Poets&Quants Top 50 MBA Programs Outside the U.S.

by John A. Byrne on

London Business School came in first among 50 of the best B-schools outside the U.S. in the new 2010 ranking by Poets&Quants. France’s INSEAD was second, followed by IMD in Switzerland, and then IESE and IE Business Schools in Spain.

This new P&Q list is a composite of four major MBA rankings published by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, The Economist, The Financial Times, and Forbes. The ranking takes into account a massive wealth of quantitative and qualitative data captured in the five major lists, from surveys of corporate recruiters, MBA graduates, deans and faculty publication records to median GPA and GMAT scores of entering students as well as the latest salary and employment statistics of the latest graduating class.

By blending these rankings using a system that takes into account each of their strengths as well as their flaws, we’ve come up with what is arguably the most authoritative ranking of MBA programs ever published. The list, which includes the recently released 2010 rankings by BusinessWeek and The Economist, tends to eliminate anomalies and other statistical distortions that often occur in one ranking or another. In any case, the ranking measures the overall quality and reputation of the flagship full-time MBA programs at the schools, rather than the schools themselves.

After the U.S., Europe remains the best place to get a business education. Of the top 20 non-U.S. B-schools, seven are based in Britain, including the relatively new MBA programs at No. 9 Cambridge and No. 11 Oxford universities, along with three each in Spain and in France. Only one Asian school, China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) in Shanghai, cracked the top 20 list at 17th.

The ranking underscores the fact that Europe’s business schools have been gaining significant ground in recent years. For the year ending June 30, 2010, for example, European schools received more than 85,000 GMAT scores, an increase of 90 percent, or about 40,000 score reports from five years prior. The total number of GMAT scores sent worldwide increased by only 30 percent over the same five-year period.

Britain, France, the Netherlands, and Spain remain the top European destinations, receiving about 80 percent of the GMAT scores sent. But schools in five other countries—Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, Italy, and Greece—each received more than 1,000 score reports from prospective students. A majority (64 percent) of the GMAT scores sent to European business schools came from non-European examinees, especially from Indian and Chinese citizens. In fact, Indian citizens outnumbered local talent in some countries and were the leading source of talent in 2010 for schools in Britain, France, Spain, and Switzerland. Just 37 percent of scores from European test takers were sent to business schools in the U.S., the first year the proportion fell below 40 percent. A decade ago, more than 60 percent of scores from European test takers went to U.S. schools.

P&Q Rank & School Index BW Forbes* FT Econ
1. London Business School London, U.K. 100.0 5 1 1 19
2. INSEAD Fontainebeau, France 98.9 1 1 5 23
3. IMD Lausanne, Switzerland 98.7 7 2 15 6
4. IESE Business School Barcelona & Madrid, Spain 98.1 12 3 11 5
5. IE Business School Madrid, Spain 97.9 3 3 6 22
6. HEC Paris Paris, France 93.6 14 7 18 9
7. ESADE Business School Barcelona, Spain 93.4 4 8 19 20
8. Cranfield University Cranfield, U.K. 89.9 13 9 26 15
9. Cambridge (Judge) Cambridge, U.K. 89.7 10 4 21 30
10.York University (Schulich) Ontario, Canada 85.4 9 6 54 10
11. Oxford University (Said) Oxford, U.K. 77.7 16 5 16 71
12. University of Manchester Manchester, U.K. 75.1 17 2 40 61
13. SDA Bocconi Milan, Italy 72.3 18 8 38 65
14. City University (Cass) London, U.K. 53.6 NR 6 41 53
15. McGill University (Desauteis) West Montreal, Canada 49.1 11 11 95 NR
16. Lancaster University Lancaster, U.K. 48.3 NR 7 24 89
17. CEIBS Shanghai, China 46.9 NR 4 22 100
18. HEC Montreal Montreal, Canada 46.4 15 10 NR NR
19. EM Lyon Lyon, France 41.6 NR 11 97 38
20. Australian School of Business Sydney, Australia 41.1 NR 9 36 NR
21. Toronto (Rotman) Toronto, Canada 39.3 8 NR 45 NR
22. Western Ontario (Ivey) Ontario, Canada 38.6 6 NR 49 NR
23. Hong Kong UST Kowloon, Hong Kong 37.1 NR NR 9 52
24. British Columbia (Sauder) Vancouver, Canada 34.7 NR 10 82 79
25. Warwick Business School Coventry, U.K. 33.4 NR NR 42 34
26. Erasmus (Rotterdam) Rotterdam, The Netherlands 31.8 NR NR 25 57
27. Nanyang Business School Singapore 28.1 NR NR 27 69
28. Chinese University of H.K. Hong Kong 27.6 NR NR 28 70
28. IPADE Business School Mexico City, Mexico 27.6 NR 5 93 NR
30. Queen’s School of Business Kingston, Ontario, Canada 26.3 2 NR NR NR
31. University of Strathclyde Glasgow, UK 26.0 NR NR 51 75
32. University of Melbourne Melbourne, Australia 25.2 NR NR 63 41
33. Indian School of Business Hyderabad, India 23.6 NR NR 12 NR
34. Bath School of Management Bath, U.K. 22.7 NR NR 87 29
35. Henley Business School Reading, U.K. 22.0 NR NR NR 17
36. Hult International Business London, Shanghai, Dubai 21.8 NR NR 94 27
37. Manheim Business School Manheim, Germany 19.9 NR NR NR 26
38. UCD Dublin Business School (Smurfit) Dublin, Ireland 19.6 NR NR 98 31
39. Durham Business School Durham, U.K. 19.4 NR NR 74 55
40. Imperial College West London, U.K. 18.3 NR NR 32 NR
41. Vierick Leuven Gent Leuven & Ghent, Belgium 17.9 NR NR 87 47
42. Birmingham Business School Birmingham, U.K. 15.5 NR NR 75 68
43. Aston Business School Birmingham, U.K. 14.6 NR NR 73 74
44. University of Hong Kong Hong Kong 14.0 NR NR NR 48
45. EDHEC Business School Lille, Nice, Paris, France 13.8 NR NR NR 49
46. University of Monaco Monaco 13.3 NR NR NR 51
47. Monash University Melbourne, Australia 11.4 NR NR NR 58
48. Grenoble Graduate School Grenoble, France 10.3 NR NR NR 62
49. Macquarie Graduate School Sydney, Australia 10.2 NR NR 99 64
50. University of Edinburgh Business School Edinburgh, U.K. 9.8 NR NR 89 75

