@ESADE #Counselorday2016

Originally posted on April 17, 2016 @ 9:00 am

On a rainy Friday morning in Barcelona a group of University Guidance Counsel(l)ors are shepherded onto a executive style bus. We are heading out of Barcelona to Esade’s campus in Santa Cugat, 25km outside of Barcelona. Our hosts are welcoming and warm in juxtaposition to the uncharacteristically cold weather.

Esade are a private but not-for-profit foundation business school in Barcelona that is consistently ranked as one of the best in Europe. For me, as a new guidance couselor, this is the first campus visit/fly-in that I have been invited to and particpated in and it is a very welcome chance for me to chew more ears about my particular predicament that I face at work, as well as network and get under the skin of a non-british university.

As a Brit, educated in British public schools and university I recognise that my appreciation for other Higher Education systems and establishments is somewhat limited. I began this work mindful of my internal Brit-prejudice, and so coming to Esade is a welcome tonic to this.

Esade operate two campuses – their law degree is taught at the Barcelona campus and is taught in Spanish. Their English taught BBA is based in Sant Cugat but they have plans to make all their programs taught in English over the years.

The drive takes about 40 minutes but we are caught up in traffic. I am assured that students can travel into Barcelona by train in under 30 minutes, so students can live in Barcelona and commute into class, but many opt to stay on campus at the purpose built residences.

The campus is charming and understated. The architecture is modern and functional but quite pleasing to look at none the less, and there is a feeling of togetherness on the campus.

The BBA looks like a very interesting option, that appears to be academically rigorous. We are stressed the need for Maths. IB students need to have studied SL Maths at least and A Level students need to have study A2 Math as a minimum for entry. There is an mandatory internship and international exchange program that students have to undertake in the 4th year of their study, that Esade helps its students to access. Teaching is carried out by experienced professionals who still work in business themselves. 270 faculty members are professionals as well.

The students that we speak to and hear from our convincing and impressive. Clearly they have been hand picked from the marketing department but they respond to difficult and testy questions from counselor with calm and laughter. I am particualrly impressed by one student who, when describing his experience in China for his exchange program and internship, is able to deftly demonstrate one of the benefits of this kind of education. His understanding of intercultural subtleties and a tangible demonstration of international-mindedness through his description of life in China as a French national studying in English at a Spanish University, all of which the people he meets have never heard of is applaudable. It is the type of student I hope to create.

The advantages of having an internship as part of your degree aside, Esade has an impressive rate of recruitment from Business. Some business, it seems only recruit from Esade and one other University in Spain. Students are recruited directly into Business and from the marketing it appears that Esade students are respected and sought after.

Esade has a global scope with a large number of nationalities making up the student body, plus roughly 150 exchange students at anyone time. This academic exchange in compulsory, as well as the academic internship; students have to go out and make a real connection with the business world. There is also an optional Summer University Development Service where students can undertake voluntary service in Latin America for a summer.

Esade BBA Course Structure


One of the additional strings to the Esade bow is the focus on language learning. Students are required to study Spanish even though the course is taught in English, as well as a second language from French or German. They receive official recognition of their proficiency in these languages as part of their certificate. Thus students become equipped with language skills that open the door to working in businesses in the Francophone and German speaking world and either french or german. As an institution they aim  to guarantee the language abilities to the graduate market.

Team work

During the course there is a specific focus on developing practical business skills. Team work is explicitly taught for example.

A final aspect that I thought was really cool and that I had overlooked initially was Esade’s Associations. These are sort of like clubs and societies but with a business twist. Students have to apply to join them, and they have entrance interviews. Each association has a marketing and HR department! and they are often linked to entrepreneurial ideas. One student stated that her DP CAS program taught her all the skills she needed to succeed in the wider life of the school.

Admissions requirements for BBA

Mathematics is essential. Students need to have taken maths during every year of high school and then Maths A level or SL and up for DP students.

There is no need for IELTS test if final two years of school are 100% classes in English. IELTS from 7.

Selection committee meets in January. Decision based on predicted grades. 1 out of 3 applications are rejected. Conditional admissions on passing the school leaving exams.

Deposit only refundable if they are not admitted.

Scholarships and Financial Aid

Average scholarship 9,500 – 58% of Esade students receive it. Not a loan, this is a grant. last year 1.7m euros in the budget.

Awards for academic excellence – 100% and awards for academic merit  – 2,500 euro – first year only.

Talent scholarships – need based 50-70 or 90 of tuition. Good academic record. all 4 years.

Housing scholarships covers 50% of the cost of the residence.

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