Top 50 Non-U.S. MBA Programs of 2011

Poets&Quants’ 2011 Best MBA Programs Outside the U.S.

2011 Rank & SchoolIndex2010 RankFTEconomistBWForbes
1. INSEAD Fontainebeau, France100.022612
2. London Business School London, U.K.99.711351
3. IE Business School Madrid, Spain98.254933
4. IMD Lausanne, Switzerland97.238171
5. IESE Business School Barcelona & Madrid, Spain95.8453123
6. ESADE Business School Barcelona, Spain95.2711546
7. Cambridge (Judge) Cambridge, U.K.92.591311105
8. HEC Paris Paris, France92.06104148
9. Oxford University (Said) Oxford, U.K.88.9111423166
10. Cranfield University Cranfield, U.K.88.682081310
11. SDA Bocconi Milan, Italy88.3131527184
11. York University (Schulich) Ontario, Canada88.310272910
13. McGill University (Desauteis) West Montreal, Canada83.81531261111
14. University of Manchester Manchester, U.K.81.31216NR172
15. CEIBS Shanghai, China62.717946NR5
16. National University of Singapore Singapore62.3NR1244NR4
16. City University (Cass) London, U.K.62.3141713NR9
18. HEC Montreal Montreal, Canada58.318NR501512
19. Lancaster University Lancaster, U.K.57.3162451NR7
20. Australian School of Business Sydney, Australia52.52021NRNR9
21. EM Lyon Lyon, France52.3194817NR11
22. British Columbia (Sauder) Vancouver, Canada52.0244041NR12
23. Western Ontario (Ivey) Ontario, Canada51.92226NR6NR
24. Toronto (Rotman) Toronto, Canada51.62125NR8NR
25. IPADE Business School Mexico City, Mexico49.12834NRNR7

(The remaining 25 schools on the top 50 list are on the next page)

Note: The ranking assigned to schools from both the Financial Times and The Economist lists are a school’s non-U.S. ranking. Forbes ranks one-year MBA programs separately from two-year programs so it assigns the same rank to two sets of non-U.S. schools.

Methodology: Schools on each of four major rankings–BusinessWeek, Forbes, The Financial Times, and The Economist– were scored from a high of 100 to a low of 1, the numerical rank of the 100th school on any one list. Then, those sums were brought together with a weight of 30% for each of the rankings with the exception of The Economist, whose list was given a weight of 10% due to the rankings idiosyncratic results, a function of a methodology that is less credible.

  • DumbU

    I don’t think so. For 1000, INSEAD places a much higher % of students in consulting than any other schools, in terms of %, let alone the absolute numbers. Plus, we all know INSEAD has internship only for December students, hence 28 out of 500 at GS is actually not bad.

  • Guest

    Hi Paramia,
    Don’t focus on absolute numbers, consider % as you can use them accross a larger set of schools. X guys going to Company Z is not that useful to consider the attractiveness of a school is you do not know the size of the class. Practical ex, batch size at INSEAD stands around 1,000 pp, so placing +/- 25% at top Consulting firms is not amazing and remains a similar % to what you will find at LBS and IESE for instance. Not better but not worst, just in line. 28 guys out of 1,000 placed at GS is a dramatic low %.

  • Zyzz

    From what I’ve read IMD is a sort of executive MBA B school. Majority of their class is 30+ with several years of experience who end up at higher management positions at F500, compared to other B schools where people get in after 3 year work experience to get into consulting/banking or change careers

  • M7


    Pretty cool name buddy! It looks like you don’t have anything intelligent to say!
    I thought that you would have some kind of reasoning behind your hate for IMD but you don’t seem able to articulate any meaningfull words!

    IMD is a small school very well known in Europe and I can assure you that I am not marketing anyone!

    Dude don’t make silly comments without even knowing what you are talking about

  • IMDShitofBusiness

    We have too many of these IMD marketers.
    Nobody cares about IMD. And INSEAD also only
    offers a one year program. Needless to say, it
    also is better at consulting than IMD.

  • M7

    Hey Ree698,

    I am matriculating to IMD and rejected an INSEAD offer for that. From most of my contacts with IMD alumn, either they apply only to IMD or they get accepted to Insead as well and turn down their offer.
    Why did I choose IMD:
    – I wanted a 1 year program only so between Insead and IMD (for personal reason and for $$$)
    – I am 30+ so was looking for a more mature class profile
    – I work in industry and want to go back to industry
    – Personal care with an intimate class
    – One of the best career services in the world (far better than Insead’s), and I know that I will need their service!!!
    Actually most of MBA prospects want to land a job post-MBA in either consulting or finance and IMD is know to be the best in industry. However, from what I heard all the big 4 MBB visit and hire from IMD but most of the students are not interested in this career path as they have already 31+.
    Anyway if someone need more insight on IMD just let me know!

  • guest

    Yes. John, please drop some info on IMD, please.

  • Tyler

    John, can you post more (updated) info on IMD?  I see that you don’t have a school profile on IMD and yet you have one for its main competitor, INSEAD.  Also, I know that in many circles, while the rankings might show INSEAD as being higher-ranked, IMD is in fact more well-respected.  From my own analysis, it seems that IMD is head and shoulders above many of the top tier programs to include factors such as post-MBA salary, placement results (%), career services, mobility, ROI post-five year graduation, etc.  I know you mentioned an IMD vs. INSEAD/LBS/IE sometime in the near future; any idea as to when we might expect it?   

  • cheng

    I have admits from Cambridge Judge Business School and Anderson (UCLA).. I am not able to decide which one to choose in terms of Global reputation, career prospects and most importantly MBA experience. My background 6 years into Telecom Marketing roles in Asian market. Any advice is greatly appreciated. Thanks

  • GuessWhat

    what a ridiculous comment. I am an American. I applied to LBS and didn’t even consider Insead. nonetheless, they are both great schools and are both at par in terms of quality and prestige.

    only apply to HSW? WTH? I bet you can’t even get an interview at MIT Sloan. What an arrogant comment. Elite B schools certainly should weed out cocky and arrogant applicants like you. All top schools (Top 10 US, LBS/Insead.. and etc) should be respected. 

  • RKur21

      Needing some overseas
    advice: I have been researching E MBA one year and part time programs
    throughout Europe for a couple weeks.  As a 15 year business
    professional, 10 years as an entrepreneur owning three companies and
    shareholder in three additional companies I consulted as chief business
    architect, I have taken the last 6 months off from pure exhaustion.  Now
    refreshed, I have decided I wish to receive an EMBA to further my
    business skills and network, as I begin to craft my next company focused
    on venture investment, development and consultancy in technology,
    multimedia, digital and social content. I have looked at INSEAD, Oxford
    Said, LBU (consulting focus), IE, IESE, ESADE, CBS (innovation) and
    Aalto (innovation & close to Tallinn).  My intention is to round out
    my business and financial acumen as leadership (understand for the last
    10 years I have had employees handling these areas while I could focus
    on leadership, new business development, innovation and marketing &
    branding). My timing doesn’t seem perfect as most schools have just
    begun their session. However, I plan to leave, as I have for the past
    months my business in the hands of my partners. During my time in
    Europe, I also desire to employ my skills within the European
    environment so I can continue to learn culture and standards (as I have
    spent more than 8 years of my life outside of the states with much
    appreciation and reverence for global understanding).

    Your suggests are more than welcome.My Best….

  • RKur21

    Needing some overseas advice: I have been researching E MBA one year and part time programs throughout Europe for a couple weeks.  As a 15 year business professional, 10 years as an entrepreneur owning three companies and shareholder in three additional companies I consulted as chief business architect, I have taken the last 6 months off from pure exhaustion.  Now refreshed, I have decided I wish to receive an EMBA to further my business skills and network, as I begin to craft my next company focused on venture investment, development and consultancy in technology, multimedia, digital and social content. I have looked at INSEAD, Oxford Said, LBU (consulting focus), IE, IESE, ESADE, CBS (innovation) and Aalto (innovation & close to Tallinn).  My intention is to round out my business and financial acumen as leadership (understand for the last 10 years I have had employees handling these areas while I could focus on leadership, new business development, innovation and marketing & branding). My timing doesn’t seem perfect as most schools have just begun their session. However, I plan to leave, as I have for the past months my business in the hands of my partners. During my time in Europe, I also desire to employ my skills within the European environment so I can continue to learn culture and standards (as I have spent more than 8 years of my life outside of the states with much appreciation and reverence for global understanding).

    Your suggests are more than welcome.  As a business owner I have found the best advice has been received from those outside my inner circle. I look forward to responses as I continue to live life and business inquisitive and humble, which has afforded me tremendous opportunities. My Best….

  • Applicant

    The fit factor definitely an important one. I agree, when evaluating different schools we should look from different sides and perspectives.
    Thanks for your comment.

  • guest

    look from my experince, ALL the good programs in US and Europe will give a good education in the basic management disciplines. so, when people ( wise people) talk about fit, they really mean it. let say, you are best fit for Ross and you liked it, BUT have admission from HBS or INSEAD while you don’t really feel comfortable with them; the assure thing (by experiment and recruiters) is that you will be performing far better in Ross than in HBS, and hence your satisfaction will be directly reflected on your attitude on the job market and will you will be more competitive to get your dream job, and therefore the probability to be successful is higher. I am saying that because I talked with many Mckinsey people (principals and partners), and with a VP of the Goldman Sachs in London, all of them assured the fit factor and satisfaction and be careful to be taken by the emotion. Yes, HBS obviously still the golden brand for the MBAs but this is in general speaking and not for the professional people who really know what are they doing.  do visit schools, talk with students, faculty, alumni, recruiters, and attend seminars and workshops and make your decision clear. INSEAD has some very competitive advantages such as ONE year with the same opportunities of TWO years, three languages, global outlook, and exchange between many countries. Stanford has the silicon valley  advantages, Wharton has the finance heritage, Dartmouth has the intimate bonding and loyalty, IMD has the very personal approach for leadership development, Duke has the health care, Yale has the non-profit, and so on…Look what you really need with very realistic approach. Dream yes, but keep your foot on the ground. For me as I told, I am not totally fan of ranking but ranking count 10 to 20 % of my weighing the school, 80 to 90 % is really on my needs, characteristics, and where I feel comfortable.  and when the MBB or any white shoe recruiter see that you picked the school based on these real factor, believe me your chance of getting the job is much much higher than the one who just stuck with branding and propaganda… best of luck.. ( I am proudly won the battle of my emotion, and turned down Stanford for INSEAD, not because the INSEAD is better than Stanford as a whole business school, NO, BUT because INSEAD is far better for me. at the end of the day, employers will not hire stanford, they will hire me.. though I agree that Stanford has the brand, heritage, and prestige that really can’t be ignored, BUT down the road I have to learn to take the most important decisions for my life ONLY based on realistic and mature bases..

  • Applicant

    Thank you for
    sharing your experience. Sometimes by looking at hard data we overlook unquantifiable characteristics such as nice atmosphere on campus. I have heard
    that INSEAD is a livable place and that is definitely positive factor  that should be taken into consideration. 

    Probably I should include INSEAD into my list as well. Will see.
    Anyway, thanks for your feedback.

  • guest

    don’t worry. they will set up a private b school only for you. u know the person who grew up with such “sh**” words and mindset needs private medication..

  • Comeon

    Are you writing your paper? I am not going to read this but you seem to talk too much shit for your own good!

  • RussianMafia

    I get the feeling you are a Duke or Ross MBA from Russia, who tries to badmouth all the other top schools so that your own school gets recognized better. That’s sad.

  • Thisguydoesntknow

    Stop trolling.

  • Thisguydoesntknow

    I wouldn’t even go to any bschool outside of Top 10 in the US. You are talking shit.

  • guest

    John himself don’t know what St Gallen is? I beat he thought it is an ice cream or tires brand !!!

  • guest

    No, sorry they aren’t. I advice you to go to the campus and have a chat with them. and see if they can read the global map. (NOT ALL of Them). they are simply High IQ and very low EQ. Mr Snyder should address this immediately..

