London Tops BW’s Non-U.S. Schools

London Business School surged to the top of Bloomberg BusinessWeek’s 2012 ranking of the best non-U.S. full-time MBA programs.

London jumped four places to finish first, moving aside INSEAD which fell to second place. IE Business School in Spain was third, followed by Queen’s College in Canada and Oxford University’s Said School in fifth. For Oxford, the rank of fifth represented a 11-place climb from 2010 when it was ranked 16th.

In an online chat timed to the release of BW’s latest survey on Nov. 15, editor Geoff Gloeckler explained the reason for Oxford’s big move forward. “Oxford has seen steady improvement in their student satisfaction score over the past three rankings cycles,” he said. “Also, the school’s employer score jumped quite a bit after a less-than-stellar 2010. Oxford is one of only three schools in the ranking that finished in the top ten of all three rankings categories. The other two schools are LBS and INSEAD.”


Unlike The Financial Times or The Economist, Bloomberg BusinessWeek publishes a separate list of the best international schools and does not combine all the schools in a single global ranking. The reason is because of BusinessWeek’s methodology which largely relies on satisfaction surveys of students and corporate recruiters. Largely because the recruiters who hire MBAs in Europe and Asia are not the same as those who hire in the U.S., combining the results could lead to complications.

This year BusinessWeek ranked 19 non-U.S. schools, it’s largest number ever. But not a single school in either India or China made the list. The only Asian school to crack the ranking was Hong Kong’s University of Science & Technology which came in at a rank of 18th. The school hadn’t made BusinessWeek’s 2010 ranking, the last time the magazine published its biennial ranking.

Although London Business School’s four-place gain allowed it to push aside INSEAD for the honor of best international school in the BusinessWeek survey, the single biggest winner may well be Oxford’s Said School.

Oxford jumped 11 spots to finish fifth, up from 16th two years ago. The school improved its standing on all three of the core metrics measured by BusinessWeek: student satisfaction, corporate recruiter satisfaction and intellectual capital. Moreover, the biggest gains came in the category that essentially has the most weight in the methodology, recruiter attitudes toward the schools.

The school improved its recruiter rank by ten full places to finish 7th among the international schools this year, up from 17th two years ago. In student satisfaction, Oxford ranked 8th, three places better than its 11th place showing in 2010. And on intellectual capital, the school did one place better, finishing at a rank of sixth this year, up from seventh two years ago.

IESE Business School in Spain also gained ground in the ranking, moving up four places this year to finish in eighth place, up from 12th in 2010.

(See the following page for the table of all the non-U.S. schools ranked)

  • Interesting way to look at it. Indeed, if you handpick the top few from each continent, then you would arrive at H/S/W/L/I.

    Though I would suspect further in the future, something in Asia will slowly creep up and join the rankings. In the future, it would be hard to say something is top 5 in the world if not even one from Asia is included.

    Having said that, part of the reason London Business School has been able to attract and retain top caliber talent is through merit-based scholarships.

    While there are not that many offered, one of our students did receive one ($93k scholarship). And we can recognize this as one way for top schools to continue to bring in great talent to their MBA community.

  • Pluto

    Extremely smart post. I think Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, LBS, and INSEAD should form a global consortium with career services and networking. Can you imagine the global innovation that would arise from these top 5 schools collaborating instead of competing? I hope this happens….

    Makes me wish I would have gotten into one of these top 5 schools…

  • Plato

    LBS and INSEAD are “Harvard and Stanford” outside of US. The arguments made on this post are like arguing which is better, Harvard or Stanford? Impossible question, both are amazing. Comes down to personal preference (small vs large, city vs rural ish, 1 year vs 2 year, etc.). Top 5 schools in the world: Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, London Business School, INSEAD. I say this confidence because all add to the world in unique ways. Schools like Kellogg, Chicago, Columbia etc are overshadowed by H/S/W. These five schools cover all corners of the world not just the US. Those who read this, take a moment to think about my statement ad you’ll realize how true it is. Not saying Kellogg, Chicago, etc aren’t great – they are. But top 5 in the WORLD are H/S/W/L/I. Most of the world’s leaders in any capacity come from one f those five.

  • HBSSectionK

    George – WRONG!!!!!! Stop putting down other top b schools…seriously – it is stupid. I can name 15 things that INSEAD should improve just like I can do the same with HBS. LBS, IMD, IE, IESE are ALL wonderful schools. People pick their schools for many reasons – including very personal ones. Stop making a clusterf*ck of the situation…

  • HBSSectionK

    BSCHOOL – you are completely right! Cheers man. Smartest thing I’ve read on this forum tonight…

  • HBSSectionK

    Lara, I would love for you to make that public statement at HBS. Get over your inferiority complex….which I don’t understand why you have one considering INSEAD is incredible.

