MBA: The gains in Spain

Madrid's Instituto de Empresa is for those who fancy entrepreneurship
THERE ARE three Spanish business schools accredited by the Association of MBAs. Two - ESADE and IESE - are based in Barcelona, while the third, Instituto de Empresa, is in the Spanish capital Madrid. With its international faculty and enthusiastic promotion of entrepreneurship, the Instituto is acquiring a reputation as a highly regarded school with an innovative edge.

Set up in 1973 at the end of the Franco era, it is located in the financial heart of Madrid in a spot close to Serrano Street's stylish shops. Housed in a listed 18th-century building, the Instituto has been refurbished to include a virtual library and computer rooms, and is the only one of the top three business schools in Spain to have no religious ties. The other two are connected to the Roman Catholic church.

The school is a good bet for anyone who wants an international, bilingual MBA and who is interested in doing business with South America. The fact that its international MBA lasts just over one year (15 months in fact) is a plus for people who can't afford or don't want to take more time away from their work.

Amazingly, you don't have to speak Spanish to gain entry. The Instituto teaches you Spanish via warm-up lessons in your first term so that you are able to take some courses in Spanish in the second term. This year two out of the 56 students on the International MBA are from the UK.

The International MBA is thoroughly international. Thirty eight per cent of its students are Spanish, 14 per cent are from Latin America, and the remainder of the students are drawn from Europe and elsewhere.

According to Miguel Costa, director of the International MBA, its popularity is growing. The reason for this, he says, is because it's a 15-month rather than a two-year programme, and also because students relish learning to do business in another language, as it opens up doors for them.

Another reason why people may want to consider the Instituto is that it is keen to help students start up their own companies. In the last decade more than 350 firms have been set up by Instituto students. Now an Entrepreneurship Centre is being established to promote business creation.

Everyone lives off-campus in flats, and there is no cafeteria so students eat out. But fees are reasonable - the International MBA costs around pounds 10,000, which is good value for money.

Lucy Hodges