Best Business Schools in the World - MBA Rankings 2021

There is no room for second place in business. This is true now more than ever. And what better way of ending up on top than studying an MBA degree at one of the best international business schools abroad?

That’s why we’ve gathered the most prestigious MBA rankings in the world and put them all in one place, so you can compare them and decide which business university is best suited for your needs.

Find MBA degrees abroad

The most important business school rankings in the education industry are:

  • Global MBA Ranking from the Financial Times 
  • Full-time MBA Ranking from The Economist
  • Best B-Schools Ranking from Bloomberg Businessweek
  • QS Global MBA Rankings from TopUniversities
  • World University Rankings by subject: Business and Management from Times Higher Education
  • Best Global Universities for Economics and Business by US News & World Report
  • Global Ranking of Academic Subjects - Business Administration from Shanghai University

You may ask: “Aren’t 7 university rankings too much?”

For us, no way! We want to go the extra mile to offer you transparent information about the best options for your business university studies in 2020.  We have picked up the latest lists from the business rankings mentioned above, spanning from 2018 to 2020.

So, which are the best business universities in the world?

1. Global MBA Ranking 2020 by Financial Times 

Who hasn’t heard about the Financial Times? They virtually wrote the book on business, and every year they put their knowledge to use by creating all kinds of Business and Management ranking lists. We’ve picked what we consider the most important one for you, as it ranks business schools offering the best MBA degrees worldwide:

So, how do international business schools end up on the Financial Times ranking list? Participating schools need to be accredited by Equis or the AACSB, as this attests to their teaching standards. 61% of the criteria are based on alumni survey responses, while the rest is made up of yearly school audits and research conducted by the universities.

Students are asked about their average salary within three years after graduation, the salary increase compared to the time before taking the MBA, the internationality of staff, written papers, and others. Read more about FT Rankings and find the full top 100 list on the Financial Times website.

Business meeting. Study an MBA abroad.

2. Full-time MBA Ranking 2019 by The Economist

The Economist, another prestigious business publication creates its own annual rankings. Here is a list of the best universities for Business, according to them:

When putting the annual ranking together, The Economist takes into account especially new career opportunities, educational experience, the increase in salary after graduating the MBA and the alumni network. 100 business schools make it to the list, from 161 participating schools. Other schools were ineligible or declined to participate in the ranking. Find the full top 100 list on The Economist website.

3. Bloomberg Businessweek Best Business Schools 2019-2020

Bloomberg News is a well-known source of journalism, conducting trustworthy in-depth research on business-related topics. Its yearly business rankings are part of its quality intelligence research, delivered as a top 100 university list. Here are the 10 best business schools worldwide according to Bloomberg:

  • Stanford University, USA
  • Dartmouth - Tuck Business School, USA
  • Harvard University, USA
  • University of Chicago – Booth School of Business, USA
  • University of Virginia – Darden School of Business, USA
  • IMD Business School, Switzerland
  • University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School, USA
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
  • University of California at Berkeley: Haas, USA
  • Columbia Business School, USA

Bloomberg surveyed 26,699 MBA students, alumni, and recruiters in 2019 about their goals and experiences with business school studies worldwide. Bloomberg Business week Rankings are based on their responses, taking into account information about salaries and job-placement after graduation. Find the full list on the Bloomberg website.

4. Best Global Universities for Economics and Business 2021 by US News & Global Report

U.S. News and Global Report are leading university ranking providers in the United States. As part of their annual global university rankings, they also make lists focused on subjects. Here is the top 10 list of the best universities in the world to study Business:

When deciding on the best universities in the world, U.S. News looks at the rate of students going to their second year of studies, as well as the rate of students who graduate.

It also surveys university representatives on the performance of universities, and evaluates university resources, teacher salaries, graduation rates, student academic achievements and satisfaction. Find the full subject ranking on the US News website.

5. QS Global MBA Rankings 2021

QS Rankings from Top Universities is one of the most famous university ranking providers in the world. Naturally, they also create a yearly list for MBA degrees. Here are the top 10 business schools in the world, according to QS:

  • Stanford University, USA
  • University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School, USA
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
  • Harvard University, USA
  • HEC Paris, France
  • INSEAD, France/Singapore
  • London Business School, UK
  • Columbia Business School, USA
  • IE Business School, Spain
  • University of California, Berkeley, USA

QS MBA Rankings ranked 240 MBA degrees in 2021, using three separate surveys, covering information about graduate salaries, employer reputation, other career information of alumni, class and faculty diversity, and more. Find the full list from QS MBA Rankings on the Top Universities website.