Methodology: Schools on each of four major rankings–BusinessWeek, Forbes, The Financial Times, and The Economist– were scored from a high of 100 to a low of 1, the numerical rank of the 100th school on any one list. Then, those sums were brought together.

  • Kyle

    Thanks for this great list. It’s really helpful.

    I have a question though. Are the rankings from the four magazines the only factors?

    If so, I can’t figure out why Mannheim Business School (ranked 26th by the Economist but not ranked by the others) is not on the list. Shouldn’t it be ranked ahead of the University of Hong Kong (ranked 48th by the Economist but not ranked by the others) or EDHEC Business School (ranked 49th by the Economist but not ranked by the others)?

    Can someone please help explain?

  • Kyle

    Nevermind! I found Mannheim on the list now. For some reason my “control F” search function didn’t seem to find it earlier. Apologies.

  • wannabe

    i don’t understand why lbs can be better ranked than insead? other than being in london, lbs is inferior in every other aspect. any explanations?

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    The Financial Times’ ranking shows that London Business School is not only more highly ranked than INSEAD, it is more highly ranked than Harvard or Stanford. It’s simply a function of the newspaper’s methodology which places some quirky and odd value on things that are not indicative of quality or reputation.

  • http://www.sternassociates.com Jen

    Thanks for the comprehensive list! How often do you publish these rankings?

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne

    Once a year. We’ll update this ranking in early November, two weeks after The Economist publishes its 2011 ranking.

  • Richard

    Hi John,

    I am looking to your Rankings with a big interest. I guess it makes sense.

    However, I feel that there might be one inconsistency in the methodology.
    You are separating the ranking between US and outside the US but you are still applying the global rank in case of FT and Econ. Would it not make more sense to use the “outside the US rank” of FT & Econ instead? For example, in case of FT, LBS 1st, INSEAD 2nd, IE 3rd,…. I believe the same comment could also apply to your US ranking? What do you think?

    In addition, concerning Forbes ranking, LBS ranked #1 has a much worst ROI compared to IMD ranked #2! I feel it is strange to use this ranking in that way, especially since the ROI value is available and it should be then possible to compile an overall Forbes ranking of 1y program and 2y program in case of the “outside the US” ranking.

    I would be happy to here your answer and I am looking forward for the 2011 Poets&quants ranking!

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne


    Yes, it probably would make sense to isolate the U.S. schools from the non-U.S. schools in rankings that are completely global. On the other hand, it won’t change the composite ranking at all because all schools are similarly advantaged or dis-advantaged depending on your point of view. In our next ranking, however, we’ll do this to simplify the ranking and remove any doubt about this part of the methodology.

  • sultan

    IMD ranking has been changed, in the economist from 6 to 3, and in the forbes from 2 to 1 this year. please update..this school is a real BUSINESS school.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne


    We’re in the process of updating and will release those results shortly.

