Advantage No. 1: Diverse learning environment
American students should expect to find a learning environment very different from the one back home. In a recent report entitled, Intercultural Awareness Is the Key to International Business Success, Management Professor John Saee writes:
“The reality of cultural diversity within corporations, coupled with an increasing globalisation of businesses, means that managers have to become interculturally competent to capitalise on unlimited opportunities and benefits afforded by cultural diversity within a global economy.”
Financial Times education reporter Linda Anderson adds, “The strength of European schools lies in their diversity and international outlook. If they were to adopt a more US-style approach, they would lose the very attributes that their MBA students value so much.”
Advantage No. 2: International faculty
For American students, it is a distinct advantage to have diverse faculty members with international credentials. A recent report the European Foundation for Management Development (EFMD) showed that at its participating b-schools, 20 per cent of full-time faculty members are international and have spent more than five years abroad.
Advantage No. 3: Partnerships with b-schools at home
To bridge the gap between Europe and America, many b-schools have built networks enabling American students to take advantage of their established contacts in Europe. Babson College in Massachusetts has just launched a partnership with top-ranked EM Lyon to include joint projects, student exchanges, and the development of dual executive-education programmes. Based on initiatives such as this, the Economist ranked EM Lyon No. 3 in the Potential to Network category.
Advantage No. 4: Careers in Europe
American students are increasingly worried about employment prospects in the USA. According to the New York Times, the unemployment rate in the USA surged to five per cent in December 2007. “This is unambiguously negative,” says Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s. “The US economy is on the edge of recession, if we’re not already engulfed in one.” In contrast, unemployment has been steadily falling in Europe for the past two years, according to the OECD.
Advantage No. 5: One-year programmes
American students who cannot absent themselves from their careers or families for the duration of the typical two-year American MBA programme have historically turned to the accelerated one-year European MBA programme instead. In a recent interview in Business Week, Caroline Diarte Edwards, INSEAD's director of admissions, marketing & external relations for the MBA programme, said INSEAD has students who are able to study at its campuses on Fontainebleau and Singapore all within one year. If they are part of INSEAD’s exchange programme with Wharton, they can study there as well.
Despite the soaring euro, more and more Americans are applying to European MBA programmes. In selecting the most appropriate European MBA programmes, American students are looking to those b-schools that offer an international MBA within a multicultural and diverse environment. By gaining this added dimension, American students are in a better position to position their profiles in line with the needs of global corporations and organisations.