The unfortunate truth is that there are a lot of negative points that, as prospective students, you simply do not hear about from ESADE. The short review is as follows: ESADE is a good school on paper if you want to fast track into spanish consultancy or investment banking. However if you want to do anything else please consider going somewhere else and save your time and money.
– No emphasis what so ever put on critical thinking or intellectual development. In all fairness business is a dry subject to study but often it can be made more interesting by looking at what the cultural/societal impacts are and how we can use the tools we are learning to actually do something for society. ESADE expects you to memorize everything, this is reflected in the way that students are assessed in the courses. The vast majority of time 50%+ of the end grade comes from a final exam in which often students are asked to either calculate something or fill in multiple choice questions. You will never be asked to write a long answer question (longer than one page) or develop an idea passed the surface level.
– Unempathetical rules. It is unfortunately common for students who experience some sort of medical emergency or other life crisis to simply receive no support from the university. I don’t mean any form of emotional/psychological help but help towards the end grade. In a lot of classes the end grade is partially determined by the attendance, therefore, making it mandatory. If you do have a medical emergency/crisis you should hope that it doesn’t happen during exams because ESADE will simply let you fail the exams even if you are in the hospital. This behavior extends into other, non-emergency situations as well. Regularly students fail to graduate, not because they don’t pass all the mandatory classes, but because ESADE’s elective system (which is mandatory as well by the way) is so unusable and difficult to get right, that students simply don’t have the necessary credits. In this case you have to pay tuition FOR A WHOLE YEAR just to retake elective courses.
– No student life. Essentially there is no reason to remain on campus after class because, although there are associations, these are all serious ones like junior investment bankers, or consultancy associations. If you are coming from the UK be ready to be disappointed.
– Location is NOT in Barcelona. This is another point where ESADE likes to trick students. You are not going to be studying in Barcelona but in a small town ~45mins from Barcelona called Sant Cugat. It is a very boring town and you should absolutely not live there.
– Languages. I remember one of the reasons why ESADE was interesting for me was the prospect of learning foreign languages. They advertised Russian, Mandarin, Arabic, and a plethora of European languages. This was not the case in the BBA. We have the option between french and german. This was a major disappointment for me. The master’s program, however, offers a larger selection of languages.
– Conservative school system. Most other business universities have to some degree modernized, usually offering a PDF textbook to accompany the course, some even filming the lectures for students to watch if they could not attend. None of this is the case for ESADE. Although it looks very modern, this is nothing but a facade. The reality is that most teachers will not allow you to use your laptops to take notes, there is also no textbooks PDF or physical so your entire knowledge of the class comes from the notes you make and, if the professors are tech savvy enough, the slides they may upload.
– 19,000 euros a year tuition
– Great name recognition within Spain, mediocre recognition internationally. People in Spain have heard nonstop about how great ESADE is so there is a heavy bias towards ESADE students in spain.
– Strong focus on consultancy or investment banking: If this is the field you want to get into, perfect ESADE may be for you. They offer a lot of interview preparation, career fairs, and classes often revolve around these careers (typical exam question might be: you are a consultant for XYZ and your client wants to know if they are operating under the optimal capital structure.). There is pretty much no focus on other career paths.
– Small class sizes means its possible to develop closer relationships with your peers and with your professors.