How much do you know about the top European business schools?

At our 2012 AIGAC conference in Spain last week, we asked admissions directors from several top European business schools to tell us “three great things” about their MBA programs. Not surprisingly, every one of them highlighted the tremendous diversity of their student populations.  The number of nationalities represented, by both students and faculty, is incomparable at these programs – and makes for a truly global experience.  Programs like IESE and INSEAD also offer campuses on multiple continents, and many also offer exchange programs and partnerships with US business schools.

Here are the other two “great things” they described:

Cambridge Judge

“The people and Cambridge,” says Conrad Chua, head of  MBA Recruitment & Admissions.  Judge is a highly collaborative program, and with such a small class size, anonymity is not an option.  Every student is active and involved, including their participation in 3 major team projects.  As for Cambridge, the university environment emanates excellence, and Judge values students showing potential to be inspired and make a difference in the world.


“Personalization and Creapolis,” according to Christina Sassot, Director of Admissions.  After nine months, ESADE students can decide whether they’d like to finish in 12, 15 or 18 months, allowing for a variety of internship options, international exchange programs and electives.  The school is also proud of its new modern facilities for MBAs in Creapolis, also home to some 30 startup companies readily accessible for consulting projects and ongoing learning opportunities.


Luciano Rolan, Associate Director of Development, Global Initiatives, highlighted “Growth and Facilities.”  HEC students have a superior ability to generate growth, lead change, and take initiative.  The program has a mindset of personal engagement and takes a very practical approach.  HEC’s growth is also represented by their new, state-of-the-art facilities that will be opening in Sept 2012.


“Hands-On and Innovation” describes Newton Campos, Admissions Director.  IE values experiential learning and relies heavily upon the case method.  In addition to international field trips and company visits, the program continually probes into the questions of “why” and “why not.”  Innovation is a core part of IE as well, demonstrated by its content, its program formats, and teaching methodologies.


“General Management and Ethics” according to Itziar de Ros, Director MBA Admissions.  With no specialization required, IESE is a true general management program, striving for its students to broaden their scope and think big.  It too relies heavily on the case method to drive that knowledge and is one of the largest case producers in the world.  With its motto of “developing leaders you can trust,” ethics is also a very important part of the program – something they’ve been teaching since 1958.


“International and Intense,” according to Andrew Bueno.  In addition to its diverse student and faculty population, INSEAD defines the global experience with 21,000 MBA alumni in 160 countries and the opportunity to study on 3 continents.  Its intensity is a positive statement, speaking to the 1350 classroom hours that enable INSEAD students to cover 80% of a 2 year MBA program in just 10 months.  INSEAD students work hard but have plenty of fun, building close personal relationships outside of the classroom.


Maryke Luijendijk-Steenkamp, Director of Marketing & Admissions, highlighted “Moving Beyond Your Borders and Social Responsibility.”  The program asks students to move into situations outside of their comfort zone, fostering leadership through empowerment – a highlight of which takes its female students to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro.  Sustainability and social responsibility are embedded in all aspects of the curriculum, always probing students to consider the possible impact beyond the bottom line.

SDA Bocconi

“Small and Smart and Milan,” says Francesca Roveda, Recruiting and Admissions Service.  With just 100 students, the program offers an intimate experience, fostering close bonds among students and faculty alike.   Furthermore, Milan is truly the place to be – offering students excellent access to businesses and a thriving cosmopolitan learning environment.

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© Hillary Schubach  July 10, 2012  2:27pm MT