  • Thisguydoesntknow

    Umm…Yale is already on par with M7 schools. Many who got admitted to M7 got rejected by Yale. And the quality of students is as good as that of those at Wharton. Just look at the class profile..

  • LBSTroll

    There are assumption biases with your claims.

    Students may be more interested in consulting than finance at INSEAD.

    LBS is known as a finance school. In fact, 8 to Goldman Sachs is a disappointingly small number, given their strength in finance than anything else.

    Also, INSEAD has two intakes as far as I know (July intake and December intake). GS is an investment bank and for them, a summer internship is a must, which INSEAD also tells its students publicly. Students applying for the December intake can go on a summer internship, albeit short while July intake students cannot. Therefore, LBS and INSEAD, in terms of investment bank placement numbers, there is no more of a difference of 233% you put out there. It’s the same.

    Lastly, your salary information is flawed because what you do not know is how high one’s salary was before MBA. If INSEAD MBA students were making more money than LBS students prior to MBA, then % increase is going to be less no matter where they end up. Even if your claim were true, LBS being a finance school, people won’t be surprised if their finance grads pull up the average salary.

    I wouldn’t apply to LBS. Just apply to HSW. LBS is not worth it.

    I would advise against applying to MIT as well. First of all, it’s right across HBS. Can you stand being so close to #1 school, living in your inferiority complex? Secondly, it’s a school that tends to attract techy nerds, not business leaders.

  • Applicant13

    I visited INSEAD two campuses, Yale, and MIT Sloan. I would say that the most friendly people, most social, and act as businessmen not as students are those at INSEAD.  I am not a fan of ranking as I am a fan of my feeling and which I will feel in love with and livable place, INSEAD singapore is just amazing and you forget your feeling of time. life is fast filled with activities, you feel the whole world is around you or as your in the heart of the world of business.  I sat on the financial accounting class, the professor was in his early 40s, and I believe he got his PhD from Wharton, time flied, the whole class was really interesting and lots of lots of jokes, students joke on the professor and the professor jokes on the students… no formal there at all..yet, there is feel of bonding and commitment between the students…to finish their projects and cases..It is real life… at Yale, it was just a university feeling…and new haven is really ugly city..I didn’t like it.. MIT Sloan, students are friendly and welcoming, smart and dedicated, but again, I didn’t get that feeling as in INSEAD.. I’ll apply for INSEAD singapore in the next year..

  • guest

    Yale needs at least 8 to 10 years to be on par with M7 schools. has the potential? definitely yes, perhaps the only school to have such potential to be on par with HSW, but need time..I know yale, they really need to address the quality of the students and increase the class size. students are very high hard skills but unfortunately obvious low soft skills.. you can easily notice this from the first visit.. as general management, I would say the best 10 programs worldwide ( in order): HBS, (INSEAD, Stanford), or, (Stanford, INSEAD), Dartmouth, Ross, IMD (don’t underestimate this school when it comes to general management and leadership development), Duke, Kellogg, Sloan, and Haas. 

  • Applicant

    On a final
    note, I am slightly concerned by acceptance rate at INSEAD and the way they
    consider GMAT.  The acceptance rate was
    in the 25-40 % range several years ago. But there is no information for the
    last 5 or so years.  That makes me wonder.

    And when
    considering GMAT they take the highest quantitative and verbal sections  from different exams(sittings).

    Having said
    that, I have not yet completely made my mind on whether to apply to INSEAD.  I would appreciate the sincere information
    from current students on the class quality and current acceptance rate. 

  • Applicant

    In the next
    year I am going to apply to 5 schools H/S/W/LBS/MIT and I have made thorough research
    on these schools, + INSEAD and some others. In Europe I was considering only two schools LBS and INSEAD. Why I decided to apply to LBS
    over INSEAD:

     INSEAD is said to be consulting school but
    when it comes to top consulting firms there is a little difference between INSEAD
    and LBS. Lets look at the leaders in consulting and finance, taking into
    account that INSEAD’s class size is 2.5 times class size of LBS.


    INSEAD 127

    LBS 39
    taking class size into account = 97

    Difference =

    Goldman Sachs

    LBS 8 which
    translates to 20

    INSEAD 6

    = 233%

    If we look
    at schools as a whole, without considering different fields, then LBS wins

    I looked at
    salary information right after graduation and 3 to 5 years later. In all three categories
    LBS is the winner. If someone doubts my words I can post links to LBS and
    INSEAD Employment reports and to FT statistics (3 years after graduation
    salary) and Forbes statistics (five years after graduation salary). 

    Then I
    looked at percentage increase in salary five years after graduation as compared
    to pre-MBA level (as reported by Forbes). LBS 190% increase INSEAD 164%

  • Morningcereal

    Kellogg is known as a marketing school, not a general management school…and it’s clearly declining while Yale is a general management school and clearly is on the rise.

  • Passerby

    Actually, many of INSEAD applicants I hear only apply to INSEAD. There is a HBS case on this written by HBS faculty. Your argument that HSW would s”uck up a large portion” of the high quality students in the three languages pool is baseless, although I am sure there are some who apply to HSW + INSEAD + LBS and other top American schools.

  • guest

    Agree on all what you said with replacing Yale by Kellogg.  

  • Hbs2014

    To make fair analyses on various fronts,

    – LBS does not even disclose how many of 39 were sponsored. So chances are LBS’ numbers are actually not as good as INSEAD’s.

    – The self-selection may be at play in terms of PE/VC recruiting at HSW and INSEAD. What I mean is while I am certain PE/VC people do go to INSEAD, I am not certain the % of people who have worked in PE/VC at INSEAD is greater than the % of those at HBS. 

    However, for the sake of our debate/analyses, looking at HBS, INSEAD and LBS employment reports,

    HBS sent 14% of their grads to PE/VC
    INSEAD sent 20% of their grads to Finance and of the 20%, 24% went to PE/VC, which equates to 5%,
    LBS sent 7% to PE/VC.

    From the above, it is clear that HBS sends its grads to PE/VC a lot more than INSEAD or LBS. But as I said earlier, this may very well have to do with more people with prior experience in PE/VC at HBS than INSEAD or LBS. The numbers do not tell us this.

    Between INSEAD and LBS, 2% difference in terms of percentage may very well not hold any statistical significance. And of course, in absolute numbers, INSEAD did send more grads to PE/VC (about twice more).

    – INSEAD is known as a general management school while LBS is known as more of a finance school like NYU. For this very reason along with other reasons I stated previously, I did not apply to LBS nor NYU nor Wharton. Had I been interested in finance-focused schools, I would have applied to Wharton, Columbia, NYU, Chicago and maybe LBS, but as an American possibly with a US bias, I don’t see how LBS is better than NYU. 

    General management schools educate leaders with a broader sense of understanding of business. And usually, top general management schools are extremely strong at sending their grads to consulting firms because consulting work requires an overall understanding of business.

    If I have to pick 5 top schools that have general management programs, I’d pick HBS, Stanford, INSEAD, Dartmouth Tuck and Yale.

    Hope this makes sense to you.


  • Londonbanker

    Congrats on your HBS offer!

    1) This seems to be a judgement call, and I don’t really want to start another prestige war on an online forum

    2)And I agree with all that you said. McKinsey does recognize the INSEAD brand. But if the person above said Insead sends 127 people to McKinsey, some people might assume 127 career-switchers can get into McKinsey, which is not true. LBS send 39 people to mckinsey out of a class of 400, so 80 out of 800 if we attempt to do an apple to apple comparison. INSEAD dominates LBS in consulting; I already concede this point 

    3) I agree with your description of how VC/PE recruiting works. But, at the same time, it seems that you’re unfairly penalizing LBS for its small class size. If class sizes are different, wouldn’t comparing %’s be more fair? If you want to talk large class sizes, then let’s talk HW. You said INSEAD was on par with HSW. Now I might be wrong but I believe HBS send 14% of its kids into LBO funds and likewise for Wharton. I will admit that I am unfamiliar with Stanford statistics. Both MBA programs have around 800 kids, so this would seem to be a fair comparison. Of course, you would be right if you said not everyone wanted PE but the difference in this one industry shows a larger difference between INSEAD to HSW compared to LBS to HSW (LBS sent 10% of kids to PE I believe).

    4) I wouldn’t say it’s the only reason, but you have to admit the one year program does give INSEAD a pretty big advantage. 

    One thing I really hate to do is argue about prestige and I generally avoid it when I can. Beyond the 1 year versus 2 year thing and the consulting advantage, I honestly don’t see a big difference 

    1) GMAT average are around 700 for both
    2) Age of applicants are both around 303) Class size is different, but you can argue both ways4) Both bschools value international experience in the form of knowing more languages. INSEAD arguably is more strict in this regard (competence in 3 languages vs 2 at LBS)5) Both are European bschoolsI am making a guess, but the applicant pool for people who know three languages is much smaller than the applicant pool for most bschools such as that for HSW. In addition, I would argue that HSW would suck up a large portion of the high quality students in the three languages pool leaving less for Insead. Again, this is a conjecture and by no mean supported by fact.So I just want to ask on an objective basis why you think INSEAD is better than LBS? If you argue prestige, then I give the argument to you. If you want to argue on the basis of industry statistics, etc etc, I am more more than happy to understand your point of view.Regards,

  • Hbs2014

    A few points as a neutral person in North America with a few insights:

    I applied to and got into insead among a few other top MBA programs in the US including Dartmouth Tuck and HBS. Obviously I’m matriculating at HBS and only got rejected by Stanford.

    1) Although I initially considered LBS, I didn’t apply to LBS because it really is like NYU except that it’s less established and is located in London, not NYC as someone exactly pointed in the above post. There was no value added.

    2) The fact that insead sends 127 to McKinsey alone is huge regardless whether 60 were sponsored or not because McKinsey or other leading firms only sponsor top performers and if one is a top performer at McKinsey, usually he/she gets into other top MBA programs. It ironically further helps insead’s reputation as one of the best bschools. Even without these sponsored students, no other bschool sends 67 (total mckinsey hires minus the sponsored) out of 8xx (reported class size minus the sponsored) to McKinsey alone. McKinsey by the way will never joke around by wasting their high performers in an MBA program they believe is not value added.

    3) As a former Blackrock PE analyst, I’ll tell you that PE/VC firms do not recruit heavily at bschools. Usually recruiting happens through personal connection/lots of networking in addition to having relevant work exp in IB or PE etc. That speaks volumes about why PE/VC hiring % is so low at all bschools. LBS is a much smaller school in terms of class size. Therefore, even if INSEAD’s % might have been reported lower, the actual number might be greater. PE/VC hiring is again through personal efforts rather than through career services center.

    4) I wouldn’t discount insead’s MBA program advantage like you did. Insead was one of the first who came to the market with one year MBA program, firstly due to the European master’s program usually lasting one year. In fact, Kellogg and other leading bschools are following suit. You try to make it sound like people are applying to INSEAD only because it’s a one year program. That is not true. Sure, it can be an advantage for multiple reasons but that is not why INSEAD is perceived better than LBS nor is it true that LBS would have been perceived better otherwise.
    Just FYI: I myself and a few friends I went to my undergrad with (one of HYP) consider insead a better school than LBS and on par with HSW.

  • Hbs2014

    A few points as a neutral person in North America with a few insights:

    I applied to and got into insead among a few other top MBA programs in the US including Dartmouth Tuck and HBS. Obviously I’m matriculating at HBS and only got rejected by Stanford.

    1) Although I initially considered LBS, I didn’t apply to LBS because it really is like NYU except that it’s less established and is located in London, not NYC as someone exactly pointed in the above post. There was no value added.

    2) The fact that insead sends 127 to McKinsey alone is huge regardless whether 60 were sponsored or not because McKinsey or other leading firms only sponsor top performers and if one is a top performer at McKinsey, usually he/she gets into other top MBA programs. It ironically further helps insead’s reputation as one of the best bschools. Even without these sponsored students, no other bschool sends 67 (total mckinsey hires minus the sponsored) out of 8xx (reported class size minus the sponsored) to McKinsey alone. McKinsey by the way will never joke around by wasting their high performers in an MBA program they believe is not value added.

