Have you already started looking into opportunities for an MBA in France? Then you might already know this is one of the best study destinations in the world. France is home to many prestigious business schools with different accreditations. Each year, students and professionals from around the world choose it for their study abroad.
Needless to say, France is also a beautiful country with an important cultural heritage. Now is the perfect time to dive into all the opportunities this land can offer for your career growth.
Why study for an MBA in France
The high quality of the education, the international MBA degrees available and world-class faculty are just some of the reasons professionals flock to France for their business studies. Both the Financial Times and the Economist feature six French business schools in their latest MBA rankings. Other top publications also note the stellar performance of business schools in France.
What makes France an even better option for pursuing an MBA is the affordability of education. Compared to other destinations such as the US, tuition fees in France are lower without compromising on quality.
The country’s traditions in culture and education also go way back. After all, the Sorbonne houses one of the first universities in the Western world. From world-renowned museums and galleries to unmissable vineyards and resorts, France has something to offer for every visitor’s tastes.
Along with your local immersion, you will enjoy just as many international flavors. An MBA in France means a truly global experience.
If you are considering France alongside other MBA destinations, we have some good news. The admission requirements at French business schools are not much different from the standard ones.
First, you need to have a Bachelor's degree or another equivalent qualification. Another essential requirement is your work experience. If you have at least three or four years of professional experience, you are probably eligible for most MBA programs in France.
While there are opportunities to study in French, the language of instruction in most MBA programs is English. This means that unless you are a native speaker, you need proof of your English skills such as IELTS, TOEFL, or another English proficiency test.
Finally, depending on the university you are heading to, you might need a GMAT or GRE score. GMAT and GRE are standardized aptitude tests that assess your analytical and other skills.
Before jumping to any conclusions, remember that eligibility criteria might differ between programs. Start by researching the requirements of each business school you consider for your MBA in France.
Once you know the admission requirements, it is time to look into the application process. As with most business schools, this usually takes place online.
There is an online application form you need to submit, which contains information about you as well as all the necessary documents. Of course, you should be able to fill in, edit and pause between different sections of the form at your convenience. There is an application fee to keep in mind – usually between EUR 100 and EUR 250.
The most important components of an MBA application for a business school in France include:
- 1-2 essays; if you are applying for a scholarship, you might have to include an extra essay
- CV/resume or personal details
- 2 letters of recommendation
- official transcripts and copies of your diploma
After the application form, it is time for the admission interview. This can be either a video interview conducted virtually, or a face-to-face interview. Your interviewers can be MBA alumni or members of the faculty or the admission team.
Each business school has different application deadlines. Be sure to manage your time well, especially when applying for more than one MBA in France.
Nationals from the EU, the EEA, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein do not need a visa to study for an MBA in France. Unless you are a national of one of these countries or regions, you must apply for the long-stay visa – the “visa de long séjour pour études” in French (VLS-TS).
This type of visa is issued for training or courses that exceed six months and it is subject to further formalities on your arrival in France.
The visa application process takes place online. Applicants need to submit several documents, including proof of funding and proof of accommodation. The fee for submitting the visa application ranges between EUR 50 and EUR 99, depending on the country you come from.
Fortunately, the official visa website for France offers a handy tool called “visa wizard”. Just type in your details and it will give you all the information you need in English.
Because the long-stay visa acts as a residence permit, you will be eligible to work for 964 hours annually as an international student.
Cost of living in France
While the cost of living in France can be high, keep in mind that the country also has a high quality of life. France’s performance in the OECD Better Life Index is better than average in most aspects, such as disposable income per capita, education and life expectancy.
Of course, the cost of living can vary widely depending on the city and region. Undoubtedly, Paris and other big cities are pricier than some university towns or suburbs. Cited by Expatica, Mercer’s 2021 cost of living report found out that Paris is more expensive than Amsterdam, Munich, and Brussels, but cheaper than London, New York, and Zürich.
Here are some recent statistics that should give you a good indication of the quality of life and cost of living in France:
- About 65% of people aged 15 to 64 in France have a paid job (OECD Better Life Index)
- Private sector workers earn EUR 2370 on average, while the public sector pays an average of EUR 2300 (Expatica)
- The minimum wage in France is EUR 10.48 per hour (Expatica)
- A one-bedroom apartment in central Paris costs up to EUR 1800 a month (Expatica)
- French households spend around EUR 385 on food a month (Expatica)
Career opportunities in France
In France, commuting is affordable, work-life balance is respected and there are skills shortages in various industries, making it a good place to consider for career growth. According to Prospects, France introduced a 35-hour working week “with the aim of raising living standards”.
Tourism, agriculture, energy, manufacturing, transport and technology are among the thriving sectors that contribute to the local economy. Many MBA prospects choose business schools in France specifically to pursue opportunities in luxury goods, fashion and cosmetics.
Many large and multinational companies are based in France, including Airbus, Danone, L'Oréal, Michelin, Peugeot, Renault and more.
And what about the local language? As an international MBA graduate, you may have an advantage when looking for English-speaking jobs compared to other candidates. Keep in mind that at least some knowledge of French might improve your job search further, especially if you want to blend in with the community faster.
The good news is that your business school in France will help you find the best career opportunities for you along the way. Career coaching, on-campus recruitment events, company visits and workshops are an essential part of any MBA program.
Whether you know which MBA in France you want to apply for or you are still finding your way around business schools, Unimy can help you on your journey.
Find out which French business school you match with on Unimy France.