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These Are The World’s Best Student Cities

Looking to study your business degree abroad? Find out where you should set your sights on based on the latest QS ranking of the best student cities across the world

Thu Jun 20 2024

Itching to pursue your dream degree abroad but can’t quite decide where? The university ranking site QS just released its annual ranking of the world’s best student cities—based on a combination of student reviews and statistics surrounding safety, cost-of-living, and population.

QS compiles these statistics to rate 150 cities across six student-friendly factors: university rankings, student mix, student experience, desirability, employer activity, and affordability. 

So, who came out on top? 

QS Best Student Cities 2024: Breakdown

For those who enjoy a fast-paced life on well-worn streets still teeming with history, you’ll be pleased to know that the number one city to pursue your studies is London. 

Having held onto the crown since 2015, the UK megacity scores particularly highly for its prestigious universities and diverse student mix—though this may change with the ongoing decline in international students caused by the country’s increasing visa restrictions. 

Two Asian cities fill the second and third spots this year: Tokyo and Seoul, both of which offer strong career opportunities in tech and finance.   

Munich takes the fourth spot as the second European city on the list, with Melbourne and Sydney following behind as Australia’s two major urban hubs. 

Paris—home to top institutions such as HEC Paris—Zurich, Berlin, and Montreal also feature in the top 10, with Berlin topping the charts in terms of its student life. 

Though not featured amongst the top 10, the Turkish seaside town of Izmir takes the crown for the most affordable student location.  

However, if you're trying to figure out where you'd like to study, overall ranking positions only paint part of the picture. Here is a breakdown of the top five, according to QS. 

The Five Best Student Cities

5. Melbourne

Rounding out the top five is the Australian city of Melbourne: known for its idyllic laidback lifestyle, students ranked it highly for university experience, student diversity and desirability.

If you’re looking to study business, the reputable Melbourne Business School provides a strong option for your degree—plus, with major companies headquartered there such as Accenture and EY, there are plenty of career opportunities available.

4. Munich

In fourth place, the charming German city of Munich is highly regarded for its vibrant student life, career opportunities, and desirability—it's also the most affordable city among the top five. The Bavarian town is home to many multinational companies, such as BMW, Siemens, Allianz SE and Munich Re. 

Not to mention, several top European business schools have campuses in Munich, including IESE—which boasts one of the FT’s top five MBA programs in the world.

3. Seoul

Seoul takes the third spot as a top East Asian destination. Famous for its K-Pop stars and neon-lit city life, the South Korean capital is ranked particularly highly for its schools and enticing job prospects: including a career with the trillion-dollar tech giant, Samsung, which employs more than 270,000 global workers. 

Top business schools include Seoul National University and Korea University.

2. Tokyo

Just a two-hour flight away from Seoul, Tokyo comes in second in this list of the best student cities. Though this ultra-futuristic metropolis beats out London in terms of student desirability and employer activity. 

Equally, Japan is one of the most exciting places to be for those looking start a prosperous business career. Not only is it the third-largest economy after the US and China, the nation houses 181 of the Forbes 2000 companies—including major car and tech companies like Tokyo Motors, Mitsubishi, and Sony.  

Convinced by the opportunities? The archipelago is also home to a number of renowned business schools to apply to, such as NUCB Business School and KEIO Business School.

1. London

On top of being the multicultural capital of Europe, this historic urban center is also a particularly advantageous location for business students. London Business School consistently graces the top 10 of the Financial Times’ MBA global ranking, while Imperial College London—famously established by Prince Albert—is regarded amongst the top 50. 

Plus, though the big smoke falls a little short in terms of affordability, it remains a top hiring destination for major consulting firms such as McKinsey, Bain, and Deloitte, which offer both high salaries and exciting career progression. 

So, what are you waiting for? Now you can reap the benefits of an international experience while also optimizing your business education.