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Top Business Schools For Location

Where do you want to live whilst studying your MBA?

By  Harriet Murdoch

Wed Oct 19 2011

The Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) has reported that nearly three-quarters of 2011 full-time two-year MBA applicants were from outside a business school’s local area, with 45 percent of the applicant pool coming from outside the country.

This means that most MBA applicants are moving location to do their MBA. And there’s more movement than ever before – a six percent increase in international applicants compared with 2010.

When choosing your business school, apart from the obvious factors such as the school’s reputation, the fees, the rankings and the course structure, the school’s location is paramount. It's not always about which business school but also where you're going to be living for a year or two.

BusinessBecause, a global b-school news, networking and jobs site, has met and interviewed hundreds of MBA applicants and students and we’ve come across many people who simply fall in love with the city they plan on doing their MBA in.

We have all heard of destination holidays and destination properties, but how about destination MBAs? Here’s a quick overview of the hippest and most scintillating locations to do your MBA.

We’ve met people who have chosen business schools because of their proximity to the beach; think UCLA Anderson School of Management for the Pacific surf, UCT in Cape Town for the ‘African Riviera’ and AGSM (Sydney) for it’s famous Coogee and Bondi beaches.

For the history buffs out there what better than to be able to walk round one of the oldest university cities in the world, Oxford, at Said Business School – teaching at Oxford is said to date back to the year 1096. Or sample the delights of a Roman spa town at the University of Bath School of Management. Ecole Supérieure de Commerce of Paris (ESCP Europe) was founded in 1819 and claims to be the oldest business school in the world. Harvard Business School in Cambridge Massachusetts (just across the Charles river from Boston) was the first business school to offer an MBA program in 1910.

If you live for art how about studying at HEC Paris where you can visit the Louvre as often as you like, or London Business School for contemporary galleries like the Tate Modern and White Cube. If modernism is what you’re after how about ESADE in Barcelona where the city oozes with Gaudi charm? If you’re a fashionista why not mingle with Italian designers at Milan’s SDA Bocconi or MIP Politecnico di Milano?

Some people crave the buzz of a city and where better than amongst the skyscrapers of New York at Columbia business school? Or if you would prefer to experience an Asian metropolis then head for CUHK in Hong Kong. If European business is more your vibe then you could try EBS in Frankfurt.

Will Toussaint, Business Development Manager at EBS Business School in Frankfurt, knows the importance of carefully choosing your MBA destination. Toussaint previously worked as an admissions counselor in London and Paris and in business schools in Germany and the US.

"International reputation is important but a school's location can be advantageous as well. Studying an MBA at the right school with a dynamic city on your doorstep means additional opportunity. Given Germany's strong economy, Frankfurt is an obvious destination. EBS is tied to the integral, internationally-linked players in Germany's economy. The Frankfurt Stock Exchange, European Central Bank, and Deutsche Bank, are all based in Frankfurt".

According to GMAC a staggering 83 percent of candidates to European full-time one-year MBA programs are foreigners, and the 2010 GMAC European trends survey revealed that Germany as an MBA destination has significantly increased in popularity for b-school applicants.

Whatever you’re looking for, whether it’s metropolitan buzz, cultural charm, historic grandeur or beaches and sunshine, there’ll be an MBA program for you. With well over 1,000 different institutions offering full-time MBAs there’s plenty of choice when you look at a map of the world and consider your MBA destination!

This article was originally written for International GradMag October 2011