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MBA Rankings: Revealed – The Best European Business Schools

New MBA rankings reveal the top-20 business schools in Europe. European MBA programs have languished behind the US, but the region is experiencing resurgence.

By  Seb Murray

Tue Jul 1 2014

New MBA rankings released today reveal which European business schools are held in the highest regard, and show that the UK has the most highly-ranked schools in the region.

IESE Business School, based in Spain, tops the chart, closely followed by HEC Paris of France and the UK’s London Business School. But of the top-20 European business schools, the UK enjoys the biggest slice with eight institutions.

The new findings, compiled by The Economist, feature a bevy of leading global schools, but also some outsiders including EDHEC Business School in France and the Netherland's Rotterdam School of Management.  

European schools have traditionally languished behind their bigger American counterparts, who have more financial clout and larger alumni networks, and whose students have higher GMAT scores.

As the Eurozone crisis erupted, recession made some schools a less attractive career destination. There are also concerns about the UK’s new visa requirements for international students, and a drop in big companies recruiting from some European campuses.

But new data confirm that European schools are more geographically diverse, meaning they are drawing more candidates from outside their home countries. At LBS, for example, nearly 30% of their students come from Asia and Australasia, and a further 27% come from South or North America.

Although European MBA class sizes are typically smaller and cheaper, they often provide the biggest return on financial investment. Data released last month show that the shortest and cheapest MBA programs offer the biggest immediate return on investment.

Smaller business schools are booming. HEC Paris, for example, offers the largest return on investment for MBA students, who pay about $60,000 in tuition. Average post-MBA salaries are nearly $124,000; candidates make enough extra cash to pay off their degrees in less than two years. The average IESE MBA will see their salary increase by 153%.

But larger US schools which enjoy higher global rankings offer weaker returns. Harvard Business School, for example, offers less than a $10,000 increase in immediate post-MBA salary.  

Other European schools which have made it into the top-20 include the UK’s University of Bath – School of Management, Cass Business School and Cranfield School of Management, and Spain’s ESADE Business School and IE Business School.

Italy-based SDA Bocconi, and the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland are also considered among Europe’s best.

Choosing an MBA, however, is more difficult than assessing MBA rankings. Candidates will have to take many more considerations into account.

To see the full European list, visit: http://www.economist.com/whichmba/mba-rankings/europe