Brexit? In or Out? On Thursday June 23rd, the people of the United Kingdom will vote on whether to remain or to leave the European Union (EU).
The upcoming referendum has been the subject of fierce debate, dividing the government and putting the very future of the UK economy at the top of the political agenda.
The polls predict a close-run thing. Yet among the UK’s business school students the Remain camp is strong. In a University of Birmingham Twitter poll, 73% of almost 1,000 students voted to stay in the EU.
BusinessBecause spoke to some UK-based MBA students and alumni, to find out why.
British MBAs emphasized the importance of the single market, and thought that the UK already had a pretty good deal with the EU.
Jonathan Dyson, an MBA student at London Business School with a background in oil and gas
Diversity plays a huge part in delivering our core learning at LBS. And I would hate to see that jeopardized by an EU exit.
Plus, the UK actually has a good deal with the EU. We don’t participate in the Schengen agreement or the Euro and we are exempt from lots of EU laws that we don’t like. A leave vote would bring a lot of uncertainty. It would take five to ten years to sort out the subsequent trade agreements, during which I think business would be harmed.
The EU is complicated and undemocratic. But the vote is not a vote to change that. The way to go about changing the grief we have with the EU, is to remain in it and to have a say in it.
Dave Furlong, an MBA graduate from the University of Liverpool’s School of Management and head of a Manchester-based debt fund
The single market has been the engine of the UK’s growth for many years. And in my sector, overseas investors are delaying investment into the UK for the fear that we will vote to leave.
Nobody can deny that the EU needs to become more democratic and is in need of reform, but there’s no need to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Positive change can be achieved while we remain a constructive and dedicated member of the EU.
Macaulay Iyayi, an MBA student at Aston Business School specializing in strategic management
A united Europe is better for the British economy. It enables lower barriers to entry of British goods from across the EU as well as the sharing of ideas to create new high-tech industries.
An out vote may have a negative impact on MBA students from EU member states, with problems with financing and restrictions on travel making it challenging to study in the UK.
Adam Culley, an MBA student at Cass Business School going into consulting
I believe that the UK is stronger inside of the union, however my ultimate outcome would be one where we can renegotiate further with the EU in terms of economic governance autonomy and migrant population acceptance levels.
Lucy Hancock, an MBA student at London Business School with a strong background in finance
People voting to leave say that we pay £8 billion to the EU per year. But they never look at the other side of the equation. If we have better knowledge, better skills and cheaper labour coming to this country; that improves productivity and increases our GDP.
Plus, the UK needs to be at the forefront of entrepreneurship. We’re going to be missing out on a wealth of talent outside the EU.
We’re lucky in Europe; we have such a rich history and a multicultural patchwork of cultures and ethnicities, which America doesn’t have. And we should embrace it.
Some UK-based international MBAs were envious of the UK’s relationship with the EU and suspicious of its motives. Others, feared for the future of the EU without the UK.
I don't see any advantage for the UK to get out of the EU. The UK is currently in a perfect position, enjoying its own currency and the benefits of being an EU member.
In fact, I think the current debate is just a political tool, to negotiate even more flexibility and complementary advantages from the EU governance.
Stephanie Lindan, an American MBA student on the University of Exeter Business School’s One Planet MBA
I am envious of what opportunities exist for Britain as a member of the EU. The ability to travel and work across EU borders as a UK citizen is a priceless competitive advantage over Americans applying for jobs.
Europe is home to some of the finest goods in the world, and the economic value that comes from the cooperative trading as a member of the EU is worth saving.
Igor Perzel, a Slovakian MBA graduate from Cambridge Judge Business School
A disorderly exit of the UK from the European Union will put the very foundations of its open economy at risk. Not only for the movement of goods, services and labour across borders, but also for the unconstrained exchange of ideas; a vital asset for business education.
Aditya Tripathi, an Indian MBA student at University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School
Many governments and companies view the UK as a gateway or entry point into Europe. If the UK leaves the EU, this advantage, as well as the sizable investment these governments and companies bring to the UK, will be lost.