Poets&Quants’ Top 50 Non-U.S. MBA Programs of 2012

London Business School recaptured its number one standing in Poets&Quants’ 2012 ranking of the top 50 non-U.S. MBA programs, slipping ahead of last year’s best school INSEAD which fell into second place.

The two leaders in MBA education outside the U.S. were followed by No. 3 IESE Business School and No. 4 IE Business School, both in Spain, No. 5 IMD in Switzerland and No. 6 HEC Paris. IESE and HEC both gained two places this year.

London, for years neck-and-neck with INSEAD as the best business school outside the U.S., had been named the best non-U.S. school in Poets&Quants’ inaugural ranking in 2010, only to be nudged out of first place by INSEAD last year. The school, which is in the midst of a major expansion, is increasingly attracting better students and faculty and is launching a massive fundraising campaign to bring its resources more in line with some of the elite U.S. business schools.


This year’s list–based on a composite of the four most influential rankings of global business schools–has 11 new entrants which range from No. 23 Mannheim Business School in Germany to No. 27 School of Business at the University of Hong Kong.

European business schools continue to dominate the list of the best non-U.S. MBA programs, with 14 of the top schools in the United Kingdom alone. But Canada makes a strong showing on the list with seven programs, including No. 9 York University’s Schulich School of Business, No. 11 Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University, and No. 21 Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia. And Asia is slowly evolving into a powerhouse of business school education, with eight out of the 50 best MBA programs on the list led by No. 17 the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) and No. 18 China Europe International Business School.


Among the biggest winners on the 2012 list are the Warwick Business School in the U.K., which had the largest rise among the top 25, jumping 17 places to finish 16th from 33rd last year. The Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University rose ten places to place 19th, up from 29th in 2011. And HKUST moved up nine spots to rank 17th from 26th last year.

Who lost ground during this rankings year? The National University of Singapore’s business school fell six places, most among the top 25 schools, to 22nd place from 16th; Cambridge University’s Judge Business School, the Cranfield School of Management, and the Australian School of Business all fell five spots to 12th, 15th, and 25th, respectively.

This new P&Q list is a composite of four major MBA rankings published by The Financial Times, The Economist, Bloomberg BusinessWeek, and Forbes. All told, some 68 schools that appeared on one or more of those four lists were considered for the P&Q top 50. The Financial Times and The Economist publish global MBA rankings, with more complete listings of schools outside the U.S. BusinessWeek and Forbes, on the other hand, publish separates lists of the best international schools that are far more limited.

BusinessWeek only ranked 19 non-U.S. schools this year, while Forbes ranks a dozen two-year MBA programs outside the U.S. and a dozen one-year MBA programs. In contrast, the FT has 47 non-U.S. business schools on its 2012 list of the top 100 global schools, while The Economist has 52 of its top 100 global schools outside the U.S.


The ranking takes into account a massive wealth of quantitative and qualitative data captured in these 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 alumni.

Combining the four most influential rankings doesn’t eliminate the flaws in each system, but it does significantly diminish them. When an anomaly pops on one list due to either faulty survey technique or biased methodology, bringing all the data together tends to suppress it. So the composite index tones down the noise in each of these five surveys to get more directly at the real signal that is being sent.

  • RangersNYC

    I’m not Homerun dude, but my guess is that Wharton just wasn’t a good fit personally. Philly vs Boston/San Fran/London? Those 3 cities win. Honestly, take these posts with a grain of salt. You will get two types of people: Those who really like a program or those who really hate one. 🙂

    But, I think the above breakdown is pretty accurate (although LBS has a low GMAT average). But, the caliber of student at H/S/B/L are equivalent – no doubt.

    Good luck Rohit!

  • Kevin Smith

    the competition is on another level??? this is so idiotic i don’t even know that to say, do you really think it’s harder to get a job at McK in Pittsburg or Cleveland than it is in London or Paris??? I’m sorry but not only do many LBS and INSEAD grads make it to US MBB offices, but the quality level and competition for European jobs is pretty much on the same level. Of course you’ll see less competition for smaller regional offices, but the same hold true for the US as well. Outside of NYC, SF & CHI, many MBB need to be VERY proactive to recruit because finding good talent in those regionactually isn’t that easy. although i had no intention to go into consulting and did not even apply, i was invited to first round for my local office (ie. where i’m from) by by all 3 of MBB…

  • sri krishna

    I have got a GMAT score of 630, Toefl yet to write, Bachelors- 9.13/10, 3 years of work ex., good academic credentials and recommendations.

    What can be my target and safe side good B schools with 1 year MBA program?…Thanks in advance..

  • Prmr

    I find this debate on rankings to be rather funny to be honest.. I am at INSEAD and have friends in all top 10 US schools (the company i work with sends quite a big number of people to b school every year). What i have noticed based on 2-3 years of talking with students at various schools is that HSW are clearly in group 1 with very little except personal preferences to differentiate between them. this is purely due to the number of PE/VC jobs up for grabs at these schools. Kellogg, MIT, Columbia, Booth, INSEAD, LBS form the next group with rankings often moving up and down and people again choosing schools based on personal preferences. Having compared employment reports the percentage of people in bulge bracket+consulting is more or less the same at all these places. At the end of the day, if you are good you will be able to pursue all of your dreams irrespective of which of these schools you really go to.

  • Rohit

    Why not Wharton?

  • Anon

    Incredible stats but not surprising. London Business school is in the club and top 10 in the world. One would expect such stats given the school’s world famous reputation. I suspect these numbers will be even higher in the future. Nice job LBS.