HEC Paris Stays On Top In New Financial Times Euro B-School Ranking

MBA students at HEC Paris

HEC Paris was once again named the top European business school by The Financial Times. File photo

After years as a bridesmaid, HEC Paris has been named the top business school in Europe for the second year in a row by The Financial Times.

FT‘s annual ranking, which lists 90 schools this year (down from 95), puts HEC Paris on top thanks in large part to a reported 133% increase in MBA salaries, best among all schools. HEC also ranks third in MBA salary three years after graduation, at $164,529, giving it a No. 3 ranking among full-time MBA programs. Another French school, INSEAD, is tops in MBA salary, at $181,277, putting the Fontainebleau- and Singapore-based school on top among MBA programs.

Overall in FT‘s 2020 ranking of European B-schools, rounding out the top five after HEC Paris are London Business School, No. 1 two years ago, INSEAD, IESE of Barcelona, Spain, and Bocconi of Milan, Italy. Both INSEAD and IESE climbed two spots from last year, while Bocconi dropped two.

FT’s Global MBA Ranking, which includes United States business schools, will be released in January 2021. This year’s ranking had INSEAD as the top European school, at No. 4 overall, with London Business School seventh and HEC Paris ninth.


Among the notable climbers this year is ESCP, which rose six places to rank eighth, joining the top 10 for the first time since 2012. Based in Paris but with campuses in Berlin, London, Madrid, Turin, and Warsaw, ESCP ranked 10th for custom programs and has a highly ranked — and regarded — executive program.

ESCP was not, however, the highest climber in the FT ranking. That distinction went to Koç University Graduate School of Business in Istanbul, Turkey, which jumped 20 places to tie for 58th, powered by a 49th-place ranking for its global EMBA. Koç executive alumni had an average salary of $271,106 and a wage increase of 63%, above average for FT’s 2020 EMBA ranking. Tied with Koç was another notable climber, also fueled by its strong showing in FT’s executive ranking: IBS-Moscow Ranepa, which was the highest-ranked newcomer in the Euro ranking.

The top B-school for Master’s in Management was once again St Gallen, which has led that ranking every year for the last decade. The Swiss mainstay boasts an impressive average salary three years after graduation, $113,175, and also ranks highest for gender equality, with one woman for every man in a cohort that is also among the most internationally diverse at 96% from countries other than Switzerland.


Bocconi fell in the ranking despite being second for MBA salary increase, at 120%, behind only overall ranking king HEC Paris. Third on that list of MBA ROI is IESE of Spain, which also benefited from being named the top school for custom programs. IMD, of Lausanne, Switzerland, was the top school for open programs, helping it attain an overall rank of 10th.

Among the other noteworthy achievements in the ranking was most female faculty, a distinction that went to EM Strasbourg, a French school that rose four places to 81st in this year’s European ranking. For the second year in a row Strasbourg has reported the most full-time permanent female faculty in the MiM table, at 58%, highest in the European ranking.

Two schools returned to the ranking in 2020 after dropping off last year: Adam Smith Business School at the University of Glasgow, which was 94th two years ago, unranked last year, and ranked 85th this year; and DCU Business School of Ireland, 85th two years ago and 85th again (tied with Adam Smith and Luiss University of Italy) in 2020. Far more schools fell off the ranking this year, however: 12 in all, including Warsaw School of Economics, the University of Antwerp Faculty of Business and Economics, and Nottingham Business School at NTU, in the UK.

See the next pages for the complete 90-school 2020 Financial Times ranking of European business schools.


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