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5 Top Cities For Your Master’s Degree

Applying for a master’s degree, but not sure where to study? Here are five top cities to study a business master’s

Mon Oct 12 2020


Deciding where to study your master’s degree shouldn’t be a quick decision. Your choice of location will be your home for at least one year and, should you decide to base your career there, maybe even longer.  

Your decision should take into account a number of factors, including reputation of master's programs on offer, quality and cost of living, career opportunities, and ease of entry. 

Here are five cities, home to some of the world's leading business schools, which offer a dream setting for your master’s degree.

5 Top Cities To Study A Master's Degree

1. Paris



Average monthly rent: $1382*

Average graduate salary range: $58k - $149k**

Main attractions: The Louvre, The Eiffel Tower, La Defense business district, Stade de France

The city of love, a global center for arts, fashion, and business, and one of the best cities in the world to study a master’s. 

The quality of the programs on offer in Paris speak for themselves. HEC Paris, nestled in a south-western suburb of the city, hosts the world’s best Master in Finance program and the second best Master’s in Management, according to the Financial Times (FT). ESSEC Business School and ESCP Business School, both with main campuses in Paris, regularly rank highly for their master’s offerings. 

Paris’ situation at the physical, cultural, and economic heart of Europe undoubtedly situates it well for master’s candidates with high ambitions during and after their studies. During your master’s, you can take advantage of the rich cultural history and diversity which Paris boasts, from world famous art galleries to bustling street markets to centuries-old churches. 

Career opportunities are abundant, too. Paris is a European center of finance, home to companies like BNP Paribas and Societe Generale. But with huge development in manufacturing, energy, IT, and luxury retail, there really is something for everyone in Paris. 

Living in Paris doesn’t come cheap, but salaries are rewarding. Graduates from HEC Paris can expect to earn on average $107k after their MiM, and $149k after a MiF within three years of graduating, so you’ll be well-positioned to live comfortably. 

2. London


Credit: LBS Facebook

Average monthly rent: $2251

Average graduate salary range: $72k - $111k

Main attractions: The West End theater district, the National Gallery, the British Museum, Canary Wharf

When you tire of London, you tire of life, the old saying goes. London deserves its reputation for business, culture, and quality of life, making it a perfect destination for a master’s. 

Thousands of graduates are drawn to London for their post-graduate degrees for several reasons. Primarily, London is one of the most dynamic cities in the world, with theaters, galleries, green space, and nightlife in all four corners of the city. Cost of living may be high, but healthcare is free, while travel and amenities are often cheaper than many other cities. 

If you choose London, you can take your pick of a number of top business schools. London Business School, one of the world’s best b-schools, offers masters in management, finance, analytics, and financial analysis. Imperial College and City University Business School both have renowned MiM programs, while Warwick Business School has recently opened a campus in the Shard. 

With companies across a number of industries—from finance to technology to a thriving startup ecosystem—candidates are likely to want to stay on in London to work.   

The UK tightened its visa requirements in 2020, introducing a points-based system. But master’s graduates need not worry: they can stay on to work for up to two years after they graduate, while their degree will contribute greatly towards their qualification for longer term residence. 

3. Shanghai



Average monthly rent: $1146

Average graduate salary range: $84k - $139k

Main attractions: Lujiazui Skyline, Shanghai Stock Exchange, the City God Temple, Chinese Grand Prix

While top master’s programs have tended to be concentrated in European cities, Asian schools are earning more of a reputation now for their post-graduate degrees. Chief among these destinations is Shanghai. 

While it’s not the Chinese capital, Shanghai is China’s biggest city, and the second largest metropolitan area in the world. This is fed by the city’s powerful economy, dubbed the ‘showpiece’ of Chinese recent economic boom. 

The city’s strong financial connection, as the home of China’s largest stock exchange, has made it a popular location for master in finance degrees. Shanghai Jiao Tong University (SJTU) hosts the highest ranked Asian MiF, as well as a popular MiM program. Tongji University School of Economics and Management also offers a high-ranking MiM program. 

Salaries in China are often the big draw. MiF graduates from SJTU can expect to earn around $139k within three years of graduating, making them some of the best compensated master’s students out there. This, combined with Shanghai’s much lower cost of living compared to European cities, means that you’ll get far more bang for your buck. 

4. Dublin



Average monthly rent: $1979

Average graduate salary range: $50k - $79k

Main attractions: Samuel Beckett Bridge, Temple Bar, Croke Park

As the UK finalized its departure from the European Union in January 2020, Dublin suddenly became the largest English-speaking city in the EU, making it quite the proposition for international students looking to resettle in Europe. 

Master’s graduates would be wise to consider Dublin, which has a great deal to offer by way of business, quality of life, and educational institutions. 

In recent years, Dublin’s tech ecosystem has grown significantly, drawing in companies like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Twitter, now dubbed ‘Silicon Docks’ by many. There are estimated to be 7000 tech professionals working in the city. 

