Why pursue an MBA in France?
UNESCO statistics show that France is the world’s third most popular destination for international students and the most popular non-Anglophone international student destination. But what makes it so appealing?
Higher education in France is regarded as one of the best in the world when it comes to quality. More than 20% of government spending goes to the education sector. Higher education is research-based, which is also very appealing to international students, allowing them to network with some of the best and brightest.
International students from all over the world travel to study in France, so you can count on meeting like-minded individuals with much to offer in terms of background, experience and culture. You will learn how to work in an international and diverse environment, which can only be of use to your career growth.
Strong economic growth
France has a really strong economy; in fact, it is one of the biggest in the world. According to Reuters, French economic growth in 2021 was the strongest in 52 years. This can give you a significant advantage for career possibilities and networking opportunities.
How to select a business school
Every business school is different. And so are MBA programs. The best way to make sure you select the right business school is through thorough research. Start by reading all available information on the schools’ websites, social media, blogs etc. Next you can take rankings into consideration. France has many business schools among top 100 positions in all globally recognized rankings.
Another great way to steer the selection process in the right direction is to attend MBA fairs and education events and talk to representatives from the schools and alumni as well. Here you can browse some of the top business schools in France. Ultimately it comes down to what you want from your experience in this beautiful country and which school can provide you with the best conditions to push your career forward.
Popular MBA specializations in France
French business schools offer a lot in terms of a competitive curriculum and world-class, experienced faculty. Specialization programs include both the foundations of general management and the essentials of a particular field. Business schools in France have a diverse range of specializations to choose from:
- MBA in Aviation Management
- MBA in Business Analytics
- MBA in Digital Marketing
- MBA in Finance Management
- MBA in Human Resources Management
- MBA in Healthcare Management
- MBA in Information Technology
- MBA in Marketing Management
- MBA in Media Management
- MBA in Travel and Tourism Management
For those who are looking for financial aid for MBA studies, there are some great scholarship opportunities available. There are both institutional and regional scholarships to apply for.
Ile-de-France Master’s Scholarships
This is a Master’s scholarship provided by the Regional Council of Île-de-France and available to foreign students seeking admission in higher education institutions in the Île-de-France region. It is open to all international students, but preference is given to aspirants from Eastern Europe, Asia, Latin America, Middle East, or new European member states.
The Eiffel Scholarship
The Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs created this program for which reputed French universities can apply. The goal of this scholarship is to attract international students for Master’s and PhD programs. It covers four categories: Law, Economy and Management, Engineering Sciences, and Political Sciences.
Erasmus Mundus Scholarships
This scholarship is funded by the European Union and is available to both European and non-European students. It is available for students who take their Master's or PhD program in at least two countries participating in the program.
Centrale Nantes Elite Scholarship
This scholarship is an initiative by the École Centrale de Nantes. It is available for non-European students who have been accepted into the first year of their Master’s program.
Emile-Boutmy Scholarship by the Paris Institute of Political Studies (Sciences Po)
Awarded to the best international students from outside the EU, this scholarship is named after the founder of Sciences Po. It is entirely based on suitability and merit, according to the compatibility of the student’s profile with the course. It also prioritizes social criteria.
The International School of Management in Paris offers this scholarship based on both need and merit. According to your talents and abilities, scholarships are awarded on the basis of: academics (Tuition Assistance Scholarship), for women returning to the academic field after a break (Women in Business Scholarship), economic status (Dean's Opportunity Scholarship), strong research skills (Publication Scholarship) and more.
Types of visas
Depending on how long you plan to study in France, there are several types of student visas:
Schengen short-stay student visa – If your studies last less than three months, this is the visa you should apply for. It is free but cannot be renewed. There are 41 countries that may not need a visa for staying less than three months.
Visa for sitting entrance exams – This visa allows you to come to France and take an entrance exam at a university. If you pass, you can directly apply to your local prefecture in France for a one-year renewable residence permit.
Temporary long-stay visa – With this visa you are allowed to study in France between three and six months without needing a residence permit. However, it is non-renewable.
Long-stay visa – You need this visa if you want to study in France for longer than six months. Since 2013 this type of visa is valid for the entire duration of your course. Long-stay visas act as residence permits and are called VLT-TS.
Extended stay research scholar visa – If you have finished your Master’s studies and want to take part in research or teach at university level in France, then the institution can bring you over on a VLS-TS extended stay research scholar visa.
Eligibility criteria to study for an MBA in France
In order to get into an MBA program there are criteria that you need to cover. Here are some of the basic admission requirements that apply to all French universities:
- You need to have three to four years of work experience. However, this will vary depending on the university.
- You need to have obtained a Bachelor’s degree or an academic background comparable to the French Bachelor’s degree.
- International students and non-native English speakers must present an English proficiency test score (TOEFL, IELTS, etc.). This is applicable to French universities who offer MBA degrees in English.
- Depending on the university, you will need to provide GMAT or GRE scores.
What to keep in mind for the admission process
Most French universities provide online application with all the required documents. You can download the application from the university’s website and carefully follow the instructions. After completing the application form, all required documents should be ready for you to submit along with it. You will also be required to pay an application fee. Keep track of all submission deadlines and do not wait until the last moment. Depending on the university, you will receive either a call for an interview or some other form of online communication. Once you receive your admissions letter, make sure you get your visa on time.
This is not a difficult process and if you are considering France for your MBA studies, it will certainly be an exciting and enriching experience that will give you international exposure and great networking opportunities. An MBA at a French business school can help shape your career in any way you decide.