But a cadre of leading European business schools has climbed upwards in 2015’s global MBA rankings, released this week by the Financial Times. London Business School and INSEAD made further gains within the top-10 of the table, and IESE Business School maintained its spot at 7.
Europe is once again riding the tailwinds of a shift in preference to the one-year MBA format, as wage growth remains weak and economies struggle to achieve growth.
Stronger career progress, international experience, alumni recommendation and value for money have helped European business schools edge upwards this year.
The UK has the largest regional collection of highly-ranked schools outside of the US. Cambridge’s Judge Business School is the second-highest ranked after LBS and 13th in the world.
For Switzerland, the University of St Gallen rose an impressive 21 places and is ranked 67th in the world in 2015. IMD, its main competitor in Switzerland, is ranked 20th.
SDA Bocconi of Italy rose from 31 to 26 in the rankings in 2015, and Vlerick Business School of Belgium climbed six places to be ranked 94th globally this year.
Two business schools from the Netherlands are also ranked in the top-100 – Tias Business School and the Rotterdam School of Management, at 97 and 45 in the table respectively.
Germany, which has a growing MBA market, also features two business schools – Mannheim Business School (55) and the European School of Management and Technology (63).
The FT assesses MBA programs according to career progression of alumni, business schools’ idea generation, and the diversity of students and faculty, to form an overall rank.
But for other measures, such as salary increases, the highly-ranked US business schools, such as Harvard, which came first globally this year, and MIT: Sloan, which came 8th, languish behind.
For salary increase, schools from Spain, China and other parts of Asia are ahead of the US. IESE Business School is the highest ranked in Europe, coming 7th overall. Its alumni earn $144,992 on average, a 121% increase on pre-MBA pay.
When it comes to value for money, European business schools also dominate the table. Portugal's Lisbon MBA is ranked 3rd; Germany's ESMT is 4th; and the UK’s Cambridge Judge came 5th.
Europe also comes ahead of other regions for some diversity measures, such as for percentage of international students.
Tias Business School in the Netherlands came first under this measure, with 100% of the MBA class from overseas, according to the rankings. The top-15 business schools in this category are all from Europe.
Overall, average alumni salary three years after graduation is $133,000, an increase of 93% on salaries prior to business school.
MBA students’ main motivations are to increase their earnings, along with learning about general management and to network.
To see the full 2015 rankings, click here.