Business Masters continue to be a popular option for students looking to break into the business world early on in their career. Usually only two years long (though a Grand École programme can be longer), they often have a huge range of specialisations available, plus an intensive learning environment that introduces you to the basics, fast. Additionally, tuition fees are drastically lower than for an MBA, so they’re more attainable for those at the start of their business journey.
But how exactly can a Business Masters help you succeed? Often it’s through exceptional careers support, highly-specialised learning, or putting students in contact with top companies during the programme – or a combination of all three. To find out more, we spoke to faculty and students from four business schools across Europe, about how their programmes are helping students gain their dream jobs in the business.
Who is a Business Masters for?
According to research from the Graduate Management Admission Council, almost one-third of all Business Masters applicants have no formal work experience at all. In fact, this degree is ideal for those in the early stage of their career, as it’ll give you the basis you need for any role in the world of business.
Professor Christian Schmidkonz, Academic Director for the Master in International Business at Munich Business School, a Business Masters is ideal for “anyone who already has basic business knowledge, but would like to learn even more about how the world of companies and start-ups works.”
While a broad range of business knowledge is usually covered on a Business Masters, Christian explains that “knowledge about specialised and future-oriented business and topics such as digital business, responsible business and innovation and corporate strategy” is likely to be covered in-depth.
Lucia Ferreiro Martinez graduated from the International Business programme at Munich Business School in 2016 and now works as a Business Programme Manager at Microsoft. She says the degree would be helpful for anyone “interested in pursuing a business career in an international environment and enjoys working with people from many different backgrounds.”
If this sounds like you, then a Business Masters could be what you’re looking for.
What skills can you gain on a Business Masters?
“Immediate and sustainable employability,” says Caroline Hermet, Director of the Master in Management at Excelia Business School.
It’s a bold claim, but one that does ring true for Business Masters graduates – 75% of Masters in Management alumni say that their degree has moved them further in their career than peers without a degree.
The two-year classic track Masters in Management programme at Excelia places importance on business basics such as management but also explores innovative topics necessary for the modern world of work, including Big Data.
“Our programme works on adaptability, on openness to the world and to others,” Caroline continues. “Our students constantly encounter different contexts, and coaches and tutors accompany them throughout their course.”
Similarly, Christian emphasises Munich Business School’s focus on what he describes as “future-oriented business topics.” These include digital business, responsible business, and innovation and corporate strategy – all skills which are becoming increasingly important in our world.
As well as this, “team skills are developed, methodological knowledge is developed and applied and strong intercultural skills are acquired,” Christian adds. So, you can expect to learn both the basics of business, as well as gain personal skills that will be vital for your future business career.
What’s a GrandE École programme?
In France, a staple programme at business schools is the Grande École, a 3-5 year degree that grants students with a Masters-level degree. Over the years, students will gain a basis in business, and later on, will be able to specialise in a subject.
This is the type of programme on offer at ISC Paris, where students will spend two years exploring business from a generalist perspective before specialising in their third and final year.
“We are convinced that if our future graduates are skilled to defend their interests, they will be able to defend those of their future employers,” says Julia Guinchard-Nascimento, Graduate Programmes Director at ISC Paris.
In fact, contact with potential employers begins as early as the second year of the programme, as students can opt for a work/study track which offers them time to work in a real business role while studying.
“From semester one in the 1st year, our future graduates should be provided with a common background adapted to the needs of companies,” Julia adds. “We are also strengthening the system dedicated to soft skills by choosing to offer a two-day back-to-school seminar dedicated to agility and personal development.”
Saarrah Mathinthiran graduated from the Grand École programme at ISC Paris in 2018 and now works halfway around the world in Perth, Australia, as a General Manager in HR. “The Grande École programme is a well-rounded and exhaustive programme that prepares the future manager, leaders, and decision-makers of tomorrow,” she attests.
Saarrah took the opportunity during the programme to complete an internship at a consulting company in Perth, and after finishing her education in France in 2019, decided to stay.
“The growth has been quick, but when you’ve been prepared for the workforce by an exceptional programme, it helps to fast-track your career,” she explains.
How can I gain real-world experience during a Business Masters?
On most Business Masters programmes, whether they’re a longer, five-year programme or something shorter, you should expect to have time for an internship or other professional work experience.
EAE Business School in Barcelona takes this a step further. An International Talent Programme ensures that during the programme, students can network with real companies and real business talent.
“The programme comprises of a series of recruiting events throughout the year, including monthly meetings with multinational companies and one-to-one meetings with headhunters,” explains Mirco Soffritti, Programme Director of the Master in International Business at the school.
EAE can vouch for the strength of their careers service – 85% of graduates from the Master in International Business programme receive a job offer by their graduation, and 74% of alumni improve their salaries in the first year after graduating.
However, real-world experience can also be gained by experiencing a new culture. At Munich Business School, most students spend at least one semester abroad, allowing them to gain more skills in communication and explore a new business culture. Students can also explore a foreign language during their degree, choosing from Spanish, Chinese, or German.
“MBS graduates are particularly characterised by the fact that, in addition to the professional competencies they already have applied in many practical projects, they have developed an exceptionally high level of social competence during the course of the study programme,” explains Christian Schmidkonz.
What job can I get with a Business Masters?
There is an unlimited number of specialisations students could choose on a Business Masters. ISC Paris, for example, is specialised in finance and audit, management, and marketing, while Munich Business School allows students to choose two specialisations from options including luxury management, international finance, digital business management, and international finance.
Lucia credits the Master in International Business from Munich Business School with giving her the chance to enter the industry she’s now in. “I truly believe that the Master studies have opened doors for me to now work for a company I’m truly passionate about and that values diversity and inclusion so highly,” she declares.
At EAE Business School, an annual ‘Recruiting Day’ puts Masters students in touch with a wide variety of international companies, all in the hope that students find their dream job. “Our programme combines academic excellence with an in-depth practical approach, so students can redirect their professional careers to the global market in a wide array of sectors,” asserts Mirco Soffriti.
Michelle Ferrer graduated from the Master’s programme in International Business at EAE just last year but has also found her dream job thanks to skills gained on the programme, and the help of the careers centre.
“My idea before joining the programme was to enter the European market, more specifically the tech sector, and ideally at Amazon,” she explains. “Thanks to the guidance and continuous support of my career mentor throughout the year, I landed the job I was looking for!”
If you’re just starting to think about a career in business – maybe fintech intrigues you, or you’re looking to work in the C-suite one day – a Business Masters is a great stepping stone into the industry. In Europe, there are a wealth of great programmes that will give you both the business foundations and that global experience so necessary for working in business today.