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MBAs in France

Traditionally, the United States has been home to the MBA, although nowadays MBAs can be studied the world over. European MBAs have a reputation for excellence across the globe and an international student is therefore wise to choose Europe as their study destination.

Because of their history and conception, MBAs are American diplomas and looking at the relevance these programmes have in the business world today, nobody can deny their necessity and value.

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Famous International Programmes
Nevertheless, many European MBAs arise, mainly in France. This diploma is becoming a standard of education for all managers that went to improve their knowledge and experience, and moreover, an MBA is recognised and appreciated by most companies as a valid qualification for the workplace.

The efficiency of this diploma can be measured by the boost it gives to a career. The benefit will be increased if the student has a professional project, and can then use this year of study to develop and improve the subject.

To be able to offer an MBA Programme is very important for any institution. It is an opportunity to develop international recognition and today, all the most important business schools in France offer such diplomas in both French and English, in an attempt to compete with the most famous American universities. The INSEAD in Fontainebleau is the European is the European MBA college equivalent, and a 1996 survey in the ‘Times’ placed this institution first in the world, beating institutions such as Warton and Harvard.

This accreditation has helped to promote the quality of all other European institutions offering similar programmes.

However, MBA programmes in France are not always taught in French, and if an institution wants to recruit the best students and teachers, it is becoming compulsory for programmes to be conducted in English. Most of these institutions require students to have a good TOEFL or GMAT score to apply.

The length of a European MA is usually about 10-15 months, although as stated by ESC Rennes, “This does not mean that because our programme is shorter, quality is lower. We simply ask more of our students”. The strength of such a system is that the investment in time and money is reduced. Nowadays, US managers donot hesitate to cross the Atlantic to complete an MBA in Europe, as they can earn money and learn new management cultures simultaneously.

Teaching in Relation to the Industry
Management teaching in France is pragmatic and the solutions proposed to solve problems are usually practical. Compared to the US system, where teaching is academic, French courses are closer to the industry because of the structure of their institutions; schools are usually sponsored by the local Chamber of Commerce, therefore many meetings with company managers or company visits are organised on a regular basis. Moreover, the alumni network is very efficient.

French MBAs also have many other strengths. Intakes are usually smaller than in US universities and programmes mainly focus on quality and not quantity. They also focus on the international and multicultural aspects, as many institutions have developed exchange programmes with partner universities (mainly from Europe). Due to their integration with companies, they propose efficient courses adapted to the market. If we compare Europe to the US MBA system (that is more fixed), Europe and particularly France have developed different kinds of programmes.

Full time in English (at INSEAD, HEC, ESC Paris, EC Rennes, ESC Marseilles), part-time (at ESC Paris, ESC Rennes, ESSEC), distance learning (at ESC Nantes with Bilbao University and Bradford University, ESC Rennes and ESC Piotier with Southbank University) or in the States (ESC Rennes have 20 MBA exchange agreements all around the world). Some institutions have also developed specialised programmes, such as luxury products at ESSEC, food marketing at L’Idrac, or Information Technology at the Theses Institute.
A Passport for a job

After an INSEAD MBA, an average of 2.4 job opportunities are offered to a student, with an average salary of around £35,000. Usually European MBA students are recruited by consulting companies interested in analysis and multicultural studies. On the other hand, bank and insurance sectors have started to recruit in Europe, because they are looking for people able to work anywhere in the world, in non-structured environments such s the new markets in Asia and South America. Large multi-nationals are always interested in investing in quality graduates who may become top managers in the future.

Doing an MBA in Europe is taking advantage of the chance to study a practical diploma relevant to the industry and the multicultural environment. Developed competencies learnt during the MBA will quickly find that they can be applied in the everyday life of a company.

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