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All you need to know about MBA in Europe

While the USA and UK are definitely the most sought after MBA destinations, the rest of Europe also has quite an excellent range of B-schools to offer!

INSEAD, London School of Business, HEC Paris, IESE Business school, etc. are some excellent choices to pursue a full-time MBA course.

B-schools across Europe offer a wide variety of MBA specializations, and these courses are guaranteed to prepare you for the international market!

So, if you are planning to apply to a European B-school, you have come to the perfect guide. Read on to know the requirements for the application, costs,

B-school rankings, and more!

Let’s start off by looking at the current ranking of the top B-schools in Europe and the MBA specialization they offer.

B-School Specializations Country
HEC Paris Advanced management, Entrepreneurship, Strategic Marketing, Sustainable innovation France
INSEAD Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Strategy France
London Business School Accounting, Finance, Statistics England
IE Business School Business analytics, Marketing Spain
SDA Bocconi Business analytics, Banking & Finance, Entrepreneurship Italy
IESE Business School International business, Finance, Data analytics Spain
Esade Business School Big data transformation, Strategy management, Entrepreneurial finance Spain
Said Business School Accounting, Analytics, Finance, Marketing England
ESMT Berlin Managerial analytics, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Strategic leadership Germany
Cambridge Judge Business School Global consulting, Digital transformation, Finance, Marketing England

Now that you have an idea of the top B-schools that fit your needs, let’s talk about what you need to crack these MBA programs!

Basic Requirements

Educational requirements

The two primary academic scores that any European MBA program will require you to present are your undergrad GPA and the GMAT/GRE score.

Most European B-schools require applicants to have completed a 4 year bachelor’s degree. Unlike many American B-schools that accept a 3 year bachelor’s degree such as MIT, Columbia, Wharton, etc.; the top-tier MBA programs in European countries are more likely to be staunch about applicants having a 4 year bachelor’s degree or an equivalent degree.

Apart from the undergrad GPA your GMAT score will serve as one of the primary determinants of your success!

Here’s a look at the average GMAT scores of the top European B-schools –

B-School Average GMAT Score 
London Business School 708
IE Business School 685
SDA Bocconi 665
IESE Business School 681
Esade Business School 665
ESMT Berlin 638

What you will notice immediately is that most of these schools have a lower GMAT requirement than their American counterparts. While this on one hand makes the application process easier, it also means that there will be a larger number of people applying to these programs.

Additionally, don’t always look at the GMAT requirement as something monolithic. If you have a strong application with key work experience and extra-curriculars, and a great understanding of the essay questions; you can definitely make it to one of the top European B-schools!

If you are trying to crack top-tier MBA programs with a low GMAT score then here are some more in-depth tips for you –

Work experience

Most schools across Europe will require MBA candidates to have at-least 3 years of full-time work experience before applying! However, many schools are known to accept candidates who have quickly achieved milestones at their workplace. So, if you think that your work experience may be more qualitative than quantitative, then consider applying as well!

Additionally, some B-schools in Europe may require candidates to have some degree of international work or educational experience. Needless to say, the international work or study experience gained in a certain country raises the chance of the applicant cracking an MBA in a B-school belonging to the same country.

You can also expect the admissions committee to accept more people from a Fortune 500 company rather than a startup. But at the same time if you have achieved professional milestones in any workspace it will always count! If you have a good GMAT and GPA, and feel confident about your profile, then you should definitely apply.


You will also have to present your TOEFL or IELTS score as part of the application process. Keep in mind that while B-schools in Europe are known for rather relaxed application criteria; some of them have a high TOEFL/IELTS cut-off!

Recommendation Letter

Most European B-schools will require you to provide 2 recommendation letters as part of your application. You can be asked for LORs from your workspace or your academic institutions, and in either case there are many ways in which you can build a strong letter. Here are some pro-tips that you can check back on!

Costs Involved

MBA in Europe is rather easily manageable if you plan it right!

European B-schools can be less costly than their American counterparts, and there are a lot of great scholarships to look into as well. Another aspect that makes MBA in Europe a lucrative opportunity is the fact that many of these schools provide a 1 year full-time MBA course.

Here’s a video where I explain in detail about whether a 1 year MBA course will suit you or not!

1 Year MBA versus 2 Year MBA Program

Here is a quick look at the tuition fee of the top European MBA program –

B-school Tuition Fee Euro INR
INSEAD  89,900 73,32,253
HEC Paris 72,500 59,72,861
IE Business School  72,200 59,48,205
London Business School  100,000 88,178,18
SDA Bocconi 59,000 52,02,512

Scholarships for MBA in Europe

Most B-schools in Europe provide some form of scholarship or the other. They are either need-based or merit-based, and you should definitely apply for it once you have cracked the admission. The general rule here is that the bigger the school, the better the scholarship you will have chances of receiving.

If you visit the website of any of these top B-schools you will find all the details regarding scholarship amounts. For example, INSEAD shows that 28% of its MBA class every class receive scholarships amounting between €8000 – €41,000! The total amount of scholarships rolled out every year by HEC Paris is over €1,000,000!

As an applicant from India you stand high-chances of gaining scholarships if you prepare yourself from the right time. So, when you research about the B-schools for your MBA program in Europe, also make sure that you are noting down all the scholarship details.

There are also many private fellowships that you can apply for. Most of these are specific to certain countries or B-schools.Some of the popular ones include the INSEAD-Syngenta Scholarships, the Orbis Investment Management Fellowship, etc.

Application Process & the Top-Tier MBA Mindset

When you are targeting INSEAD, HEC Paris, LBS, or Bocconi; simply a good GMAT score and work experience is not enough! You need to start the process really early, and you need to make sure that you create an understanding of the transformative experience that a top-tier MBA program in Europe will provide.

Build networks

Networking is an important part of learning about the program you will be applying to. Attend their webinars, try to build a line of conversation with ex-students and faculty, and also visit the campus if possible. This will allow you to understand what is exactly required to crack the application process.

Know your goals

MBA is a means to an end. So, when you are trying to get into an MBA program that selects the best of the best you need to know why you want it and how it will help you. A very common question asked during the application process is why you have selected a particular program. And in such a case an understanding of your long-term and short-term goals is necessary.

Learn about the application questions

The application questions are the perfect way to make your applications stand out. They give you an opportunity to portray your strengths. Here’s a quick look at how the best answers look like when attempting a top B-schools.

Final Thoughts

Studying MBA in Europe comes with a ton of benefits, and that is why hundreds of Indian students travel to these B-schools every year. Apart from the fact that you will be ready to take on the international market at the end of the course, European B-schools also provide budget 1 year MBA courses! So, if you want to pursue your MBA on a budget, you should definitely consider a country such as France or Spain.

Make sure that you research each school thoroughly before applying, as they may have different application criteria; and always start the process with enough time in hand!

Luck be with you!

For over 15+ years as an Entrepreneur, and India’s Top Educationist, Jatin has led a range of initiatives in the Education Industry. In this role, he has created many successful educational services and products geared towards generating success for professionals aspiring to join IVY League and global Top Tier Universities for MBA Programs, Masters Programs, and undergraduate courses. He is the Founder and CEO of PythaGURUS Education, and has been recognized as a thought leader in the Higher education sector. Economic Times, Hindustan Times, Times of India, India Today, Business Today, Tribune, and many other national newspapers have recognized his work, and have given him numerous opportunities to be a regular columnist. He has also served as a panelist for NDTV, and other national news channels.

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