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Planning a tier2 MBA in Europe (a word of caution)

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Planning a tier2 MBA in Europe (a word of caution) [#permalink]

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New post 03 Mar 2014, 00:09
Note - If you want to do an MBA just to get a degree, just to enhance your skills, just to make new connections or for anything else but a good job after graduation, you need not follow this post.
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@ B-schools in Europe which are considered tier2 b-schools for an MBA are as follows - Essec, Aston, Emlyon, Bradford, Leeds, Lancaster, ESMT, Hult, Edhec, Trinity, Caas, Bath, Tias Nimbas, Nyenrode, Solvay, Vlerick, Edinburg & Strathclyde. I may be missing 3 to 4 more. Getting into these schools is relatively easier than getting into other top tier schools. Most of these schools are represented in the global Top 100 MBA rankings (FT, Economist, Forbes etc) and their MBA programs are generally very good in quality, almost at par with the MBA programs at most top tier schools but with slightly lesser student quality. Overall a very good package depending on your needs.

@ HERE IS THE CATCH - Most of these schools, despite offering a valuable MBA experience, have very poor to horrible Career Services. Schools outside the UK are the worst in this regard. Schools in France/Spain have the worst career services. Contrary to whatever they mention on their websites, schools like Essec, Emlyon & Edhec have pathetic career services with no focus on international students & MBA graduates as a whole.

@ ANOTHER CATCH - My advice is - "Know Yourself". If you have an ordinary work history with an average to poor Gmat score, none of the top/elite business schools will ideally give you a place in it's MBA program. Getting into a good MBA program at a top b-school is always very competitive. If a school is wooing you by giving you a scholarship during the last application cycle when your GMAT score is slightly above 550 and you roughly have 3 to 4 years of decent experience, the school is just trying to fill the vacant spots in its MBA program or is just trying to internationalize the MBA class at the expense of student quality. Avoid this trap. No reputed MBA program will ever do it. Scholarships are difficult to get & are merit based, though a few can be awarded on need basis. Many good European B-schools have been found doing it.

@ HOW TO FIND THE BUG - If you are targeting a tier2 b-school for xyz reason and wish to find a job in the region after graduation, make sure you do these 4 things to find the Bug among the Bees.

1) Look if the school has posted proper placement statistics from a MBA class not older than 2 years. So if want to join in 2014, you should know the job placement/salary statistics of the class of 2012. If just a section like 'Recent Recruiters' with the names of 10 to 20 good companies has been mentioned, it could be misleading. Ask the school for the exact names of the companies which hired MBA students in 2011, 2012 & 2013 and you will be shocked at the school's reluctance. The school may give you details of the companies which hired students from other programs like the Msc or MA programs. Beware of that & ask for MBA recruiters specifically. All worthy & concerned b-schools which helped their MBA students find good jobs, maintain such statistics and generally put them on their websites. You will not just benefit from the school's reputation as there are several reputed schools in Europe. What you need is strong Career Support from the school with multiple channels to help you find the right job amidst a dwindling economy. What i mean by channels is a well knitted career platform with multiple services. Most schools only provide 4-6 seminars on Job hunting techniques & a few free registrations on job portals. It is certainly not enough for international students. Even reputed schools like Emlyon offer tremendously poor career services to its MBA students and despite the school's strong reputation of quality in the region, many local & international students get blinded.

2) Ask the school to put you in touch with at least 2-3 past MBA graduates from recent cohorts and with at least 2-3 from the present cohort. If you are a non-EU candidate, try connecting with non-EU candidates as non EU candidates face different challenges. If the school hesitates use Facebook, LinkedIn & other networks to find & connect with them & ask questions. Don't be formal if you need candid & true responses. No one wants to defame his/her school but if you show curiosity, many will open up to tell you the truth. I did the same and believe me, it saved my **s. No one can give you a better picture of the school than a recent or present student. Write to the school with whatever feedback you get & if it is -ve, ask them for an explanation. You will be happy & will thank me that you did this exercise when you will uncover the truth about the quality of Career Services in many well reputed schools. Try to find MBA students with profiles & post MBA aspirations similar to yours and if possible from your own cultural background, it will help you get candid.

3) Contact HR Managers of companies that you wish to work for in the region and ask them if they have recently hired an MBA student from the school you are targeting. You have to be clear about MBA students and not students from any other program at the school. MBA hiring is different, MBA graduates command higher salaries & mid to senior level positions depending on their past work experiences. Contact the school with the findings and you will be amazed at their vulnerability.

4) Try to avoid a b-school which does not provide an opportunity to do an internship during the MBA. Nearly half of all post MBA recruitment globally takes place through internships. Many schools offer MBA projects with the program in place of internships. This may be a good opportunity, but if the project is not a paid project, it will not command much value. Ask the school if the companies which offered projects to MBA students in previous cohorts actually paid them for their work and how many of them actually hired a MBA student. Any good school should boast of at least 30% - 50% final MBA placement through internships & MBA projects. Of course an offer will entirely depend on your performance but there should have been a history of that at the school. Avoid any school which doesn't provides this opportunity. If you do not follow this advice, you will surely think of me after completing your MBA.

MBA is one of the most important decisions & one of the biggest investments of your life. Do a lot of research before taking the final decision. I did it & avoided the trap. I am ready to help anyone who wants to make an informed decision. Don't hesitate to write to me at survivor.mba2014@gmail.com

PS: Why study in declining Europe. Go to Australasia and feel the vibes. I know it is relatively difficult to get an MBA spot in Australasia but for a safe future & a platinum class MBA experience (better than most tier2 European schools), go & experience life in Asia. You will never regret it.

And if you can afford, there is nothing better than an MBA from the United States of America.

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Planning a tier2 MBA in Europe (a word of caution)   [#permalink] 03 Mar 2014, 00:09
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Planning a tier2 MBA in Europe (a word of caution)

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