The number of GMAT scores sent to business schools in Europe has increased 65 percent from five years ago, according to the latest report from the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC).

The report, which is published annually, analyses trends in GMAT scores sent to European business schools in 2011.

Despite the lack of economic growth in the UK, its business schools are still the most popular, receiving nearly 40 percent of all test scores, followed by b-schools in France (26 percent).

Spain, the Netherlands and Germany fill out the top five, and receive seven per cent, seven per cent and five per cent of test scores respectively. It's quite a surprise that Spanish schools remain slightly more popular than German b-schools! Spanish unemployment hit 22.8 percent in January, while Germany's is the lowest since 1991 (7.4 percent)!

More Europeans are choosing to study within their own region: 63 percent of scores sent by European candidates in 2011 were sent to schools in Europe, up from 48 percent in 2007.

Anecdotally, BusinessBecause has noticed of late that Europe's one-year MBA programs are attractive relative to the US' expensive, two-year programs, and also that candidates are trying to save money by studying close to home.

The GMAC report also highlights the increasing popularity of specialized Master's programmes in subjects such as accounting, finance and management. With graduate unemployment at an all-time high across the continent, recent grads are turning to Master's degrees to boost their resumes and gain an extra year of job application rounds.

But back to MBA programs! There are 25 European b-schools in the FT's global top 100 ranking of MBA programmes. We don't have space to list all of them, but here's a quick summary of five, one in each of the largest European markets!

UK – Manchester Business School
Manchester Business School has an 18-month MBA. It is unusual among UK schools, as it gives you time for an internship during you program

"One year was too short for me because I felt I would not be able to learn enough in that time frame. The Manchester MBA is 18 months long therefore leaving more time to do live projects," says student Jai Kishan.

France - EMLYON Business School
EMLYON Business School offers a 12-month full-time MBA is focused on entrepreneurship. Set in France's technology belt, this is the place to go if you want to learn how to win business from Europe's biggest firms.

Student Kofi Boakye quit a finance job in the US and headed to EMLYON to pursue his goal of setting up his own business. He's already developed a business plan for a luxury women's shoes brand similar to Jimmy Choo!

"Where I was working was all about finance and everyone thought in the same way. There was no growth. Lyon has easy links to other European capitals. Here people all think different. There are people coming from industry, arts, teachers... All the different outlooks help me grow".

Italy - MIP Politecnico di Milano
The MIP Politecnico di Milano MBA is a general management program aimed at people with two to three years of work experience.

The school helps its students find jobs at some of Italy's biggest firms. Recent grad Stefano Mosca is working at pasta maker Barilla and Kiriti Rambhatla landed a role at household appliance manufacturer Indesit.

Germany – ESMT (European School of Management and Technology)
Students on this smaller MBA program (40 full-time students) have lots of opportunities to participate in clubs and societies. They can choose from two elective tracks: Management of Innovation and Technology and Global Sustainable Business.

Recent grad Nishant Aurora, an engineer by training, landed a project with German media giant Axel Springer. He analyzed the risks posed by African "conflict minerals" to the company's strategy for producing electronic reading devices using these minerals.

Spain – IE Business School
Consistently ranked one of the top ten business schools in the world by the Financial Times. IE Business School can stake a claim as being one of the most innovative of the top schools. Its highly regarded start-up incubator has launched businesses such as CityDeal, the Spanish Groupon, and student entrepreneurs get two opportunities a year to pitch to investors!

Recently, the IE MBA helped airline steward-turned-KPMG consultant Marcel Kohler take on more responsibility in KPMG's M&A team. Read more about him here!

This article was written by BusinessBecause, a free website connecting people before, during and after their MBA with useful information about MBA rankings, MBA jobs and Why MBA interviews with current students at top business schools around the world.