Category Archives: Europe

Interview: Lee Milligan from Copenhagen Business School

Lee Milligan

Lee Milligan

As admissions season gears up for 2012, we get back to our ongoing series of interviews with MBA admissions directors. This time, we speak to Lee Milligan, admissions director of the full-time MBA program at Copenhagen Business School.

Copenhagen Business School has 48 full-time MBA students from 24 different countries. How does maintaining this diversity affect MBA admissions decisions? Do you cap admissions from certain countries?

We don’t have any specific caps, but we try to make the program as international as possible, while also trying to maintain the quality of the students. I guess it is a bit of a balancing act. There’s no specific group to whom we would say there’s only a specific number of students.

Do you ever see major spikes in terms of the number of applicants from specific countries?

It really varies from year to year. The more I’m in this job, the more I think it has a great deal to do with economic conditions in the world.

If you look at Germany, for example, two years ago, when the economy was going down, if you went to an MBA fair, for example in Frankfurt, it was absolutely packed. Last year, when suddenly jobs were more readily available, the fairs were extremely quiet. I think it has to do with economic conditions in specific parts of the world and that there is a link with the number of applications from specific regions.

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Video Impressions of ESADE

So, I was in Barcelona over the holiday break, and thought I would stop by ESADE Business School. It’s up on a hill overlooking the city, in the “university district” of Pedralbes.

I’ve posted a bit raw video here. It was winter and holiday time, so I’m not sure the video does proper justice to the normal campus or student life at ESADE (though the space-age entrance is pretty cool!). Nor does the video show Barcelona in all of its famous sunny splendor. But the city truly is a gem – culturally, architecturally, and many other ways. My impression is that it would be an amazing place to be for a year (or more).

Video Impressions of ESADE from FIND MBA on Vimeo.

I was also going to try to visit IESE, which is nearby, but I got lost, and had to hurry off to the airport. I’ll be back.

Video Impressions of IMD / Lausanne

I was in Lausanne for the first time last week, and took the opportunity to drop by the famous IMD business school. The campus is located on a small hillside along Lake Geneva. It was a beautiful day, and my impression of the town and campus was very positive. Lovely setting. Lots of trees.

Campus was pretty empty, as it was rather late on Friday afternoon when I made it down there. There were some leadership and CSR conferences going on. Of course, I assume the MBAs were still hard at work somewhere.

Friendly people on and off campus, despite my lousy French. Toward the end of my two-hour train ride from Zurich Airport (Geneva is a lot closer!), I got a spectacular view of the lake, Alps, and vineyards as we descended into Lausanne.

Here are a few Flip video impressions from my stop. Sorry for being a little shaky.

Impressions of IMD & Lausanne from FIND MBA on Vimeo.

Master in Management (MiM) or MBA: What’s Better For You?

Thomas Graf

Read the FIND MBA article: Master in Management Programs vs. MBAs

We spoke to Thomas Graf, director of the recently launched website Master in Management Compass, about the pros and cons of doing an Master in Management (MiM) program versus an MBA.

How is the MiM different from the MBA?

In my opinion, there are three key differences: age of students, their professional experience, and program tuition fees.

MiM programs are designed for people in the early stages of their career – right after their undergraduate degree or after about a year on the job. As a result, MiM students are typically younger than MBA students: 23 years on average (with a range from 20 to about 27) compared to the 27-32 average age for MBA programs.

Accordingly, the MiM students have no or only a little bit of professional experience. Most business schools, actually, do not require professional experience at all for their MiM programs. In contrast, MBA program are designed for people with about three to five years of being in the job. A diversity of different professional backgrounds is one of the key benefits that you may get from an MBA program because you may profit not only from books or professors, but also from your fellow students.

As for the tuition fees, the MiM programs are cheaper than MBA programs. Whereas tuitions at the most expensive full-time MBA programs can reach as high as €60,000, the most expensive MiM programs cost only about half of that.

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Interview: Markus Rudolf of WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management

Markus Rudolf

The financial crisis has taken center stage in business school classrooms around the world. Rightfully so, says the finance chair at one of Germany’s leading business schools.

How is the financial crisis affecting the way you teach finance?

One positive thing about the things that are going on right now is that we can learn a lot from them. You can empirically analyze how markets react in extreme scenarios. This is something you find in our lectures. Our lectures are focused on recent developments anyway, but this year we are teaching a lot about the financial crisis.

Of course, we also have conferences where we invite academics, as well as professionals. One example was the Campus for Finance New Year Conference recently where we had a lot of CFOs and CEOs here, one Nobel laureate, and a lot of professors. We were talking for three entire days about the financial crisis – what the reasons for it are and what can be improved in the future in order to avoid these developments that we have right now.

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Interview: Paola Cillo of SDA Bocconi

Paola Cillo

From her vantage point in Milan, Paola Cillo at SDA Bocconi sees marketing as increasingly tied to innovation.

What do you think makes a strong marketing program?

Strong and leading-edge research is a necessary condition to make a program strong. Yet, it is also very relevant to integrate good and rigorous research with strong managerial practice. This is the reason why in our program, we work closely with companies and integrate case studies into our courses. I think the bridge between the scientific approach and more managerial action is critical to have a good MBA program, not just for marketing, but for other fields, as well.

