Shorter programs, lower tuitions in Europe lure U.S. students Why Americans Are Going Abroad for an M.B.A. - WSJ For those without access … here’s the WSJ article: By Lindsay Gellman WSJ Updated Sept. 2, 2015 7:04 p.m. ET Propelled in part by a strong U.S. dollar, more U.S. students are heading across the pond for a business degree. U.S. students are applying to elite European programs like Insead Business School in France and the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, and are making up a growing proportion of incoming M.B.A. classes at those schools. American business students have been eyeing the Continent of late. The share of U.S. citizens who indicated they would prefer to earn an M.B.A. in Europe rose to 3.2% last year from 2.1% in 2010, according to surveys by the Graduate Management Admission Council, which tracks business-school applications. European programs reported seeing a greater proportion of applications from U.S. students last year, 5.1%, than in 2012 at 4.3%, according to GMAC. For some students, European programs, which are often conducted in English, seem to be a better deal than U.S. programs, allowing them to get their M.B.A. in about a year, compared with U.S. full-time programs, which are typically two years. That means lower tuition, and it reduces the cost of leaving the workforce, students, admissions officers and consultants say. The U.S. dollar’s strength against the euro in recent months has underscored this return on investment, school officials said. What’s more, as corporate recruiters seek globally minded hires, students say a European degree looks increasingly attractive. ‘We definitely look for people who’ve had international experience either from their M.B.A. or through career experience.’ —Delia Garced, a global director at General Electric “We definitely look for people who’ve had international experience either from their M.B.A. or through career experience,” said Delia Garced, global director of General Electric Co.’s program for experienced commercial hires. “Having people who understand how to do business in a growth country and work with a variety of different cultures” is “part of our DNA,” she said. Tuition and fees at elite American M.B.A. programs can top $200,000; selective European programs typically cost half as much. Some foreign institutions have sought approval to allow American students to finance their education through U.S. financial aid, according to those schools. Reasonable tuition—about $30,000—helped Patrick Lowry decide on the 15-month M.B.A. program at the Frankfurt School of Finance & Management. “That’s less than half of anything I would pay for a respectable program in the U.S.,” he said. Mr. Lowry, a 26-year-old University of Delaware graduate, received a tuition break from the school for committing early and was able to take advantage of U.S. student loans. For U.S. applicants, the allure of European M.B.A. programs is “more about program length than it is about tuition cost,” said Matt Symonds, director of Fortuna Admissions, an admissions-consulting firm. His clients have grown more reluctant to forgo more than a year’s worth of pay to earn a business degree. Shorter options are also drawing interest from women planning both family and a challenging career, admissions consultants said. “Ten months is an adequate amount of time to get hard skills and leadership skills without having to necessarily completely rethink your career trajectory,” said Belinda Navi, 28 and an incoming M.B.A. at Insead. Ms. Navi plans to return to the videogame industry after the business school’s 10-month program, and hopes to vault from a business-development role into management. Last year, Philadelphia-based Fortuna received about 400 online inquiries from U.S. candidates, of whom 18% included European schools among their choices, Mr. Symonds said. The first half of this year has seen nearly 300 inquiries from U.S. students, he said, as well as a 50% jump in candidates indicating interest in European schools. “People see their careers evolving very quickly” and so are embracing one-year programs, said Dana Brown, M.B.A. director at Saïd. During the 2008-2009 admissions cycle, Saïd received 122 U.S. applications to its M.B.A. program, or 12.4% of total applications. For the class starting this fall, the program received 189 U.S. applications, constituting 15.7% of its pool. At the IESE Business School in Barcelona, the share of U.S. applicants in the pool has risen from 13% in 2012 to 16% this cycle, according to the school. The Cambridge Judge Business School in the U.K., and HEC Paris in France, also said they have received more U.S. applications in the past three to five years. HEC expects U.S. applications to keep rolling in; for the coming cycle, the school said it has received 15% more GMAT scores from Americans than in the previous three years. With multinational employers placing a premium on a candidate’s global experience, the international nature of a European school’s student population is a draw, too. International students account for 34% of Harvard Business School’s M.B.A. class and 44% of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business M.B.A. class, while IESE’s M.B.A. class is 80% international, and Saïd boasts 95% international M.B.A. students. “The top U.S. b-schools are quite international, but not to the same extent that Insead is,” said Ms. Navi, the incoming Insead student, who also applied to U.S. programs. Ninety nationalities are represented in the M.B.A. class, according to the school.