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…