    3) As a former Blackrock PE analyst, I’ll tell you that PE/VC firms do not recruit heavily at bschools. Usually recruiting happens through personal connection/lots of networking in addition to having relevant work exp in IB or PE etc. That speaks volumes about why PE/VC hiring % is so low at all bschools. LBS is a much smaller school in terms of class size. Therefore, even if INSEAD’s % might have been reported lower, the actual number might be greater. PE/VC hiring is again through personal efforts rather than through career services center.

    4) I wouldn’t discount insead’s MBA program advantage like you did. Insead was one of the first who came to the market with one year MBA program, firstly due to the European master’s program usually lasting one year. In fact, Kellogg and other leading bschools are following suit. You try to make it sound like people are applying to INSEAD only because it’s a one year program. That is not true. Sure, it can be an advantage for multiple reasons but that is not why INSEAD is perceived better than LBS nor is it true that LBS would have been perceived better otherwise.
    Just FYI: I myself and a few friends I went to my undergrad with (one of HYP) consider insead a better school than LBS and on par with HSW.

  • Londonbanker

    I of course don’t see business as finance only. I needed a nickname for the site and chose one in like 5 seconds. You say PE is controlled by INSEAD. Can you back that up with facts. I believe on the last career report that LBS sent more kids on a % basis to PE/VC than INSEAD. Feel free to call me out on that if I am wrong. INSEAD definitely give you bang for your buck, but at the same time, ROI is much higher for a one year program. If INSEAD was a two year program, it would not seem so cheap anymore and not as attractive to many candidates. Again, I noticed that you mainly cited consulting numbers with the exception of Goldman; the consulting numbers are fantastic I agree. However, how many of the MBB types were sponsored by their firms to do an MBA and essentially have a “come back and work for us” offer? The real number for McKinsey placement (Excluding sponsored candidates) is more like 67. Again, feel free to call me you if you think my info is inaccurate

    While the last post was very well written, I have issues with blanket statement like “INSEAD is strong in European PE” without citing statistics. In fact, if you read closely, the writer of the comments agrees with me that having a 1 year program gives INSEAD a competitive advantage.”International” and “Career Progress” are not effective filter. In this day and age, many people have traveled and worked in other countries. Many of the students who apply to top biz school have solid international experience. The way that he mentions “career progress” troubles me. Surely it’s possible to get promoted multiple times in a boutique firm, but is it really higher quality than someone who only got 1 promotion at a more competitive firm like Golman/McKinsey?

    And even I feel like an asshole for saying the next comment. The writer didn’t even apply to HBS. Could it be that he think HBS on the whole is more competitive for him and didn’t bother? GPA and Leadership and much harder criteria than international experience and career progress.But, I don’t want to make this an HBS vs INSEAD thread.

    I hope that I have not offended you in any way and welcome rebuttals/counterarguments from you


  • DumbLBS

    You must be smoking something to say LBS compares to HSW or Insead.
    LBS is an ugly British sibling of an “American” 2 year MBA program with no comparable endowment nor comparable high caliber students. It’s for people living around London or wishing to work in London (which isn’t really quite NYC). LBS is at best NYU but of course with the latter more selective.

    Insead may overshadow its finance or corporate job seeking grads with its mammoth consulting job seeking grads but actually sends as many grads to financial or corporate sectors all over the world in financial clusters including LBS’ own London playground, Zurich, Frankfurt, Paris, HK, and Singapore.

  • Paramia

    from your nickname “LondonBanker”, you see business as finance only. sorry but it is not. B school is for management education NOT finance education. However, INSEAD placements in Finance is far better than any other european school. PE in whole europe is controlled by INSEAD grads followed by St Gallen. Wharton previous name was Wharton school of no surprise for its superiority in this field and it has been existing for 130 years..if MONEY is only the criteria then INSEAD beats again, check out their placement last year and see where is the highest salaries? BRAZIL, yes brazil..thats mean INSEAD can serve you everywhere but LBS is concentrated in cannary wharf, yet, it doesn’t stand against INSEAD by any measure..
    what do you think Mckinsey would hire 127 grads, Bain 48, BCG 60 and Goldman 28 in a single year ?
    anyway: the best thread ever I read about INSEAD vs Harvard is in the link below, see the last comment, it is probably the most credible statement ever.. 

  • Londonbanker

    INSEAD is very multi-cultural,but that’s neither here nor there. Wharton isn’t as international and on a global basis is usually far more recognized than INSEAD. While I am all for rah rah globalism, I fail to see your point. There are biz schools that place far better than INSEAD for finance and Fortune 500 jobs. What makes INSEAD much better than a  top tier MBA from harvard/stanford/wharton/LBS?

    Globalism is great, but it doesn’t translate into higher salaries and great jobs. Most of us get an MBA for these two reasons. While INSEAD is different, I would argue that it doesn’t necessarily make it better. 

    I will admit that INSEAD has a high ROI since it’s a one year program and is absolutely great at placement in management consulting. These are FACTS, but ranking is a more of an art than science. Care to back up your claim that INSEAD is #1 with some hard facts?

    In most international rankings, INSEAD is about par or at a lower rank than LBS

  • Paramia

    sorry, INSEAD is in its own league..globalization in business education..diversity and multi-cultural dimensions and multi-languages requirement..are all invented by INSEAD long time ago, and now mant top B schools follow INSEAD steps and learn from it..LBS is good school but far behind INSEAD..the only school that can come close to INSEAD is HBS,…the others need decades to catch up..

  • Londonbanker

    LBS Masters in Management student here. While I don’t go to the flagship MBA program, the MiM program last year sent many students to leading investment banks and management consulting companies (easily 50% of the class). INSEAD may be tops in the management consulting space, but LBS has a strong brand and presence in both Finance and Management Consulting. Based on placement in both private equity and investment banking, LBS beats out INSEAD by a large margin.
    Flexibility in career choice adds tremendous value to a student when events such as the recent financial crisis hits hiring in an industry such as investment banking. While INSEAD is primarily a program for management consultants, LBS students have good options in both consulting and finance.INSEAD for Management Consulting

    LBS for everything elseLBS > INSEAD 

  • Ree698

    US economy will continue growing, simply because there are NO alternatives with same competitiveness factors. china economy is not free, it is controlled by the ruling party, we all know that. Yes, when they have clear, fair, and equal rules and regulations, a true free market, by other words democratic system, then they will be really strong competitor to the US. (in my opinion, and based on historical events and chinese wise culture, I think they will do so in the future)..

  • Asian

    Just forgot to add: US economy to some extent is helping to boost US education. But with the debt exceeding GDP and overall weak prospects for growth, US economy is not going to last (dominate). If one want good education – don’t go to US  😀

    My opinion: As an alternative to top 3 European schools,  I would never even consider any schools in the US with exception, maybe,  to top 5.

  • Ree698

    Sorry I forget to mention one important thing: the first accreditation body for business education is AACSB in US, the others are: AMBA in UK and EQUIS in europe. I want prospective students to check which one is hard to gain, which one is every school proud of? whcih one sets rules of business education? then, you’ll get the answer 🙂

  • Ree698


    Good article, my opinion is: MBA is NOT european thing, MBA is an american product, I would turn down ALL european top schools (including INSEAD/LBS/IE/IMD..etc)  for any top 30 or even 40 US bschool. I strongly believe that school like  WUSTL Olin full time or Emory are much more valuable and better experience, education, and career prospects than most (if not all)  top european schools. US and its economy and business education and  models are still dominating and will continue to do so for many decades to come, simply because there is NO alternative. the simple reason: everyone can be american BUT not everyone can be chinese, not everyone can be japanese, and if someone can be french or british by passport, It is not expected to see INDIAN as CEO of HSBC or Barcalys or BNP Pariba..this is the simple reason DIVERSITY..People talking about correlation between influence on education and politics and the strength of economy, They are wrong, in the mid of 19th century, china was about third of the world economy yet the british empire was, booming in china economy DOES NOT mean that they will have influence on education and science..the conclusion: if you want good education GO for US..

  • Asian

    Vladimir and John A. Byrne,

    I know that it may be painful for you(US-centrists), but top European schools(especially LBS/INSEAD) are as good as top US schools (excluding H/S). Whether you like it or not. The employment reports can tell different story from what you are trying to sell here. 

    I liked the phrase from the link below, quote: ****It’s one of the cardinal rules of consulting – don’t accept opinions and conjecture if hard data is available that can provide the indisputable answer!****

    It would be wise for prospective students to follow this rule!

  •  Hi Oxbridge Applicant,

    I’d be interested to connect with you and talk about the schools. We seem to be applying and considering the same schools.

  • Having read the discussion here, I tend to agree with the research and insights from Vladimir.

    I’ve got an admit from Cambridge with a bursary, but I don’t think I’ll be going there. Below are my observations.

    When at Cambridge, we had a number of interactions with the current students over a dinner and a lunch the following day. I asked them quite a few questions including the highlights/lowlights. In general, they were positive on everything. However, one of them was a bit shaky when I asked about the quality of the career services, he also mentioned that one of the lecturers was not really good. The mention of the lecturer didn’t really raise red flags at that point with me as I suppose all schools have bad and good lecturers.

    One of the points Cambridge is trying to sell is that it’s a university-based school. Since every student needs to sign-up for one of the 31 colleges, it also allows MBA students to interact outside of the MBA student circle with people studying at Cambridge physics, philosophy, economics, you name it. However, when I asked several students how much they have used and benefited from this college system, 50% or more said that they simply didn’t have the time.

    In parallel to this, my friend’s observation was that it felt like students we were meeting all behaved like Jehovah’s witnesses on a mission (no offence intended, if you’re religious).

    To finish off the interview day, we had an afternoon tea session with the current students. Here’s what I found out accidentally.

    There are intermittent problems with the facilities in the main school building, e.g. internet access not working, heating not working. By the way, I’ve also noticed when sitting in one of the amphitheatres that someone hadn’t designed the seating properly and I barely had a desk area where I was seated.
    The 30% of the professors are good, but then there is 30% that are so bad that only 5% of the students ends up attending (might be an exaggeration, but still!). The bad professors are not fired, but rather the number of their hours for the next year is shortened.
    All of the Career Services but one were fired last year, however, the new team is just as weak as the previous one. I then remembered a joke a Career Services person made during her presentation when asked if they did anything to place students individually, she responded that they were not on commission to do that. Just to give some contrast, Cranfield Career Services said they work with individual students trying to find them a job without even being prompted.
    One student in the current year left with a scandal because he/she didn’t like the programme but also didn’t fit in with the rest of the class
    The class is not very bonded as a group, although better than the previous year. Partially, this is due to the fact the student committee didn’t have the time in the first 3 months to organize any activities because its members didn’t have the time
    Many students do complain officially, but not much is done about it. It also reminded me a comment from an ex-Cambridge MBA student, who was generally positive about Cambridge and the one I was put in touch with by the Adcom after interview invite. He mentioned that there were a lots of people complaining and focusing on negative sides only in his year whereas he thought that it was too much complaining.
    Students are instructed by the faculty and the MBA director not to complain in public or to the applicants as they say it will affect the school reputation and ultimately the current students. So, they are sort of being held hostage Perhaps, this is the same with other programs?!! in this case, I really wonder about the ethics every MBA program focuses so much on these days. It sounds like one of those pyramid schemes when whoever is in the scheme needs to recruit more people or otherwise the whole pyramid collapses.
    Overall the program is very raw and one should only go for it if they want to have a Cambridge brand to brag about to their friends, relatives and general public who have low awareness of the MBA programs. Here, the Cambridge brand is much stronger than that of many better ranked schools. This may be a reason why there were soo many Americans on the interview day. That said, Oxford apparently has better brand in the States.

  • Vladimir,

    what would you say if you were to compare LBS vs IMD.

    I’ve got some discussion going on a Russian web blog.

    The opponents of LBS are saying that in the long run, the bigger network of LBS will outweigh the smaller one of IMD.

    Thank you!

