The Leading Independent Resource for Top-tier MBA Candidates


ESADE (Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas) was founded in 1958 as an independent non-profit institution. It became part of Ramon Llull University in 1995, and today operates on campuses in Barcelona and Madrid. Its MBA programs have occupied its Barcelona Sant Cugat Campus since 2009. The school is regularly ranked among the top international business schools, and was among the first to earn the three most prestigious accreditations: AACSB International, EQUIS, and AMBA. ESADE focuses on three core academic areas—education, research, and social dialogue—all with a global perspective. Its nearly 60,000 alumni are considered school ambassadors of these values in more than one hundred countries.

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ESADE Business School’s international faculty of about 90 professors work diligently to balance both the academic and business worlds within their classrooms. The teaching staff partners with multinational companies across many sectors, providing a high degree of personalized attention to students. About 59% of ESADE’s teaching body is involved in research and investigation, and many have published their own books and regularly appear in the media as business experts and opinion leaders. Like the school’s students, professors come from a variety of backgrounds, hailing from more than 20 different countries and spanning all areas of business.


ESADE Business School is comprised of annual September intakes, with a maximum of 190 students divided into three sections according to their program timelines. Most MBA candidates enroll in its 18-month program to take full advantage of all of its components. Students with professional commitments may require a more streamlined 15-month MBA program. In some cases and where strict ESADE requirements are met, a 12-month “fast-track” option is available. Though the final course-length decision won’t be required until as late as spring’s third term.

Regardless of the program and timeline, all students start the full-time MBA in September and will complete the same number of credits (90 total). Mandatory core classes comprise the first seven months, followed by the electives phase. In August of each year, the school also offers bridging courses online to ensure each student starts the MBA program with comparable knowledge.

In the pre-term and during the MBA program, ESADE encourages students to begin learning or to expand on their Spanish language skills, one of the most commonly spoken languages the world over. The school considers foreign-language fluency essential in the increasingly global business market, and that living and studying in Barcelona is provides a key opportunity to consolidate Spanish-speaking skills.

The initial compulsory core courses fall under the theme “understanding the context,” and span an introduction to general management, global contexts, and international business analytics. The second term covers “making decisions” with courses in competitive strategy, operational decisions to improve competition, and innovation and entrepreneurship. The third and final core term is “executive strategy and managing growth,” studying how to lead change, execute strategy, and additional entrepreneurship practice.

Once the core is satisfied, students can pursue eight electives in the category of “Advanced Management Topics,” plus several more electives based on individual interests to refine their expertise. This study section lets students hone skills and deepen their specific market knowledge. With a wide range of options, MBA students can thoroughly explore their potential career trajectories and satisfy their personal requirements. The “Final Master’s Project” takes place during the program’s final months, and lets MBA candidates to demonstrate their expanded knowledge and abilities with either a master thesis, business plan, or in-company project. The project involves the direct guidance of a faculty member and team of “tutors”—experienced professionals who aid students via individual sessions.

ESADE collaborates with universities around the world, and around 35% of its MBA students enroll in an exchange program. (They are not required to take an entrance exam or apply separately.) The school also offers for-credit “Global Study Tours” held in different areas and regions each year; in 2016-17 they included Colombia, Germany, Korea, South Africa, and the United States.

Additionally, students are encouraged to take “study treks” to visit companies around the world, explore ESADE-organized internships, and enroll in career acceleration programs in consulting, and investment and private banking, and business labs focusing on entrepreneurship, family business, innovation, and marketing.

Other MBA Degree Options

Beyond the full-time MBA, ESADE offers the Executive MBA, Global Executive MBA, and the Multinational MBA. In its Barcelona-based, 16-month program, the Executive MBA is part-time and more flexible, allowing students to combine work with their management education. The Multinational MBA is a 15-month program held six different cities, designed for entrepreneurs, senior executives, and experienced managers who aim to grow their businesses in a global environment. Taking place over 14 months, the Global Executive MBA (GEMBA) aims to combine education in the fields of global policy making, international relations, business strategy, and management and leadership. It involves six international residencies in various cities, each 12 days long; graduates will earn two MBA diplomas from Georgetown University and ESADE Business School, and a Global Management Program Certificate from INCAE Business School.

