6 Types of MBA Degrees in European Business Schools to Study Abroad in 2020

Overwhelmed by so many business schools in Europe and the diversity of MBA degrees? Sceptical about which one you should choose because you’re not sure which suits your goals, schedule, and professional or personal commitments? Well, deciding for the perfect MBA degree is a tricky business but just consider it the first step in developing valuable managerial skills such as analytical thinking and complex problem-solving.

Just to give you a small hint, here are the most common types of Master of Business Administration (MBA) programmes available in most top European business schools, including regular MBAs, distance learning MBAs, EMBAs, joint MBAs and more.

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So, what are the types of MBA degrees you can apply to at a business school in Europe?

1. Full-time or part-time MBA degrees

When it comes to traditional MBA programmes, you can either choose a full-time or a part-time format. The advantage of pursuing a full-time MBA in Europe is the fact that most of them last only one-year, compared to U.S. MBAs that normally last two years. However, a full-time MBA at a top European MBA school is quite intense, meaning the class schedule will hardly allow you to also take a job.

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Part-time MBAs usually take twice the time of a full-time MBA to complete, but you can find several part-time accelerated MBAs that allow you to finish the course in one year and a half. During a part-time MBA degree, you can successfully combine study and work, as classes take place in the evenings and during weekends.

Most MBA courses are dedicated to students with at least one or two years of work experience, although some business schools will also accept students with no professional experience.

2. Blended distance learning MBAs

A distance learning MBA is usually organised in the blended format, meaning that you will attend online classes, but you will also have to physically be present on campus for lectures or meetings. Campus attendance is usually required during weekends and they are the perfect occasion to meet your classmates and professors, exchange ideas and discuss more freely and open about any topic that can’t be covered completely in an online format.

The online part of a distance learning MBA covers video conference sessions, forum discussions, webinars and online tests and exams.

3. Online MBA degrees

Some Masters of Business Administration programmes take place fully online. Specifically targeted to working professionals or students that simply don’t have the time to attend classes on-campus, not even in a distance learning scheme, online MBA degrees answer the current trends and needs in education.

Offering a flexible schedule and learning environment, and most times, even smaller tuition, online MBAs are preferred by an increasing number of students. In addition, an online MBA degree encourages students to become independent learners and develop time management and project management skills.

And no worries! Online MBAs are equally acknowledged by employers as traditional MBAs that take place on campus.

4. Executive MBA (EMBA) degrees

Executive Masters of Business Administration are designed for working professionals with work experience between five to ten years, and most commonly, for students with a middle-level or top-level management background. EMBAs are delivered in a part-time format and can be completed in one or two years, depending on specialisation.

More details about the differences between MBA and EMBA. 

5. Joint MBA degrees

As its name suggests, a joint MBA offers students the opportunity to experience an MBA curriculum and teaching style in different countries and campuses around the world. Enrolling in a joint MBA means you’ll have to successfully juggle with a lot of workload and travels, but you will also gain a large and diverse network and experience different business perspectives at first-hand.

Check out the benefits of a joint Master's degree!

In a joint MBA, you would attend lectures in the morning and attend conferences, workshops or even engage in internships at regional and international companies.

Joint MBAs can be delivered by two to up to six partner institutions.

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6. Modular EMBAs

A modular EMBA degree is similar to a part-time MBA, except for the fact that you won’t attend classes in the weekend; instead, you will have to join lectures, seminars and practical courses for one or two weeks once every few months. Overall, you will complete a modular EMBA in one or two years and some cover exchange periods of study, so you might travel and gain different business knowledge.

During one or two weeks, you will complete a module, a certain topic or specialisation of your choice; it can be finance, accounting, marketing, etc.

What to consider before choosing an MBA degree?

MBA rankings offer good insights

The MBA or the Business School rankings are another good tool to assist you in making the best decision possible. Specialised sources like Financial Times or QS World University Rankings provide the latest rankings based on the MBA employers’ opinion and these can help you in creating your own personal ranking according to the criteria relevant to you.

Check MBA programmes offered by some of the best business schools:

Check out MBA degree accreditations

The criterion of accreditation is a significant element when choosing an MBA, especially in terms of the credibility of the business school and the quality of the course it offers.

The three most respected accrediting bodies are:

Accreditation from any of these three organisations confers a premium status to a Business School.

Compare MBAs in Europe

Look over MBA admission requirements

The admission procedure for an MBA can be quite time-consuming, demanding and complicated and thus, has to be carefully prepared. Usually composed out of several stages, it always requires an average Graduate Management Admission Test (GMAT) of 500 or a Graduate Record Examination (GRE) of 300 and an English Language Proficiency Test (most commonly IELTS).

Check the common admission requirements in European business schools.

Consider less-known international destinations for an MBA degree

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Master in Business Administration (MBA)


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