  • Powa23

    Ranking Ivey below Schulich, HEC, McGill, and Sauder? Anybody in the business community and is Canadian would agree that the top business schools in Canada are Ivey and Queen’s. Their business network and alumni are unmatched by any other schools especially in finance and consulting. No wonder people don’t trust the rankings. They can’t be taken seriously!

  • Rish

    ESADE has taken a drastic hit this year..dropping down 12 rankings in the list.Even though their 3 year record is still pretty good.What are your views on this?

    Also how would one compare ESADE, IESE, IE from a global, european and local perspective?

  • Elisabeth

    @ Philip: In FT’s global MBA ranking, HEC is the only French MBA programme ranked at 18. Strangely Grenoble and Edhec Lille (along with other excellent French MBAs such as Essec, EMLyon and ESCP) are not ranked in the FT. This can be attributed to a number of reasons. MBA programmes need to be a few years old to collect alumni data with at least 20% response rate per class and minimum of 20 alumni responses. For instance, Essec revamped its global MBA and launched it only very recently. Some French schools may fall short on FT’s criterion of diversity for class/faculty/mobility and idea generation such as research rank of PhD education and faculty’s publication. I recall that smaller French schools don’t even have PhD programmes. In FT’s European business school ranking from Nov. 2011, the aforementioned French business schools did quite well.

    Germany couldn’t produce a ranked MBA programme in this ranking whereas Spain punches well about its weight with 3. Needless to say, British MBA programmes do disproportionately well in the FT and some mediocre schools make it to the top100 against all odds.

  • Saleem Khan

    I enjoyed comments on this post more than post itself. 🙂

    Well, this discussion cleared lot of my concerns too. I am working in Middle East and planning to pursue EMBA from one of good business school. My one friend has just finished his EMBA from LBS Abu Dhabi Campus. On my inquiry, he told that LBS is just a name and hardly adds real value in professional learning and knowledge. Though he is already working at senior management position but he strictly forbade me to take admission in LBS EMBA program.

    I am also having feeling that no business school can compete with Top Level US Business Schools. It is not only Class Room or Professor that let you to learn, it is a whole Campus and Learning Atmosphere that let you to learn and apply knowledge in professional career. I am not keen to add just one extra degree in my RESUME, but I’m serious to learn new skills that I missed in regular MBA from my country. So for me US business schools are the best to learn. Sometime we do not take decision merely based on return on investment.

    If I’m not wrong then I have a big question on the selection criteria of EMBA students. Most of schools wants to give admission to already successful and top managers of companies and rejects the one who did so much effort in giving GMAT and then saving money from small salary to take admission. Really, it means that Business Schools are more concerned about themselves instead of training middle level managers. This is my personal observation…I may be wrong in concluding their selection criteria.


  • @MatFr.

    IE Business School is a fairly new player in the top-tier MBA game in comparison to schools such as INSEAD or LBS. However, i think it is exactly because of that lack of heritage/tradition that IE has been getting a lot of praise and recognition in the rankings. IE does some very innovative stuff with their curriculum, teaching approach and programs (e.g. the Brown/IE Executive MBA) and IE is constantly improving and reacting to new market needs etc. IE’s brand is obviously not as well known as INSEAD or LBS, especially in the Consulting or Finance industry. However, I am an IE MBA grad i could not have been happier with the academics, the incredible caliber and diversity of the student body (geo and background) and the overall experience.

  • Philip


    I just want to know, where is Grenoble Graduate School of Business and Edhec in the ranking?, as they were placed 54 & 63 in Economist ranking.

  • Elisabeth

    @ Henry – Like Columbia in the US, HKUST is very concerned about the placement pipeline of its graduates. The adcom checks the employability of applicant in essays and interviews. Non-traditionals or students who wish to explore academic options face an uphill battle. As a result, the employment stats of HKUST look good. HKUST plays the ranking game well and comes out as one of the stronger regional schools in Asia.

    Imperial business school is overrated and is not even respected in the UK.

  • Henry

    Thanks Elisabeth. So does Poets and Quants foresee a major change in its ranking of HKUST or is it still too early for an outside opinion to tell?

  • Elisabeth

    Imperial College business school benefits massively from its established parent university’s ranking in teaching and research in core subjects such as medicine, engineering and sciences (equivalent to UK’s MIT). Ditto for its industry contacts with recruiters. Imperial encourages cooperation between business school and other departments. Honestly, the only subject of strength at Imperial College business school is entrepreneurship. In other subjects, other UK business schools tend to steal Imperial’s thunder. Let alone internationally. Incidentally, it has one of the highest tuition fees for a mediocre programme and it struggles to fill its regular MBA spots. Also plenty complaints about teaching, high turnover of mostly freshly minted profs, and iffy career centre. Imperial does only well in the FT ranking and I witnessed a former dean half jokingly admitted in a presentation that Imperial’s good FT spot cost him a few lunches.

    HKUST’s faculty does a decent job in publication in peer reviewed journals and launched a few research initiatives, it also has excellent exchanges with top business schools such as Kellogg, NYU. Backed by the booming Chinese and local economy, demand/salary for its graduates has been strong. The admin has internationalised its faculty, student body, broaden recruiters and increased GMAT average over the past ten years. Though a late starter, HKUST has overtaken local rivals HKU & Chinese Uni.

  • Henry

    What accounts for the huge discrepancy with schools like Hong Kong UST and Imperial College for example?
    What does the FT see in these schools that others don’t?

  • Nalin

    I think its a fair ranking. There are a few surprises but overall the ranking looks good.

    US top 7 vs INSEAD/LBS discussion is never going to end. Nor its going to yield any positive outcome. It completely depends on MBA applicant whether to choose US or non-US colleges. I have no doubts in my mind that non-US especially europeans schools are far more international than their US counterparts. It could be because of the size of the countries. But you get a better international exposure in european schools. US schools predominately have north-american students. Part of the reason is that they do not understand and appreciate rest of world’s education as much as they claim to do. However US schools are more established and mature.

    There was also a point made about the size of economy and its influence of B schools ranking. It is an astute observation, and seems credible. US B schools have been benefitted by the might of US economy. With US economy still in recovery mode and a new regulation on employment visa in US almost everyday international student will show caution in applying to US schools in future. Same is true for UK based schools.

  • Telecom_guy

    Hi John,
    Why are Rotman and Ivey ranked lower than other Canadian b-schools ? Is it because they don’t pariticipate in the economist and forbes rankings? I’m surprised because, in terms of reputation, Ivey, Rotman and Schulich usually have the top 3 MBA programs in Canada.

  • Teddy

    I was fortunate enough to get into one of the UE U.S schools several years back and loved my experience. Since then I’ve worked in a couple of different roles (MBB and industry) across the US, Europe and Asia and have been involved fairly actively in recruiting MBA grads. In most cases there was a fairly consistent top 10 – or 9 to be more accurate – the M7 plus LBS and INSEAD. If a candidate went to one of those schools the panel would automatically look at the CV and then judge their overall profile (candidates from other schools obviously made the cut as well, but they had a harder job). Once we got through the first cut the school usually became irrelevant and we focused on each individual’s background and the skills they would bring to the role. That said, one thing that has become apparent having now worked with MBA grads for over 5 years is the difference in cultural awareness that the LBS and INSEAD students have versus a number of the top US grads – in some cases it was like night and day. Depending on your outlook of the world and future career aspirations, this may not matter to you but I would encourage as many MBA students to expand their horizons as much as possible – even if only through a short 3-4 month exchange from your home school. One last point for future MBA students – location can help massively in your networking efforts so keep that in mind when determining a shortlist of schools. I’m currently based in London for the winter and meet a lot of LBS students face-to-face at presentations and other networking events which gives them a slight advantage when it comes to securing an interview. Of course, if you want to work in New York then London, F’bleu or even California probably won’t be as good an option as a NE school.

    NB: Future MBAs – it goes without saying, but trust your gut and don’t rely too much on anonymous opinions you read on the internet (the above included)

  • Nedyalko Terziev

    I agree with Vladimir’s suggestion that a strong national economy leads to having strong schools (or at least better ranked schools). Still, I have hard time agreeing with the conclusion- go to a US school because the US economy is still good while Europe’s faltering. I am sorry but BOTH Europe and US are faltering. As much as there is negative publicity about the future of the Eurozone right now, the US dollar and its future status as a world reserve currency are very much in question too. BOTH economies are buried in public debt and BOTH have consistently been fiscally irresponsible- not just since 2008 but for decades.

    This is why I choose Insead Singapore for the full duration of my MBA program! I have been now for two weeks in Singapore and have been amazed by Insead and the quality of the students but even more amazed by Singapore. Guys, stop arguing US vs European school – the future is in Asia!

  • Me,

    The new FT ranking comes out on Monday, Jan. 30th.

  • Me

    Hi John, everyone,
    Anybody knows when the new FT ranking is due?

  • Congratulations to the IE Business School. The time I spent as a student of MBA was spectacular, changed my life. I recommend to all those who want a first-line training.

  • europeancandidate2012

    Thank you for your feedback Elisabeth 🙂

  • Elisabeth

    European Candidate,

    I look at PhD programmes in Europe and may add something. As you correctly guessed, matching your research interest with advisor’s work is key. Look at faculty’s website for research interests, publications in high profile journals (check: ISI Web from Thomson Research or ScienceDirect citation for impact), service as journal editor, conferences and guest speakers series where other academics present their work. Citations indicate the network of other researchers in this topic. Check title of previous PhD candidates and their career. Funding is key as well.

    For most programmes, the research proposal of 1,500 words is the most important part of your application and some unis even list books to prepare you how to write research proposals. You will need to master this even later for grants applications. Some unis have good teaching for undergrads, but are lighter in research whereas others are more focused on research. Even within in the same subject, there are nuances of thoughts and methodologies. Of course, you need good grades as some faculties require first class degrees for admission.

    I agree that sledging other BSchools is destructive and does not add value to dialogue.

  • I am currently studying at IE business school, and I can say that it is a great school, trully global, diverse and with alumni presence everywhere.

    Among the professor I’ve received tuition from are CEOs CFO of large companies. The program blended alternatives really are great and force learning.

  • Mario

    INSEAD is not a french b school, is not an american b school, is not an european b school..INSEAD defined its identity some 50 years ago..before the internet..before the globalization..its a business school for the world…a true global b school for all cultures..all colors..all man kind..all times all places..its way has been adopted by all the top schools in and outside US and yet couldn’t catch up..its PhD graduates teach at all the M7 B schools.. its powerful alumni cover all aspects of businesses everywhere..with its status as stand alone business school (not belonging to any uni) managed to put itself on par with schools that has vast backup of resources..its a miracle of business education..

  • Vladmir

    @EuropeanCandidate2012: I’m glad to see you’ve been reading my comments. I believe in freedom of speech and I shall continue to voice my views and opinions.

    I shall now resort to a more important topic facing business school selection: Are general mgmt programs the best way going fwd?

    What do I mean by the above? Well over the last decade, finance dominated the business school industry. Finance was one of the largest sectors of employment for newly minted MBA’s and Finance sent a disproportionate amount of candidates to do their MBA’S. In the aftermath of the financial crisis, finance domination of business school did suffer. Some of the tops schools became less finance biased and many adcom members wanted more tangible skills. Traders were deemed asset shufflers. Experience in private equity, a very selective field was considered worthwhile only if candidates actually had input into the portfolio of companies the fund owned rather than conducting ‘due diligence’ or financial modelling. However in 2011 and even back in 2010 to a certain extent, finance enrollment and employment is getting back up. CBS sent over 50% into finance, Chicago 41%, and Wharton over 40%.
    I cannot help but ponder are these numbers sustainable? Finance has and is seeing an ongoing conslidation and restructuring as an industry. We’ve seen this with many industries over the years, manufacturing in the West and the Chemical industry. Heck – since 2007 we’ve seen the demise of Bear Sterns, Lehman, ABN Amro, MF Global, Fortis, Dexia, Dresdner Kleinworth, Merrill Lynch to name a few. Even RBS is now shutting its equities busines. Sure some banks were bought over by competitors, but nowhere near the same amount of people are in employment.

