Friday, June 09, 2006

European vs. American MBA Programs

Someone asked me what were the main differences between European MBA programs versus American ones. I'll try to give a response with the understanding that each program is different and that I didn't visit every campus in the US or Europe. Therefore, I will using many generalities that could be disproved using specific examples.
One look at a world map shows the obvious: US is a huge country and as the largest economy in the world, it's bound to have great MBA programs. About 70% of students are usually from America while in European programs, it is the opposite, most students are foreigners.
One can argue and rightly so that the statistic hides the fact that America is a melting pot. Is the MBA student population in the US more socio-economically diverse than in Europe? I have a feeling it is.
European programs are by virtue more international. Students are usually older and more experienced. They are also more wordly as they usually speak at least two languages (except the English;-) . INSEAD is the most international of programs for instance. Yet, if one lumps all the Europeans in one group, I'd think the 70/30 ratio would be about the same if not worse than in the US.
Most European programs are about 1 year long except LBS and IESE for the most well-known ones. Career-wise, since the US job market is usually more buoyant than in Europe, it is usually easier to find a job in the US after an MBA where it is very respected (of course depending on the school one has attended) than in Europe. I think that the school's brand name is somewhat more important in the US than in other parts of the world as there is a premium on students in top-rated programs. In Europe,of course depending on the country, the MBA is viewed differently. In France, having attended a Grande Ecole is more beneficial than having completed an MBA., at least for now. Yet, Europeans seem to be willing to take more risks and leave their homeland for work more often than Americans.
American programmes are usually more generous when it comes to scholarships. Yet, the tuition is usually more expensive as well.
As one may have noticed, there are many variables and it makes the a vs. b exercise somewhat difficult as each program offers something different.
It goes deeper than beer vs. wine or burgers versus tapas.


At 12:32 PM, Blogger Marina said...

clamshell as in flip phones? i LOVE them! I get annoyed at having to lock the keys on regular phones every time I throw them back in my purse.


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