Should You Get Your MBA in Europe?

April 26, 2016

There's an interesting post over on Quartz today about a growing trend of US students heading across the pond to get their MBAs in Europe.

The reason? Well, there are 3 of them covered in the article:

1) Favorable exchange rates mean that your dollar buys more Euro or Pound-denominated education than it did a couple of years ago.

2) Many European programs are 1-year rather than 2, which reduces both lifestyle (residence, food, etc.) and opportunity costs.

3) It's an easy way to lock in some international experience on your resume.

And it looks like US students are becoming increasingly aware of this. Check out the growth in US applications to IE Business School in Madrid, which ranks 12th on the FT list of the top MBA programs in the world:

OK, so a 4-fold increase might not seem that impressive when your endpoint is fewer than 300 applications, but the Quartz piece notes that other European schools have been seeing similar trends in their application process.

So does this mean that the US is going to lose the best and brightest of its future managerial class to Europe? Should the government be concerned that the corporate leaders of the future will leave US shores, get snagged by companies in rival nations, and never return? Is there a risk that the next election cycle will be dogged by Presidential candidates pledging to close the borders to keep future C-suiters in, place tariffs on foreign business schools, and repatriate our executives?


And here's why:

Statistic: Median starting salary offered by employers to MBA graduates in 2015, by world region (in U.S. dollars) | Statista

The bottom line is, uh, your bottom line: if you're the type of person who's looking to maximize the ROI on your MBA by spending a year studying in Madrid, Paris or London, the chances are you're also going to be savvy enough to convert that mega-bucks contract offer back into dollars and realize that you're going to be way better off heading back Stateside to take a job. After all, with the extra money you'll be making, you'll still be able to scratch that itch to take in a game at the Bernabeu, grab un chocolat chaud on the Champs-Élysées, or indulge whatever other Europhile habits you pick up when you're over there.

Study there, pay it off here: your MBA mantra for 2016.

by Phil Stott

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