Advice for European MBA Applicants

Advice for European MBA Applicants

The primary focus of the top business schools in the United States is creating a robust and dynamic classroom experience. Diversity is necessary to achieve this goal; therefore, international candidates make up a significant percentage of each cohort.

To put this in perspective, international students make up 31% of the MBA Class of 2025 at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. That figure is even higher—39%—at Harvard Business School. Meanwhile, over at Columbia Business School, international students represent a whopping 47% of the Class of 2025. Today, we’re sharing advice for European MBA applicants eying business schools in the United States.

Curious about your chances of getting into a top B-school? Contact us to talk strategy with a free 15-minute advising session with an SBC Principal Consultant.

Why target schools in the US?

Whether you value the academic experience, immersive opportunities, available resources, or brand power, top U.S. schools have it all. One exciting prospect about earning an MBA at a well-ranked school in the States is the variety of settings available.

Naturally, you can find several options in big cities such as New York, Boston, Los Angeles, or San Francisco. However, you can also study in smaller towns that offer a quintessential American college experience. Think Duke Fuqua in Durham, North Carolina, or its nearby rival, UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School.  Another top-ranked option is Dartmouth’s Tuck School in Hanover, New Hampshire.

Many prospective applicants want to use the MBA degree to change course in their career. The two-year MBA common in the U.S. is an ideal format to achieve that goal. You’ll have the chance to do a summer internship to try out a new industry or job function. Then, your second year will provide the time you need to crystalize your career path.

Plus, you’ll also have more time to get involved with clubs and other activities to broaden your interests and experiences.  Having more time to spend with your classmates deepens the relationships and connections that will form your lifelong professional network.

Finally, the boom in STEM-designated MBA programs in the U.S. is making it even easier for European and other international students to extend their work experience after graduation by up to 36 months.

Targeted advice for European MBA Applicants:

  • Back home, a stellar academic pedigree may be enough to clinch your admissions chances. Top MBA programs in the U.S. want to see more than strong stats. Remember, you are not just your resume. You are the white spaces in between.
  • Show that you have done your homework on the program. Don’t overlook school culture when creating an MBA shortlist.
  • Get ready to rewrite your resume. The typical European-style CV needs serious modification to become a winning MBA resume.
  • Boost your volunteering efforts if needed. While admissions requirements in other countries place less importance on volunteering experience, U.S. business schools care a lot about your community involvement and extracurriculars.
  • Learn how to strengthen your MBA candidacy through your LinkedIn profile. It can bolster your candidacy while providing a fuller, multi-dimensional view of yourself to the admissions committee as well as future recruiters.

Connect with current European students

Our advice for European MBA applicants is to contact current students or alumni from your home country or region at your target schools now and ask for their honest feedback about the school, resources, and environment.

Business schools often have official programs that connect applicants via email or Skype with current and former students of similar backgrounds and profiles. These individuals can offer the inside scoop on student life and what makes their school unique. Participating in online information sessions and virtual webinars allows all applicants to get a better sense of the school’s culture.

Both options provide a great introduction to a program and can help you narrow down which schools to focus on for your MBA. Don’t worry if there’s no such formal program in place. Most admissions officers will happily put candidates in touch with an alum or current student if asked.

In the end, our advice for European MBA applicants reflects what we tell all of our clients. Get to know the programs that interest you. Share your enthusiasm for the school throughout your application.  Above all, find ways to differentiate yourself from seemingly similar applicants.


SBC’s team of stellar consultants can help you favorably position your candidacy at elite business schools as a European MBA applicant. Get in touch today for a complimentary analysis, and let us help you reach your U.S. MBA degree dreams.

Here’s a snapshot of the caliber of expertise on our SBC team.

SBC’s star-studded consultant team is unparalleled. Our clients benefit from current intelligence that we receive from the former MBA Admissions Officers from Harvard HBS, Wharton and every elite business program in the US and Europe.  These MBA Admissions Officers have chosen to work exclusively with SBC.

Just two of the many superstars on the SBC team:
Meet Anthony, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania, where he dedicated over 10 years of expertise.

Meet Andrea, who served as the Associate Director of MBA Admissions Marketing at Harvard Business School (HBS) for over five years.

Tap into this inside knowledge for your MBA applications by requesting a consultation.

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