Degree Offerings

Full-time MBA

Executive MBA

Global Executive MBA

Multinational MBA

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Clubs, Conferences and Competitions

Before the full-time MBA program begins in September, ESADE encourages prospective or accepted students to visit its Barcelona campus and tour its facilities. This pre-term summer window also allows MBA candidates to practice their Spanish skills, or join in introductory or advanced language courses. Visitors may also wish to attend on-campus admissions events.

Once the school year is underway, ESADE students can get involved with the MBA Student Association (MBASA), a student-run body that organizes a broad range of educational, social, professional, cultural, and recreational activities. The group is highly cooperative, and encourages all MBA candidates to submit, develop, and carry out club proposals. MBASA oversees 23 clubs that span business and social interests.  For example, the Design and Innovation club run workshops, seminars and more to promote innovation in business.  Other notable clubs include Sports Business, Women in Business and the Hospitality Club.  Ones with a more cultural focus include the Asia Business and Latin American Business clubs.  With an understanding that students should maintain a work/life balance, the social clubs, such as Salsa and Better Halves, encourage students to have fun through various activities.

“EQUIP” is ESADE’s program that tracks industry trends, explores problems and potential solutions, and invites industry leaders to speak in classes and at special events. MBA candidates also are able to compete in a two-day event called “Leading Futures,” for which they’ll learn about principles in design-thinking workshops, apply methodologies to solve business challenges, and present innovative solutions each business case.

Campus Spaces

ESADE calls Barcelona home. This Mediterranean city is considered one of the most attractive areas in Europe for MBA students, easily combining business and leisure unlike many other urban environments. Barcelona is an entrepreneurial business center, and a thriving gateway to Europe with international diversity, dynamic communities, rich culture, and stunning nature all around.

With foresight about the eventual need for more campus space, ESADE opened the state-of-the-art Sant Cugat Campus in 2009, adding 200,000 square feet of varied facilities. Located in a more rural area, the campus includes an integrated gymnasium, restaurants, and several other on-site services. The Sant Cugat Campus houses the Esadecreapolis, the “creativity park” that invites companies to collaborate with ESADE students and school leaders by providing an ecosystems to inspire, facilitate, and accelerate innovation. The new site is frequented by thousands of students weekly, and is a pioneer in Spain for its design and construction under the Bologna Plan for European Higher Education Areas.

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Career Services

Through ESADE Careers, MBA candidates can get a jumpstart on their professional track. The department’s skilled professionals offer each student personalized attention throughout the career orientation and job search processes. The office provides resources, advice, and tips on narrowing the search for and pursuit of each student’s dream job—whether that is to build a new business or join an existing company.

Specialists include the student development team to aid in career orientation and job-hunting; and the business development team that works with the top companies and organizes year-round events focused on recruiting insights and market trends. Specifically, ESADE Careers helps candidates and graduates define their career strategies, improve their job-search written materials, learn effective ways to meet recruiters, improve interview techniques, negotiate offers, and to enhance their international career prospects. Additional benefits come with ESADE’s network of nearly 60,000 alumni, who hold many leadership positions in top companies around the world—always keeping in touch through the vibrant alumni network across more than 100 countries.

Career Statistics
About 83% of ESADE’s full-time MBA graduating Class of 2015 secured a job within three months of graduation. About a third of the class joined industry/manufacturing.  Consulting was the next most popular industry, claiming 23% of graduates.  Technology followed with 20% and the general services industry took in 16% of graduates.  Finally, 11% of the class joined the financial services industry. Data for that class showed them earning positions in a variety of functions: 29% in marketing/sales, 28% in consulting, 16% in general management, 14% in finance, along with smaller percentages in operations, logistics, production, and other roles. They were recruited to major companies located predominantly in the Europe (44%), Asia (28%), Latin American (12%), and North America (12%). In their post-graduate careers, ESADE alumni averaged more than $68,380 in total compensation; while 96% of graduates changed region, industry, or function.

