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Best European Private Business Schools [2023]

by College Life
Updated on July 6, 2023

Are you planning to pursue a career in business? Have you already decided that the most suitable European business education for you is at a private university? 

Or, perhaps, you want to learn more about private schools in Europe to decide. For example, why should you select a private business school over a public one? Which industries can you succeed in with degrees from private business schools? 

This guide is here to answer your burning questions about European private business schools and to offer guidance with picking the best one. 

Fundamentals of European Private Business Schools

If you want to get a degree in business, it is recommended that you consider all your university options: public universities or private business schools. This guide is here to provide you with information on the latter. 

Often, the reputation of private schools is tainted by misconceptions that favour public institutions. These myths usually undermine the quality of many of these schools. For example, many point out the expensive nature of programmes at these private schools. At the same time, they do not consider that the cost of a degree usually covers other facilities and services, as well. 

The private vs public business school debate is one that should be settled by you and your personal needs. As you will also see in the next chapter, private business schools have a lot to offer just as public universities do. However, make sure that you do thorough research on each school that you shortlist. Evaluate your priorities and make the choice that fits you best. 

Why a Private Business School?

There are plenty of benefits to choosing a private business school. Read and find out why a private business school can be the most ideal option for internationals.

A recent survey by STEMMARK in Czechia reports shows opinions of students on the private versus public university education dilemma. With this survey, the students have expressed their preference for the advantages that private schools offer rather than the ones that public universities do. The five main advantages that apply specifically to private business schools are the following:

Small classrooms

The significantly smaller number of students in a single class is a major advantage for many. They get to develop a friendlier relationship with their instructor and with a smaller student-to-teacher ratio, a higher number of questions, concerns, and ideas are openly discussed. The benefits of small class sizes vary from students being noticed to the classroom growing into a community.  

High quality

Students claim that the high quality of private business schools in Europe stems from the expertise of the instructors. Moreover, it is arguably the school’s expertise itself that also boosts the quality of the programmes. A business school invests in knowledge for its students. While public universities do the same, most of them are general universities with a wider range of programmes from different fields to invest in. This does not mean that they do not invest as much but that they have students from plenty of fields to cater to and accommodate their needs. Whereas a business school invests in and prioritizes the field of Business, a public university must invest in other fields like Social Sciences, STEM, and more.  

Practical approaches 

The higher quality of private business schools is also a result of their hands-on approach to teaching. They engage students with more practical ways of learning that allow them to not only know a specific set of skills but to put them to use. Next to lecturing, students obtain experiential learning through:

  • Seminars and workshops to enhance their public speaking skills;
  • Problem-solving of real-world examples to trigger thinking skills 


Many European public universities may offer degrees in English, but the administration and services are often run in the country’s native language. This includes clubs, sports teams, and other organisations. By contrast, many European private schools are more accessible to international students because their programmes, facilities, and services are all in English. As a result, the student body of private schools has more diversity. Moreover, private business schools in Europe such as EU Business School are active in multiple countries and build connections with other universities across the world.    

Career options

Students have reported that another advantage is the amount of better career options after graduation. Despite the relatively lower recognition of private schools, the chances of employability remain much higher due to the connections of the private school. 

College Life's Top 10 Picks

Europe is home to a wide variety of private business schools, many of which rank highly in World University Rankings. College Life is here to offer you our top 10 picks based on what we consider best for you.  

EU Business School

Established in 1973, EU Business School is an international, highly-ranked business school. Available English-taught programmes for foundation, bachelor’s, master’s include but are not limited to: 

  • Business Administration
  • Communication & Public Relations
  • International Business
  • Digital Business
  • Sports Management
  • Marketing
  • Finance & Enterprise

With its global network, EU Business School encourages students to participate in exchange programmes with partner universities from all around the world. These partnerships offer students the opportunity to study in unique environments.

EU has 4 campuses in Europe:

  • Barcelona, Spain
  • Geneva, Switzerland
  • Montreux, Switzerland
  • Munich, Germany

EU also offers enrolment to any of their programmes online!

Did you know? 93% of students get an offer for entry-level jobs within six months of graduation. 


Known as “the business school of the world”, INSEAD is a non-profit, private university founded in 1957. It is a top pick for students who are interested in Consulting and Finance. It has 4 locations worldwide:

  • Europe (France)
  • Asia (Singapore) 
  • Middle East (United Arab Emirates)
  • North America (California)

One of the school’s founding values is diversity and inclusion, with more than 58,000 alumni in 176 countries.

Did you know? INSEAD was the first business school in Europe to offer a one-year MBA. if you are not after a summer internship, you can finish in just 10 months. 

London Business School

Founded in 1964, London Business School empowers students to change the way the world does business. The school grants postgraduate degrees such as MBA, MFA (Master in Financial Analysis), MiM (Master in Management), and PhD. 

It has two campuses: London (United Kingdom) and Dubai (United Arab Emirates). 

Did you know? London Business School is the top-ranked business school in the UK and ranks in the top five in the world consistently. 

ESMT Berlin

Ranked as the #1 business school in Germany, ESMT Berlin was founded in 2002 by 25 global companies including Bosch, Siemens, and T-Mobile. It is a private, non-profit school based in Berlin with a branch office in Shanghai, China. 