    So the key questions are –

    1. Will it be best going forward to pursue an MBA at a general mgmt school – HBS / TUCK / KELLOGG / SBS / ROSS / SLOAN as opposed to finance specialist schools – CBS / WHARTON / CHICAGO / LBS / NYU /TEPPER / USC ?

    I really don’t know – would love to hear your comments.

    Do remember that Finance does still recruit from the general mangement schools and I guess the competetion will be less intense as there are a diverse range of employers. Moreover these schools with the exception of HBS generally have smaller fulltime 2 yr MBA classes ( Wharton and CBS 800+)

    2. Does there need there need to be a structural shift or consolidation in the finance focused schools? There are generally one or two really known schools for each field i.e Kellogg one for marketing .. Sloan Biotech .. Berkely Tech.
    One thing I should say is Kudos’ to LBS which has diversifed, sending only 30% into finance.

  • europeancandidate2012

    John, Highly appreciate your feedback — much, much appreciated. Thanks,
    P.S. I personally (and know/feel many other readers out there) prefer short, crisp, and accurate feedback without a condescending tone or degrading/demeaning attitude. This forum and initiative is great — we can all benefit less the bickering, but through an appreciation of different viewpoints, while exposing our own blindspots. Let us keep it that way 🙂 Best wishes to all.

  • European Candidate,

    Unfortunately, I’m not as familiar with PhD programs as I would like to be, especially those in Europe and Canada. Given your aims, however, I would look at this a little differently. Why not go to a school whose faculty produces leading edge research in the field of your interest and passion. Before getting into the application phase, simply call or write the key profs, tell them of your interest, and ask about the process of taking on assistant researchers, etc. You can get to the bottom of this fairly easily through the research rankings done by a couple of profs at the business school of the University of Texas at Dallas. We did this story on the ranking last year. But you can go to the website of the school and get under the hood of the ranking by discipline to see exactly what you need. Good luck!

  • europeancandidate2012

    Vlad- suck it up and read this: Cornell hires INSEAD professor as Dean…and according to you, apparently INSEAD and European B-Schools don’t even match up to a top 10-15 BSchool based out of the U.S. In all honesty, while I appreciate your feedback and research, watch the tone of your language and get over yourself and “your” insights and research. To you U.S. Bschools may mean the world—to others, European BSchools may mean the world, and for valid and legitimate reasons.

  • europeancandidate2012

    Mario/Vlad- take your individual conversation offline please! It’s frustrating and embarrassing. John, I look forward to your feedback and response regarding my query.

  • Mario


    you are in 21st century..think global..and act big..go beyond boarders..don’t stuck to tunnel vision..things always change..the market is the whole world..who is pioneered the “global” idea in business education particularly MBA (case studies, targeted customers, different languages and cultures) ? who added to them the global flavor for almost 60 years…. I let you answer..

    calm down man..its just big deals..

  • Vladmir

    Mario –

    For a change something interesting from your side. I think you again interpreted the data incorrectly. LBS and INSEAD are placing their students at MBB primarily ouside of the US. The US school students have the luxury of not only working in the US offices but also outside at MBB offices. I don’t think LBS and INSEAD have the same standing with MBB offices in the US.

  • Mario

    continuing the previous post..this is the official report..

  • Mario

    worth reading the link below about the consulting schools..supported by figures and numbers..

  • European Candidate for 2012

    Again, my question is regarding PhD programs in Europe and/or Canada — which are top notch programs for PhD programs in Europe and/or Canada? Can you list a few? I understand for PhD progarms it is different — i.e. candidate should first determine his/her research interests and see if a particular prog. is a good fit i.e. if the program has faculty with similar research interests who’d be interested in serving as a mentor/advisor, and this is perhaps the most important since 1. faculty would be serving as my advisor for 4-5 years and 2. faculty strengths determine networking, research publication etc. opportunities for myself as a student post graduation. But again, feedback on part of John, Vladimir etc. would be immensely helpful.

    How are Canadian progs like Richard Ivey, UToronto regarding outside of Canada say in the U.S. etc.?

  • kravishankar

    How would you decide between booth and Insead France where I have admissions. I have 5 years experience in a multinational FMCG post engineering graduation

  • Remi


    I have some friend went to IE. If you want to purse a start-up, thats the place. If you want to go to 4Big consulting, none of MBA guarantees you If you dont have the right skills or If your undergrad scores are low or If you are older. I know people from HBS and IE but I know people in 4B from both MBAs. Personally I dont know people from Goldman Sachs, but apparently there are also people from good banking background. So, I am quite confident with IE

    About the rankings; I think ranking is important, it gives an idea about the school and I think non-US ranking is reasonable. If you are young go to top 10 US MBAs, you enjoy 2 years, and do internship which puts your feet into a potential company. If you are older, I think EU schools could be a good option.

    At the end of the day, I think If you can get in top 20 US or top 10 EU schools, and If you have a credible employer, I believe you can be quite ok for your future career.

  • Mario

    Thank you for your clarification. if you allow me to just explain why did I post those comments:


    the frustration I have seen and always happening for many great applicants when they got rejected because of gmat or gpa..and the most unconvinced reply from the admission officers when they say: we use gmat to predict the applicant ability to master the course work! management education is not a rocket science, all people whom studied basic calculus and statistics can easily handle and MBA curriculum. so, there is really no point of just replying to a good applicant that your gmat isnt competitive, they should say we have no seat for you, thats it..when I post about Mr Gottesman I just wanted to show to all applicants that the academic ability is not in same importance in admission to B school as it is with law school or medicine.. the business in real world is all about connections and mutual benefits..Mr Gottesman family is in historical relation with Mr Bush family for, please B schools dont talk about academic ability..and to know carefully about Mr Gottesman, he is now a principal in a very prestigious private equity firm in boston which most of his portfolio cover companies deeply involved with the pentagon and department of defense, he did this in only TWO years..welcome to the real point is again: Business schools should not put pressure on students and show them that the admitted ones are just THE the admitted ones are the most powerful and connected..with some exceptions of course..and just to reminder, the gmat itself is just 20 years old!


    I admit that poetsandquants ranking is truly the most credible and make sense in all its analysis.

    and always we should not disregard good business schools just because we don’t like them or they aren’t belonging to our country or culture, NO,

    we should make it clear for all prospective MBAs that MBA is not everything and they should not kill themselves for branding and prestige LIFE IS FILLED BY OPPORTUNITIES, the success not only by an MBA.. they should consider the most appropriate program for them if the program is well rounded and accredited by accreditation bodies like AASCB, and can help them in achieving their goals..

    in all cases, I appreciate this thoughtful discussion..


  • Mario,

    Every ranking system is flawed. There are no exceptions. However, some ranking systems have methodologies make more inherent sense in measuring the quality of an MBA program than others. We address all of these flaws in our analysis of the major rankings and in our own ranking that places different weights on each of the most important lists.

  • Mario,

    The person to whom you refer had a written recommendation for admission to Harvard from the President of the U.S. There aren’t many MBA applicants who could have the President write an enthusiastic letter of recommendation. I have to believe he was a truly exceptional individual for Harvard to have accepted him.

  • Mario


    this is for you: when b schools talk about selectivity and high standards of admission, can you bieleve HBS admitted some one without undergraduate degree! I wonder how was his gmat?!!, b schools are just for business not a ticket for success..

  • Mario


    and these flaws do not affect BW credibility..but they make FT and Ec criminal !!!!! thank you for the double standards..

  • Vladmir

    MARIO –
    All rankings have flaws and so does business week. However The FT and the Economist aren’t flawed but are criminal.
    Now Goodbye!

  • Mario

    you still didn’t explain why BW put COX ahead of TUCK and Yale?!!!

  • Mario


    to be fair, lots of INSEAD students find it too fast to do an MBA within 10 months, and most of them I met complain about that..but it is all about trade-off and balance thing..I do believe that it is all about the student himself not the should pick the best program for you not based on brand or fact, I met one guy graduated from HBS and he couldn’t manage to get a job with Mckinsey..because he has an influence to getting into HBS despite it is not the appropriate school for him..he told me that the professional employers highly regard the one who selected the best program for his profile not for just fact, they found (the employers) that when some one turn down Stanford for example for Duke is better (not because duke is better than stanford) but because duke is better for him..(he is in healthcare btw)..
    having said that: if you don’t have strong experience in business then TWO years is better..but if you already have BS in economics or business and worked as business analyst at blue chip firm..then most people would recommend one year as wise choice..this will predict the one’s sense of time and money..not just brand..

  • Vladmir

    Mario –
    1. What exactly is your point ? Are you wanting to say INSEAD is great and better than HBS, WHARTON, STANFORD, COLUMBIA, MIT, KELLOGG, TUCK and CHICAGO?
    2. Yes the consultancies recruit from there for non US roles. I have maintained INSEAD is a consulting school.But anyone who goes to the above US schools will get a role in any MBB office the world over.
    3. The FT and the Economist aren’t flawed but are criminal.
    4. I have been considerate to respond to you but for the future I want to refer you to the new dean of Insead, Deepak Jain, who came from Kellogg. Pls ask him how Insead compares with the above mentioned US schools.

    and finally go to any French Business leader from INSEAD if you are non French and see how much he cares you went to INSEAD.


  • Mario


    if you don’t like FT and Econ rankings due to their inaccuracy, can you please explain why BW put COX ahead of Yale, Tuck. and many other prestigious schools, and why it put DUKE ahead of Tuck?!! another point: why BW do separate ranking for the Full time MBA and mix the ranking with Ex MBA and executive education??!!
    sir, HBS has an endowment of more than 2 billion by far bigger than most of highly ranking universities, let alone just business schools… however, INSEAD managed to put itself (with this limited endowment) to be competitor with those giants..!! you should appreciate that..
    yes, US education generally is no doubt the best..but we are talking about very professional and management training program MBA..
    I strongly encourage prospective students to look into the top consulting firms website and see where do they recruit which campuses they visit..this is strong sign of the strength of the school..just go for Mckinsey or Bain website and see the schools they list..

  • Vladmir

    I started posting on Poet and Quants to contribute to a productive discussion. I believe by sharing accurate and frank insights, we all can get a better idea and feel of the great bschool program out there. I reiterate I do not believe INSEAD and LBS or any of the European Schools are bad schools but I cannot emphasize more that they are not near the equals of the US TOP 10. More importantly I believe they are over hyped and the Economist and FT rankings are criminal in their inaccurate reflection of schools.
    Now let me start by explaining to you all this over hype in European programs and how it came about and how it shall diminish.
    Education has historically been and continues to be linked to a county’s economic status or hegemony. As the US became the dominant economic power, so did the status of its IVY league reach world renown. People from all over the world wanted to send their kids to these universities. Back in the day, when France was a great economic power, the Grand Ecoles were colossals for higher learning. Some UK Universities are still great centres but arguably past their peak with the exception of Oxbridge. Until 2003-2004, the Top US business schools were poles apart from the European in terms of status and prestige. The great bull market of 2003-2008 did wonders for the European schools. The Spanish economy grew in leaps and bounds and suddenly the 3 Spanish Schools, IESE, IE and ESADE came up on peoples radars. The bubble that was the financial services industry thrusted LBS on to the global finance scene. And INSEAD was helped by an overall buoyant Eurozone Economy. Sure the US was growing but it did not grow as much as Spain, which by its current unemployment rate of almost 20% we now know was a spectacular bubble. London overtook New York as the world financial centre and LBS reaped the rewards. Additionally as India and China started registering phenomenal growth rates, so too did their business schools grow in acclaim – ISB and CEIBS. However, with Europe in structural decline now and finance not as big as it was in Ldn, the European schools will have a tough time going forward and the mean may be reverted. Indians and Chinese and Asians overall are the highest proportion of International students. They increasingly started to look at these European schools since 03 but going forward if Europe continues its decay, they will shun the schools in entirety. And we have seen INSEAD and LBS DO NOT HAVE SUFFICIENT LOCAL STUDENTS TO FILL THIS VOID. The US schools do. The US Bschools in-fact lost out due to the US economy faltering in 07 and work visas not being offered for Intl students pursuing US MBAS.
    Despite this though almost every Asian student still recognizes the power of a US Education and the US business school. Just take a look at John’s analysis on International students and how many Asians apply to US schools. The fact is US education is gold in the East and it will remain so.
    More importantly, the US economy is in recovery mode. At worst, the US will recover sooner than Europe as it got into the mess before Europe. Moreover Europe as a whole is in structural decline. I truly believe in history and the history of empires. The Europeans led the way but their civilization will go through decay like other great civilizations did. Asia’s time has come and the coming years will be of the great Asian civilization. However while I don’t think the US will be as great a civilization as it was, it will nonetheless continue to prosper. Firstly the US dollar is the reserve currency of the world, secondly the US still has the best educational institues of the world. Civilizations start to decline, the minute their centres of learning get depleted. UK, French and other European universities have limited funding and endowments and are crumbling. The US ones are still in great health!

