Why Study For an MBA in Madrid?

Why Study For an MBA in Madrid? main image

Sponsored by IE Business School


For the past few years, business education has been dominated by the English-speaking world. US and UK institutions have clung to the top spots, attracting the best and brightest. However, change is now afoot. Thanks to the so-called ‘Trump effect’, talented applicants from growth regions in Asia and Africa, as well as Europe, are being put off applying to US business schools by the inflammatory anti-immigration language of the current US President.

Indeed, figures from the MBA Career Services and Employer Alliance (MBACSEA) and the Graduate Management Admissions Council (GMAC) show a significant reduction in international admissions at US business schools thanks to long- and short-term immigration status fears. Clearly, applicants are being deterred by the lack of certainty over their post-graduation careers.

This has created a real opportunity for schools in Europe to rise up and compete directly with the US when it comes to MBA offerings. While this applies to the continent as a whole, nowhere is better poised to take advantage than Spain. In the QS Global MBA Rankings 2018, Spain was third behind only the US and the UK in terms of the number of schools in the top 25 in the world, and the country’s leading school – Madrid’s IE Business School – made the top 10.

So, just what is so attractive about Spain, and why should you study for an MBA in Madrid?

A thriving financial hub with global business connections

Spain is home to head offices and regional offices for a number of international businesses, with Brexit set to increase Madrid’s importance as a leading EU capital city. Spanish giants Santander, BBVA and Telefónica all have a significant presence in the city, putting Madrid MBA students at the heart of one of Europe’s most thriving financial and business centers.

What’s more, Spain is unique among European countries for its connections with the southern hemisphere, with a number of Spanish companies expanding into Latin America, and Latin American giants basing their European operations in Madrid and Barcelona.

A truly international language

Of course, one of the main reasons for this is language, which is a huge draw to Madrid for MBA students. Spanish is, by some distance, the world’s second most-spoken language, and is also one of the fastest growing. By contrast, English is spoken much less widely and proficiently in Spain as in such countries as Germany, the Netherlands and Denmark. That means those studying for an MBA in Madrid will, by necessity, pick up and improve their Spanish.

However, for business purposes this might not be sufficient, which is why IE Business School offers all first- and second-year students free classes through its industry-leading Language Centre. Students on most courses are expected to reach at least a B1 level in Spanish prior to graduation, ensuring that they enter the world of business management with a real advantage in today’s globalised world.

A lifestyle like few other cities

That said, the Madrid MBA experience is not just about career building. The best and most valuable MBA offerings go beyond technical advantages to offer a rounded cultural experience. This taste of the real world is invaluable and yet too often lacking in boardrooms worldwide.

Studying in Madrid puts you at the heart of one of the world’s most historically fascinating and culturally welcoming cities. Indeed, locals have a saying “if you’re in Madrid, you’re from Madrid”, which epitomises the friendliness and openness of the city. From tapas culture with a glass of the world’s leading wine, to the nearby ancient cities of Toledo and Segovia, Madrid has a wealth of experiences to offer the worldly, culturally astute MBA candidate.

IE Business School is aware of this draw, and offers MBA students a helping hand to take advantage of everything Madrid has to offer. This includes Landing in Madrid information sessions, a Partners’ Club for IE MBA students with families, and advice on everyday essentials such as mobile phone contracts and public transport options.


At the end of the day, each candidate’s choice of MBA destination depends on personal preferences and career goals. However, with an era of US dominance on the wane, it’s worth taking a close look at the leading European MBA options. London and Paris have long boasted attractive offerings, but come with high costs of living too. For an alternative option that offers something culturally unique, combined with a first-class business education equal to anywhere in the world, Madrid is worthy of serious consideration.

Written by Staff W.

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