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.
George Yip’s objective in his newly appointed deanship at the Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University, as indicated in one of his interviews with Business Week, is simple: establish the Netherlands school in the league of the most elite European business schools. Using a soccer analogy (or football, depending on what side of the pond you find yourself), he says he wants to take the school from the Premiership to the Champions’ League.
Yip said there are three primary means through which he intends to achieve this goal.
o Diversity – The first is to attract more American and Germans. While the Erasmus school is already highly international, with 40 nationalities represented in its 100 students, the ability to attract Americans is a necessity for any school that desires an elite reputation.
o Intellectual Powerhouse – The second is for faculty to publish more research in managerial journals, best-selling books, in the hopes of growing the school’s reputation as an intellectual powerhouse.
o Expanded Executive Education Programs – Lastly, Yip emphasized that the customized executive education programs will be complemented with open enrollment programs as well.
European vs. US MBA
Yip says that European schools are becoming better positioned to compete with top American programs since the gap in the quality of faculty has largely disappeared and the sort of international experience that European business schools are able to provide and that is essential for the next generation of MBAs is less readily available in American schools.
Yip emphasized while the ethnic or geographic diversity available in Europe is important, there is a real difference in philosophy as well. It is generally recognized that American business schools place a greater emphasis on shareholder value and competition, rather than stakeholder management in a more holistic approach to factor in the interests of all parties such as employees, communities and government.
Focus on Sustainability
The current trends towards sustainable business practices and eco-friendly design may also work towards his four-year target of establishing RSM in the top 20 business schools worldwide. Seated in a nation below sea level, the Netherlands is at the forefront of sustainable development, and Yip intends to continue expanding a planning center for sustainability with an emphasis on climate change and incorporating sustainable business practices into RSM’s MBA programs as well.
Yip is the school’s first foreign dean and his diverse background embodies what he considers to be the school’s strengths. A dual American and British citizen, he was born in Vietnam, lived in Hong Kong and Burma in his youth, studied economics and law at Cambridge, before completing an MBA and DBA (Doctor at Business Administration) at Harvard. He spent the consecutive two decades working for Pricewaterhouse, while serving faculty positions at Harvard and UCLA, with visiting positions at Georgetown and Stanford, before returning to England as professor at Judge Business School at Cambridge and moving into a position at London Business School.
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