In addition, their career prospects are empowered by more diverse and better connected alumni networks. These two factors make European MBAs the wiser choice in turbulent times in a global environment.
Europe requires a smaller investment
European MBAs require a budget about half that needed for US MBAs. The average investment in tuition fees made by European MBA graduates is about EUR 50,000. In the US, even if tuition fees are comparable in many business schools, the total cost is higher because of the longer duration of the programmes. US full-time programmes normally take two years. This naturally also increases the living costs. Ultimately, one may end up paying USD 200,000 for a top US MBA.
In addition, the intensity of full-time programmes (as well as visa regulations for international students) does not allow for part-time jobs during studies. That is why prospective MBA students should have all funding secured in advance. The budget is usually provided from a combination of sources such as personal savings, financial aid, employer sponsorship and, very often, bank loans. It makes a great difference if you can start repaying your loan quickly, as European MBA graduates can, rather than accumulate interest for two years while studying in a US business school.
European MBA graduates achieve quick ROI
As noted by my opponent, the American MBA graduates usually have lower short-term return on investment although the median base salary of recent MBA graduates in Europe is lower (USD 69,000) compared to in the US (USD 95,000), according to the 2014 GMAC Corporate Recruiters Survey). The fact that the investment is smaller greatly improves the chances for a quicker ROI.
Furthermore, European MBA graduates start earning their money back one year earlier because full-time MBAs in Europe are just one year (10-12 months). Also, European MBA graduates report a salary increase of up to 125%, compared to 113% in the top 20 of the Financial Times annual global MBA ranking ranking. So, to sum up – Europe provides opportunities for smaller investment, higher post-MBA salary increase and an earlier return on the job market.
The factor which adds highest value to your MBA experience is networking. This is revealed in the majority of studies on the benefits of an MBA. European MBA graduates definitely have an edge in the quality of their alumni networks. Business schools in Europe boast the most diverse MBA classrooms. It is in top MBAs such as IMD and INSEAD that one can interact with and connect to peers representing 90 nations in one class. This experience is further enriched by the great mix of sectors and industries represented on campus.
Furthermore, small class size naturally nurtures more intense relations between peers, and provides better exposure to prospective employers during networking events. European MBA classes consist of about 100 highly diverse students and the environment is more ‘intimate’, and often more cooperative, than in the US MBA culture, where MBA classes may be three times larger (average 280). Of course, this greater number means a bigger network, but not a better quality of the connections.
Career services provided by business schools are an additional resource that may improve your chances to land a great job, in addition to using your school connections and alumni networks. Although the responsibility for career development always lies in the hands of the student, business schools have developed very effective strategies to support their students in finding the best post-MBA jobs.
Despite the perception that US business schools boast the best careers services (as The Economist reports), it is best to consider what your job will bring you. The same article highlights that "their [US] graduates typically earn a little less than European or Australian counterparts, primarily because they tend to have less work experience prior to entering the programme". This means that European MBA graduates have better prospects for higher positions and well paid career placements.
This is especially true when business schools take careers services seriously. Gianmario Verona, MBA Director at SDA Bocconi, Italy, is proud that “The career services are a crucial part of the MBA programme, because the success of our MBA depends on MBA students’ success” as quoted in MBA Career Services Make the Difference.
The focus on long-term career development adds more value to the career prospects of MBA graduates. According to the Forbes’ ranking focused on the post-MBA success of business school graduates, the recent leader outside the US is the IMD Business School, Switzerland. “What I found really amazing is that the school really wants to make us happy… and to find for you not a job, but really a long-life career path”, shares a 2009 alumna, Valeria.
The tendency to increase the hiring of MBA graduates means that alumni will have more options to consider and take what really suits them best. There is an even more exciting recent development, reported by the Financial Times in The Dawning of a Golden Age for MBA Recruitment: “Today’s MBA jobs market has broken out of its traditional areas to become more diverse than perhaps ever before. A newly qualified MBA is now seen as a logical hire by an extremely wide spectrum of employers for a similarly broad range of roles. MBAs now fill slots in sectors as diverse as luxury goods, and are favoured hires for many technology and new media companies.”
European MBA graduates benefit from the opportunities for smaller investment in their studies, a higher post-MBA salary increase and an earlier return on the job market. European business schools are a wise option also because of the better connected alumni networks and the growing diversity of career options.
Don’t forget that the intention of our Debate of the Month is to offer you current trends and up-to-date statistics and facts about each topic that we choose. But it is you who will help us determine the winner of each debate! Ask questions below each article and share your opinion because your contribution counts!
Read the opinion of the opponent in “The Prosperous US Post-MBA Experience“
Check out all debate topics at American vs European MBAs.