IE Business School v ESCP Europe Business School: EMBA Comparison |

IE Business School v ESCP Europe Business School: EMBA Comparison

By Niamh O

Updated June 23, 2021 Updated June 23, 2021

How can you decide between two high-ranked European business schools for your EMBA programme? We have all the information you need right here.

Are you looking to up your professional game and ensure you have the competitive edge when it comes to landing your dream role? Well, in that case, you may well be considering an executive MBA programme.

Unlike the full-time MBA, EMBAs allow students to keep on working while getting their qualification, and, helpfully, many executive programmes are generally fast-tracked.

EMBA degrees can position you for a promotion, especially for careers in finance, marketing and accounting. And although a well-regarded and rigorous EMBA programme will sharpen your skills and look good on your resume, it’s not a guarantee that new doors will open for you.  That’s a critically important factor to consider, because an EMBA isn’t cheap and employers reimburse for less than they once did.

IE Business School and ESCP Business School are two such business schools offering stellar executive MBA programmes – with IE Business School offering its Global executive MBA (joint 12th in our Global Executive MBA Ranking 2021) and ESCP Business School provides its executive MBA program (ranked 28th (up from 38th last year)). But how do the programmes compare? Let’s take a look.

Situated in the financial district within the Spanish capital Madrid, IE Business School offers students the dynamic business terrain of one of the world’s business hubs, as well as a diverse environment within the business school.

Ignacio Gafo, associate dean of part-time programmes, blended and Executive MBA programs says, “Something exceptionally good at IE is diversity. Each year we have fewer Spaniards, probably 20 percent maximum, which is very unusual for a Spanish school.”

In comparison, ESCP Business School has a campus in Madrid, however, students also have their pick of locations across Europe, including: Berlin, London, Paris, Turin, and Warsaw – offering a totally global education facility.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                            Top EMBA programmes: IE Business School v ESCP Business School


IE Business School

ESCP Business School

Length and format of program

The Global Executive MBA is a 15-month programme

Divided into three periods

First period kicks off with two residential weeks in Madrid and ends with a one-week residential period in Singapore at SMU University

Second period starts online and contains one residential week in Los Angeles at UCLA

Third period starts off London, where subjects include deploy & management, and ends back at IE in Madrid

 ESCP's executive MBA:

18, 22, or 30 months (part-time)

January or September intakes

Taught in English

Nine core courses; 10 electives; five international seminars (Paris, Brussels, Austin, Madrid (and one Regional Leadership Seminar to choose from: Shanghai, Sao Paulo, New Delhi or Singapore)); one International Consulting Project

Six study tracks

Fees and funding

The tuition for the Global Executive MBA is €81,200 (US$98,980) (reviewed yearly and subject to change)

The Financial Aid office looks for solutions to help cover programme costs

Scholarships range from five percent to 35 percent of tuition and are awarded according to three criteria: merit, diversity, and financial need.

IE has a special fund with an endowment of €6 million for scholarships aimed at supporting women’s education

The ESCP Europe Executive MBA tuition fees are €69,900 (US$85,206)

Tuition fees include 520 teaching hours, all course materials and online resources, and accommodation expenses for off-campus seminars

Travel and living expenses aren’t included.

ESCP Europe offers the following scholarships:

  • Women in Leadership 
  • Entrepreneurs 
  • Individuals based in Emerging Markets 
  • Those working for NGO/Non-profit 
  • Those working in small or medium sized enterprises (SME: less than 250 employees) 

These scholarships reduce tuition fees by between five and 20 percent (maximum)


Participants need:

  • Minimum 10 years’ work experience
  • More than five years’ managerial experience
  • International experience

IE’s admissions process is divided into four steps:

  • Online application form
  • Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university
  • Official university transcripts (certified translation into English or Spanish)
  • One-page CV/Resume
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • Work verification letter
  • Passport size picture
  • Application fee: €125 (US$137)

Online assessment

  • Once the online application is submitted, you will receive a link to answer three live questions (two video, one written)
  • Personal interview
  • Admissions Committee final decision

Admission requirements:

  • A previous university degree in any discipline
  • Minimum of five years’ managerial experience (recommendation letters)
  • Fluency in English: courses taught in English and coursework must be submitted in English
  • For non-native English speakers, test scores in TOEFL/IELTS etc. are required

Applications are made online. To apply you must submit:

  • Degree certificates or grade transcripts covering all years of university study
  • Up-to-date CV
  • Two reference letters
  • English Language certificate (non-native English speakers)
  • Copy of passport or ID
  • Application fee of €300 (US$366)

Class profile

Global executive MBA class profile is made up of:

  • Average age of 40
  • An average of 15 years’ work experience
  • 32 percent female students
  • 22 nationalities
  • 63 percent speak more than three languages
  • 30 percent entrepreneurial experience

ESCP’s 2020 class profile is made up of:

  • 114 participants
  • 35 nationalities
  • An average age of 38
  • 13 years’ work experience on average

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Inside the MBA classroom

Both programmes offer international travel, as well as blended learning approaches to ensure EMBA student can excel their career into C-Suite level.

Interactive online learning enables students to enjoy a flexible approach to balance demanding work schedules.

IE Business School’s intense residential weeks push students to network and study at partner institution in four global cities: Los Angeles, Singapore, and Sao Paolo.

Access to the IE Virtual Campus is available 24/7.

Online sessions take place through active asynchronous forums available 24 hours a day Monday-Thursday. Students enjoy flexible participation accessing debates, but participation in each forum is limited to five posts per week to ensure fluidity.

Residential weeks include company visits, workshops and cultural activities, and the final residential week in Madrid allows students to present their final capstone project, complete final exams and participate in the graduation ceremony.

ESCP offers an International Consulting Project to students. Participants work on the collaborative, multi-disciplinary project as part of an intercultural team over 12 to 14 months. Your team will complete an in-depth analysis of an issue faced by a company and make recommendations for action.

Over the course of the Executive MBA at ESCP, learn how to explore the burning issues in global business at five week-long seminars in Brazil, China or India.

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Beyond the MBA classroom

Executive MBA programmes offer a wide array of events and activities to ensure students develop their ties with peers, academics, and professionals, as well as to bring enjoyment to your time of study.

Some special extras associated with the programme include the personal advisory programme, a group facilitation expert, and company visits.

IE Business School has 140 clubs, 500 events, and offers access to state-of-the-art tech. Some campus activities include: Inside Out Project; Winter Ball; MBAT Challenge; Global Village; Global Alumni Weekend.

IE’s WOW Room was created and developed by the business school – revolutionising the virtual classroom environment.

Some major events at ESCP (of which several are (co-)organised by students) include: The ESCP Europe Entrepreneurship Festival; The London Campus Annual Gala; The ESCP Europe ski event; The Berlin European Summer Night; Conference for Sustainable Innovation – Designing Tomorrow; The ESCP Europe Regatta.

How this ESCP Europe Alumnus Helps Others Achieve their MBA Goals

Inside the Evolution of IE Business School's Top MBA Programs


This article was originally published in June 2021 .

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.  


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