European vs US MBA Programs

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Should You Choose a US or European MBA Program?

By Nellie, IvyWise MBA Admissions Counselor

When it comes to applying to business school, there are several important decisions all applicants need to make. For many students, one important thing to consider when researching MBA programs is whether to pursue their MBA in the US or to consider programs in Europe.

Choosing where to go to business school can be challenging, especially because there are several distinct advantages for both US and European programs. Keep reading for some of the top considerations students should have on their radar when choosing where to get their MBA.

Timelines and Tuition

European business schools continue to see a rise in application numbers and it’s likely that at least part of this surge in interest can be attributed to the way their programs are structured. While most full-time MBA programs in the US are around two years long, it is not uncommon for business school to last just one year to 18 months in Europe. Not only will this streamlined timeline help you get your degree faster; it can also equate to significant cost savings because students will only need to pay for one year of tuition, versus two.

The Student Body

Much like undergraduate programs, your classmates in business school will shape your experience. A lot of learning takes place outside of the classroom and your peers can help you expand your horizons and discover fields and opportunities you may have previously overlooked. While building a diverse class is a priority at any MBA program, you will likely meet a larger proportion of international students at a European business school compared to an American institution. If you’re looking to step outside of your box and expand your network, a European business school program might feature students with a broader array of perspectives.


Networking and job opportunities are major motivators for many aspiring business school applicants. Every student wants to ensure that their institution will provide them with plenty of opportunities to take their career to the next level. Top MBA programs in both Europe and the United States are known for their robust alumni networks and internship opportunities at major businesses. However, attending a European MBA program can provide a unique recruiting experience that ranges from large multinational companies to fintech, luxury goods, and beyond.

Making the Transition

There are several changes MBA students should anticipate when going back to school. In addition to readjusting to the academic rigors associated with being a student, many professionals in business school are juggling additional responsibilities, whether it’s raising a family or working part-time. MBA applicants need to consider the transition process and evaluate how much change they can accommodate based on where they are in their lives. Attending a European business school will certainly add another layer of complexity because students will need to adapt to a new cultural environment, different languages and currencies, and an entirely new town or city.

Re-entering the Workforce

What happens after you get your degree? Students who are applying to European business schools have a few extra factors to consider, including concerns about the name recognition of their school if they choose to move back to the United States. Another topic to keep in mind is rules and regulations surrounding working and studying internationally, as there might be some uncertainty regarding post-MBA work visa options and future residency rules.

Choosing between US and European business schools can be a challenging decision, but ultimately institutions on both sides of the Atlantic can provide students with valuable learning experiences and existing professional opportunities. If you’re getting ready to apply to business school and looking for expert insight, our team of admissions counselors can guide you along the way.

Related Topics

College Application Tips, International Students

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