ESADE study: Spain is among the top 5 countries that attract the most international talent to MBA programmes

Spain is #4 on the list of countries that attract the most international talent to MBA programmes, outranked only by the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada, making it the #1 European country, ahead of 5th-ranked France. Barcelona, meanwhile, is #8 on the list of cities that attract the most international MBA students and #1 in Europe per million inhabitants, ahead of Paris and London.

These are just a few highlights from the MBA City Monitor, a new report coordinated by Ivan Bofarull, Director of the Global Intelligence Office at ESADE. The report analyses the capacity of cities and countries to attract international students to MBA programmes ranked by the Financial Times and highlights opportunities that cities and countries ought to seize.

According to the MBA City Monitor, the list of the top 10 cities with the highest proportion of international MBA students also includes Singapore, San Francisco, Toronto, Chicago, New York and Boston.

The east coast of the United States and Canada remains the number-one destination for international talent in MBA programmes, although the San Francisco–Silicon Valley area has been the fastest growing region over the past three years. Finally, the report found that MBA graduates have increasingly come to see working at a start-up as a top career choice.

 

A strategic asset

“In Barcelona, we’ve seen that around 10% of MBA students from the city’s main business schools go on to become entrepreneurs, and 80% to 95% of them are international,” commented Ivan Bofarull, Director of the Global Intelligence Office at ESADE and coordinator of the study.

“In Europe and Barcelona, the general pool of next-generation start-ups isn’t large enough for us to evaluate the impact of high-quality international talent – especially MBA students,” commented Mr. Bofarull. “However, we suspect that the major trends are similar to those seen in the United States, where a large percentage of start-ups are founded by foreigners and, although most MBA graduates are not start-up founders, they do play an instrumental role in the success of the ecosystem as a whole.”

“The attraction of global MBA talent should be taken into account when assessing a city’s potential to create new entrepreneurial initiatives that can have an impact on the creation of high-quality jobs,” added Mr. Bofarull. “From an administrative point of view, we should try to make life easier for this new segment so that it can generate business opportunities.”

The report concludes that in countries like Spain and France – which have troubled labour markets and are struggling to be leaders in innovation – the MBA population should clearly be considered a strategic asset.

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