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Brexit: What Is The Future For UK Business Schools?

Now that the UK has officially withdrawn from the European Union, what does the future hold for business schools post-Brexit?


Mon Feb 3 2020

The UK has officially left the European Union. Following a turbulent few years of delays and elections, the final Brexit sign-off is complete.

The process has thrown up continued uncertainty. Whether that’s the prospect of leaving without a deal, or the actual date of departure, few details have ever been certain.

But despite complex negotiation of future trade agreements, there is now a greater clarity to the overall picture. The UK has made its departure, and the uncertainty surrounding that has for the meantime, subsided.

So what does Brexit mean for the future of UK business schools?

The future of business schools

The EU Referendum in 2016 was greeted by general shock amongst business schools, who had largely opposed Brexit. Fears of a declining number of international students, staff, and funding, all made for a bleak outlook.

But almost four years down the line from the referendum, schools are more positive. Associate dean of Cass Business School’s MBA, Steve Thomas, is keen to offer his reassurance.

“The future, of course, remains unknown—but it is far more certain than it was in November last year,” he says, “The reinstatement of the visa, particularly, is a great relief.”

The two-year work visa for international students wanting to work in the UK was reinstated in September 2019 after initially being cut to four months. 93% of Cass full-time MBA students receive job offers within three months of graduation—suggesting graduate employment in the wake of Brexit remains strong.

With this threat removed, Steve sees no issue why UK business schools should not remain a global draw. “Everyone knows about Brexit, it has entered the international lexicon” he says, “But I think the perception is the UK would manage its way through it.”

Considering an MBA in the UK? Read: 

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London, and the UK, remain desirable

There were doubts from business schools that the UK’s international reputation would suffer in the wake of Brexit. But these have not materialized.

In fact, the UK is now the most attractive higher education destination in the world for international students according to the Higher Education Statistics Agency, overtaking the US—while UK business school popularity has increased by over 2% in the past five years, second only to Canada in terms of growth, according to our research.

London remains a global financial hub, housing institutions including Barclays and HSBC. For students interested in finance sectors and corporate strategy it is still an attractive choice.

“You cannot underestimate the pull of London”, Steve says.

London aside, the nationwide reputation also remains intact. In the latest Financial Times MBA rankings, nine of the top 100 schools were from the UK, second only to the US.

But Steve believes that UK schools must keep close links to Europe in order maintain their international standing. At Cass, full-time MBA students went on a study tour to Brussels in 2019 and were therefore able to observe the European Commission during the Brexit debates.

Establishing European campuses for UK business schools, coordinating exchanges and study trips, and inviting European faculty to their campus—they all extend the network for students, keeping them a part of the European dialogue.

International draw

Industry experts have expressed concern that rising nationalism could lead to fewer international students studying abroad. Will they now look at schools in their native country, instead?

“I don’t think we would begin clustering in terms of geography. I think Cass is too global for that,” Steve says.

With the pound falling, the UK has become a relative bargain for international students. Coupled with visa relief, the UK retains an edge over its US competition regarding price point and the option to stay and work after graduating.

UK business schools have long held a strong global reputation. Uncertainties remain, but Steve has cause for optimism after a tumultuous four years since the landmark referendum. 

For Steve, Brexit has not been a barrier for the global student population, and the UK remains a land of opportunity.

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