MBA in Europe | What’s so Special about European MBAs?

Looking to get an MBA in Europe? We don’t blame you! European MBAs are fast climbing the MBA rankings and there’re no better business schools for starting a career in Europe. Schools like INSEAD, LSB and Saïd have impressive reputations for boosting their graduates’ careers.

But that isn’t all! This week, Angela Guido is joined by Charli Taylor, our International Expert at Career Protocol, to talk about the exact amount of excitement appropriate for European MBAs (spoiler: it’s a lot).

YouTube video

Prefer to read? Here’s the transcript:

Good morning! It's Monday. It's MBA Monday. I'm Angela Guido, the founder of Career Protocol, a Career Coach and MBA Coach and lover of all things business school. Today, we are finally talking about European MBA programs. I have with me our international global MBA expert career protocol Chief International Officer Charli Taylor.

Charli: Hello, everyone! It's so good to be here, Angela. I am so excited to see you today because we get to talk about something that we both love so much — European business schools.

Why Should You Consider Europe For An MBA?

Angela: Most of the videos on our channel are focused on top US MBA programs, but in this video, we are talking about the European MBAs. The ones across the pond. The schools that may or may not be on your radar, but probably, frankly, should be if you want to really expand your global and international perspective through your business education experience. So why don't we start, Charli, by answering maybe sort of the most obvious question, which is: why should someone even consider getting an MBA in Europe in the first place? And keep in mind that this question, you know, we're talking to people from the US, people from Europe, and people from Asia, people from Africa — people from all over the world. Why should people think about doing their MBA in Europe in the first place?

CT: Yeah, well, it's such a great question, Angela, because it can be quite a massive leap or it can seem like a massive leap to some people, and it takes a lot of courage to study abroad. Wherever you're going, if you're an international student, we know automatically about you that you have inside of you courage and curiosity and wonder and a desire to make the world a better place. I think this is like one of the single characteristics, that desire to really make a global impact that all of our international students have and that's so exciting. European schools understand that about those students coming in, and they really — speaking very broadly and generally — they really do everything that they can to create an environment that will foster and nurture that. One of the really interesting things that we've learned, especially in this sort of like pandemic universe that we've lived in, is just how absolutely critical it is for us to be able to collaborate cross culturally and to share best practice. Right now, we're seeing that this is kind of becoming valued and prized probably more than it ever really has in the history of the modern world. And we're seeing also in an abundance of employer statistics that employers in almost every country all over the world really value people who have international experience. It's because they understand how to work in ambiguous situations. They can be flexible; they have a whole host of skills like honoring diversity and knowing how to work within diversity and how to pull the best out of others. There are just so many extraordinary skills that you get in a European business school and in a European education and in that experience.

AG: Charli is pointing to one of the really important aspects that you need to consider about your MBA experience if you're going to apply to European business schools. Obviously, you need to be interested in a global perspective. If you think about how the European Union works and the various nation states that comprise it, it's a collaborative environment with many different cultures and languages coming together. And whether you go to INSEAD or LBS or ISE or Rotterdam School of Management or HEC or… I could keep going, you're going to encounter people from all different cultures. So be sure that that is part of what you're hoping to gain from business school. But the second thing that Charli is pointing to that's really important to consider if you're applying to European business schools is where you hope to build the next phase of your career. Obviously, European business schools are going to better facilitate opportunities in Europe than American or Asian business schools, and they are better going to facilitate opportunities in Europe then they will be able to facilitate opportunities in the US or Asia. So, for anyone who wants to work in Europe or who wants to consider working in Europe for the next phase of their career, a European business school is a no-brainer. So, Charli, what do you say to people who are contemplating working in Europe? What do you have to say to clients who are considering or are interested in or curious about building their career, or at least the next phase of their career in a European country?

CT: Well, first of all, Angela, what is so exciting is that we have multinational companies in the first instance and firms recruiting like mad from so many of these fantastic European business schools because they want people with that kind of that diverse outlook. They understand that in order to be successful in their work, they need to have people who can play and think at that level. So that's really exciting to see, where people are recruiting from. But I would also say that even upon returning to your home country — so while it's really true that you probably will end up in Europe and you'll work in Europe, eventually you may want to return to your home country — but having that extraordinary experience is just highly sought after by employers now. So it's really a double win.

Career Coaching Advice For Working In Europe

AG: So, building on this, Charli, what advice do you have? What is the career coaching advice that you give to your clients who are contemplating working in Europe?

