An MBA is a proven way to demonstrate your grasp of the best management theories and practices to future employers. You benefit from invaluable on-the-job experience as you work alongside leaders in real-life businesses.
Although some think that MBAs are not as prestigious as they once were, the number of high-paying jobs that require an MBA suggest those fears are unfounded. So, if you’re thinking of going to a business school, here are nine of the best countries to consider.
Top business schools around the world
Every year, the Financial Times of London lists its top 100 business schools. Factors considered in ranking include an ESG rating, the percentage of graduates employed within three months post-graduation and weighted salary three years after graduation. The publication conducts assessments every other year.
Did you know? The first-ever MBA course took place at Harvard University Graduate School of Administration in 1908. Forty-seven students became the first graduates.
1. United States
Half of the top 100 business schools are located in the United States, the best of which are mixes of private and public academic institutions.
The U.S. is home to the following renowned Ivy League business schools: [Read related article: 5 Books Ivy Leaguers Read Getting an MBA.]
- The Wharton School ($237,530). Located in Philadelphia and part of the University of Pennsylvania, the Wharton School offers a BS in Economics as well as MBA/EMBA and Ph.D. programs.
- Columbia Business School ($218,542). Part of Columbia University and based in New York, this program offers MBA/EMBA, Ph.D., MS, and MPhil qualifications.
- Harvard Business School ($207,180). Enroll in full-time MBA, Ph.D. and any of several executive education programs at the graduate business school of the world-famous Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
- Yale School of Management ($190,941). The Yale School of Management at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut offers MBA/EMBA, Ph.D., executive education and joint degree programs.
- Tuck School of Business ($188,784). The business school of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire offers an MBA and an advanced management program for executives.
- Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management ($181,821). One of Cornell University’s three famous business schools in Ithaca, New York, this college offers MBA/EMBA and Ph.D. programs.
These are the top 10 US business schools, by weighted salary, that are not in the Ivy League:
- Stanford Graduate School of Business ($218,805)
- University of California at Berkeley: Haas ($207,853)
- Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management ($201,455)
- University of Chicago: Booth ($199,046)
- MIT: Sloan ($193,297)
- New York University: Stern ($192,188)
- Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business ($182,777)
- University of Virginia: Darden ($182,174)
- University of Southern California: Marshall ($179,095)
- Carnegie Mellon: Tepper ($178,194)
2. United Kingdom
Nine British universities finish in the FT’s Top 100 Business schools. Four British universities also finish in Bloomberg’s European B-Schools Ranking list: London in fourth, Judge at Cambridge in eighth, Saïd at Oxford in ninth and Imperial College at 15th. The London Business School was the first European academic institution to rank at top of the global MBA ranking in 2009.
Here are the top business schools in the UK:
- London Business School ($174,106)
- University of Cambridge: Judge ($165,667)
- University of Oxford: Saïd ($150,226)
- Imperial College Business School ($138,865)
- City, University of London: Bayes (formerly Cass) ($132,782)
- Warwick Business School ($129,191)
- Alliance Manchester Business School ($128,529)
- Lancaster University Management School ($110,094)
- Durham University Business School ($101,326)
Befitting its status as the world’s second-largest economy, Chinese business schools have begun to appear in greater numbers on top business school lists. China currently has six institutions named in the list.
The top business schools in China are as follows:
- CEIBS (China Europe International Business School) ($174,890)
- Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management ($158,952)
- Peking University: Guanghua School of Management ($156,488)
- Tongji University School of Economics and Management ($145,204)
- Fudan University School of Management ($136,709)
- Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai ($133,960)
Top scorer CEIBS is a joint venture between the Chinese government and the European Union. In addition to making the Financial Times of London list, it also finishes in the top five of equivalent Bloomberg Businessweek and Forbes polls. The university recently attracted negative attention with the publication of the 11-part CEIBS diaries detailing the unpleasant experiences of its overseas students.
The top business schools in India are listed below:
- Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad ($185,001)
- Indian Institute of Management Calcutta ($163,687)
- Indian Institute of Management Bangalore ($161,013)
- Indian School of Business ($158,749)
The Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad has been given the status of an Institute of National Importance by the country’s Ministry of Human Resources. It’s also home to the well-regarded Centre for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship.
These are top business schools in France:
- HEC Paris ($165,558)
- Edhec Business School ($120,110)
- Essec Business School ($117,754)
- EMLyon Business School ($99,987)
HEC limits the number of students it takes on each year for its 16-month MBA course to 300. Edhec has domestic campuses in Lille, Nice and Paris, with international campuses in London and Singapore.
These are the top business schools in Canada:
- Western University: Ivey ($113,394)
- University of Toronto: Rotman ($107,823)
- Queen’s University: Smith ($103,126)
- McGill University: Desautels ($99,002)
The Ivey Business School is also very highly ranked by Bloomberg Businessweek, the Wall Street Journal and the Economist. The college also gives its name to the Ivey Purchasing Managers Index (IPMI), which it operates in association with the Purchasing Management Association of Canada.
The top business schools in Singapore are below:
- National University of Singapore Business School ($159,877)
- Nanyang Business School, NTU Singapore ($133,948)
- Singapore Management University: Lee Kong Chian ($121,907)
The National University of Singapore Business School is the best-rated Singaporean institution on Bloomberg’s list of Asia-Pacific business schools. It ranks fourth overall, behind the Shanghai University of Finance and Economics, Hong Kong’s HKUST Business School and China’s CEIBS.
8. Hong Kong
Below are the top business schools in Hong Kong:
- HKUST Business School ($146,246)
- HKU Business School ($129,149)
- CUHK Business School ($127,903)
The HKUST School of Business and Management offers full-time MBA courses and Executive Education programs. It’s also part of the prestigious The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.
HKUST’s Executive MBA program is delivered in partnership with Kellogg School of Management. Qualifications are also accredited to both the European Quality Improvement System (EQUIS) and the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International).
These are the top business schools in Germany:
- Mannheim Business School ($129,606)
- ESMT Berlin ($118,110)
- WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management ($117,488)
The Mannheim Business School offers four MBA programs: the Mannheim & Tongji Executive MBA, the ESSEC & Mannheim Executive MBA, the Mannheim Executive MBA and the Mannheim Master of Business Administration. Class size is limited to 60 for the full-time MBA course.
Some top business schools can be found in several locations. Insead (186,784), for instance, has campuses in France, Singapore, San Francisco and Abu Dhabi. ESCP Business School (118,273) is also an institution with several campuses, including France, Germany, Spain and Italy.
FYI: The lifetime premium of an MBA (the additional salary you earn over someone who’s not earned an MBA) is $790,000, but could go up to $5,010,000 if you get yours from a top three school, according to Payscale.
Why you should get a business education
In a top-ranking MBA program, you’ll learn how to drive innovation, formulate strategy, oversee expansion, manage cash, improve performance and more. You’ll also learn all the people skills you need to provide leadership from the top down.
Earning an MBA is the clearest indication you can give to an employer about the direction you want your career to go in. Studying abroad makes that challenge harder. You’ll be immersed in a different culture, different laws and, sometimes, a different language.
Both show leadership teams that you’re willing to invest time, energy and money in yourself and that you want to work alongside them.
Additional reporting by Sean Hopwood.