  • Vladmir

    Hello Mario.

    I spent 3 minutes scrolling his blog. In his blog he justifies his desicion to go to INSEAD over MIT as the FT ranking has INSEAD higher. Might have included another reason, but I haven’ t got the time of the day to devote more time to some random’s blog. He also seems convinced the FT ranking is comprehensive. I’d be skeptical of anyone paying any weight to the FT or Economist Rankings. These editors have been schooled in education systems that do not appreciate the attributes that make great business schools or even for that matter undergraduate institutions.

    Additionally pls note in his own blog he states a list of alumni most likely to recruit from their school. LBS and INSEAD while high aren’t as high as the US schools.

    Don’t get me wrong. Insead is a good school. But as John as highlighted in his post, I don’t think its at the same level as a TOP 8 or even TOP 10 US school. Its less competetive to get in. And most people go only because its one year. Moreover INSEAD are each year consistently increasing their intake. Add to this the RIDICULOUS 2 Month exchange program they have. You actually only spend 10 months at INSEAD with this option. Hardly any time to make true connections and learn much!

  • Mario

    this guy from Israel explain why he turned down MIT sloan for INSEAD? as many many students is all about fit and career goals..but in term of quality and prestige INSEAD is on the same level of the middle east and rules..

  • Vladmir

    Good for you !
    Instead of explaining the great offers you supposedly recieved why don’t add some constructive information on why you chose INSEAD over the others. Absolutely no value added – no specific reasons cited whatsoever.
    P.S CBS offerring a full scholarship and Chicago offering only $40. When I last checked CBS was more difficult to get into; acceptance rate at roughly15% vs 22% for Booth.

  • Me

    It is fascinating to see how passionate people get about US / non US comparisons.

    Just dropping some personal, biased, incomplete, but true and first-hand feedback from an Inseader:
    – Accepted at Insead without any scholarship versus accepted at CBS with full tuition offered, and Chicago with 40k$. In both cases i did not even write an essay to get the scholarship.
    – Many students here turned down offers from the above mentioned schools. I also know some who turned down Stanford, Wharton, MIT, NYU, etc … This doesn’t include only Euro or US students.
    – I am a finance guy with CFA and am still learning a lot in this so-called consulting school
    My comments above are not meant to be disrespectful of other schools, I was truly impressed with some of them. The strongest choice for me was actually versus Chicago -really loved the curriculum- and IMD -really loved the general spirit and intensity. Was a bit disappointed at LBS and CBS. Friends from Kelogg and Wharton did not convince me at all that there was more over there.
    Only ding received: HBS .. out of reach! forces humility, they’re good.

    I do not intend to demonstrate anything here, just putting my own story in the global picture.

  • Oxbridge Applicant

    Vladmir: I like the CBS 16 Month option better. Not only is CBS stronger in Finance but it also has strong placements in BBs/top flight companies.

    A Clarification on Banking being US centric: Do you think that this applies to UK Banks like RBS, Barclays, and Lloyds? I can see the American BBs skewing in favor of U.S. Business schools, however I’d like to know about the European banks as well.

  • Vladmir


    Kellogg is a fantastic Business School ! Don’t know too much abt the one yr program but I have friends who did the 2 Yr. They are the most genuinely down to earth and friendly people. They also all happen to be high fliers.
    While Wharton has more cache esp in finance, it does help when atleast away from the work place you are in a great school in a congenial environment.
    CBS 16 month is a great option as Sami points out. If you don’t get your banking role, you can rejoin your current employer. A CBS MBA will in-fact get you a better role in Ldn than an LBS MBA despite CBS being in New York. Do remember, the US is still the market. Its easy to move from West to East but not East to West. Howmany bankers move from HK to London or London to NY? However almost all can move from NY to Ldn or NY to HK.
    Same goes for Bskewl.

    RAMI – INSEAD is a good school but I’m sure it doesn’t need an ambassador flooding the forum – I see you’ve uploaded your comments on discussions on other articles. One is sufficient.
    Moreover some food for thought: pls see
    This showcases the different nationalities – it has the number of people from India at 68 and France at 68 at INSEAD for 2010. HOWEVER certain countries have disproportionate representation to their population such as Lebanon 26, Isreal 15, The Netherlands 30 odd. Why? Quite simply because aside from the main nationalities British, India, France and the US – Insead does not have much a clientele and to show diversity they will take a greater portion of their applicants from other countries.
    As for the US schools – well John’s insightful article highlighted just how popular they are with international candidates and its relative difficulty.

  • American in Paris

    All, you need to check out the Canadian MBA programs if you are looking for value for money, especially the Quebec schools. Multicultural, multi-lingual, international student bodies and networks, and international faculties. Canadian tradition of publing funding for higher education and lower cost of living, again especially in Quebec. You should consider at Ivey, Queen’s, Rotman, and HEC Montreal. Outside US does not only mean Europe.

  • MatFr

    Hi everyone!

    I am surprised that IE, well ranked nearly everywhere including here, is not popping up in the comments.
    What is your opinion on this school/program guys?

  • Sami

    @oxbridge applicant,

    Columbia offers 16 months Jan-path if you dont need an internship. same at tepper..

  • Oxbridge Applicant

    Vladmir: Your assertions are compelling. I think I’ll need to do some research on the best course of action. I do agree that schools like Wharton, Stern provide a very detailed information in their career placement reports. It speaks to their strengths in the Business world.

    Unfortunately my biggest assumption has been laboring under maximizing ROI and Oxbridge’s proximity to London. Between your insightful notes and my deeper research, I am shifting away from Oxbridge.

    Kingfalcon: I have looked at a few US based 1 year programs like Cornell (requires a masters degree in Quant subject), Babson (terribly ranked), and Emory (too regional). I did not consider Kellogg, however I am already on their website seeing whether I can qualify. I appreciate your input.

  • Kingfalcon


    Forgive me for not reading all your posts, but have you considered one year full-time programs in the US? I haven’t done much research into them since I fully intend to do a two-year program, but I believe Kellogg offers that option. Just food for thought.


  • Vladmir


    1. Nothing is guaranteed in life except death. An MBA is a risk trade. Its good your trying to hedge yourself but your trying to buy into Chinese Equities which is the cheaper option (Yes Chinese equity valuations are low) but you are sacrificing quality and transparency. If your employer will take you back after a yr program provided you don’t get something, why can’t he take you back after two? Worst off you can spend the summer doing an internship there. Remember the US programs are really 21 months and not 24 but INSEAD is actually 12 months. OXBRIDGE is absolutely no point. Your better off giving that money to charity and allowing the almight to look after you.
    2. The TOP 7 US programs have an avg lifetime payout of just over $3million. These numbers speak alot. Don’t take a short term view. If the economy goes down the drain, you can become a gmat instructor or an admissions consultant – but thats only if you go to a high ranked program.
    3. You fail to appreciate how insanely expensive Europe is. And yes the European economy is fudged and it ain’t improving anything soon. It doesn’t take rocket scientists to appreciate the arithmetic involved (debt to gdp levels)
    4. You fail to appreciate the signing on bonuses and summer internship pay if you get into a top US school. Finally you fail to appreciate the financial aid offered. In short the US experience seems more expensive than it actually is.
    5. Moving into finance is not easy anymore. Career switching is becoming increasingly difficult in this market. Unless you go to Wharton Chicago or Booth, I reckon you will find it hard to move to finance. LBS is a good school but I just don’t think it’ll do the career switch magic. Give them a call and find out howmany actual career switchers they had into finance.
    6. Wharton is an excellent brand to have. It truly does wonders in the world of finance but to switch you definately need a fulltime MBA. No way an EMBA is going to work any magic, especially in this market.

  • Oxbridge Applicant


    A lot of good information being discussed here. I have looked at U.S. based schools like Wharton, NYU, and Tuck. The issue for me is opportunity cost. My salary is already in the USD $80-100K range, I am in a finance role at a defense/aerospace manufacturer. Therefore a 2 year MBA will cost me:

    $150K Tuition + Living Expenses
    $190K Foregone Salary
    $340K Total

    Honestly, I care less about the foregone salary as I will be switching into another lucrative field, it is more about the uncertainty in the (European/MENA) economy. What if I am not able to secure the BB London/Dubai based position after a 2 year hiatus from the job market? What if my ‘second choice’ (Industry) comp is much lower?

    Furthermore, my present employer is willing to give me 1 year off to study for an MBA. Even if I am unable to secure a position post-MBA, I would always have this lifeline available.

    As you can see, I take nothing for granted. U.S. Business schools may provide an excellent education, however employment is never guaranteed and is subject to the economic circumstances of that time.

    What do you think about an EMBA from Wharton? I would be on the younger end (29) of the program, however if it can afford the credibility to make the aforementioned switch to London/Dubai, I am willing to pursue that option as well. I could continue working, not require any student loan debt and be able to meet my medium term goals as well.


  • Vladmir

    Oxbridge Applicant

    Dude – sure OXBRIDGE has a great name but the name does not matter when you are dealing with people in the now. Look at the Middle East Market, the private equity firms from Abraaj to Mubadala have top talent from the likes of GS Sachs and Mckinsey. These guys are HBS or Wharton graduates. If you are looking for a job at a relatively less prestigious or lucarative shop then yes the Oxbridge brand might fool some.


    1. IMD is the most comprehensive and best programme if you want to attain a senior position in industry. Its well recognized in all the top industry employers in Europe. Just take a look at their employment record. Also on their website you can send some info on your credentials and they will assess your chances of acceptance. Not everyone on the street will know abt the IMD name but the people who need to are very cognizant abt it.
    If I wanted to go into industry in Europe or work for a European Bluechip name in Industry, I would give an arm to go to IMD.

    1. Sorry to be frank but I think Manchester Business School is not a proper MBA experience. Its fine if you complete your undergrad and go there but its not worth the time after 3-4 yrs of work experience. Manchester itself has no name in the UK, let alone globally. I’d rather consider Bacconi or Stockholm Business School.

    1. I tend to more or less agree with your rankings and although prestige wise a Darden and Ross may be below LBS and INSEAD, I think employability wise they are actually stronger.

  • Vladmir

    Oxbridge Applicant:
    1. Sorry can’t locate your email addy. Happy to have a conversation offline though.
    2.I repeat you have a strong profile. Do not muck up by chosing the wrong school. I am surprised given your strong profile you have not conducted more research on the schools. If you want to work in finance then the top schools are in the following order. This a global list as most of the bulge will recruit from these schools for any location (they are global).
    1. Wharton
    2. Columbia
    2. Booth (Booth would be 3 but has been doing very well and has a near monopoly in the Chicago area – Columbia is strong in NYC but NYU and Wharton eat up its dominance.
    4.NYU Stern.

    If you are serious abt finance, then go to one of these schools.
    INSEAD will not help but it is not impossible. If your at INSEAD and up against a candidate from one of the above for a finance position, its likely they have better odds.

    5. IMD is a unique school and fantastic for industry. Its not at all a finance school. I’d be surprised if more than 5 of the 90 people went into finance afterwards.

