The Tuesday Q&A: What International MBA Programs Look For

What are European MBA schools looking for in their candidates? Is it different than what U.S. B-Schools look for?

We get this question a lot, and it’s not surprising. When it comes to the demographics, you tend to see more international and age diversity in the Euro schools. But, to be honest? The European programs are looking for much of the same thing that American b-schools are looking for. Ambitious, young people who wish to make their way in the business world, and have a history of proven success. Clear goals are also a BIG part for both of them. This is the same whether you apply to the U.S. or European schools, so don’t think it’s just an “American thing.”

Other than that, one of the big takeaways here is that an international mentality is important in European programs, if not international experience and goals. Since these programs are all fundamentally international – in terms of incoming classes, where professors come from, where people work, and (maybe most importantly) in terms of approach and mentality – they will be looking for the same, or at least the potential. If you’ve got international experience or goals, a Euro b-school could be the right fit for you.

Beyond that, I’ve noticed that they tend to care a bit less about “numbers” (GPA, GMAT, Age, TOEFL). Not that they aren’t important (they are), but the Euro schools are more flexible in who they will accept when it comes to the metrics – at least when compared to their U.S. counterparts.

–Jon Frank

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