  • Mike

    Whoa… since when York is making lists? What happened to UofT? I thought UofT is Toronto’s Mcgill and York is the Concordia…

  • sultan


    why didn’t you update this list, IMD position got changed. and could you please provide more insights on this school? I just wonder why isn’t that famous as others?

  • Said Mohammad

    Hello John! Do American employers and employers in developing countries see a European MBA as being on par with an American MBA? I know it’s a very general question so even if you give me your instinctive reaction to that question, I will take that into account.

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne


    That really depends on which school you get the MBA from. In general, I would say no. But London Business School, INSEAD, IMD, HEC Paris, ESADE, IE and IESE all have very strong MBA programs. My personal belief, however, is that they do not line up all that well with Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Chicago, Northwestern, MIT, Columbia, Dartmouth, or Berkeley.

  • Tia

    Hi John, I need to decide between IESE and UCLA Anderson. I am from India, and open to working in the US and Europe post an MBA. Which school according to you will give me a better overall experience, and have a better brand recognition. Any insights will be very helpful. Thanks!

  • http://poetsandquants.com/members/jbyrne/ John A. Byrne


    That’s a great choice of schools. Congrats. So it really comes down to where you would prefer to work ( though I know in the U.S. at least this can be more complicated due to visa restrictions): Europe or the U.S. if it’s the former I wouldn’t have a moment of hesitation in attending IESE. It is a superb business school, one of the very best in Europe. The school has a strong brand in Europe and that brand has gotten considerably stronger in recent years. I have never personally visited IESE, but my limited contact with the school has been very positive.

    As for UCLA, that would be the better bet if you want to work in the U.S. it’s a terrific MBA program in a spectacular location, and very well known. California is still a golden place due to entertainment, high tech, biotech, and alternative energy.

    In other words, whatever you choose, you can’t go wrong, as long as you know where you would prefer to work. Good luck!

  • limo


    both are good schools and John has told you helpful info, however, I believe UCLA can serve u inside and outside US, but not vice versa with IESE. US schools still ahead of the others generally in MBA industry..

  • limo


    How can I find information about how much MBAs education worth worldwide? I am very interesting in this industry and didn’t find trusted and reliable source about it from financial standpoint?

  • sunny_dreamz

    Hi John,

    I need your HELP in deciding between British Columbia (Sauder) and McGill University (Desauteis) for pursuing MBA. Both will be costing me the same in terms of fee + living expenses. Please suggest which of these offer a better MBA program considering that I plan to pursue my career into consulting. Which is more reputed and considered better by employers in Canada/USA? Also, it would be great if you can offer some insight on the strengths and weaknesses of these MBA programs.

    Thanks for your guidance/help!!

  • sunny_dreamz

    Please Help !!!

  • sunny_dreamz

    Hi John, I need an urgent help on my queries. Thanks!!

  • Orla Wrynn

    Hi John.  Could you correct the school name for UCD above?  It should be listed as University College Dublin (Smurfit) Dublin, Ireland

  • Ron

    Hi John… Thanks for all the hard-work to assist people with their MBA decisions. Like others, i am also in a fix, and your point of view will be highly appreciated. I got MBA offer from some European schools but shortlisted Lancaster and Smurfit (UCD), but unable to decide between these two. UK visa is getting tougher for foreigners, so despite Lancaster positioned better than Smurfit in rankings, would Smurfit be a better option as it is based in Ireland which is right now more friendly to foreigners? Thanks!

  • Praneet07

    I guess ESSEC is missing from the list. It has a great MBA program. And one of the best in france after INSEAD and HEC.

  • http://twitter.com/compusential Yang Pei

    Based on the rankings here, I should have gone to Cass… but I chose Imperial instead. Uni reputation is usually quite biased in different countries. If you live in London, try asking 100 random people, and see if they know Cass :)

  • sam

    where are ISB and IIM from India

  • Wolly

    With Manchester Business School, what you is the best of the best. One of the most rigorous and practical MBA programs out there. Every bit of the program challenges every fibre of your brain. Definitely at par with Harvard, Kellog, Stanford, MIT Sloan, IMD, INSEAD. Makes you as hot as the best brands out there can be. Good value for money. Overall experience worth it!

  • Martin

    All true, but since the US is so large schools there will get easily recogniced by employers and students while schools for small countries would be more unknown, specially if not a English speaking country.

  • MBAGradinNH

    Please spell it Mannheim, not Manheim. Thank you.

  • FrenchMBA

    I am sorry John, i don’t agree with you at all. How can you place schools with tremendous international reputation & great student quality like Imperial College, Smurfit, ISB, Rotterdam, Ivey, Nanyang, Melboure BSchool, Rotman & AGSM below EM Lyon, which is a typical French school with no reputation beyond French boundaries and a disgraceful yet popular MBA program. I just don’t get it. Please don’t mislead prospective MBA candidates.

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