Some of the world’s best business schools are located in Switzerland, and the country also offers a remarkably high quality of life. Keep reading to discover what options are available if you’re looking to get a degree in Business, Management, or related discipline in this lovely alpine country.
While Switzerland is not technically part of the European Union, many see it as the “heart of Europe”. This is not only because of its geographical location at the center of the continent but also due to its culture and history. German, Italian, and French are spoken in different pars of the country (plus the lesser-known Romansch), and Switzerland has long been not only the financial hub of Europe but also home to many international organisations. Many world-renowned banks, insurance companies and other corporations have their HQ or significant operations here.
As a result, Switzerland is rife with an incredible selection of high-level employment opportunities for business graduates. Therefore, it’s no surprise that it has one of Europe’s largest and most multicultural expat communities. The country is also consistently ranked as one of the best places in the world to live due to its extremely high quality of life and competitive salaries. Whether you love fondue, skiing, amazing chocolate, or beautiful lakes and mountains, Switzerland truly has something for everyone.
Swiss business schools are known for offering almost every possible business discipline in English. Furthermore, if you fluently speak one of the country’s four national languages, you’ll have a strong chance of finding a degree available in your preferred language as well. Whether you're looking to specialize in a particular field or pursue a standalone program, the following subjects will be available, among many others:
Switzerland is also often regarded as one of the leading places in hospitality education. Therefore, you may find business schools that provide special management programs specifically designed for this field.
Many of Europe’s and the world’s best business schools are located in Switzerland. This fact is widely reflected in all of the major business school rankings. And while these rankings do not always apply to each student’s particular situation and can be inaccurate at times, they do provide a solid indication of educational quality. However, it’s important to view these rankings with a critical eye: In some cases, they suffer from the self-fulfilling bias of company recruiters relying on them, which in turn raises the school’s score and leads to more employers hiring its students, and so on.
Nevertheless, the most reputable of these rankings can usually be trusted, and one such list is that of the Financial Times (FT). In 2020, out of the 90 best business schools in Europe, five were based in Switzerland, making it one of the countries with the most entries. Below are the top 5 Swiss institutions as ranked by FT:
|7||University of St.Gallen|
|10||IMD Business School|
|40||HEC Lausanne, University of Lausanne|
|69||University of Zurich|
|73||ZHAW School of Management and Law|
Picking the perfect business school for you is not an easy task, and it’s normal for candidates to sometimes be overwhelmed by the high degree of choices available. Luckily, there’s more than just rankings to go on, and many other factors can be used to gauge the quality of a business school in advance:
Business degrees from Switzerland are highly sought-after qualifications, and they are routinely considered some of the most valuable in the world. Due to this high standing, they can cost significant amounts in tuition fees, especially the private institutions. However, thanks to the salary you can hope to earn after graduation, consider it an investment that offers a high return in the long run.
Here is an overview of the typical tuition fees at Swiss business schools and universities:
|Institution||Bachelor tuition fees per year||Master (MSc/MA) tuition fees per year||MBA tuition fees per year|
|Business School Lausanne||29,000 CHF to 43,500 CHF||38,000 CHF||44,800 CHF|
|EU Business School||27,600 CHF||28,800 CHF||37,800 CHF|
|Geneva Business School||24,900 CHF||20,500 CHF||25,900 CHF|
|HEC Lausanne||1,160 CHF||1,160 CHF||45,000 CHF|
|International Institute in Geneva (formerly: International University in Geneva)||34,500 CHF||36,400 CHF||36,400 CHF|
|Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts||1,600 CHF||1,600 CHF||-|
|University of St. Gallen||6,258 CHF||6,658 CHF||58,500 CHF|
While Switzerland is a relatively small country, it is brimming with exciting cities in which to study. Depending on the type of career path you’re looking to pursue, different locations might strike your fancy. Here are some of the top choices to consider:
While the costs of living in Switzerland are notoriously high, the country has the salaries to match. Students attending business school in the country are usually able to secure average wages that are far superior to those in other regions, making it one of the most attractive places to work. This is also the case for student jobs and internships, which are paid highly in comparison to the modest salaries in the rest of Europe.
And last but certainly not least, the taxes are comparably low. This means that even after having covered all living costs, you’ll have decidedly more money left over to save or spend however you see fit.
It’s entirely possible to work during your business school studies in Switzerland. Foreign students may work up to 15 hours per week while studying and up to 100% of the time during semester breaks.
However, students from outside the EEA (“third countries”) can only begin working 6 months after having entered the country, and their employers must submit a request to help the student obtain a work permit. “Study in Switzerland” has a helpful guide.
Many universities also offer opportunities for students to find part-time jobs on the side of their studies, either at the university or via partner companies.
Graduates from Swiss universities and business schools are able to apply for a six-month “job search” residence permit. While this is not as generous as the post-study work visas offered by countries such as Germany or the UK, it provides students with sufficient time to land a great job opportunity as long as they take the time to prepare correctly.
Due to Switzerland’s powerful economy and the abundant presence of expats throughout the country, foreign students with Swiss degrees have excellent job prospects. However, make sure that you take the time to network during your studies and that you take up opportunities for internships or student jobs. In addition, it will help to be aware of the main language in the city you plan to work in. German or French is spoken in most major cities; but there are numerous jobs available for students that want to work in English.
Business schools in Switzerland are known for having spawned a great many highly successful business leaders. It’s no coincidence that a Swiss business education helped pave the way for these industry leaders into boardrooms and other leadership positions. Here’s a small selection that might inspire you to pursue your studies within the country:
There are many amazing destinations for business school students to choose from within Europe. But Switzerland stands out as one of the top study locations. Let’s review three of the main reasons: