The Best MBA Programmes in Europe | Student Reviews & University Rankings EDUopinions

Doing an MBA after some years of work experience is a popular move. There are plenty of MBA degrees to choose from. Inspecting the ranking of business schools should be the first step to narrow down your list of preferred business schools. This article provides a short summary of the best MBA programmes in Europe while also priming you to pay attention to how the data has been collected and what your values are.

When I think about MBA programmes in Europe, one always comes to mind: INSEAD. Their professors do outstanding and inspiring research. That is only possible if you have a close connection to companies and insights into the problems leadership and organisation face. Another programme I have to think about is the Euro MBA. This is an MBA programme offered by several European universities. For those who are keen to experience cultural diversity and increase their intercultural skills, this MBA degree is a great programme. EDUopinions explains further.

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The Economist Ranking

If you want to find out the ranking of business schools in Europe, the best source is a business or economics journal such as the Financial Times or the Economist. The business schools offering the   MBA programmes in Europe, according to the 2018 Economist ranking, are:

IESE Business School (Spain),

HEC Paris (France),

Warwick Business School (United Kingdom).

My favourite choice, INSEAD, is ranked 4th. When checking out rankings, ideally have a look at the methodology to understand why a programme is highly ranked. If you are an experienced manager, don’t look at MBA degrees, research an Executive MBA instead.

The Economist provides three different lists of top 10 rankings. You might be tempted to look at the ranking for the GMAT score or return on investment, but career success is always dependent on your network. You need to create your own ‘old boys club’ and build a network of contacts who can help you in your career and help you create a sustainable and profitable business. I suggest that you have a look at the business schools with the strongest alumni network as these will increase your social capital. The top 3 positions are held by Henley Business School, HEC Paris  (France), Paris, and INSEAD.

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The Financial Times Ranking

Rankings are strongly influenced by the employed methods. This is clear when you check out the MBA ranking published by the Financial Times. According to them, London Business School (United Kingdom), HEC Paris (France), and INSEAD (France/Singapore/United Arab Emirate) are providing excellent MBA courses in Europe. With the exception of HEC Paris, the business schools listed in the Financial Times and The Economist ranking offering top class MBA are different.

The ranking providers also offer different sections of rankings. For example, the Financial Times also offers a ranking for online MBAs. European programmes which top the chart are offered by Warwick Business School, IE Business School, and Durham University Business School. While IE Business School has dropped dramatically in The Economist ranking, they seem to offer excellent online MBA degrees according to the Financial Times. This might reflect the strategy of this business school or mirror its innovativeness.

Ranking Criteria

The Financial Times states that rankings are established based on the quality and breadth of courses offered in an MBA degree. Salary of graduates also plays a role in determining the ranking. Additionally, characteristics of the teaching staff, such as female professors and international staff are taken into account.

The Economist seems to use a wider variety of variables when determining the position of a business school in the ranking. Aspects of the teaching staff are included, but so are the GMAT scores of its participants or facilities offered to staff.

Your Decision

I would never just go with the ranking of a business school. Yes, of course, the ranking will provide you with some information about what is the best business school, but rankings are not the be all and end all of the decision criteria for your future career.  Consider your career goals and the values you have. Which business school can help you fulfil these goals? The one with the largest international staff, most active alumni network or the highest return on investment? Also, what are the values and principles you hold dear and which business school is aligned with those values?

If you want more subjective information about business schools and the experiences they offer to students, EDUopinions can help you. We collect reviews from former students so that you can make a better decision.

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Written by
Katerina Bohle Carbonell, Ph.D, writes on topics related to higher education and people management in companies in high ranking international journals and on her personal webpage. She obtained her Ph.D in organizational behavior at Maastricht University. She currently teaches at Northwestern University’s and works on products and services to increase the use of data-driven decision making at Maastricht University.

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