INSEAD has come out on top of a new ranking of the best European business schools. The school, with campuses in Fontainebleau, France, and Singapore, topped the list of 20 business schools. Right behind it were No. 2 London Business School, No. 3 IMD in Lausanne, Switzerland, No. 4 IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, and No. 5 IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain.
The survey, published recently by Bloomberg BusinessWeek, is based solely upon the opinions of international corporate recruiters conducted by an MBA tour company, QS Quacquarelli Symonds. BusinessWeek did not report the number of respondents to the survey nor the response rate.
It would be easy to criticize this ranking of European schools. In the top 20, for example, Manchester Business School, ranked highly by The Financial Times, The Economist and Forbes, fails to warrant a mention. Neither does City University’s Cass School or Cranfield in the U.K. Germany, which is not known for graduate business education, claims three spots out of the top 16 schools.
LARGEST CLASS SIZE IN EUROPE: INSEAD WITH 1,008 STUDENTS
Far more interesting than the actual ranking, however, is the comparative self-reported data for the schools. By far, the European school with the largest class size is INSEAD with 1,008 MBA students, compared to IE Business School, which has the second largest class size at 450 students. Otherwise, most of these programs are very small, with more than half of the 20 admitting class sizes of under 100 MBA students.
HIGHEST GMAT SCORES IN EUROPE: INSEAD AND LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL
The highest reported average GMATs come from INSEAD at 703, some 26 points below Stanford’s 729 average and 21 points below Harvard’s 724. INSEAD’s average is equal to the University of Michigan’s Ross School and the University of Virginia’s Darden School. There are now a dozen business schools in the U.S. with higher average GMAT scores than INSEAD. The second highest average GMAT scores for the latest entering class is reported by London Business School, with an average GMAT of 698, which is the average score for Washington University’s Olin School in St. Louis.
HIGHEST REPORTED STARTING SALARY: IMD
The highest reported starting salary is at IMD, the International Institute for Management Development, in Lausanne, Switzerland, at $132,852, with Warwick Business School second at $129,970. Starting salaries at those two European schools bested Stanford’s $129,652 and Harvard Business School’s $124,085 last year. IMD’s reported numbers are due to the school’s student population which tends to be older with more work experience. It’s unclear how Warwick’s starting salaries could exceed Stanford, Harvard, INSEAD or London Business School.
INSEAD reported starting salaries of $102,888 and London Business School at $110,606. Another surprise in the numbers is the difference in starting salaries between IESE Business School in Barcelona, Spain, and IE Business School in Madrid. IESE reported average starting salary of $113,512 vs. $89,602 for rival IE Business School, a difference of $23,910.
MOST EXPENSIVE MBA PROGRAM IN EUROPE: LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL
The most expensive MBA program in Europe? According to this list, it’s London Business School where the full tuition is $87,164, considerably higher than the one-year program at INSEAD which costs $66,877 in tuition. The least expensive? The MBA program at Warsaw University of Technology where the entire tuition is just $12,728.
(See following page for our table of the top 20 schools in Europe plus average GMATs & starting salaries)