    6. Do some research on IESE. It is a good programme, the brand name is growing, case study approach based on HBS. 18 Months in Sunny Barcelona. More importantly some of the large banks in EMEA recruit. Citigroup is infact on the largest recruiters there. It comes after LBS and INSEAD in Europe but is easily no.3. Also its a smaller class at 300 and they go into a diverse range of industries. Your chances might be better from a less competetive place. At an LBS or NYU or Columbia you are competing against your peers. Remember the name of the game is to 1) Get into a Great Programme 2) Decide Based on the Competetion. Afterall all the employers recruit from these schools, the trick is to beat your internaal competetion.

    7. Finally there is now virtually no investment banking in the MENA region. Its back to coverage from London. Its more like corp banking there. Now for London positions, LBS is great but LBS will always lose out to Wharton, Columbia and Chicago guys wanting to work in London. It happens – just ask any LBS alum

  • Oxbridge Applicant

    @ Siraj: I have not considered Insead due to its strength in the Francophone world and the Consulting focus.

    @ Vladimir: Happy New Year!

    Thank you for taking the time to review and answer my questions. Based on the feedback from you and additional research, I am also looking to apply to LBS and IMD. Actually very impressed by IMD’s student background.

    In terms of career focus: Post MBA, I would like to work either in London or Dubai in a Bulge Bracket Investment Bank. As you can imagine, the Oxbridge (parent not business school) brand goes far in MENA. However if brand recognition is low for Said/Judge at BB’s like GS, MS, then I may need to reconsider planning.

    Not to beat a dead horse, is it possible for Said/Judge to come up in the rankings as the programs mature and the alumni base expands? In the States, I am watching Johns Hopkins B-School closely as it is in the same situation.

    If you don’t mind, I would like to discuss a few matters offline — my contact email address is listed.

  • Mario


    I totally agree on the importance of the alumni network, and for sure Tuck is very famous for that. Yes, it would be highly appreciated if poetsandquants provide some insights and analysis on this factor..btw, Vladimir: could you please give more highlights on IMD MBA program in switzerland, I notice this program is somewhat unique but not famous as the others..

  • Vladmir

    The Alumni Factor:


    You provide some very insightful analysis on the schools with the most tight knit community and close alumni. I believe this factor gets discounted heavily. Outside of the school and in the real world, it is quite frankly becoming more abt who you know rather than what you know. An increasing number of people are perfecting the system – getting top grades, getting themselves into IVY league level universities. However the economic pie, atleast in the professional (salaried world) is limited. Therefore the alumni factor becomes even more important. Do you not believe this criteria merits more weightage. I know the FT and Economist being British don’t appreciate this as much. The alumni culture in the UK and continental Europe in general is less powerful than in the US.
    I know you also highlighted some programmes with strong alumni ties / close knit communities BUT would it be possible to highlight the outliers for the audience i.e Good Well reputable Programmes but generally weak communities / alumni. This would be most interesting.

  • MBA_aficionado

    For what its worth, in my opinion INSEAD and LBS should indeed be considered as two of the top schools in the world. However, other international bschools are much more of a stretch to call “elite”. Heres my own personal view of the global top ten. Obviously take this with a grain of salt and go out and do your own research! Different schools are better for different people. Without further ado: Harvard and Stanford are the obvious ultra-elite (in all ways – prestige, power of network, admissions standards, etc). Then comes the rest: Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Sloan, INSEAD, Columbia, Tuck. Finally, LBS, Haas, Ross, Duke, Stern, Yale (and just maybe Darden too) are fighting tooth and nail to stay in the top ten. UCLA, Cornell (and other international schools such as IMD, etc) are a bit lower, more like top 15-20. With that said, I know people who have turned down HBS, Sloan, and/or Wharton acceptances to attend LBS or INSEAD. I also know people who were accepted to HBS/Stanford/Wharton/Booth and one of INSEAD/LBS, but in the end thought a US school would be more prestigious. I also know people who were accepted at HBS and Stanford and rejected from Wharton, INSEAD and others! Of course, admissions to different schools can sometimes be due to a bit of luck or chance, but bottom line, focus on the top 10 or so, then tweak according to your own research.

  • MBA_aficionado

    These rankings disputes pop up every year around this time and are a bit silly — first of all, anyone mature enough for a top MBA should know to take rankings with a grain of salt and then go out and talk to alums and visit schools for themselves. Thats it, so simple! Second, if you do want to scrutinize rankings, then most people with good knowledge of MBAs would agree that US News and Businessweek are known as the two best, all the others seem to have larger methodology flaws… However, even US News and Businessweek are flawed in that they do not compile total global rankings. In today’s world it seems strange to have separate rankings for US vs. international schools.

  • Fahad

    I have been reading some interesting conversation regarding the business schools saga.

    Vladmir! I think your comments are well researched and based on real facts from students who actually had experience of these schools.

    I was considering Manchester Business School because it was local to me but I have changed my mind because its not going to get me in consultancy. I had spoken to top recruiting agencies and they confirmed that outside US most of the consultancy houses only consider Insead or LBS.

    But I think it doesn’t mean that other business schools are not offering anything, certainly they do and offcourse after graduating its you not the business school. You have to sell your own brand. But I also think because its a life time investment one should opt a better option.

    Vladmir your thoughts on Manchester Business School please.

  • Vladmir

    Oxbridge Applicant –
    If you would like to pursue a path in industry then I’d urge you to consider researching IMD. Quality programme – fantastic reputation and one year.

    Kellogg has one year option and CBS has 18 months and so does LBS.

    IESE is also worthwhile in that the fulltime is 18months.

    Do not do Judge or Said. Again I have friends there and happy for you to contact me off line to be put in touch with them.

  • Vladmir

    Oxbridge Applicant –
    Happy New Year.

    What I mean abt these new one year programmes at the likes of Judge and Oxbridge being around is whether they are sustainable. Lets face it education is a business. A business that thrives on reputation. HBS has the highest number of applicants because of its reputation. Now Judge and Oxford can only sustain themselves if people continue to apply. But the former graduates or alumni need the programme to work for them. So far IT HAS NOT ! No real employer recognizes these brands. They are new schools. They do not have a track record. They are schools built on the 3 yr UK undergraduate brand. Their endowments are low. The best Professors do not chose to teach there. The best Employers do not chose to hire there bar a select few ( that too those only for sponsored candidates who were working for those firms previously and could not get into the top programmes ) The downright truth is that most highly priced experiences or quality products come at a cost and such is the two year MBA. Very rarely do you go wrong with a quality product, others are debateable. Don’t waste your money on something substandard and you have a decent profile to get yourself into a good school. Try INSEAD or LBS if Europe you must or else stick to the States. Good luck !

  • Life@IIMA

    @Siraj – Do you have any Idea about the concept of ‘Avg Score’..?
    IIMA’s Avg GMAT score is not 780. It’s around 730

  • Brian


    Happy new years! I just did a quick search on LinkedIn and I found that US Service Academy (USMA, USNA, USAFA) grads flock to LBS over INSEAD. Perhaps minimal business experience is the main factor, and we therefore need more time to prepare for the transition.

  • siraj

    oxbridge applicant,

    why not consider INSEAD ??!!

  • Oxbridge Applicant


    I read your comments with great interest as I am planning on applying to Oxford Said and Cambridge Judge. When you say that you would be surprised if they are around in 10-15 time, can you elaborate on that?

    I was following the application process (had not taken the GMAT) last year and was troubled by the late summer admissions deadline extension at Said and the fact that Judge seemed to have accepted comparatively few quants (unscientific/gleaned from the B-school forums).

    I am American, top 10 grad, good work experience, 710 GMAT and I am looking for that cheap 1 year MBA option. I would rather take 1 year off from work or go to a top 10 EMBA Program like Wharton or PT NYU-Stern. A 2 year MBA degree does not make financial sense for me, at this time.
    So what should I do? I am definitely interested in maximizing ROI.

  • billyjoel

    All this argument about US News reminds me of the BCS debate. US News is basically a “brand” ranking, in which there is little movement at the top – a selffulfilling prophecy.

    At the end of the day, it’s what you do with yourself that matters. The school may help you get there, but a Stanford GSB degree will not make you the next Bill Gates, nor will land you auto-acceptance to Bain.

    Instead of worrying about whether or not Fuqua is better than CBS, why don’t you worry about getting in a good school, and make a difference in this world.

  • Elisabeth

    I think UK schools are overrepresented on this list and this distorion reflects the favoured bias from UK centric publications such as FT and Economist. Honestly, business schools such as Bradford, Durham, Birmingham and Strathclyde are not well regarded in the UK and are not on the target list of UK firms. Totally overrated given soft entry requirement, career, iffy satisfaction and mediocre academic output.

    Surprisingly, some strong European business schools such as Essec, St. Gallen, Mannheim, WHU, Copenhagen and Stockholm are missing. Incidentally, if you factor in prohibitive UK tuition fees, most European programmes also offer better value for money.

  • Alois de Novo


    I’m morbidly curious as to why St Gallen didn’t make your list.

    If I were planning a career in the world’s most successful economic region (the German speaking countries) that’s where I’d go.

    Is there some anti-German bias in this?


  • Siraj,

    While some rankings give weight to GMATs and GPAs, not all do. BusinessWeek’s rankings give no weight whatsoever to a GMAT score or a GPA. Neither does Forbes. And The Financial Times gives the most weight to compensation of some 20 different metrics it includes in its ranking.

  • siraj

    I wonder why rankings give GMAT and GPAs bigger weights, if that’s the case you should know that the average GMAT for IMM Ahmedabad is 780 !! and GPA 4.0. I hope rankings will not be that naive in the future. They should give more weights to careers prospects, goal achievements and overall impact on the students..

  • gnut.sucram

    Hi John,

    If EIU’s ranking should reduce weighting to 10% due to they produce “surprising” results. Why FT’s ranking could keep 30%, as much as BW and Forbes does? Because you believe a ranking which put HKUST, ISB, IIM in top 15 in the world is as good as BW and Forbes?

    In my personal opinion: Forbes > BW > FT > EIU. Of Course, US News is the best but it do not rank any non-US MBAs.

  • Conor

    Naser I totally agree I only look at US news as well. Put also NYU Stern and Yale SOM. They are outstanding business schools and severely selective. Stern is also ranked according to US News top 3 in Finance. a MUST in the top 10 list. In my opinion and after having researched significantly programs globally, the best international business schools start at #15+ on US scale.

  • Naser

    the most credible ranking in my opinion is us news. both FT and newsweek has some strange results, BW puts duke ahead of Tuck and Cox ahead of come? I think M7 plus Tuck, Haas, and Ross are mostly the best and first tier schools..duke and darden are just next to them..internationally..only INSEAD worths..

  • Rami

    Dear All,

    every one knows that the major consulting and investment banking firms do recruit from the good schools regardless weather are they american, european or asian? so, please don’t underlook into good schools just because you dont like them or obviously they didnt accept you. INSEAD is exciting since 1957 and doing fantastic on all measures. in fact in term of historical background, the ESCP is being offering business education since 1819! just to reminder you that MIT start offer MBA in the late 90s less than 20 Ys, similar yale. and the successful Duke fuqua was established in 1969 very late in american standards, however it did amazing. the bottom line is, yes, business education in US is better in GENERAL and yes almost harvard and wharton has no peer in europe but it is also true that INSEAD is really really top tier school and one of the best worldwide. when mckinsey recruit 127 graduate in single year that some thing amazing. yes 40 or so are already sponsored by mckinsey but the remain are new hires. and also, yes that the majority of INSEAD class is already consultants but this is good thing not bad, because it tells you if you want a career in consultant it is better for you to surround your self by an industry experts and connect with them earlier. and also, yes, INSEAD is too fast, but that is the real world and the real business. at all, INSEAD is the only true global business school not centered to any part, the cases in insead class come from across the globe not only from single country and for this reason actually the top firms prefer insead graduates particularly if you know that 70% of GE revenue come from outside US, same to many top F500 firms. and to know the real comparison, just type in google search INSEAD vs and see what you will get and which schools are comparable to insead. in term of class size, can you please tell me about the bottom 300 or so from Harvard where they go? and how much they earn? another point, dont stuck to much with ranking and prestige because the employer will not HIRE HBS or stanford or INSEAD they will hire you. and definitely the brand will not guard you from the real business world. in fact, when the person insisting too much on his institution brand name, it is really negative sign about him not a good one. any way, I strongly believe, the top 30 business schools worldwide can give good education and prepare you for management position, after graduation it is all about you to survive.