I think in some MBA programs this might be missing, because many people that teach either come from companies or are completely focused on academic research. I think it is very important to have a faculty that is very active in research, but I wouldn’t say that a very strong faculty automatically means that your MBA is strong. They have to be able to share their knowledge with students. We have tried to reach a good balance between these two aspects.

How is marketing changing these days?

Marketing is changing in the sense that the word marketing is more and more associated with the word innovation. What we are trying to do in our courses is to explore how to take an innovative approach to marketing – a new way of communicating with consumers and collaborating with consumers.

And the other side is the technology, which is not just an enabler of this interaction, but also shapes the way that some marketing processes are applied. That means, generally speaking, all of the CRM (customer relations management). This is the way we are trying to grapple with this evolution of marketing. Our electives in marketing are very much focused on innovation, and we have courses focusing on how technologies can enhance marketing performance of companies, and how they – especially the Internet – can shape how companies interact with their customers.

Though, I have to say that the basic approach to marketing – how companies actually consider marketing – hasn’t changed that much. What is changing is actually the opportunities that they have to put this general approach into practice.  What we try to use different cases and examples to show what it means to do marketing in today’s context.

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Interview: Max Oliva of IE Business School

To conclude our series of interviews about CSR and sustainability MBA programs and the job market, we publish excerpts from our chat with Max Oliva, associate director of the Social Impact Management project at IE Business School in Madrid.

What is the mood of the CSR community in light of the financial crisis?

We will obviously be affected by the crisis, but it will also be a good opportunity to see which companies were “walking the talk” and doing CSR strategically. They are the companies expecting benefits in innovation and bottom-line business.

But some companies were doing it on the PR or marketing basis without having it integrated, and it makes sense for them to cut back on those types of programs. You will see cutbacks in the companies that have not integrated it. That’s good for the consumers, and an opportunity for maturity in the sector and for going ahead strategically and innovation-wise.

As someone who works at a European business school, do you notice any differences in how Europeans and Americans approach CSR?

There are some differences. For example, in Europe we have much stronger government support for social issues. In the United States, philanthropy relates much more to individuals and companies. Having said that, that is only a very small part of CSR. The strategic part of CSR has been driven a lot here in the United States, but has been certainly driven as well by several European companies.

I tend to think it depends on the company. Multinationals have companies in the US and Europe. There are some companies that are quite ahead in this conversation: several American companies, but also several European companies that are approaching it much more strategically. I think the UK is a couple years ahead of the rest of Europe. I would even say that they are ahead of the US.

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Interview: Daisuke Motoki of FIBAA

Daisuke Motoki (Photo: FIBAA)

Daisuke Motoki (Photo: FIBAA)

So, if you can’t find many German MBA programs in the international rankings yet, where can you go to find out which programs are good?

Try the Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA), which has been accrediting business programs in German-speaking countries since 2002. We spoke to Daisuke Motoki, head of accreditation procedures at FIBAA, about German MBA programs and how prospective students can use the FIBAA website to inform themselves.

Will some German MBA programs become “household names” internationally, like IMD or INSEAD?

I think so. Some of the schools, like Mannheim, GISMA, and WHU-Kellogg are already strong, internationally-oriented programs. First of all, they are taught completely in English, which is basically a prerequisite to be able to attract international students, as well as an international faculty. International orientation is of course not only of interest to foreigners; many Germans are also very interested and attracted to programs with this strong international focus.

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Interview: Francis Bidault of ESMT

Well, you can’t knock ’em for lack of ambition. Founded by 25 German corporations in 2002, the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT) wants to be the “INSEAD in Germany,” and they want to get there fast. We asked ESMT MBA Director Francis Bidault about the school’s plans and the German MBA market.

Francis Bidault (Photo: ESMT)

Francis Bidault (Photo: ESMT)

How would you assess the German MBA market right now?

There are lots of programs that are called MBA. The vast majority are either in German or bilingual. But only a handful are in English, and can really claim to be international. I could mention 10 or 15 names, and when we look at those programs that market themselves internationally – we are talking about 10 or 12, not more.

There are some quite good ones, but they are not yet in the rankings. I’d mention Mannheim, Koblenz (WHU), once in a while you see GISMA or Leipzig, and of course, ESMT. Those are the main names, but of course there are many more.

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Interview: Christian Homburg of Mannheim Business School

Mannheim Business School was recently accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA), making it the only German business school to get the “Triple Crown” of accreditations from AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB. The school’s president explains why Germany is a good choice for MBA students from abroad.

When will we start seeing MBA programs in Germany become bigger players on the global market and in the rankings?

Christian Homburg, (Photo: Mannheim Business School)

Christian Homburg, (Photo: Mannheim Business School)

It’s only a matter of time. Although Germany may not become an MBA country to the extent that the US and the UK are in the conceivable future, a handful of business schools have the potential to earn a very good position in the international rankings. Up to now, German MBA programs were simply too young to be taken into consideration in the most important rankings. But this should change soon.

What are the main things that have had to (or will have to) change in German institutions to compete with other European business schools?

The quality of research and teaching and the infrastructure are certainly not reasons why the good German business schools haven’t been noticed enough on an international scale up to now. In my opinion, it is a basic requirement that German business schools should appear more confidently on the market. However, MBA programs demand another organizational framework, another teaching and thinking style than is common at many German universities, as well as a consistent market and service orientation of the overall organization. This is still often in short supply in Germany.

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