6. World University Rankings 2021 by subject: Business and Management

World University Rankings by Times Higher Education is probably the most well-regarded university ranking in the world. Here is their top 10 Business degree list:

  • Stanford University, USA
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA
  • University of Cambridge, UK
  • University of Oxford
  • Harvard University, USA
  • University of Chicago, USA
  • London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
  • Yale University, USA
  • University of California at Berkeley, USA
  • Duke University, USA

Times Higher Education used the following metrics to define its Business degree rankings: learning environment, research conducted by universities, times research was cited in international papers, how international the staff and students are, and more. Find the full business school list on the Times Higher Education website.

Business meeting. Study an MBA abroad.

7. Shanghai Ranking's Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2020 - Business Administration

The Academic Rankings of World Universities is another top university ranking provided by Shanghai University. Checking out this international ranking is a great way to get insights on how a university from Asia regards international Business studies and the universities who provide these MBA classes. Here are the top 10 Business universities according to the Academic Ranking of World Universities:

University of Pennsylvania – Wharton School, USA

Texas A&M University, USA

Erasmus University Rotterdam, Netherlands

Harvard University, USA

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor- USA

Tilburg University, Netherlands

Duke University, USA

Georgia State University, USA

Northwestern University – Kellogg School of Management, USA

University of Washington, USA

When creating its lists of top universities, Shanghai University takes into account criteria such as the number of papers written on the academic subject, the number of citations in the industry, awards won by the staff of the universities, and more. See the full list of universities offering top Business degrees worldwide.

You can also study an online MBA degree from the comfort of your home.

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Student reviews of the best business schools in the world

University rankings take into account a variety of factors, like the number of graduates, salaries after graduation, the number of research papers, etc.

But at Studyportals, we believe future international students like you also want to know what other graduates think about their universities. You can find reviews written by other students on each university page on our portals. Here are several impressions from graduates who studied at some of the business schools mentioned above:

UC Berkeley graduate

"UC Berkeley was an amazing academic experience. I was challenged by the faculty and students. The students were diverse. The rankings are consistently high. The professors were accessible. I feel like they want for you to succeed."

Imperial College London graduate

"It was a new journey where I explored different aspects in life, academia and work. I really liked the strength of the research work infrastructure being done at Imperial College London and their international outreach in several countries worldwide."

ETH Zurich graduate

"Teaching methods were solid enough, the library and assistance from the staff in study matters was also great. All this sums up to deliver ETH's world ranking. As long as academic excellence is considered, it would be one of my top choices."

Erasmus University Rotterdam

"First of all, the university is enormous and very diverse. All of the faculties are in one single campus and thus you have access to people of all kinds of backgrounds. Furthermore, it highly promotes the inclusiveness of all of its students.

Secondly, the city itself is amazing. Everyone speaks English, everyone is very welcoming, it's a safe city, you can bike everywhere, and you get the best of both worlds: one side of the city is very modern, very urban-like; another is more traditional and countryside-like (even has a lake).

All in all, I'd do it all over again! I met amazing people who I still talk with daily, and I really miss them, and Rotterdam!"

University of Minnesota graduate

"I am really happy to be attending the University of Minnesota. It is such a great school, provides stellar education to its students, and the quality of the school is hard to beat! Plus, Minneapolis is so huge and diverse, there's so much to get involved in as a student and a tourist."

Conclusions about the best business schools in the world

  • The United States is the world leader of business education, according to international rankings. Are you surprised?
  • International business rankings can vary a lot depending on the different criteria taken into account.
  • There are a few universities which appear in top positions in multiple rankings: Harvard, Stanford and Penn State seem to be the front-runners.
  • You probably can’t go wrong with any of the universities listed above. But the real key to decide is finding out which university best fits your needs and goals.
  • If the U.S. is too far away from you, you might also be interested to check out the best business schools in Europe. No pressure!
  • Even if you won’t study in one of these prestigious business schools, that doesn’t mean you can’t end up being a great business professional. It’s all up to you to give it your best.

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