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Is a European MBA the best fit for you?

10 August 2018

The article at a glance

The MBA might have originated outside of Europe, and many European programmes are relatively young, however, they offer diversity, flexibility and an …

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The MBA might have originated outside of Europe, and many European programmes are relatively young, however, they offer diversity, flexibility and an international framework which could be beneficial to your experience.

Cambridge MBA students sitting at a table in one of the outdoor spaces at the Business School

Fast return on investment

American MBAs tend to be two years’ long, and while this does allow more time to consider your options, it can be difficult to take that much time out of your career. Longer programmes often build in more vacation time, so the difference between teaching hours in one and two-year programmes often isn’t as much as you’d expect.

Another misconception is that a one-year MBA doesn’t allow time for an internship or work placement. Students on the Cambridge MBA can opt to do an internship during the summer term; in fact this is the ideal time to do so, as interning just before you complete your MBA means you’ll be ready to take up any employment offers that may result.

A globally diverse class

Many MBA students are keen to gain a global perspective, and the diversity of your class can contribute greatly to your international experience. On average, European schools have a much more diverse range of nationalities in their cohorts, and this contributes to your learning, but also the global spread of your network. At Cambridge, students are encouraged to source projects, internship and job opportunities, so the international nature of the cohort translates directly into global opportunities for their classmates.

You can often find out about the nationality breakdown at different schools by looking at their website, as well as the male to female ratio, and something about sector backgrounds too.

Large pool of industry knowledge

An experienced class enriches the student experience as students can make more knowledgeable contributions to class discussions, group work, and Student Interest Groups (SIGs), sharing their expertise and connections for the benefit of everyone.

Typically, European MBAs tend to attract a more experienced class, admitting students with around five or six years’ work experience. On the Cambridge MBA, it is six years on average, compared to the four or five of North American schools.

An eye-opening experience

Don’t underestimate the importance of the location of your business school. Living, working, and socialising in a new country and culture will add an invaluable element to your MBA, giving you strong international exposure, benefitting your personal development, international network and global outlook.

Every city has its own character, and Cambridge, as well as being home to the world-famous University of Cambridge, is also known as ‘Silicon Fen’ due to the entrepreneurial activity which has spawned thousands of start-ups and ventures, many of which have spun-out from the University.

Can you get a job in the US with European MBA?

Many MBA candidates are concerned that taking a European MBA will make it harder to find a job in the USA after they graduate. However, according to Bloomberg data, the second most likely place for MBA graduates of European schools to find a job is the USA.

The most common employers of European business school graduates are American companies such as McKinsey, BCG and Google – and this also holds true for the Cambridge MBA, although these companies obviously do recruit to global locations too.

And finally…

Wherever you are thinking about heading in the world, keep an open mind. Finding the right school is about finding what fits you – approach it like any task, do your research, speak to the experts and only then start to narrow down your options. There are plenty of opportunities to speak to admissions staff, alumni and current students online and at open days.