  • Somer


    Completely agree with you. Also check the selectivity and admissions rigor of those UK programs vs top 10-15 in US. I also agree that their alumni network is crap….

  • European Candidate for 2012

    With the European financial crisis, what is the status or outlook on recruiting in Europe by European IBs, investment manager firms etc.?

  • SS

    I would be interested in John’s feedback re Cambridge as well. Thank you both Vladimir (unique insights) and Srini for your feedback. A few more findings or questions:
    1. I agree with 1 yr. programmes being more condensed and rigorous than their 2 yr. counterparts in the U.S., but is an $150 MBA price tag/debt load worth it even if one is coming out of the top 3-5 B-Schools? Granted the schools offer excellent networking and career opportunities in 5, 10, 15 years from when a student graduates (Forbes aims to capture the 5 yr. ROI for MBA students), but it comes at an expense that can take years to pay off. This is an area for which I had read both sides of the argument (in terms of brand value, long term added value etc.), but I do not feel any reason(s) justifies $150K+. I understand many of these programmes are eyeing talented students through scholarship, financial aid etc. and read P&Q’s most recent analytical piece covering this area/practice.

    2. What would be your thoughts regarding Ph.D. programs — I understand and have often read an MBA is not the best route since the latter is focused more on honing top candidates for leadership and management positions in the long-term, whereas the former is focused on research and academia. Would you suggest a Masters in the interim or do you have thoughts? I personally do not feel an MBA in itself adds that much value and is worth paying the significant price tag from a financial perspective. From a prestige, long term perspective yes I can understand.


  • srini

    @ Vladmir

    You made some excellent and insightful remarks. I cannot agree with you more. You really hit the nail on the head. These 1 year MBA programs cram too much information into one year and are ridiculously rigorous. They are there — like you said — to put a stamp.

  • srini

    John raises a very interesting point:

    “While I am not sure I agree with you that London and INSEAD are inferior to UCLA and Cornell, I am fairly certain that they are not the equals of the very best U.S. schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Wharton, Tuck, Northwestern, MIT, and Columbia–to be sure.”

    I completely agree with John here. The same is true of schools such as Indian School of Business. It was only founded some 11 or 12 years ago and already FT has ranked it ahead of schools such as Tuck, Cornell, Fuqua, Hass, Ross, Stern and Kellogg. Another school – Indian Institute of Management – is also ranked above those US schools. I find this FT ranking absolutely ridiculous. I am sure those students are extremely bright and capable, and just as good as the ones in the top US schools. But I cannot agree with the rankings of the schools.

    FT has ranked Cornell and UCLA Anderson outside the top 30 in the world. It has London tied with Wharton. Sorry – but FT rankings have zero credibility.

  • Pjj229


    You seem a little sour that your rankings are now simply an input to the rankings that really matter.

  • Vladmir
  • Vladmir

    Brian – if you want my opinion – I think INSEAD – far superior. I’m happy to put you in touch with current and former students from both schools if you want more information. Just take a look at the INSEAD alumni. Google them and search the web. Alot of information out there.They are leaders in all sorts of industries across Europe. LBS have a lacklustre alumni profile. Few are leaders. The ones that are didnot actually do the proper MBA at LBS.
    John – I considered attending LBS. I looked at its employment report – its an important part of my consideration. I compared it to some US schools. CBS and Wharton and NYU seemed much superior and comprehensive. Interstingly Duke with a similar class size as LBS has a very like for like employment report i.e number of people certain firms take and the type of firms.

  • SS

    John, thank you for your feedback and I am glad to know you have also lived in England for 3 years. This will be helpful in shedding some light and analysis on my following questions. What is your honest feedback and thoughts on the Cambridge Judge Business School for a career in Finance and placements in Europe and North America, strength of the brand, alumni base contacts/strengths, and quality of education for pursuit of a PhD later on at U.S. or U.K. based programs?

  • Brian


    I hear that LBS is a finance school and that Insead is a consulting schools; which would you say has a stronger general management program? By stronger, I guess I mean with respect to job placement? Thanks.

  • Vladmir,

    You raise some very interesting points in your remarks. Yes, there are considerable problems with the rankings produced by The Financial Times and The Economist, but there also are flaws in all these major rankings as I have pointed out again and again on PoetsandQuants. There is no perfect system. I do think that by combining all of them, you remove the worst of the anomalies in any given ranking and get closer to the truth. People on this site often ask how the European schools in particular stack up against the U.S. schools. The FT, a largely British newspaper, has propagated the myth that European schools have caught up with the best U.S. business schools. It has reported on what it calls “the diminishing dominance of US-based schools over the past decade.”

    The Financial Times made this argument strongly in 2010 when there were only 11 U.S. schools among the top 25, a dramatic difference from the 20 U.S. schools in the FT’s inaugural MBA ranking in 1999. It’s not clear to me whether this shift occurred due to changes in methodology that somehow favored other schools, but I would suspect that is what occurred. Another alternate point of view: Compensation accounts for 40% of the weight in the FT methodology. In the past ten years, European companies have finally caught on that MBAs can make a valuable contribution–something that has been known in the U.S. for many decades. So the Europeans who get into these programs and make not all that much money are seeing bigger percentage increases in pay than the U.S. That could be the reason behind the change in the FT rankings. Obviously, this has nothing to do with the quality of the educational experience.

    Looking back on the FT rankings, it seems the biggest shift toward favoring non-U.S. schools happened with the release of the 2007 ranking when London first tied Wharton for number one on the FT list. Interestingly enough, this year more U.S. schools pushed their way into the FT’s top 25 and the European schools were clearly impacted by that trend along with the rise of several Asian schools. In the 2011 FT list, there are now 13 U.S. schools, seven European (down from 11 in 2010) and five Asian (up from 3 in 2010).

    It’s true that the European and Asian schools have gotten much better in the past decade. But it’s also true that the American schools have not stood still. In fact, there has never been a more creative and innovative time for the U.S. schools. By and large, the quality of their students has never been higher and the overall MBA experience has never been as good as it is today. While I am not sure I agree with you that London and INSEAD are inferior to UCLA and Cornell, I am fairly certain that they are not the equals of the very best U.S. schools such as Harvard, Stanford, Chicago, Wharton, Tuck, Northwestern, MIT, and Columbia–to be sure. This is a fascinating subject–given the FT’s silly position that the U.S. has lost its dominance in business school education in the world–and one that deserves more discussion and debate. You can be it will be a topic we’ll be turning to in detail in the near future.

  • Vladmir

    Everything is global in this day and age. Brands especially. Bschools are educational brands. Their clientele are consumer but sophisticated consumers. Most of these consumers are going to business school are thinking like businessmen. And a real businessman travels to where the real opportunities are – in this case the schools. All schools are competing on a global basis, yes even the European schools are. LBS and Insead would not fill a class if they weren’t competing on a global scale. LBS is only 10% UK. Why? Firstly I don’t think enough people would fill the programme, secondly intl students are their market. They need to compete with the US firms. Its not a matter of everything being US centric but the fact that the US is still a leader in the education industry. The Asians have caught up in manufacturing noone denies that. But there are some good things still abt the US and education is.

    P.S On a side note LBS masters in finance is giving candidates conditional offers based on attaining a certain gmat score i hear – find this overtly unprofessional – imagine a wharton or a cbs or booth doing this.

  • Samiur and JL,

    Thanks. And yes, having lived in England for three years of my life, I do know that Cambridge is in Cambridge. Wasn’t thinking when I typed that into the table. Was probably going too fast. Thanks for pointing it out. It is now corrected.


  • Lou,

    Thanks for catching the error in the table. I entered the Forbes rank for the BW rank and vice versa on that one entry. It’s now fixed thanks to your sharp eye.


  • satish

    we have U.S Ranking, and then we have Non U.S Rankings. dunno why the everything is so U.S centered ? Can we have a Ranking that clasifies by regions. U.S Ranking, European Rankins and Asia-Africa Rankings ?
    its just matter of another 5 years that you start to see the schools from Asia challenging the top order.

  • Vladmir

    I can’t help but offer my insights after conducting extensive research into the European MBA programs. They are altogether very poor and a major waste of money. LBS and INSEAD are considered the two most prestigious European business schools.BUT INSEAD is just a consulting school. And LBS is a finance school, and that too is substandard. My friends who went to INSEAD confided that INSEAD has an awful employment record with non consulting jobs. Moreover, the bulk of the INSEAD class is stuffed with people sponsored by the big consulting firms. INSEAD is known among the top tier professionals in banking as the cheap option. Its one year so cost effective and you get a nice stamp. Yet they fail to appreciate until they start their course that reentering finance is not easy. In addition the course work is super heavy. I’ve heard of candidates with masters in finance from the most academically challenging institutes finding the course work at INSEAD rigorous. In short you get no time !While INSEAD offers a path into consulting, again the bulk of the people are already coming from consulting.

    Now onto LBS. Well what can I say? Have you ever looked at the profile of its candidates? I have been through many – I had access from a friend of mine who was attending. Not withstanding a few, most people are from middle office backgrounds, atleast those from the banks. LBS has another awful placement record. Firstly the concept of an MBA in the UK – one of the least educated societies in the developed world is still relatively obscure. (3 year undergrad with almost 6 months holidays) Few firms and mainly American firms have a process of hiring MBA’s. Secondly LBS is a finance school.

    Those who go into finance from LBS are going into finance roles in the City of London. HBS, Wharton, CBS and also Chicago grads are also vying for these positions. Needless to say, their alumni networks are stronger and they end up towering over LBS candidates. A personal friend of mine runs a hedge fund in London and he has had a dozen LBS graduates come to him for a job. Each one of them have confided that they are unhappy with their experience. LBS campus is stuffy. Its endowment fund is the size of what constitutes the minimum UltraHighNetWorth criteria of an individual. Noone donates. And oh it does not have the same alumni network and spirit that the US schools do. Finally anyone heard of the masters in mgmt programme at LBS? Basically the school has decided to make some money of the LBS brand and its offering students to complete a masters without any work experience right after univ and get the LBS Stamp.

    The rest of the European schools especially the likes of Oxford, Judge – are honestly the most overrated experiences possible. These shools are new – are not selective from a work experience or undergraduate standpoint relative to the Top 15 US and are experimenting with the success of a B-school on the back of an established undergrad brand. I would be amazed if they are still around in 10-15 years time. No recognition with any major employers, zero alumni network – rejects from the top U.S. schools who want a cheap one year option.

    I’ll spare the Spanish Schools – aside from saying take a trip to IE Madrid and see how great it is for yourself . John – come on – let’s be totally frank – the Economist and FT rankings are totally absurd. They are blatantly biased. I know you discount them in the PoetandQuants rankings but honestly, I don’t think it’s worth including them at all. The non-U.S. people viewing your site are primarily non-European and at least in Asia it’s well known that the U.S. B-schools make up the TOP 10 schools in the world. UCLA, DUKE, and CORNELL are far superior to any European schools.

  • It’s not that credible. It has two schools ranked No. 3 by BW. IESE ranked No. 12 in the latest BW ranking, not No. 3.

    Louis Lavelle
    Associate Editor
    Bloomberg Businessweek

  • Splendid job, and may P&Q grow from strength to strength. Btw, Cambridge is in Cambridge not Oxford. 🙂 Looking forward to detailed analysis, comparisons etc. in the future. Best wishes for the upcoming holiday season.

  • JL

    Nice work, John. Please note that #7 Judge Business School is in Cambridge and not the other place that is listed.

  • srini

    This ranking is very credible. I think P&Q have got this right. Great job guys!

  • Naser,

    I should include deeper analysis and will do so at some point. It’s all a matter of available time.

  • Naser

    Hi John,
    thank you for this release..wonder why don’t you provide deeper analysis similar to the american ones..?