You’ve decided to boost your career by pursuing an MBA. It’s a big decision and a significant investment of both your time and your money, so the temptation is to choose a programme in a big city or a major country. Well, think again. Belgium – a small country with a modest-sized capital – should be high on your list of places to study for an MBA.
An MBA in the capital of Europe
Belgium has an impressive international profile thanks to the institutions of the European Union that call Brussels home. These in turn attract a wide range of industry associations, lobby groups, consultancies and non-governmental organisations. This makes Brussels the centre of political activity for the whole of Europe, and the reason why many international companies headquarter their European operations in and around the city. So studying for an MBA in Belgium gives you a front-row seat for the creation of tomorrow’s business environments and access to some of the world’s biggest corporate actors.
The international community in and around Brussels is also reflected in the people you meet while studying business in Belgium. Your colleagues on the MBA programme will have a wide range of backgrounds, bringing with them international experience and perspectives from other business cultures. As well as enriching the immediate experience of completing an MBA, this rich mix of people will form the basis for a new network of business contacts lasting long after the programme. By earning your MBA in Belgium, your network is international from the outset.
This international perspective sets the tone for the programmes at Belgian business schools. They are often taught in English, with an international staff and a curriculum oriented towards global business perspectives. The schools also draw on the capital’s business, law and regulatory experts for lectures, seminars and field trips.
Studying business in Belgium means you tap into this expertise, which naturally benefits your education and feeds your growing network of contacts. In addition, if you are combining study with work through an executive MBA, this can also be of immediate benefit, informing how you tackle important strategic issues back in the office. Finally, if you are following an MBA to open up new career opportunities, the wealth of potential employers in Brussels and the rest of Belgium gives you a lot of options for the future.
While these international credentials are a major incentive to study in Belgium, so is the local economy. In addition to Brussels, the Flemish cities of Leuven, Ghent and Antwerp are home to vibrant start-up communities, which have valuable lessons to teach about the future of business.
With enterprising, research-intensive universities, these cities are positioning themselves as living laboratories where business opportunities exploiting new technologies can be tested in real-life situations. Belgium also performs well in more traditional business sectors, such as chemicals and logistics, and has some important niche industries like fashion, culture and tourism.
Value for money
Finally, every prospective business student should learn how to recognise a good deal. Belgian business schools such as the triple-accredited Vlerick Business School (a joint venture between Ghent University and KU Leuven, which also operates in Brussels) are recognised for their excellence, yet they present an affordable option when compared to the giant schools in France, the UK or Spain.
Meanwhile, Belgium offers a high quality of life at moderate cost. In short, pursuing an MBA in Belgium will give you the best possible start in business, without breaking the bank.