The Tuesday Q&A: Euro vs. US B-School Applications

QUESTION:

In your experience, is there any distinctive difference between the way a traditional European b-school views the application essays versus a US b-school? In other words, do we use a different approach when writing essays, or do we simply go in, guns blazing, everywhere?

ANSWER:

So… what you’re asking, essentially, is what is the difference between an app for a European program and a US-based one?

And the answer is quite simple:

Generally, yes, you will “go guns blazing everywhere.” 🙂

But there are some differences. For example, a career change is even less likely to fly for a European b-school. After all, those programs are only one year long. Therefore, they will not offer up a summer internship, so transferring into another area will be that much more difficult.

Also, students in European programs tend to be older.  Unlike schools here in the US, these programs aren’t trending young. So if you’re on the younger side (24, 25) you are that much more likely to seem immature. And that’s not going to do you any favors. The trick there is that you show yourself among a group of older peers, holding your own, not being intimidated, etc. Present yourself as being quite mature, and “wise for your years.” After all, your peers at European programs will be more mature as well and you need to prove that you can fit in and hold your own.

Other than those small differences, though, the application process is the same. Show the adcom that you’re a strong leader with great potential and some cool yet attainable career goals and you should be good to go.

Good luck out there!

— Jon Frank

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Making a Case (or 5!) for European MBA Programs