Dublin houses two of Europe’s oldest and most prestigious universities, in University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin: both have stellar business schools with high ranking master’s programs. Candidates can also opt for Dublin City University (DCU) Business School, which entered the FT’s MiM rankings in 2020. 

5. Madrid


Credit: IE Business School Facebook

Average monthly rent: $1143k 

Average graduate salary range: $55k - $93k

Main attractions: Prado Museum, Reina Sofia Museum, Royal Palace of Madrid, Estadio Santiago Bernabeu

“Hala Madrid” [“Come on Madrid”] are the words chanted by thousands of Real Madrid soccer fans every week. And given the popularity of the Spanish capital among business school students, it’s a fitting motif. 

While it may not have the beaches of Barcelona, Madrid has an established business infrastructure that makes it an exciting choice for students looking to deepen their business understanding with a master’s. 

In IE Business School, Madrid houses Spain’s highest ranking master in finance program, and a top ranked master’s in management, according to the FT. You’ll also find Universidad Carlos III, as well as one of ESCP Business School’s campuses. 

MiF graduates from IE can earn on average $93k within three years of graduating. Cost of living in Madrid is notably lower than many other Spanish and European cities. That’s not a reflection on what the city has to offer, however. With some of the world’s most celebrated art galleries and Spain’s royal palaces, Madrid is truly fit for a king. 


*Average monthly rent of a one-bedroom apartment in a central location

**Range of average salaries for programs included in the Financial Times' 2020 Masters in Management and Masters in Finance Rankings

Student Reviews

Bayes Business School




On Campus

Best Journalism school in Europe

When I first stepped onto the campus of City, University of London, I knew I was in for a ride - and not just on the Tube! With its vibrant energy and an impressive repertoire of programs, City U became my home away from home. The Journalism program was kind of a big deal. Rumour was that we were the best in Europe! The lecturers were not just experts in their field; they’re practically journalistic royalty. They were invested, passionate, and had a knack for turning the most flat press release into a riveting news story. With their guidance, I’ve learned to navigate the chaotic world of media like a pro. The campus was a melting pot of every culture, being that we had such a diverse international crowd. Being in the heart of London, I had the world at my fingertips - there was always a new corner to explore, a hidden gem of a cafe to discover, or a street performer! City, University of London wasn't just a university; it was a chapter in my life story that I’ll never forget.




On Campus

Learning environment

The teacher-learner ration is manageable, giving each learner a chance to gain personal attention. It is also easier following up on the progress of a student, as the numbers per class is not large. the conducive environment for learning includes clean classes, standard desks, world class instructional facilities and the opportunity to engage lecturers even after their sessions. The team spirit at City is above board, with learners getting chance to learn both from instructors and colleagues. This is the university of choice; the place to be.




On Campus


I liked that each class had a manageable number of learners, making the professor-learner ratio favor knowledge acquisition. I also liked that study schedules were manageable, and not overwhelming. The focus on talents and gifts even within the learning environment makes it possible for learners to achieve the best of their potential, and this has worked to the advantage of those that have schooled at City, University of London




On Campus


The diversity at City University facilitates interactions and is a direction toward the unity of the world. The classes are well built to match the number and needs of all students regardless of the elements of diversity that set people apart. The use of technology in delivery makes learning even more interesting and achievable. At City University there is no distinction pegged on the issues that make people unique.




On Campus


The team of lecturers at the Uiversity are well experienced. Their level of insight and the methodologies of delivery works for the interes of the leaeners. My learning experience was largely boosted by the level of knowledge of the professors at the institution, and their passion to transfer the same to learners. I appreciate every class I attended because of the level of insight I was able to gather




On Campus

The best university I’ve been to

The campus and the people I've met have made it a wonderful experience. I was reared in a small town with a graduating class of only 88 individuals, so moving to City University was a huge adjustment for me. My dorm has more residents than my whole high school combined! I enjoy the atmosphere here, and everyone is so friendly. Outstanding academic options and a stunning campus. Really great from beginning to end. The educators genuinely love what they do, and the students are ready to learn. On or around college, there is always something to do with friends, and the social scene is particularly warm.




On Campus

Bayes Business School

As a student at City university attending Bayes Business School I would totally recommend choosing this university as the experience is exceptional with great social networking opportunities . Professors are significantly helpful, delivering with excellence and professionalism. Everyone is happy to help and make you feel welcomed in such an esteem university as City, offering exceptional development and guidance through out the course.




On Campus

Economics and Politics

Incredibly amazing university, the way they polish students and help them boost their morale and think intellectually is worthwhile. Many universities have international partnerships to allow exchanges between their students. The most obvious subjects for these opportunities would be those that involve languages, and the study of people and places.




On Campus

Clinical biology

I really like it it’s perfect for me with not too many people and not too few either. All the modules are amazing. I love the toy bar. I love all the societies that I’ma part of. Especially the colour Bollywood society