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4 Learning Methodologies in European MBA

Most European Full-time MBA programs are 10-15 months in duration. You have to have a clear understanding on what to expect before joining the MBA program. On an average you would be investing Euro 30000 per year for a European MBA program, excluding the living cost. It is essential that you research thoroughly about the curriculum.

The Full-time MBA curriculum are structured around four learning methodologies:


1) Simultaneous Learning: Curriculum designed for simultaneous learning has an early emphasis on internships and practical learning.  One good example is the Hilary Term in Oxford Said MBA program.

The Hilary Term in Oxford Said MBA program has an interesting structure.  After 18 Weeks of theory, the 19th Week introduces students to the Entrepreneurship project, followed by project assessment.

During the Entrepreneurship project, students have to develop a complete business plan in one week and present it during assessment to a panel of venture capitalists. All the dependent activities like Patents, Cash Flow projections and strategy should be ready before the assessment.

2) Theory Focussed Learning: These MBA program focus on providing an in-depth knowledge about various management topics. Students can customize the learning experience with electives.  Students will get very little time to practice what they have learned, mainly due to the short duration of the MBA program.

Insead’s 10-Month MBA program is a good example. The MBA program has 14 required core courses and 11 electives. The program is structured to cover most of the essential management topics, which provides the foundation for a management career.

Short program like the 10-Month Insead MBA programs are intense. The 10 Month program covers nearly 80% of the topics in Insead’s 2-Year MBA program. Students are expected to commit 100% to this program to have an enriching MBA experience.

3) Summer Learning: The most common type of European MBA programs will focus on the academics for 2/3 of the program and then will allocate 3-5 months on Internship, Consulting and Start-Up Project.

For Example, IE’s 13 Month International MBA program is divided into four periods – Core Period 1, Core Period 2, Core Period 3 and Elective Period. The Core Period 1 covers the fundamentals, Core Period 2 the Core Management subjects, Core Period 3 covers the practical aspects of the MBA program and the final Elective Period provides students with the opportunity to practice what they have learned.

During the elective period students can join Internship program (7-10 Week Commitment), Wharton Global Consulting Practicum or the Venture Lab.

4) Experiential Learning:  Experiential MBA programs as the name suggest has a focus on learning by doing. SKOLKOVO MBA is one such example, where four Months is dedicated for theory and 8 Months on actual projects.

The 4 month core courses include Leadership, Competitive Strategy, Macroeconomics, Financial Accounting, Managerial Economics, Marketing, Managerial Accounting, Corporate Finance, Operations Management, HR/ Managing People, Risk Management and Negotiations.  

The 8 Month Projects are divided into 5 Modules

Module [1] - Corporate project in China
Module [2] - Corporate / Public sector project in Russia
Module [3] - Corporate project in USA
Module [4] - Start-up project based in Russia
Module [5] - Elective\ (optional) - Corporate project in India

Which Curriculum is for me?

We have heard numerous cases of MBA students not able to cope up with studies and relationship. The stories of break ups and divorce in intense 1 year MBA programs are a legend now.

Evaluate your priorities before committing to an intense MBA program. Understanding the difference in MBA curriculum would allow you to make an informed decision. If you value practical experience over theory then Simultaneous and Experiential learning are for you. If you are joining an MBA program to develop a strong foundation in various management topics, Theory Focussed and Summer Learning are for you.

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