In recent years, business related degree and post-degree programmes offered in English have been increasing in numbers and in popularity in Poland. MBA and Executive MBA programmes in particular have been growing in popularity among candidates and employers in recent years as the growth of Polish economy continues bolstered by foreign investment, which, in turn, results in an increased demand for managers with globally recognised skills.
Today, there are in Poland several dozen MBA (Master In Business Administration) programmes to choose from. The majority are offered in Polish and English, although a number of programmes are offered exclusively in English. Programmes offered include two-year full-time MBA courses for students who have completed a university degree and want to become managers and Executive MBA (EMBA) programmes, which are geared towards people already working as managers; they are usually required to have at least three years of work experience. These programmes usually last around twenty months. Increasingly, specialised programmes are emerging to reflect the changing needs of employers. The better programmes focus on a practical approach and emphasise case studies based on real-life businesses.
Many of the more highly regarded MBA programmes in Poland partner with foreign business schools, and – in many cases – graduates receive a degree from both the Polish school offering the programme and its foreign partner school. The Canadian Executive Master of Business Administration Programme (CEMBA), for example, is conducted as a joint venture between the Warsaw School of Economics (SGH) and the University of Quebec at Montreal (UQAM). The graduates receive a degree from both schools. The Warsaw School of Economics also offers a post-graduate finance programme in English, ‘Warsaw School of Economics and Ernst & Young Executive Studies in Finance’ – a post graduate programme which gives working professionals without a background in finance the opportunity to obtain financial skills. The courses are taught by university professors and professional trainers from Ernst & Young.
Other highly regarded international co-operations include: the Warsaw-Illinois Executive MBA, the WEMBA programme, which is a partnership between the Warsaw School of Economics and the University of Minnesota; the partnerships of the Business School of the Warsaw University of Technology with the London Business School, HEC School of Management in Paris and the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration.
This by all means is not an exhaustive list, and there are numerous similar international co-operations between major Polish Universities and highly respected foreign schools which have many years of experience and proven track records of administering internationally renowned MBA programmes. These types of co-operations help to ensure that the same standards are maintained regardless of whether the degree is obtained in Poland or abroad.
Although expensive compared to other types of post-graduate studies in Poland, Polish MBAs provide excellent value compared to that of their counterparts in the West. In the UK, for example, an MBA can cost up to GB£ 45, 000. Meanwhile, MBA programmes in the United States can often cost up to US$ 120, 000 or approximately GB£ 78, 000. In Poland, internationally recognised programmes of a similar quality generally range from PLN 30, 000 to PLN 70, 000, or approximately GB£ 6, 700 to approximately GB£ 15, 000.
The relatively lower costs and high quality of most of the top MBA programmes in Poland are attracting more and more foreign students, with some schools reporting close to half of their students coming from abroad. The percentage of foreign students, however, is much smaller in Executive MBA programmes as they require travel on weekends. Still, for example, the CEMBA programme, which consistently ranks in the top of the field of Executive MBA programmes in Poland, reports that 12.1% of its graduates are foreign and another 14.9% have both Polish and foreign citizenships. As Polish MBA programmes and Executive MBA programmes continue to participate and move up in international rankings and gain more teaching experience, it is likely that the number of foreign candidates for MBAs in Poland will increase.
So is coming to Poland to finish a degree worthwhile? In the majority of cases it seems that the answer is yes. Aside from getting the opportunity to experience a fascinating country with a rich culture, with many interesting historical sites and beautiful natural landscapes, you can also end up getting a very good education, often at a fraction of the cost that you would pay in Western Europe or North America. The quality of education, especially at the schools which offer programmes in English, is generally very high. Most of the leading schools offer programmes which are recognised not only in the European Union but in the rest of the world as well. Most foreign students and graduates report high levels of satisfaction and, especially in the case of MBA programmes, end up making more money or being promoted after they graduate. Of course, it is important to do a thorough research before making any decisions, and it is especially important to make sure that the degree that you are going to pursue is properly accredited and recognised in your home country, if your goal is to go back home after finishing your studies. With the proper planning and research, the choice to continue your studies in Poland could be one of the best decisions you ever make.
Do następnego razu… (Till next time…)