Highest GMATs & Salaries in Europe

by John A. Byrne on Print Print

INSEADpixINSEAD 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.


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.


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.


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.


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)


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  • Vasilis

    People stop arguing about which school is better and definitely stop thinking that making it in a top program makes you awesome. The matter of fact is that in any top program there will always be some jerks and in 2nd tier programs you will find stars. The fact that McKinsey hires a lot of people from HBS does not increase your chances if you are an HBS student. Remember the GMAT, causation effect etc? The thing is that HBS generally admits strong people which tend to do well down the road. If you do get into HBS and you get a McKinsey interview (which you will probably get) and you go to your R1 interview and suck balls they will simply not hire you no matter what. At the same time if you are a Judge, Said, HEC, IE etc. student you again will be given a chance to interview, the difference is that more people in these schools will tend to suck compared to LBS/INSEAD but if you kick ass at the interview you will get the job. Since all top 30 (worldwide) programs will help you land an interview pretty much anywhere, it is up to the individual candidate to do well. The better the program the higher the chance the candidate is awesome but someone who is average and manages to get in Stanford will just face tougher competition and be among the worst of her class. Some who is attending a top 20 program, rather than a top 10, and is really good will get scholarships, will kick ass and will lead the class and get any job. The main benefits I see in a ultra elite school are stronger bragging rights and a stronger alumni network. In any case, it is what you make out of it. If you are awesome you will do great in any good program. If you suck, no brand name will save you. The real question is: how awesome are YOU?

  • StanfordGuy

    The comments on this article are extremely misguided. A lot of the vitriolic posts on this article are seemingly from young citizens of 3rd world countries who are obsessed with feigning pedigree for upward social mobility and getting a job in a brand name company. I suggest you actually visit and read up on the schools or attend alumni events to properly educate yourselves. Here’s a reality check for you – you’re still going to be the same person after you graduate, and if you’re only seeking a job then a degree in “business administration” is wasted on you. The content of an MBA is only useful if you’re actually going to be running a business, but as the comments indicate most of you are only aspiring to become working class proletarians selling your time as analysts and consultants rather than controlling the factors of production. A good STEM degree is a better fit for your limited aspirations.

    The reality is that all of these aforementioned schools are among the world’s best. INSEAD, IESE, LBS, IMD et al produce top quality graduates who go on to achieve stellar careers in industry. Some of the claims made here are ridiculous, here’s another dose of reality for you… M/B/B specifically recruit at all these top schools; the host economy has no bearing on the caliber of the school or the caliber of its graduates; as a graduate you will network with top achievers and those coming from old|new money at all these schools and with alumni of schools of similar standing; pedigree, experience and character matter much more in the real world than your distorted perceptions of the standing of these schools; and finally, no one cares about your GMAT score unless you’re aspiring proletarian coming straight out of school trying to enter M/B/B.

  • BryanJensen

    I don’t get the vitriol. I ultimately favored IE Business School (starting spring ’14) because the specialization area (marketing/corporate comm) was more unique compared to the other schools in this quality category—and non-existent in American programmes except with some focus differentiation at very, very expensive programmes by comparison.

    Still, some of the professors we’ll be having at IE have taught (or still teach) at LBS, LSE, INSEAD, Wharton, Brown, Cambridge and HBS. I found the application experience institutionally, departmentally, and with alums particularly warm and family-like. But I’d consider any of these ranked institutions worthy of honor. Always good to have some rivalry, but some of the put downs in this thread are just mean-spirited and ignorant when you realize how much cross-pollination happens among great schools and in the practicalities of applied global business prep.

  • Mary

    I’m so amazed when I read comments such as yours. It’s like you live in a bubble of some sort. I met a guy who turned down LBS for Said. Some people have families and very real financial concerns which affect their decisions.

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