Choosing the right MBA programme may be a mammoth task for most international students, but narrowing it down to one of the many innovative programmes available in Europe is already a step in the right direction. While the U.S. may have traditionally been the study destination of choice for many students, today’s crop of future business leaders are now looking to Europe, thanks to the range of pioneering programmes on offer, many of which are also set in stunning destinations. Choosing to study in Europe also has many perks that a stateside programme would lack. European MBAs are usually one year in length, compared to the two-year MBA degrees normally found in the U.S. Institutions in Europe, and also offer more flexible deadlines, meaning that students may be able to complete their MBA in up to 18 months if needed.

With so many exciting and diverse courses on offer in vibrant cities across Europe, choosing a course that ticks all the boxes can be an overwhelming decision to make.  European countries provide students with a cultural openness, a thoroughly international outlook and most offer postgraduate students a much more flexible immigration framework – not to mention lower tuition rates – making studying in Europe a far more rewarding option.

Europe is one of the most sought after business school destinations, home to some of the best business-focused schools and institutions across the globe. Increasing numbers of employers are looking for students who possess an MBA, as postgraduates with an advanced business-related qualification are better prepared for the fast-paced world of business, prepped with the knowledge and expertise that most firms are looking for – not to mention that an MBA is an excellent fast track to a well-paid job.

Picture courtesy of The Lisbon MBA

The good news is that under the 1999 Bologna Declaration, European education is also in the process of being integrated, ensuring that qualifications from any European university carry the same weight, regardless of the country.

Not only can international students choose from a select number of world-class schools and institutions in Europe, they will also have a fantastic cultural experience. From historic Lisbon to romantic Paris, from timeless Copenhagen and even lively Barcelona, international students will be able to experience life in a variety of exciting cities. Students will also be able to learn a new language – a skill increasingly sought after by employers and multinational firms. In Europe, 61 percent of MBA students are studying in a country other than their own, according to, meaning that students are part of a truly international network even before they graduate.

Read on to find out more about some of top Europe’s world-class institutions offering students exceptional teaching and first-class programmes:

The Lisbon MBA International Full Time is a one-year international programme offered by the Cátolica-Lisbon campus and the Nova SBE campus in Lisbon, Portugal, in partnership with the MIT Sloan School of Management campus in Boston USA. After graduating, students receive an MBA diploma from both schools and also have the possibility of obtaining an MSc degree in Business Administration. The MBA is based on a boutique learning concept, which utilises small class sizes in order to maximize learning and build stronger relationships and networks. Students get the opportunity to undertake a one-month placement at the MIT-Sloan School of Management in Boston, and can also undertake a two-month active learning placement during the summer months in order to complement their area of specialisation. Learning and living in Portugal means that students will enjoy excellent food and cultural activities in a beachside setting. 

On offer at Germany’s leading business school, the EBS full-time MBA offers students and professionals the chance to get ahead, taking the next step in their career. The MBA offers students three exciting track options: an 18-month programme at a partner international institution; an 18-month programme preparing students for the German corporate world; or a 12-month accelerated track providing students with work placement opportunities. This MBA is designed to provide students with the business skills and know how they need to succeed in today’s ever-changing corporate world.

ESSEC’s global MBA programme is designed to focus on business concepts and international markets. Students will obtain first-hand experience, through immersion in real-world projects and company visits. The main part of the programme takes place at ESSEC’s campus in Cergy, just outside of Paris, with a subsequent five weeks spent at the new Singapore campus, or a week in an emerging market and multiple other countries. Students may also decide to undertake an additional exchange. This 12-month intensive programme is designed to boost students’ careers, thanks to its varied and challenging MBA content.

ESADE’s full-time MBA is a flexible programme, designed to increase management skills and business knowledge in a multicultural environment. This flexible programme provides students with the option to complete the course in either 12, 15 or 18 months. As 95 percent of the students on the MBA are international students, this programme is as diverse as they come. The addition of an exchange, an internship and a global study tour provides students with a truly unique global experience. ESADE’s full-time MBA was ranked the Best Programme in Europe for Placement Success in the Economist for 2015.

The CEMS MA in International Management (MIM) is a one-year programme in the field of international management. The course is a joint degree programme delivered by 29 of the best business schools around the world in cooperation with more than 70 leading corporations. The programme provides students with practice-oriented, advanced content. Students will obtain a MSc degree from Copenhagen Business School as well as the CEMS Master’s in International Management degree. The CEMS MA enables students to study and experience international management in an intercultural environment.

Feature image courtesy of The Lisbon MBA