Spain boasts a famously enjoyable lifestyle as well as some of the best business schools in Europe. Read on to discover the different educational options you have when pursuing a management degree in Spain.
A variety of different subjects fall within the field of “Business”. Most Spanish business schools provide almost any business discipline in English, either as specialisations or standalone programmes. Some of these include:
Many of the best business schools in Europe are located within Spain. An excellent way to support this claim is to look at business school rankings. Although these scores are not always relevant for each specific student, they provide a strong indication of the quality of education within a country. However, it’s important to note that many of these rankings lack objectivity or transparency in their scoring, so use multiple sources when comparing schools.
One of the most popular and reputable rankings is that of the Financial Times (FT). Most recently, out of the 90 best business schools in Europe, 7 were based in Spain or had branch campuses there. The UK and France were the only countries with more entries in the league table. Here are the top business schools in Spain, as ranked by FT:
|Rank in Spain||Rank in Europe||Business School|
|1||4||Iese Business School|
|2||8||ESCP Business School|
|3||12||Esade Business School|
|4||12||IE Business School|
|5||29||Eada Business School Barcelona|
|7||67||University Carlos III de Madrid|
Top business schools are typically accredited by external authorities. The accreditations provided by AACSB, AMBA and EFMD/EQUIS are considered the most reputable. Any of these certifications represent the highest standard of educational quality.
Having all three of these accreditations is referred to as the “triple crown”. Below are the Spanish business schools that are triple-accredited by AACSB, AMBA, and EFMD/EQUIS:
There are also some institutions that are accredited themselves but award their degrees through partner universities. An example of this is EU Business School, which has a campus in Barcelona. Students study at the business school, but degrees are then technically awarded through partner universities. These partners are also responsible to oversee course curricula, which ensures a high quality of teaching for all students.
We also recommend that you take caution with business schools that claim to have “agreements” with accreditation bodies but are not actually accredited. Any school can become a “member” of associations such as the AACSB, but that does not mean that their programmes have been certified as high-quality education.
These types of partnership claims are made in an effort to deter from the lack of accreditation, and while this may not signify a scam in every case, it’s worth digging deeper before applying to one of these schools.
The cost of attending business school in Spain can vary significantly depending on the institution you look at. However, compared to other top-ranked schools in Europe or the UK, highly competitive programs are relatively more affordable.
Another factor to consider is that living costs in Spain are relatively lower than in most other countries with equal or higher-ranked universities. This can make it a great choice to develop your career opportunities while broadening your network in a country which you may find hard to leave after you’re done studying!
The typical tuition fees at well-ranked business schools are:
On the other hand, top-ranked elite institutions - like ESADE or IE - charge substantially higher fees. There is also a great selection of Spanish universities that offer a similar level of education as top business schools while charging a lower price, such as AUB.
Below is a fee overview of some of Spain’s most popular business schools and universities:
|Business School / University||Tuition fees per year|
|Autonomous University of Barcelona (AUB)||
|EU Business School||
|TBS Education (formerly Toulouse Business School)||
|Universidad Católica de Murcia (UCAM)||
|Universidad Carlos III de Madrid||
|University of Barcelona||
|University of Navarra (Business Faculty)||
Most business schools require either a GMAT or GRE in their admission process. These are tests that assess the analytical, writing, quantitative, reading and verbal skills of students. The required score will depend on the school and program in question, but generally higher-ranked schools ask for more competitive grades.
You will also be required to show proof of your English level. Usually, business schools ask for IELTS or TOEFL tests, but others can also be accepted depending on the university in question. With an IELTS score of 7.0 or better, you’re on the safe side for almost all business schools and universities. Some may also accept you with a score of 6.0 or 6.5. We advise you to check the specific requirements for the school you’re interested in early, so that you have enough time to prepare for your English test.
It is not necessary to speak Spanish to study at a Business school in Spain. Most universities are full of expats and internationals from various countries with whom you’ll be able to socialize in English or whichever other language(s) you speak.
However, while many Spanish locals have a solid command of English, it is not spoken well by everyone. The EF English Proficiency Index ranked Spain 26th in Europe, with “average proficiency” and a static trend.
Your Business degree programme will usually be entirely in English, but certain business schools or study programmes may make Spanish mandatory for some classes. You can find that out before you apply by checking the curriculum. But don’t worry, these classes are usually at a later stage in the degree, and language courses are typically offered alongside them. View it as an opportunity!
There are also other languages spoken within Spain beyond the “Castilian” Spanish, such as Catalan, Basque or Galician. However, these are only spoken within certain regions, and Spanish is always spoken too.
If you choose to stay in Spain after graduating, which is often the case after having had a taste of this great country, then having some knowledge of Spanish will be a big plus when applying for jobs.
Besides, Spanish is a beautiful language, and it’s also one of the easiest and most useful ones to learn. Give it a shot and you’ll be making time for siestas and ordering tapas in no time!
Studying in Spain is the best route for starting a career in the country. Not only do business schools connect you with prospective employers through career fairs and events, but many programmes provide you with optional or even mandatory internship opportunities to get hands-on work experience and grow your network.
EU citizens do not need a visa to stay in Spain, and visa requirements for non-EU citizens vary from country to country. However, the country has relatively open immigration laws, and having a local qualification will go a long way in helping you find a job or company to support your visa.
What you can earn as a business graduate in Spain can vary significantly depending on the city you’re planning to live in. Some cities will have higher living costs, which means higher salaries, and vice-versa.
However, this doesn’t always have to be the case. With a top-ranked business degree, it’s very possible to find a well-paid opportunity in whichever city you’re dreaming about living in.
The type of position and company you’re applying to will also have a large impact on your salary. You might imagine that a position at a leading consulting company will be better paid than a marketing job at a startup. Regardless of your goals, most business schools will open up a wide range of opportunities that will be entirely up to you to choose from!
The two most well-known cities in Spain are undoubtedly its capital Madrid and its second city Barcelona. It’s no surprise that these also host the large majority of internationally relevant business schools and universities with business programmes in English. If you’re unsure about which place suits you best, here are a few positives about each city, as well as other locations you might consider:
Spain is one of the most popular locations in the world to attend business school. Here are some of the reasons why:
235 Business & Management Programmes in Spain