COST OF PROGRAM IS LOW: JUST $3,451 FOR INTERNATIONAL STUDENTS
Neli Staneva, originally from Bulgaria, graduated from the program in 2016. “What I liked was the focus on leadership topics, and on topics that are useful for society,” she says. “For me what distinguishes it was the SIMagination Challenge.”
The expense of living in Switzerland was offset by the cheapness of the program — it costs just CHF9,978 (or a mere $10,347) for international students, and CHF4,278 for Swiss citizens for the minimum three semesters — and she liked the campus set-up in a university city. The small cohort (50, from 25 countries in an average year) leads to a “close-knit community” where professors knew every student.
How did the program help her? “I learned to look at the big picture and to tell a story, to make a case for something in a presentation. That is a skill that the course really gives you. Knowing where to start, what to analyze, how to present your options and how to present your decision. It teaches you to make an air-tight argument and to take people through your reasoning.”
‘YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE IN A FAMILY’
Jobwise, she acknowledges that St Gallen doesn’t have much name recognition outside the German-speaking part of Europe, but as a German-speaker, that didn’t bother her. An internship found via a SIM colleague at an automotive firm sparked a passion for the sector, and she now works in the industry in Austria. Overall, she says: “You feel like you are in a family, but you also get the brand and recognizability. I would choose it again.” She’s not alone. Some 92% of the alumni surveyed by the FT say they were able to achieve their career aims as a result of doing the program.
Unlike the admission requirements for most MBA programs, St Gallen spells out in detail the importance of each metric to gain entry into the newest cohort which begins every September. The school says its video interview is given a 30% weight, GMATs or GREs 20%, average undergraduate grades 20%, extracurriculars and work experience 20%, and a required essay 10%.
Like all schools that do well in rankings, St Gallen says it doesn’t care much about them. Being number one might be a product of ranking methodology, but being in the top echelon is certainly a sign of quality. For students who want an intimate program in a picturesque location and have an interest in the German-speaking world, it is hard to see who can challenge St. Gallen — whether it loses its top spot or not.