Purpose: This study seeks to analyse students’ perception of the effectiveness of business games as an e-learning method in management training. This analysis of games’ effectiveness is centred in the generic and managerial skills acquired, through the comparison of students’ opinions in different cultural contexts within Europe. Design/methodology/approach: The analysis focuses on 120 management students at postgraduate level who use the same business game at different universities in five European countries: Spain, Ireland, Portugal, Italy and Germany. Findings: The results indicate that students positively assessed the generic and specific managerial skills fostered by the business game. The generic skills most valued were information and decision-making, and leadership. Regarding the specific skills, the most valued were management skills and the least valued, skills related to planning and the acquisition of theoretical knowledge. However, significant differences were found between students in different cultural contexts and education systems in the case of certain specific managerial skills. Practical implications: This finding suggests that the students’ perception of how a business game helps them acquire specific managerial skills is influenced by cultural aspects and previous exposure to experiential learning, which determine that the teachers’ role and the teaching process should be adapted to the students’ learning model. Originality/value: With this study, a better knowledge about the students’ perception of this e-learning method is obtained, not just considering a specific educational environment, but comparing opinions of students from different cultural contexts, which adds value to the analyses developed.