    You and your INSEAD posters (or ringers should I say) are giving the school a very bad name right now…seriously, I kind of think different of INSEAD after reading all these offensive, made-up posts. In fact, I may argue this is the difference between LBS and INSEAD – I haven’t really seen LBSers offend anyone on this forum…

    As someone who will be in a position to hire soon, I almost don’t want to hire from INSEAD after reading all these unfounded elitist posts…

  • Katie

    HBSSectionK, I go to Wharton, and I wholeheartedly agree with your statement. These idiots need to stop fighting…both are amazing schools. They should start embracing each other as peers because THAT IS WHAT YOU BOTH ARE!!! PEERS!!! AND, YOU ARE BOTH OUR PEERS TOO!!!!!

  • HBSSectionK

    Guys, really? Both LBS and INSEAD are incredible schools. I can’t believe you guys are breaking this down and arguing over a few students. That’s like me looking at Stanford’s employment report and saying “Oh man, we must be so much better, we sent a whole 3 more people to Bain Capital.” Ridiculous. You guys (actually we all are (LBS, INSEAD, Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Booth, Kellogg)) are peer schools. Instead of fighting over stupid sh*t, help each other…I have no problem helping my Stanford peer just like I have no problem helping my former McKinsey colleagues at LBS (who chose LBS over H/S/W/B).

    People take this b school “rivalry” to a whole new level. If you attend one of the above schools, you will have plenty of opportunity to make it to a top consulting firm or whatever you want because you already proved you are good enough to get into the respective MBA program. Stop fighting and cheers already – Jesus.

  • HBSSectionK

    Nicola, I am currently at HBS and I have to say that LBS is indeed an incredible school. I would argue that INSEAD is just as good as LBS but not better. Both place at the world’s best companies. You can’t compare on a numbers basis because the total number at each school is very different (come on man, didn’t you take the GMAT yet?…critical reasoning?). Anyway, when I get bored with work, I read the various posts and a great deal of your INSEAD people put down LBS. Why? It is an uncontested fact that both LBS and INSEAD are the two best business schools outside of the US and are considering 2 of the top 10 business schools in the world.

    Your post seems very defensive and there is no need to be…and sorry to burst your bubble, but rankings do matter as recruiters care about them and you are incorrect in assuming that LBS doesn’t attract recruiters from every top company because they do (I know that for a fact as I have friends from my McKinsey days who are currently at LBS)…

    I wish you the best at INSEAD!!

  • Abhinav Charan

    I have difficulty understanding how Queen’s is above Oxford and why there is no Cambridge (which could arguably sit at no.3). another flawed ranking

  • I wonder how many consulting hires from INSEAD have niche European language skills though? In many continental European countries, a consultant would still have to be able to speak the local language fluently with clients etc.

  • Dumber?

    I think you are the troll. 1% point difference means 10 students at INSEAD and 4 students at LBS. 4 students going to McKinsey is sometimes what a top 10 US bschool reports in a year.

  • bro

    I can handle fallacious statements and inaccurate data interpretation but I draw the line at insults.

  • Huh?

    A 1% difference is a difference between 10 vs. 4. At some top 10 US schools, that 1% difference is how many they send to McKinsey the whole year. You stop trollin’, dumbass

  • bro


    A 1 percentage point difference between Mckinsey recruits at INSEAD and LBS is trivial and doesn’t even come close to support the statement “ultimate consulting school worldwide”.

    According to the figures above LBS sends a higher % to BCG, and a smaller % to Bain. Get over it, stop trolling.

  • Huh?

    % comparison is sensical and thus, INSEAD does send more to McKinsey. Bain recruited 52 of 1009 at INSEAD while at LBS, 10 out of 403 went to Bain. That’s 5.1% at INSEAD vs. 2.4% at LBS. INSEAD still wins?

  • liberation26

    Where is Cambridge (Judge)? Did it slip by over 10 spots?

  • bro

    Please stop trying to mislead people. Have a look at the relative numbers:

    Mckinsey recruited 39 LBS students in 2011. This represents 10% of the student body. The figure was 9% in 2012.

    McKinsey recruited 107 INSEAD students in 2011. This represents 11% of the student body. INSEAD has more than twice as many students as LBS so comparing absolute numbers is nonsensical.

    BCG recruited 36 LBS students in 2012. This represents 9% of the student body.

    BCG recruited 61 INSEAD students in 2011 (don’t have 2012 numbers). This represents 6% of the student body.