CT: Yes, so that is such an important question, Angela. We're called Career Protocol for a reason, right? And that is because we are so career orientated, and particularly for students who want to have that international life, my advice, working with our students is start the process now. And so when we’re working with candidates who are going to take that leap abroad — you and I both know, we're internationalists, we've worked internationally and developed international lives — we do have to work twice as hard to make it happen. But my goodness, the results are like a hundred-fold, aren't they? The return on investment is just so phenomenal in so many different ways. But you want to start now. So one of the things that I love doing is really coaching my students right from the outset, that you're working on developing career opportunities for yourself alongside of your school research. And when you're making those contacts, when you're making those school contacts and developing those school networks, you're also developing your career network. So really think about making that happen from the very beginning. Really utilize the alumni contacts from the schools ,and remember, just because you might choose one school over another because it's a better fit for you, those other contacts you made are not dead. You bring a lot to the table. They bring a lot to the table. You're not just building a network for a school, you're building a community for your life. So make sure that everyone you're interacting with you stay connected with them. Let them know what's happening with you and let them be a part of your network. Think a lot about languages. So a number of the schools, their medium is in English. Of course, we know for INSEAD you have to have two languages going in with a third going out. But most of the schools, the medium is English but you really will be at such an advantage if you have a foothold into the language of the country that you want to work in. Even if the company's language might be in English medium, which happens sometimes. But start studying that now. Angela, there's another really critical piece of advice that I want to give. I never hear anyone giving this advice, but you know what? You're going to hear it at Career Protocol, and that is think now about the visa situation. So do everything that you can to learn about the visa situation. Your intended schools can answer loads of questions for you a lot of times. For instance, if you're married, if you have children, if you have a partner, you may be able to bring them over and they may have certain benefits. And of course, the schools love it when you bring your partners and they often have very special opportunities for them. But if you know in advance what regulations may be and what you may need to be able to have to go through to the requirements that you have to meet to bring them over, or even for yourself to have various opportunities, you may be able to sort those things now and then find yourself on the right foot when you're there. Knowledge is power. And I think that's one of the things that we lead our students to really examine those kinds of big questions because we've lived it, we've been there, we know what it's like, so we can help you think through all of those really big questions.

Why Europe Might Be Better For You

AG: Charli, tell us who watching this video today, who's maybe not thinking about applying to business school in Europe, should consider it and why?

CT: Angela I think that there are just so many things that really distinguish European MBAs from US MBAs. First of all, the broad global experience. What we see in US MBA, kind of very roughly speaking, you might have 30% international students, as opposed to a lot of European schools, which have more like 80% international students. So you really are going to be in this incredibly diverse background. The other really fantastic thing about European MBAs is that I think that they have really mastered the art of the holistic application. So we see students who are maybe sometimes a little bit older. If you're an older candidate, a European MBA might be a really strong opportunity for you. They might be a little more forgiving on the GMAT, particularly if you have done other things in your life that really show that you can just bring so much to the game. Of course they want to see that you have the academic abilities, but they definitely take more of a holistic look at your application. So age and GMAT scores, or just scores in general, aren't quite the same. They don't factor in with quite the same weight. It's really more about your goals, your vision, what you have done and what you bring to the game.

AG: Charli is absolutely right. The European business schools do a phenomenal job of screening candidates holistically and really choosing people who are accomplished and driven to have an impact in the world of business and ideally, to have an impact at a global level. But one word of caution: while they may tolerate lower test scores and they may be open to a broader spectrum of candidate backgrounds, the one sine qua non that they will not be able to live without is a genuine passion for an international perspective and Europe specifically. Right, Charlie? We talked to a lot of people who consider European business schools because they rank really well and they're safer than Wharton or Harvard or Stanford, and that stuff just doesn't really tend to fly if you can't demonstrate that you really have a reason why this geography and this specific school is going to get you what you want in your career. Right, Charli?

CT: 100%. You want to have total clarity about your motivation, and they want to hear that. And you know what? You need that for your life anyway, my friends. So that's hugely important and that's one of the cool things that the MBA journey can help you formulate.

AG: Charli Taylor keeping it real. It's been wonderful talking to you today. To you, Charli, to all of you about European MBA schools, what makes them different from US schools, who should think about them, and why they're so amazing. Come back for future MBA Monday to learn more about specific MBA programs. We're wishing you all the best on your MBA journey. We'll see you next week.

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Picture of Angela Guido

Angela Guido

Student of Human Nature| Founder and
Chief Education Officer of Career Protocol

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