Executive Education

The 2017 Best Executive MBA Programs in Europe

best executive mba programs in europe

The Ivy League and the US are not the center of the universe when it comes to top EMBA programs.

In fact, two of the top five programs in the world are in Europe—and number one program on the planet is the INSEAD Global Executive MBA.

Top of the Heap

INSEAD offers EMBA program participants a whirlwind 14 to 17-month fast track degree that can bring about an average 52% salary increase upon graduation. Students can pursue their education at INSEAD in one of three regions: Europe (France), Asia (Singapore) and the Middle East (Abu Dhabi). Depending on the location at which the program participant pursues his studies, he will need to take between 53 and 60 days away from his job over the course of a year-and-a-half. Ultimately, the entire class graduates together in Singapore. Impressively, the INSEAD Global EMBA boasts that 100% of its cohort is international as there is no single dominant nationality represented. The class of 2017 alone is made up of students from 50 different countries.

Magdalena Svensson from Sweden now works in France as the investment director of private equity firm Keensight Capital. She graduated with a GEMBA from INSEAD in 2013. For her, finding a program that fit into her life and work schedule was vital.

“About ten years ago I looked into doing an MBA, but the time wasn’t quite right. Professional opportunities came my way and soon kids. I loved what I was doing, which was working for a French private equity fund that specialized in smaller companies, but I wanted to move up and have a more international career. Then, I heard about the [INSEAD] GEMBA: modular, top-ranked and global,” Svensson recalls. “I hadn’t even finished INSEAD when I was approached by two international private equity funds, and I now have my perfect job.”

At number two on Ivy Exec’s list of top European EMBA programs is the London Business School Executive MBA—also coming in fifth place worldwide. This 20-month program offers an enticing average salary boost after graduation of 41%. Students can pursue their degree in either London or Dubai while also embarking on international assignments to locations including South Africa, Russia, Argentina or China.

Andrew Freeman is a London Business School EMBA alumna who is now a top advisor at the World Health Organization.

“Intellectually, the EMBA was incredibly stimulating,” Freeman recalls. “The opportunity to learn from world-class academics in a setting that encourages reflection and debate is rare, and the quality of the faculty really stood out. I had great experiences during the core courses and as it is an extremely flexible program, I was able to tailor my elective choices to support my career goal. The Executive MBA broadened my perspectives both professionally and personally.”

Best of Both Worlds: Online and In the Classroom

At number 10 on our top ranked European EMBA programs is the IE Global Executive MBA. At just 15 months long with a price tag of $82,000, this globetrotting experience offers classes in Madrid, Los Angeles, Singapore and Sao Paolo. Graduates of this program praise the blended online and in-person learning experience.

“The blended learning program provided the ideal opportunity to gain a world class education while being able to continue working full time in my current role and location. Unlike face-to-face classroom discussions, online posting is more challenging, yet it gave me an avenue to develop the skill of thinking, composing ideas and responding in a brief and concise manner that can communicate to a global audience,” says Grema Ogboru, the head of IT for Rand Merchant Bank Nigeria. She graduated from IE in 2014. “The face-to-face sessions were high points in the program that afforded me the opportunity to strengthen bonds with amazing classmates, interact with my professors, see the world through the eyes of other cultures, network and share new experiences.”

Best Bang for Your Buck

At number 11 on our rankings for Europe is the Cranfield Executive MBA. The 24-month program is a relative bargain at about $45,500 with an average, post-graduation salary boost of 42%. Courses are offered 100% face-to-face on the historic Cranfield campus, about an hour north of London.

Another relative bargain is number 23 in Europe: the Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) MBA Executive Format. In just 18 months, students can earn their EMBA for $52,000. Even better, graduates can expect a salary boost of around 55% after earning their degrees. In addition to their studies in Sweden, program participants can venture to Hong Kong, Silicon Valley and Riga in Latvia for additional learning opportunities.

Computer science engineer Kevin Zhang chose the program at SSE because it is “the best brand in the Nordic region in which I will develop my career in the predictable future,” he says. Zhang also found SSE to be the most cost effective higher education opportunity for him.

A joint European program worthy of consideration is the EADA-HHL Global Executive MBA. The 21-month program offers an average post graduation salary increase of 60% with a tuition cost of $47,000. Recent GEMBA alumna Olga Pantchenko is the co-founder and CEO of Norfolk S.A.R.L. She credits her experience with the program for spurring her entrepreneurial spirit.

“The program covers the topics needed to manage a company successfully, and provides an overview of financial and accounting tools, logistics processes and evaluation methods. Another important focus is leadership, which does not always come naturally and requires a keen understanding of one’s own capabilities and the team’s needs,” says Pantchenko. “Overall, I can say that the Global Executive MBA helped me to develop my analytical skills, to recognize the complexity of diverse processes and to express my emotions. At the end of the day, these skills are what drive every business.”

Bottom Line:

If an EMBA-based in Europe works for your family and work schedule, you can find programs in any budget and in almost any part of the continent. Better yet, many of these programs are far cheaper than their American counterparts and offer an even better average return on investment.

About the Author

R. Kress is an Emmy Award winning journalist whose reporting and writing has appeared in national media from NBC News to the International Herald Tribune. She has covered news from cities around the world including Jerusalem, Krakow, Amman and Mumbai.