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The Financial Times Ranked This B-School The Best In Europe

HEC Paris tops The Financial Times’ composite ranking of European schools for third year in a row. HEC Paris photo

It’s officially a three-peat: For the third-straight year, HEC Paris is The Financial Times’ top-ranked business school in Europe. FT‘s 2021 FT European Business Schools Ranking, released this week and listing 95 schools, is a composite ranking based on the magazine’s other main rankings: MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Management (MiM), and Executive Education.

HEC Paris scored highly in percent increase of MBA salaries at 118%, and it had the third highest MBA salary three years after graduation at $168,436. Its EMBA graduates also are highly compensated, earning an average of $438,303 while its MiM alumni earn $114,357 per year on average. London Business School, which ranked No. 1 in 2018, ranked second overall for the third year in a row while INSEAD ranked third for the second straight year. Spain’s Iese Business School and Italy’s SDA Bocconi School of Management rounded out the top five.

“This ranking, which is the result of an enormous amount of work by our teams and our faculty, is an important recognition of HEC Paris’ continuous commitment to being a world leader in teaching and research,” the school said in a statement.


There was little movement among the top 10 finishers, with the top five identical to 2020’s ranking. In the top 10, France’s Essec Business School dropped two places to No. 8 while Switzerland’s University of St. Gallen rose one spot to No. 7. Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford improved one spot to ninth on the 2021 list.

“In a world where we need to tackle complex challenges and focus on purpose, our programs have increasingly been at the forefront of addressing issues such as sustainability and systems change, governance and ethics and the changing nature of globalization," says Kathy Harvey, associate dean for MBA and executive degrees at Saïd “This is a good result for the school, and it is only through our shared commitment to providing world class business education that we continue to be world leading.”

The living wall at Ireland’s Trinity College Business School. Courtesy photo

Trinity Business School in Dublin was this year’s highest riser, leaping 24 places to 32nd. That move was precipitated by an improved performance in the Executive MBA ranking, and a rise of 10 places to 28th in the Masters In Management (MiM)ranking. It also had an average alumni salary of $80,224 and wage increase of 68% in MiM, according to FT’s ranking release. A release put out by the school says the rise was propelled by its high growth strategy, reflected in the expansion and quality of programs, how those programs are rated among students, academic reputation, and research impact.

“It’s exhilarating to now see the fruits of our labor play out in real time, and this recognition by the FT highlights how our research and international outlook are in keeping with our strategic mission and vision of being a connected, global business school at the forefront of knowledge leadership,” says Trinity Dean Andrew Burke in a release. "As we continue to develop the school, our new strategy ‘Transforming Business for Good’, is framed around key principles that speak directly to our mission and capture the DNA of the Business School: prioritizing student careers, research excellence, wellbeing, a real business education, all underpinned by a value of ‘putting in more than you take out.”

Other risers include Germany’s Frankfurt School of Finance and Management which cracked the top 25 after just missing it last year (26th), while Eada Business School in Barcelona returned to the top 25 for the first time since 2015, according to the FT. Moscow’s School of Management Skolkovo was the highest new entrant, debuting at 49th, driven in large part by its average alumni salary of $394,252.


University of Bath School of Management in the UK fell 24 places to 81st, the biggest drop in this year’s ranking. It was followed by France’s IAE Aix-Marseille Graduate School of Management (falling 21 places to 58th) and Rennes School of Business (falling 20 places to 68th.)

NEXT PAGE: Highest salaries for MBAs, EMBAs, and MiMs & FT’s full European B-school ranking