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There are several excellent MBA programs outside North America. European Business schools such as London Business School in the UK, IMD in Switzerland, INSEAD in France, ESADE in Spain, and RSM Erasmus in the Netherlands immediately come to mind as some of the top ranked MBA programs in the world. Although the US remains by far the primary center for MBA study (about 83% of all the GMAT score reports worldwide are sent to US-based business schools based on the GMAC’s 07 data), Europeans are increasingly choosing to study in Europe outside of their home country while Americans also start to take a serious look at schools across the Atlantic. This tendency, however, has been balanced by Asians who overwhelmingly choose to study in the US.

Why then are more students now choosing to pursue their management education abroad in a different country in Europe? Many factors contribute to this trend, such as an interest in working internationally, an interest in a particular country, the desire to learn another language or to experience a different academic atmosphere. We also listed out some crucial benefits below.

Yet, studying abroad does entail certain challenges, and some candidates are more prepared to succeed in a different cultural context as a result of their personality and professional or academic background.

Factors to Consider – Pros

· Shorter Program: European programs move at a faster pace. They are generally 1-year long, so you need to be prepared to jump right into academic work. IMD, generally ranked as the #1 program in Europe, is a rigorous 11-month program in which students do not have the opportunity to pursue an internship. So you need to be a bit more focused in terms of post-MBA goals and career pursuits.

· More Experienced Classmates: Another important consideration in terms of matching your background with European programs is that the average student age and years of professional experience is higher at European schools than in US schools. Older candidates tend to find this attractive, while younger ones may feel slightly out of place or experience increased difficulty gaining admission.

Posted on March 17, 2009 by Manhattan Review

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Earlier 2008, Thomas Robertson, dean of the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and Frank Brown, dean of INSEAD, announced a four-year renewal of the two business schools’ alliance initiated seven years ago in 2001, which they mutually consider has been a great success.


The impetus for the alliance is to promote the internationalization of both schools’ programs in terms of MBA student exchange, faculty exchange, executive education, research collaboration, developing joint PhD curricula, and joint alumni initiatives. With INSEAD’s campuses in France and Singapore and Wharton’s campuses in Philadelphia and San Francisco, students and faculty are able to derive experience from three continents, all of which are vital players in international business.

Joint MBA Program – Size & More

Since its inception, the alliance has educated 800 MBAs, 50-75 from each school per year, through two-month exchanges giving students access to a broader and deeper selection of coursework led by regional faculty and assistance by local career coordinators.

Nearly the same number of executives have taken advantage of the exchange, enrolling in executive education programs like “Strategic R&D Management” and “Leading an Effective Sales Force”, which are taught by faculty of both schools at all the campus locations. The executive training offered by the partnership also makes company-specific curricula available for its multinational clients.

The networking potential for alumni is also immense with 82,000 Wharton alumni spread over 148 countries and 37,000 INSEAD alumni in even more locations.

Research Program

The research opportunities created by the partnership have been substantial as well. Through the creation of the jointly governed and funded INSEAD-Wharton Center for Global Research and Education over 60 faculty members have taken long-term teaching or research positions ranging from six months to two years at one of the partner schools.


What will the next four years bring to the partnership? Robertson says he would like to continue developing a pool of multinational clients looking for global solutions, which he believes the alliance is uniquely situated to provide. Both deans remark that further development of PhDs is desirable given the constant need for excellent faculty. “The more quality academics we can produce, the better off both institutions are going to be and the better off the academic community in general will be,” says Brown.

Near-Term Initiatives

  • A plan to distribute proprietary case studies developed at INSEAD to Wharton;
  • Workshops for staff across campuses that will focus on ideal practice in diverse elements of business ranging from training to diversity management;
  • Continued joint alumni events;
  • Opportunities for peer reviews of alumni work by both alumni populations.

More information regarding the partnership can be found here: http://www.insead.edu/alliance/


In our research about full-tuition scholarship at business schools outside of the US, we found that quite a number of business schools offer partial tuition scholarships that also significantly cut the costs of a management education. We couldn’t keep this information to ourselves!

London Business School – London, England

Number of partial scholarships available: Over 30 different scholarships

Average class size for full-time MBA program: about 205

How to apply:  Some are awarded solely on consideration of the original MBA application. Others require submission of additional material. Many scholarships are based on the candidate’s country of origin. A number of scholarships are available solely to female candidates.

Lancaster University Management School – Lancaster, England

Number of partial scholarships available: 3 different types

Average class size for full-time MBA program: about 40-50

How to apply:  Only awarded to candidates who have been awarded a place in the program with the submission of general application and evidence of exceptional leadership qualities. One particular scholarship is designed for German-speaking students and sponsored exclusively for members of the German website e-fellows.net.

IESE Business School, University of Navarra – Campuses in Barcelona and Madrid, Spain

Number of partial scholarships available: about 15 different types of scholarships, 1 of them is awarded to 20-30 students per year

Average class size for full-time MBA program: about 215

How to apply: No separate scholarship application is required although some scholarships are awarded to strictly to female candidates, candidates from developing countries, or candidates from Asian countries.

INSEAD - Fontainebleau, France

Number of partial scholarships available: about 45 different types of scholarships

Average class size for full-time MBA program: 830

How to apply: For most of the scholarships, no separate scholarship application is required. Some are based on merit and some based on financial need.

Copenhagen Business School – Copenhagen, Denmark

Number of partial scholarships available: 18 scholarships for students from outside the EU/EEA

Average class size for full-time MBA program: about 40

How to apply: No separate application or additional materials necessary to be eligible. Students receiving a scholarship may not receive a scholarship from their home country or be entitled to a state education grant or any other public support in Denmark.

International Institute of Management and Development (IMD) – Lausanne, Switzerland

Number of partial scholarships available: 7

Average class size for full-time MBA program: 90

How to apply: Accepted candidates for the program are considered for most of the scholarships.