MBA in Switzerland: A guide to the best business schools
Published on August 25, 2023
In Switzerland, cutting-edge business practices meet stunning alpine vistas and centuries-old traditions. If diving deep into global business strategies one day and taking a refreshing hike in the Alps the next sounds appealing, then an MBA in Switzerland might pique your interest.
Known for precision, innovation and luxury, Switzerland offers a rigorous business education in a setting that’s both cosmopolitan and breathtaking. To help you decide if an MBA in Switzerland is right for you, we’ve put together this guide to the top MBA universities in Switzerland. We’ll review their requirements, study fees and how you can apply as an international student.
To pursue an MBA in Switzerland, applicants must meet several general requirements. However, each business school also has its own specific requirements for applicants. Always refer to the official university websites or contact the admissions office for the most accurate information.
Here’s what you’ll likely need to pursue an MBA in Switzerland:
A bachelor’s degree (or its equivalent) from a recognized university is usually the first prerequisite. The focus of your first degree is not usually important.
Most Swiss MBA programs prioritize candidates with at least two to five years of professional work experience. Some universities, like Business School Lausanne, require more work experience for those with only a bachelor’s degree than for those with a bachelor’s and a master’s degree.
Many business schools require a competitive GMAT or GRE score. The specifics vary by school, but a strong score can enhance your admission chances. The International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne accepts candidates with an average GMAT score of 680.
As many programs are taught in English, non-native speakers are often required to prove their proficiency through a formal test such as the TOEFL or IELTS. The University of St. Gallen expects candidates to have a C1 or higher level of English, based on the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages.
Most universities also require at least one professional reference. IMD specifies that the referee should be someone you have worked with who can testify to your skills and achievements.
Switzerland is home to several globally recognized business schools, and we’ve already mentioned a few. All of the universities on the following list offer an MBA program in English. However, it’s always a good idea to learn the local language of wherever you are in Switzerland (German, French and Italian are the most widely spoken). This can open up career opportunities in the region and help you better integrate into your new life.
IMD consistently ranks among the top global MBA programs and has been ranked as the best one-year international MBA by Forbes. Known for its rigorous program and a strong alumni network, IMD has the mission of developing pioneering leaders who can make a change in the world.
Renowned for its networking opportunities and industry connections, an MBA at the University of St. Gallen is a top choice for those keen on a career in the DACH region. The institution was ranked the sixth-best business school in Europe by Bloomberg in 2022–23.
Pursuing an MBA at the Basel School of Business allows you to follow their trademarked Practical Experiential Learning™ model, which ensures you have real-world experience and practical skills in your industry.
The University of Geneva’s Executive MBA program offers professionals a chance to study while they work with a blended learning format and classes held mainly on Fridays and Saturdays.
The fees for an MBA in Switzerland can represent a substantial investment, though the exact cost depends on the school and the program’s duration. To give you an idea, fees for the University of Geneva EMBA program are CHF 42,500. To attend IMD for one year, you’ll pay CHF 80,000, plus an additional fee of CHF 17,500.
While those fees are no doubt high, the return on investment can be worth it, given the high-quality education, networking opportunities and potential for lucrative job placements.
Most Swiss universities have an online portal for applications, which clearly lists the steps you need to complete for your application to be considered. Many universities, including the Basel School of Business and the University of St. Gallen, require you to write a response to a question or submit a personal essay in addition to filling out an application form.
If you make it through the first stage of the application, you will likely be invited for an interview, either in person or online.
Doing an MBA in Switzerland not only offers world-class education, but can also introduce you to a global network of business professionals. With a strategic location in the heart of Europe, Switzerland is an ideal destination for aspiring global leaders in the DACH region and beyond. The investment, though steep, can pay off for many international students who choose to study in Switzerland.