Barcelona is home to some of the world’s top MBA programs and provides you the amazing opportunity to join an international student body, learn Spanish and enjoy the high quality of life in Catalonia. According to a study conducted by the ESADE business school, the city of Barcelona ranks second in Europe and fifth in the world in the number of international students enrolled in a Master of Business Administration. There are five internationally accredited business schools in Spain, and three of them are in Barcelona: IESE Barcelona, the aforementioned ESADE and EADA.
IESE has been in the top tier of the global MBA rankings for years and its deep industry inroads make it your best bet to guarantee you will have a €100k salary waiting for you when you graduate. In The Economist’s 2013 rankings, IESE was listed as the number one business school in Europe for full-time MBAs, and number five in the world. The Financial Times awarded it a similarly lofty position: number seven in the world and number 3 in Europe. Nestled in the hills of wealthy Sarriá-Sant Gervasi neighborhood, overlooking Barcelona, IESE offers a first-class MBA program and a great addition to your CV, especially for a career in finance or consulting. While it’s the one with the most expensive tuition in Barcelona, IESE boasts a highly active recruitment network. The Financial Times reported in their end of year business school rankings report for 2012 that companies in high-tech and telecoms, luxury goods and pharmaceuticals now top the list of recruiters for MBA graduates from IESE, with Amazon as the leading recruiter, overtaking the traditional banking and consultancy firms. IESE is also known for organizing their annual Spring Games, an event which brings together MBA students from different schools for 3 days of sports and partying.
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The Innovative MBA. Quickly moving up the ladder, ESADE has climbed high in the rankings over the last 15 years. In 2013, The Economist ranked it as the number five business school in Europe, and number sixteen in the world, while the Financial Times placed it at twenty-two in the world and number seven in Europe. While it doesn’t quite have the long-standing pedigree that IESE enjoys, ESADE has a strong international faculty, collaborative partnerships with international corporations, and world-class language and law schools at its disposal. For the innovative professionals, ESADE lays claim to the first of its kind Creapolis campus in Sant Cugat. While the 30-minute daily train ride from downtown Barcelona is a pain, the state of the art ESADE Creapolis offers an unparalleled facility to push the limits of creative business strategy.
The Entrepreneur’s MBA. Located in the heart of the Barcelona, EADA has been training business minds for over 55 years. Often overlooked, EADA consistently ranks in the top 100 international B-schools and is #2 in the world for its diverse student body. Its 1-year curriculum, small class sizes, and (relatively) affordable tuition make EADA a great option for entrepreneurs and other professionals unwilling or unable to leave the workforce for two years. Lastly, as an added-value unavailable at its Barcelona rivals, EADA owns an off-site 100-room hotel facility in Collbató used 6 times throughout the MBA program to conduct team building and personal growth modules for all of its students.
The combined number of international students at these three schools is close to 1000. Beyond them, many other academic institutions offer business qualifications in Barcelona. EAE Business School is another one with a strong global standing. Other options include The OU Business School, BBS Barcelona (Barcelona Business School), ESEC Toulouse Barcelona Business School, ESEI International Business School, the European University, the Global Business School Barcelona and the Instituto Superior de Marketing – ESIC Business School. Accreditations vary, and potential applicants should ensure that the courses available are suitable for their needs before applying. The city’s public universities of Universitat Autónoma de Barcelona and Universitat de Barcelona are also well-respected, although MBAs in these universities are taught in Catalan or Spanish.
Ultimately, it all comes back to your original objectives for pursuing your MBA. Think long and hard about why you want your MBA and how you plan on using it after graduation. Then, work backward to the MBA program best suited to help you reach your goals. There is no “best” MBA program for everyone. It all depends on which one is right for your needs.
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Other reasons to come to Barcelona
Besides offering excellent MBA programs, Barcelona has many qualities which make it a great city to study, work, and live in.
The great weather
Barcelona is one of the sunniest cities in Europe, which inevitably makes people feel happier and more active. Even during the winter people are always find good readons to spend some time outdoors. There are a variety of beaches in the city and the surrounding areas, beautiful green parks which are excellent for picnics, reading or exercising, small little plazas to sit around people watching, large boulevards where you can go for a nice, afternoon stroll, and mountains to on hikes during the weekends to enjoy the fresh air and dazzling views over the city.
The delicious food
There are so many great restaurants and bars in Barcelona that it’s hard to keep track of all of them. There is always a new place opening right around the corner, next to the traditional places that have been open for decades. If you are coming to the city for your MBA, don’t miss the opportunity to sample some Catalan cuisine, as well as the famous Vasque tapas, which can be found all across the city. If Spanish food is not your favorite, you will find restaurants serving food from many different countries in the world.
There is no shortage of things to do in Barcelona. They have a number of annual holidays that are celebrated with great parties, fireworks, and big parades. They also have a number of music festivals that happen every year, bringing some of the greatest names in music to the capital of Catalonia. Street festivals are also abundant, dedicated to second-hand items, street food, designer products and more. One thing is certain: you will never feel bored in Barcelona.
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