  • liberation26

    Many of the students are sponsored and are returning back to their fromer employers. Don’t let the numbers fool ya! 🙂

  • liberation26

    Don’t be misled by the 27% figure. Most of them are former Mckinsey employees who are sponsored students! 🙂

  • James

    “the recruiters who hire MBAs in Europe and Asia are not the same as those who hire in the U.S”

    Is this really true? I feel like this is just a very America-centric answer.

    I went to LBS, and the same consulting firms and banks you might expect at an American business school were all present. Where schools do differ by recruiters significantly by geography, certainly the same recruiters in London are not the same recruiters in Hong Kong or Canada, so… it still wouldn’t make sense to group the non-US schools together in this case. This argument strikes me as extremely weak.

  • Kip

    Ok. Will let the rest of the schools know. Thanks.

  • samuel

    apart from INSEAD, no other international school worth attending.

  • Nick

    Not if you last week took the boat from Shenzhen to HK and had to do all the visa formalities at the border and change currency

  • Bali

    It is for the top three managmenet consulting firms, Mckinsey, Bain, and BCG. you can add Booz. Look at the employment reports for the last seven years, all those elite employers recruited from INSEAD more than any other school. Yes, mckinsey had hold the highest number but it is due to its size, so the others. Bain recruited 60 in a single year, and we all know how competitive to get into Bain. So, INSEAD is the ultimate consulting school worldwide.

  • Nicola’s mistaken. Insead is McKinsey’s strategic school, but not for many other employers. If you look a salaries, you’ll see other schools have higher salaries, which means they are attracting stronger students and recruiters.

  • “not a single school in either India or China made the list”?? At the risk of sounding ridiculous, Hong Kong is in China.

  • Lara

    INSEAD is better brand than HBS in the consulting world. HBS invented the industry and did set the standards, but INSEAD came with new developments that sets it apart; one year, multicultural, multilingual, multicampus, specialty in consulting. all these things gave INSEAD the lead over all the business schools.

  • Nope

    This is simply not true. I agree most will pick harvard over booth, but this is not the case for INSEAD and LBS.

    Most people accepted to LBS will have been accepted to INSEAD and vice versa. The choice rather comes down to program length, city, career goals, and other things such as exchange possibilities (LBS offers full term exchange ops at Wharton, Columbia, Booth etc). The programs are so different that some will not even have considered an application to INSEAD (most probably haven’t even heard of INSEAD before they started looking into B-school opportunities)


    LBS and INSEAD are the top schools in Europe absolutely no question about it. Both are definitely comparable to top 5 schools in the US. The only thing I will point out is that INSEAD unfortunately has appalling brand recognition, this is not the case with LBS.

    Both are directly comparable and students accepted to both will have a tough time deciding which to go to. Both will provide you with exactly the same opportunities as an individual (if your CV justifies an MBB or banking interview you will get it whether you are at INSEAD or LBS, no doubt about that).

    No B-school is on par with harvard, especially not a university with such an obscure brand as INSEAD.

  • Joe

    If the most improtant factor is recruiter’s point of view then, Booth is > HBS.

    Your supporting argument about an applicant taking HBS over Booth does not support the claim that its recruiters opinions that matter the most.

    Very illogical.

  • George

    Mostly, Yes, but not with INSEAD!, in term of prestige quality, and alumni network, INSEAD goes head to head with HWS, and above the others. Look into their placements reports and the types of the recruiters (elite and extremely competitive), it is exactly as same as in HWS. but agree that LBS, IE, IMD and the others are far behind the us peers, with very narrow exception in case of IMD when it comes to industry (not ib or consulting), yes, they might be come close. INSEAD became the model of most top school for global and multicultural educational experiences many schools, including harvard (FIELD course), Stanford (Leadership module), and others, has copied insead way of doing businesses. in Fact, some of the leading universities recruited INSEAD professors and managers to enhance their programs (cornell and MIT). So, to be fair and honest, INSEAD is truly on par with HWS if not better in consulting.

  • lkj

    still US schools like HSW booth all prestige wise in recruiters’ opinions than lbs/insead/ie, etc

  • Nicola

    The most important factor is the recruiter’s pointview, and hence, It is obvious that INSEAD is the real number ONE school, regardless all rankings. I think LBS is somewhat like Booth which always put ahead of HWS but hardly to find someone turn down any of them for booth. similar here, some rankings put LBS ahead of INSEAD but the truth is that it is very difficult for any international MBA aspirant to turn down INSEAD for LBS, the opposite is most likely to happen.
    It is very difficult (if not impossible) to find any other schools that places 27% of its graduates to Mckinsey.