ForumWatch: U.S. vs. European B-Schools

Posted by: Louis Lavelle on May 26, 2011

Often, participants on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business Schools Forum pit one MBA program against another in their discussion threads. The goal, usually, is to decide which business school is best for the individual posting the question, and the programs used to always be in the same continent: U.S. programs did battle with U.S. programs, European b-schools went up against European b-schools. Not anymore. Lately participants have been asking for advice on choosing between U.S. and European business schools.

For example, BlueKiwi wrote about getting waitlisted at Harvard Business School (Harvard Full-Time MBA Profile) and accepted at London Business School (London Full-Time MBA Profile). And now he or she was wondering whether to enroll in LBS or apply to other American business schools next year. An entrepreneur, BlueKiwi, like many participants, was worried that an LBS degree would not reap enough American networking contacts.

While many business school experts keep reminding the world of the merits of European MBA programs, forum participants still have their doubts. What do you think? Are European b-schools gaining on their U.S. rivals? Or does an MBA from an American school remain the gold standard?

—Francesca Di Meglio

Editor’s Note: This blog post is part of a series about discussions taking place on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business Schools Forum , where prospective B-school applicants, current students, and recent alumni trade admissions tips, job-hunting advice, and the occasional barbed comment. We invite you to join these discussions or start one of your own.

Reader Comments

Saleem Khan

May 27, 2011 2:43 PM

Thanks for writing. I am going through same dilema, whether to apply in Top European Business Schools like INSEAD and LBS or should focus on US business school only. As per my personal research, US business schools are the best in world but LBS/INSEAD are best for European jobs.

As far learning is concerned, US schools will keep outclassing rest of world's school for several decades.

I am sure comments on this forum will address my queries too. :)


May 29, 2011 12:35 PM

International growth is occurring rapidly in developing countries around the world. European MBA programs such as London Business School (LBS) and INSEAD are positioned to take advantage of global expansion much more so than US MBA programs. US b-schools have been the best for the last decade because job opportunities and growth in financial services have dominated in the western world. However, as long as growth is moving to developing countries, LBS and INSEAD will be the best for MBAs seeking global careers. Additionally, even grads interested in working in the US, moving from Europe to the US (assuming no visa restrictions) often gives European MBA grads a competitive edge over US MBAs because US MBA programs fall short of providing a truly, global learning experience for its students compared with European schools. This is mainly a function of geography, curriculum focus and professors. LBS and INSEAD have added substantially to their MBA program offerings in the last 10 years and both have ambitious, future, expansion plans. Networking is important to get a job and for social affairs but down the road the most important factor is the knowledge and experience one has in order to advance and lead a global organization. LBS and INSEAD have recently gained a slight edge over HBS, Wharton, Kellogg and Stanford but it will become more pronounced over the next decade.


June 1, 2011 7:04 PM

What about International Business Schools that are based in the US, but partner with schools in other countries; how would that fit in? I've been looking into schools and have been intrigued by Thunderbird because they partner with a school in Mexico and Switzerland. I know they are complete opposites, but as an example it's hard to compare because they offer programs in multiple locations, but are based in Arizona.


June 2, 2011 8:28 AM

Yes, a lot can be said for the EU degree. But as a european immigrant to the US, having done undergrad in the EU, I can tell you one thing: the EU is far less integrated and will be than the US and networking opportunities will mainly focus on Europe as well as job prospects. In terms of the US degree, it is viewed much favorably in Asia and the rest of the world and is still dominant. Yes, LBS and Insead are coming up, but how can they challenge a saturated market with HBS, Wharton, MIT, Stanford, Booth, Fuqua...etc?

Post a comment



Read daily reports from BusinessWeek editors and reporters Louis Lavelle, Geoff Gloeckler, Alison Damast and Francesca Di Meglio and boost your chances of getting into your best-fit B-school.

BW Mall - Sponsored Links

Buy a link now!