Forbes 2011 Ranking of Global B-Schools

by John A. Byrne on

IMD is ranked third among the top 50 business schools outside the U.S. by Poets&Quants.

IMD edged out INSEAD in the 2001 Forbes MBA ranking of one-year programs outside the U.S.

IMD edged out INSEAD in Forbes new 2011 biennial MBA ranking of one-year programs outside the U.S., while London Business School retained its No. 1 ranking in Forbes’ list of one-year international MBA programs.

Forbes also added one extra school on each list, expanding them to a dozen each from 11 two years ago. The newcomers are the National University of Singapore and Warwick, the latter for its one-year MBA program.

The rankings are solely based on return-on-investment, measured by surveys sent to alumni who graduated from each school five years ago. When Forbes first released these new rankings on Aug. 3, it failed to provide any statistical data on the findings for non-U.S. schools, only releasing this latest ranking via two slideshows at It has since published the survey findings upon which the rankings are based (see below).

Forbes said that MBAs who graduated from No. 1 ranked IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, racked up a “five-year M.B.A. gain” of $230,000. This compared to a gain of $118,000 for the top ranked U.S. school, Harvard. The median salary for an IMD grad in 2010 was $247,000 compared to $80,000 before school. “What really separates the business schools outside the U.S. is the number of elite one-year programs offered in Europe,” the magazine said. “Students are often able to get their hefty upfront investment back in less than three years.”

Among two-year MBA programs, Forbes said that graduates of London Business School reported a “five-year M.B.A. gain” of $155,000 and a median payback period of 3.2 years. “LBS alumni from the class of 2006 saw their salaries jump from 37,000 pounds before entering school to 127,000 pounds last year (the jump is less impressive in dollar terms due to the weakening of the British Pound),” said Forbes.

2011 Forbes Ranking of Non-U.S. Two-Year MBA Programs

Rank & School                           2009 Rank    2007 Rank    Pre-MBA Salary    2010Salary Yrs toBreakeven
1. London Business School 1 2 $68,000 $197,000 3.2
2. Manchester 2 3 $48,000 $155,000 3.5
3. IESE 3 1 $56,000 $161,000 3.7
4. National Univ. of Singapore NR NR $14,000 $72,000 2.0
5. CEIBS 4 9 $20,000 $106,000 3.0
6. ESADE 8 8 $42,000 $130,000 3.4
7. IPADE 5 5 $16,000 $65,000 2.9
8. HEC-Paris 7 10 $59,000 $161,000 4.0
9. Australian School of Business 9 6 $59,000 $181,000 4.0
10. York (Schulich) 6 4 $36,000 $121,000 4.1
11. McGill (Desautels) 11 11 $43,000 $134,000 4.1
12. British Columbia (Sauder) 10 7 $31,000 $92,000 4.3

Source: Forbes 2011 MBA rankings of international schools

(See next page for table of the top international one-year MBA programs)

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  • gunt sucram

    Agree with Kwok that the Pre-MBA salary of NUS should be highly underestimated. Will this flaw highly affect the Poets and Quants ranking 2011? Will NUS rocketed to a very high ranking (compare to other Asian school) next year?

  • km80

    @jbyrne John,

    Median base salary upon graduation for York according to Business week is 82,000 dollars, I am assuming that it is USD. But Forbes is listing it way higher at $121,000. So who is correct?

  • John A. Byrne


    They’re both correct. The Forbes number cited in the chart is base salary five years after graduation. The BusinessWeek number represents starting pay directly after graduation.

  • km80

    Thanks John, @jbyrne John,
    On those lines a couple of follow up questions.

    1) Why do top Canadian schools such as McGIll, Rottman, York have average median salaries compared to top schools in the US (85K vs 100K)?
    2) Does this have to do anything with average GMAT scores at admission? For most Canadian schools, the median GMAT is in the mid 600s
    3) How do Canadian schools compare with respect to Said/Judge when it comes to placement opportunities? I still could not locate a single alum (well, very few) placed at the big management consultancies from the UK schools (Mckinsey, BCG etc)
    4) Schools like McGill, York have their MBAs hired for Management Consulting positions by firms such as Deloitte, so does a firm like Deloitte, BCG pay its Canadian hires on par with US hires?
    My buddies and I are applying to Non US programs this year and your insight is going to be very helpful. thanks in advance,

  • Bingo man

    I strongly disagree with these rankings. I have been in contact with few alums of MBS and to be honest in their words the ranking of this school is quite inflated. The school has massively diluted it brand in the world by opening so many campuses. However I am still considering this school in my application list because it is cheaper. The fee is high but adcom just throws scholarship at everyone so at the end its cheaper.

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