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Class Profile

IMD has a class of 2017 size of 190 students, the annual maximum class size. About 41% of the class has an educational background in economics/management, while 36% pursued degrees in engineering, 17% in humanities, and 2% each in sciences, law and “other” majors. Incoming students have an average GMAT score of 660; or average GRE score of 160/162. Fluency in English also in required, with test scores and interviews required. About 31% of the class is comprised of women, and as an international institution, around 95% of every classroom is international—with students hailing mainly from Asia (30%), Latin America (28%), Europe (26%), and North America (11%). Upon matriculation at ESADE, students averaged 31 years in age with five years of full-time work experience.

Application Procedures

ESADE’s full-time MBA has one annual intake, with classes starting each September and taking place Monday through Friday. As a flexible program, students can decide to complete the MBA in 12, 15, or 18 months (most choose the longer one). The program is open to 190 students maximum, divided into three sections. There are eight rounds of admissions deadlines from fall to spring, though the eighth and final round is open only to European Union residents. The application requirements for ESADE include two years of work experience, along with completing the school’s online application form and submitting two essays, a résumé, two letters of recommendation, $151 (€135) application fee, and transcripts from each college attended as well as a bachelor degree diploma, photograph, and passport or other international identification. Applicants also must report their GMAT or GRE test scores; and English-language results from either TOEFL (IBT 100 or CBT 250), IELTS (7.0 minimum), or Cambridge (proficiency), or Pearson (68 minimum). Interviews are required upon notification by the Admissions Office, held at admissions events, on campus in Barcelona, or via Skype.

Application Checklist

  • Online application
  • Curriculum vitae
  • Minimum two years work experience
  • Official GRE or GMAT
  • Two letters of recommendation
  • A digital photo
  • ID Card or Passport
  • TOEFL, IELTS, Cambridge or Academic Pearson test scores
  • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent
  • Uploaded transcripts, and academic certificates if the degree granted is not shown on transcripts
  • $151 (€135) Application fee

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ESADE’s 2017-2018 tuition is $70,277 (€62,700), which includes course materials, IT services on-campus, and library services. In addition to the $113 (€100) MBA student-association fee, the school estimates annual living expenses of approximately $16,477 (€14,700), which covers off-campus housing, utilities, and food. Additional estimated yearly living expenses include recreational sports fees of about $874 (€780) and miscellaneous expenses around $7,157 (€6,385). Students moving to Barcelona with partners for the academic year are advised to increase all costs by approximately 30%. These school estimates can vary greatly depending on the student’s housing, lifestyle, and transportation choices.

ESADE’s financial-aid office personally assists students with MBA-program funding, offering a variety of financial-aid options. Many students finance their degrees through combinations of loans, scholarships, and personal savings. Full-time admitted candidates may simultaneously apply to for loans with ESADE two financial partners, Banc Sabadell and Prodigy Finance, but can select only one option to finance their MBA-program. The maximum loan amount offered through these agreements is capped at 100% of tuition fees (€62,700). A number of scholarships also are offered during the admissions process, based on either academic and talent criteria; or need-based and merit criteria.

Estimated Cost of Attendance

  • Tuition, inclusive of course materials, IT services on-campus, and library services $70,277 (€62,700)
  • MBA Student Association Fee: $113 (€100)
  • Room and Board $16,477 (€14,700)
  • Transportation: $807 (€720)
  • Miscellaneous Expenses: $7,157 (€6,385)
  • Sports: $874 (€780)
  • Total $95,705 (per year)

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Class Size190
Mean GMAT660
Mean GPAn/a
% Female31%

Essay Topic Analysis

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Recommendation Questions

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Mailing Address
Av. Torre Blanca, 59
08172 Sant Cugat del Vallès
Barcelona SPAIN

Phone: +34934952088
Fax: +34932048105
Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @theESADEmba

MBA LiveWire for ESADE

Application results in real time, submitted by site visitors.
October 5, 2017 6:19am
Interview Invite via email.
GMAT: 710.
June 30, 2017 11:28am
Waitlisted via email.
GPA: 3.86. GMAT: 690. India.
June 2, 2017 12:07am
Interview Invite via email.
GPA: 3.3. USA.
April 24, 2017 9:38pm
Interview Invite via email.
SE Asia.
April 4, 2017 7:35pm
Accepted via email.

DecisionWire for ESADE

Enrolled: HEC Paris
Admitted: ESADE, HEC Paris
GMAT: 710
Post-MBA Career: Consulting