-worthy beautiful countries in Western Europe. Traveling and breaking away from the serious stuff in life can be quite welcoming in its locales.
International student life in Ireland

Jobs after MBA in Ireland

Cultural flexibility and production capacity has been helping its economy grow in the past few decades. And this is a major reason why international students who are looking for higher education and a chance to gear their future in a growing economy, are flocking towards Ireland as an alternative to UK, with its Brexit uncertainty. Ireland now stands as the 7th most popular international location for US students.

Ireland’s ever increasing commitment to becoming a business hub in Western Europe, has made it quite attractive to students of the trade. Hence its growing popularity among MBA candidates. The employment statistics at Ireland’s well-known business schools indicate impressive post-MBA career growth.

Some of the popular employers at Irish MBA programs are listed below.

Google Amazon EY
Microsoft Bank of Ireland McKinsey & Company
Deloitte Facebook LinkedIn

Nearly 90% manage a competitive position within 3 months of graduation and show well over 50% growth in earnings within the first three years.

Typical starting salaries, post-MBA fall in the $80,000 to over $100,000.

Work Permit in Ireland

All non-EU/EEA international students need a D-Type long stay study visa to enroll in a full-time program in Ireland. And all student visa holders in Ireland have the limited work permit option.

They can take up casual employment for up to 20 hours per week during their study terms and 40 hours during holidays. Internships are also approved as long as they do not exceed 50% of the total course duration.

As for working in Ireland after graduation, there is the Third Level Graduate Programme option on the Irish Stamp 2 Student Visa.

Students at Bachelor’s (Level 8 or above), and masters or doctoral level (Level 9 or above), can avail the non-renewable 12, or 24, months period respectively to seek graduate level employment and apply for general employment permit, a critical skills employment permit or research hosting agreement.

This work permit is the Stamp 1G status and is an excellent buffer time for international MBA grads to gain valuable work experience to be carried over elsewhere.

One can be eligible for a Green Card or work permit after 24 months on Stamp 1G. If one wishes to continue with employment, post Stamp 1G, she should apply for jobs that require employment permit. Usually valid for 2 years, you can apply for a Stamp 4 permission to live and love Ireland without an employment permit. You can renew it provided you satisfy its conditions and after 5 years you will be eligible to apply for long-term residency.

Eligibility for MBA in Ireland

MBA candidates are viewed holistically. However, here’s a breakdown of the usual needs and wants for a majority of programs.

Education and Work Experience

A basic undergraduate degree from a recognized accredited university is expected for applying to a business administration degree. If some candidate is lacking the requisite degree but has compensatory professional experience to back their candidacy, they can try their chance at a non-standard admission’s process.

A minimum of 3 to 4 years of work experience helps candidates tackle the competitive and peer-centric resources of an MBA program.

GMAT Score

GMAT provides a baseline for the quantitative, inductive and analytical abilities of a candidate. Schools may have a preference for a certain score with a specified minimum. Such as for UC Dublin, it is 600. The class profiles, however, show average scores of over 650.

Test of Proficiency in English

Applicants from non-English speaking countries need to present a proficient knowledge of the language. TOEFL and IELTS are the typical tests.

The rest of the documentation like MBA essays, reference letters, CV, interviews, are the other commonly required items for application.

Top Full-Time MBA Programs in Ireland

Here are some of the popular full-time MBA programs.

Business School Full-Time MBA Duration Tuition (Approx.)
University College Dublin Smurfit 12 months $39,000
Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin 12 months $39,000
Dublin Institute of Technology – Part Time 24 months $24,000


Top Executive MBA (Part-Time) Programs in Ireland

Popular part-time executive MBA options in Ireland are listed below.

Business School Executive MBA Duration Tuition (Approx.)
University College Dublin Smurfit 24 months $36,000
Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin 24 months $35,000
Dublin City University 24 months $28,500
National University of Ireland Galway 21 months $35,000
University College Cork 24 months Not Available
University of Limerick 24 months $33,000


Is MBA in Ireland worth it?

There are certain caveats to be weighed before jumping on the Irish MBA wagon. Barring UCD Smurfit, most business schools in Ireland are still not as famous globally as certain American B-Schools, even mid-ranking ones.

This is important if you are planning to seek employment outside Ireland and are banking on your recruiters to recognize your MBA’s brand power.

Also, a decent return on investment, even with cheap tuition fees, is marginalized to the handful of b-schools in the country.

Albeit, Irish MBA grants its students the chance to experience business education at one of Europe’s burgeoning economies of the future. And at a reasonable time and cost, making its MBA programs worth an international applicant’s while.

So, go ahead and research your options of how an MBA in Ireland can make your career greener and brighter, even when it is not St. Patrick’s day!

Ádh mór!