ESMT offers three-year degree programmes:

  • Master's in Management
  • Full-time MBA
  • Executive MBA (EMBA) and executive education

Did you know? ESMT has reported the highest salary by 2017 MBA graduates (€125,000).

Vlerick Business School

As a result of the merging of the MBA programmes of the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Instituut Professor Vlerick voor Management of Ghent University, Vlerick Business School was officially established in 1999 in Belgium. 

The school has expertise in the following fields:

  • Digital Transformation
  • Entrepreneurship & Innovation
  • Healthcare
  • Energy
  • Financial Services

Did you know? Vlerick Business School is the oldest business & management school in all of Europe, dating back to 1953.

IMD Business School

Located in Lausanne in Switzerland, IMD is a top business school most known for its top MBA programmes. The two top-ranked degree programs are the full-time MBA and the Executive MBA. 

IMD is favorable among students who are interested in the following sectors:

  • Industry
  • Pharmaceutical
  • Manufacturing

Did you know? IMD has ranked #1 in the world for Open programs for nine consecutive years.

Nyenrode Business University

Founded in 1946, Nyenrode Business Universiteit is a Dutch private university located in both Breukelen and Amsterdam, Netherlands. Nyenrode is a career partner for life to their alumni by offering them programs as well as an active part to play in the community by supporting and guiding current students. 

Did you know? Nyenrode Business University was recognized in the Dutch Guide to Masters as the best in the country for its Master of Science in Management, Master of Science in Controlling, and Master of Science in Accountancy in 2018.

HELBUS Helsinki School of Business

Located in Helsinki, Finland, HELBUS was founded in 2012. The school has a close partnership with the University of Northampton in the UK. It offers undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in business and management that are awarded by the partner university.

HELBUS graduates are currently employed in certain major corporations such as: 

  • EY
  • CGI
  • Tesla
  • HP
  • Michael Kors

Did you know? In the early 2000s, HELBUS operated as an exchange program known as Academy Access. It offered semesters in Malaysia for over 500 students from 40 universities in Europe.

Most business schools in Europe cater to the needs of all students from both Europe and the rest of the world. They are committed to diversity, inclusivity, and academic excellence.

High rankings aside, your top business school is decided for you by you. Make smart choices that benefit you!

What's next?

When it comes to your career prospects, it is essential to think ahead and visualise what opportunities are out there for you. For better insights, dive into success stories from leaders who attended private business schools and use this final chapter to find out which industries are suited for you.

Alumni stories

“[A]ll our lecturers had hands-on business experience. Most of them were still working and many had their own companies. Thinking back, I really learned a lot from them. It wasn’t just theory they taught us, but they showed us how to actually work in business, basing their teaching not just on books, but also drawing on their own experiences.” — Nathaly Eiche (Brand Manager Teens Coca-Cola Austria)

“To satisfy my desire to further my knowledge in the field of international business and management and to improve my organization, I decided to pursue the online MBA at EU Business School. The knowledge I acquired provided me with the right tools to expand my work in finance and external relations and to manage projects and programs more effectively.”  — Michael Mihut (Planning, Evaluation & Program Management World Health Organization)

“I think we underestimate how important it is to present yourself confidently and convince people of your idea because your potential customer determines in a split second whether they want to do business with you. [...] The small class sizes mean you are always presenting and exchanging ideas face to face, which makes a big difference.” — Bart Van Straten (General Manager Van Straten Medical, GreenCycl, Medical Repairs BV & WIMI BV)

“Due to EU [Business School]’s connection with Nestlé, I managed to get an internship and then permanent employment. If you’d have asked me then if I’d be working for the same company 20 years later, I’d have laughed at you!” — Bernie Stefan (Vice President Nestlé in Asia - Oceania - Africa)

Industries to Succeed in

You might already be familiar with the common industries for business majors. However, there are a few which are not as typical. Business degrees expand your career prospects to various fields which are worth knowing.

The most typical industries for business majors are:

  • Accounting & Finance
  • Management
  • Consultancy
  • Retail & sales

The following is a list of less popular but still extremely successful industries in which you can excel at.  


Media is a large sector that encompasses many components including TV, film, newspaper and magazine publishing, online websites, events. If you choose to get a business degree, it does not necessarily mean that you will be abandoning your creativity altogether. Your degree can give you access to various roles in creative industries. 

Business roles in the media sector include:

  • Sales
  • Human resources
  • PR
  • Finance & Accounting
  • Operations 
  • Marketing & Branding
  • Management & Direction

Marketing & Advertising

The creative industry offers experience and collaboration with others that help you develop your expertise. You are likely to collaborate with and work alongside designers, video producers, and copywriters. Meanwhile, your business degree will offer a unique set of skills in marketing and management that are ideal for job roles that deal with: 

  • Market research
  • Marketing strategies
  • Relationship Management
  • Market analysis
  • Campaign evaluations

Human Resources

Human Resources (HR) handle recruitment, training, and pay. More often than not, a good understanding of the company’s business operation and management alongside communication skills are all incredibly useful for HR.

Would you like to prepare yourself for international student life better? Check out the video below about 10 things that many international students wish they had known while studying abroad:

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