Best Business Schools In Spain | Top MBA Programs, Jobs, Salaries & Rankings
Applying for an MBA? Find out about the best business schools in Spain, how much they cost, and your post-MBA jobs and salary prospects
Spain is best known for its attractions as a tourist destination: it has the third-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites globally and Barcelona is one of the most-visited cities in the world. But Spain is also a great place to do your MBA.
By studying an MBA in Spain, you’ll get to live in a country of outstanding natural beauty and have access to top MBA professors and career opportunities.
Here’s the four best business schools in Spain that appear in one of more of the Financial Times, Economist, and QS MBA rankings:
QS rank: 141-150
Economist rank: 62
MBA length: 10 months
Cost: €39,000 ($40,700)
EADA Business School is situated in Spain’s second city, Barcelona. A thriving European city right on the Mediterranean coast, Barcelona is not just a cultural hotspot but also one of the continent’s biggest startup hubs.
22@ is Barcelona’s innovation district, and Pier 01 is an innovation hub that is home to dozens of startups, as well as incubators, accelerators, and the Barcelona Tech City association.
Not only do EADA students have easy access to these spaces, but they also receive training on innovation as part of their course load. Core modules on the EADA MBA include topics like accelerated design thinking, disruptive innovation, and digital marketing and growth hacking, and students can choose to specialize in sustainability and business impact or structure finance and private equity.
Despite its comparatively low ranking compared to other schools on this list, career outcomes for EADA MBAs are strong. 93% of graduates find employment within three months of graduation, with 76% receiving a salary increase. Considering the comparatively low cost of the EADA MBA, this certainly bumps up the program’s potential ROI.
The most popular sector for EADA grads to work in is financial services, though the list of employers who hire from the school also includes big names in other sectors, such as Amazon, BMW, Coca Cola, Danone, Facebook, Heineken, and Nike.
FT rank: 40
QS rank: 7
Economist rank: 39
MBA length: 11 months
Cost: €72,200 ($75,400)
IE Business School is based in Madrid, the nation’s capital. There are many reasons to study an MBA in Madrid, and one of them is its status as a thriving international business hub. The city welcomes more than one million corporate travellers every year, and it’s estimated that 15% of all tourists in the city are there on business.
The International MBA at IE Business School helps students capitalize on this bustling business environment.
During its Lab Period, which follows the section of the program dedicated to business fundamentals, students can choose between focusing on business impact, startups, technology, or social impact, applying the principles they’ve learned in the classroom to hands-on business challenges.
The program also offers the opportunity for a genuinely international education through the exchange opportunities available with partner schools all around the world. These include top business schools like Yale School of Management, NYU Stern, Chicago Booth, HKUST in Hong Kong, and AGSM UNSW in Sydney.
A whopping 95% of IE MBA grads receive a job offer within 3 months of graduating, with 44% switching countries as they move into their new role. The overall mean salary for IE grads was $108,500 in 2020, with other compensation totaling $25,000 on average.
FT rank: 34
QS rank: 13
Economist rank: 20
MBA length: 12, 15, or 18 months
Cost: €73,800 ($77,000)
Like EADA, ESADE Business School is also headquartered in Barcelona to give students access to the thriving startup scene. The school’s highly customizable program is another good reason to study in Barcelona.
Depending on your career plan and how quickly you want to re-enter the workforce, MBAs at ESADE can choose between three acceleration options.
The 12-month program is a streamlined curriculum that sees students take core and elective modules only before returning to the workforce. The 15-month program allows MBAs to add either an internship or a business school exchange to this, while the 18-month sees students complete all of the above.
The electives available on the ESADE MBA are highly-specialized, including topics such as social behavior in the digital age, cryptocurrency, competing with AI and the Cloud, and taking part in an action learning consultancy project.
All of this allows ESADE students to tailor the MBA to their desired career outcome, and many do this successfully – particularly when it comes to changing career.
Half of all ESADE MBAs found a job outside of their home country, with 97% changing either function, sector, or location. Almost a third changed all three.
Salaries are also very competitive for ESADE grads, particularly by European standards: the average salary for an Esade MBA three years after graduation is $144K, according to the FT.
FT rank: 10
QS rank: 10
Economist rank: 1
MBA length: 15 or 19 months
Cost: €93,500 ($97,700)
Barcelona returns to the list once again as the home of IESE Business School, ranked in the top 10 MBA programs worldwide by both QS and the Financial Times, and number one overall by The Economist.
IESE offers a highly rigorous program that draws on the fast-paced entrepreneurial environment of its home city. In their first year, students study business fundamentals, including a strategy and operations deep dive, with core courses including topics like entrepreneurial management.
In the summer, students who have chosen the 15-month format can begin their second year electives, while MBAs on the longer program can pursue a corporate internship, summer entrepreneurship experience, or social internship.
In the final year of the program, MBAs round out their studies with elective modules and international experiences. The latter can take the form of one or two-week modules on one of IESE's partner campuses, or a full exchange at a partner school such as Yale, Wharton, or London Business School.
Throughout the program, students are encouraged to nurture their entrepreneurial skills, with different deliverables expected at each stage of the program, from a business idea in the first year all the way through to a final investor pitch in the program’s final stages.
The program is 85% international, meaning that every MBA emerges with a truly global network. The most popular area for grads to work in after studying at IESE is consulting, with 20% settling in Spain, 26% in the rest of Europe, 20% in Asia Pacific and 22% in Latin America.
When it comes to average MBA salaries, IESE grads take home the gold out of the schools on this list: according to the Financial Times, the average salary of an IESE grad three years after the program is $164K.
List order based on Financial Times MBA Ranking 2022. Images sourced from school Facebook pages and data from school websites.