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Here's Why Brexit Could Cost MBA Jobs And Business School Applications

Applications, jobs prospects and research funding are now potentially at risk

Fri Jun 24 2016

The UK’s business schools have been left reeling from the nation’s exit from the EU, with applications, jobs prospects and research funding now potentially at risk.

Brexit threatens to harm the UK’s standing as a hub for elite universities, and Friday’s referendum result has placed the nation’s entire higher education sector into a period of uncertainty.

Andrew Likierman, dean of London Business School, says: “Speaking personally, I am concerned at the implications of the result for the UK.”

The UK is home to 14 of Europe’s top-ranked business schools by the FT.

UK schools rely on their global standing to attract talent. But there are growing fears that the UK’s anti-EU sentiment will affect universities’ ability to recruit applicants.

The proportion of British students in UK MBA programs has fallen from 58% in 2007-2008 to just 49% today, according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency.

Brexit could not only turn potential students sour on the UK’s schools, but could also make it more difficult for schools to recruit faculty. For instance, 60% of Oxford University’s Saïd Business School professors are from outside the UK. Saïd did not respond to a request for comment.

Ian Looker, education lead partner at PwC, says: “Not only is the research funding provided by the EU now at threat, but also the potential tighter controls over EU staff and students coming to the UK could well present UK universities as less attractive options to work and study.”

LBS’ Andrew says: “For higher education as a whole, and London Business School in particular, this should not give the signal that the UK has turned inwards. We are a global school and I believe that the UK will remain an outstandingly attractive place to study.”

Brexit could also dampen MBA job prospects. PwC estimates that up to 100,000 jobs could be lost in the City as a result of the UK leaving the EU. A “relatively high proportion of Imperial College MBAs end up working in the City”, the London-based business school told BusinessBecause last year. The City employs 360,000 and there are 1.1 million working in financial services across the UK.

Simon Hunt, UK head of banking and capital markets at PwC, says: “Overseas banks currently using the UK as a base for accessing the EU market and employing an estimated 115,000 staff are likely to be looking closely at their operations in the UK in the context of the leave vote.”

Moody’s, the rating agency, has also warned on the consulting and wider professional services industry.

Tudor Aw, head of technology sector at KPMG UK, says the result is disappointing for the tech industry. But he adds: “My view is that the core attributes that make the UK tech sector so strong and attractive remain in place, including an amazing talent base.”

Marieke Flament, an LBS MBA and managing director for Europe at fintech start-up Circle, says: “It will be catastrophic for the UK economy. Fintech has been so successful for London because companies have been attracted by access to talent.”

Jurga McCluskey, head of immigration at Deloitte UK, warned that those seeking to enter the UK in future may find themselves having to qualify under new immigration rules. The UK government has already been criticized by business schools for clamping down on visas for overseas students.  

“The UK’s decision to leave the EU will inevitably cause a period of great uncertainty around immigration policy for businesses and individuals,” she says.

Brexit could also affect UK business schools’ partnerships with other European schools. The London School of Economics, for example, runs a joint Executive MBA program with HEC Paris of France.

For British universities, it is not currently known what impact Brexit will have on UK policy on higher education tuition fees, loans and bursaries.

“We recognize that there is a great deal of uncertainty around the decision to leave the European Union,” said Leszek Borysiewicz, vice-chancellor of the University of Cambridge, home to the Judge Business School.

Student Reviews

HEC Paris




On Campus

Cultural experience

I have met the most competent and diverse batch in this school. These people not only thrive on their own but also makes sure that you are doing it with them. The professors will take your had and walk you through all milestones and make sure you are not left behind. I have found their extracurriculars extremely engaging. There was always a room to have social life after academic life. The only hindrance is the location of the school, it is slightly outside city and living in city is expensive.




On Campus

Internationality and diversity of opportunities

About my programme I would say it is very international and flexible: we have the opportunity to choose exactly the courses we want. But at the same time, the frame of the campus is crucial in students' life and enable us to create friendships.




On Campus

Great selection of people

While HEC's MBA is highly selective, I really enjoy the type of people HEC's selects to make sure everybody gets the best out of their MBA experience and networking opportunities. Not only it's an incredibly diverse pool of people (~60 nationalities) but most importantly they make sure to let in friendly empathic and curious people.





Best in France for Grande ecole

A prestigious business school. Languages ​​are important. It is better to have a scientific baccalaureate with excellent grades in high school and good assessments. The courses are well designed as per the latest trends and practicality of learning in stressed upon. Overall, a very good experience.




On Campus

Diversity and quality of fellow students

Very international and interesting place to be and opens a lot of opportunities, however the administration is very french and facilities are subpar (gym, classrooms) meaning the academic affairs is pretty much useless and lastly we are graded on a curve which can create a toxic environment because of the competition. With that being said the pros outweighs the cons by far.




On Campus

The quality of the teachers, the campus, the clubs

The school is very international indeed, we have courses with international students and share things with them within the extra academic life (in the social clubs especially). We have great career prospects if we prepare ourselves well - however, the global curriculum is still very finance-oriented, which is a pity for other interesting domains of the company world, which does not rely on finance only. The social clubs are good practice for the management and for now, are quite independent.




On Campus

HEC Paris awaits you

HEC Paris is really a nice place to do a master's in business. Many classes are useful and interesting (corporate finance, financial accounting, contract law…), some are less - but the curriculum is to be reviewed in the year to come. Regarding the student life, it is incredible, with about 130 clubs, lots of great parties with even greater people. The Jouy campus offers a lot of opportunities to do sports, and you can breathe fresh air every day. HEC also helps a great deal to find an internship or a job.





A dream institute

Enrolling in the HEC MBA was by far the best decision I made for myself. The people and faculty are great, with lots of opportunities to meet people and expand your horizons. Very nice campus where I have had some good running sessions. The alumni network is superb and very helpful. It also has a good support system for entrepreneurs. Would definitely recommend it!




On Campus

Good choice for a career boost

The classes were extremely practical and relevant to the current challenges that businesses are facing. You have access to a wide range of professionals and good career prospects once you leave the university.