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Insider’s Guide to Top European MBA Programs

December 01, 2020 :: Alex Collazo


The first MBA programs may have started in the U.S., but don’t count out top European MBA programs. Europe dominates rankings for the best non-U.S. MBA programs.

While elite American MBA programs may still lead in terms of recognition and reputation, when it comes to return on investment, top European MBA programs are a solid option.

Not only are admissions less competitive (in some ways), they are 1-year programs with stellar job placement. In fact, when Forbes compared the earnings in the first five years out of b-school, European b-schools have the 7 highest 5-year MBA gains in the world led by IMD and INSEAD.

There are a lot of reasons to apply for top European MBA program, especially this late in the application season. To help you with the research, check out some of our resources on top European MBA programs.

The Insider’s Guide to INSEAD
INSEAD’s grads are especially strong in International Consulting, and there is a lot of room for folks in finance and manufacturing as well. The school also boasts a fantastic placement rate, and recruiters from top firms like McKinsey & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, Bain & Company, Booz & Company amongst others all seek out those INSEAD grads.

The Insider’s Guide to IESE
IESE’s grads are a mighty diverse bunch. They come, like in many European programs, from….well… EVERYWHERE. Case in point: more than 80% of the class of 280 students came from places OUTSIDE of Spain. And given its connection with Latin America, a far larger portion (between 10-15% in recent years) of the student body come from that part of the world.

The Insider’s Guide to HEC
Besides being France’s premier business school, HEC also runs France’s second most famous MBA program, in the heart of the heart of the most beautiful city in the world. Extremely well connected, with a very strong general management program, one of the things that makes HEC really unique is the variety of industries it caters to, and the variety of industries students come from and go to. Of course, the twin traditionals of Finance and Consulting are very well represented, but HEC is also a launching pad for careers in biomed; airline; oil and gas; and, of course, luxury (this is one of HEC’s specialties, which is not surprising considering its location).

The Insider’s Guide to IMD
IMD is smaller, older, wiser, more intimate… and in Switzerland (anyone down with hitting the slopes?). It’s is VERY different from your average MBA program. Not only does it have a very very small class (only 90 students!), the focus – unlike other MBA programs geared towards finance and consulting- is mostly on INDUSTRY jobs, with 25% of the students going into manufacturing jobs, and 20% going into consumer goods.

The Insider’s Guide to Cambridge Judge
Judge is one of the top English schools that really does have a tight connection with the start-up world, and has in the past years built part of its prestige upon this unique factor. Not to say the Judge doesn’t draw students and recruiters from Finance and Consulting! Au contraire, my friends. [Woops – wrong language.] Although industry jobs were Cambridge grads’ number one landing spot, McKinsey, KPMG, and Credit Suisse were amongst top recruiters. And the school’s location (right next to the Anglohub of finance), as well as the school’s excellent name, also makes it a top choice for those shooting for the finance world.

The Insider’s Guide to London Business School
LBS (or, as they are more officially known, London Business School) is the top ranked European MBA program, and one of the only whose prestige really matches that of Top US schools. Is it that good? Yes, it’s that good. It’s also a Finance and Consulting powerhouse, with more than half the graduating class going into these two business mainstays. It has one of the best brands in the UK for any industry, but it is especially known for its finance connections. [Case in point, the largest club on campus is the Private Equity club.]