UK business schools have trumped their European rivals in the FT's European Business School Ranking 2016 — giving them strength after the tumult of Brexit.
While the ranking is based on a survey of graduates from 2012, long before Britain voted to leave the EU, it will give UK schools a much needed confidence boost after Brexit, which threatens to damage the UK's higher education sector. Brexit is expected to harm business schools' ability to both attract and retain international students and faculty, while graduates’ job prospects are also potentially at risk.
London Business School topped the FT's table for the third year on the trot, although continental rivals are close behind, with HEC Paris and INSEAD of France in second and third place.
But the ranking placed the UK as the leading centre for business education in Europe, with 20 UK schools ranked which scored on average 104 points, including University of Oxford's Said Business School and Cambridge University's Judge Business School.
The FT's table measures the quality and breadth of business schools' postgraduate programs. It is based on their performance in the five main rankings published by the newspaper: MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Management, and the two for executive education. Schools must participate in all five rankings in order to be eligible for a full score. The European ranking is less prestigious than the MBA rankings, which are published by the FT, Bloomberg and The Economist among others and which are coveted by schools.
Individually INSEAD is the best for full-time MBA and EMBA programs, while Switzerland's the University of St Gallen is top for the MiM. IESE of Spain and IMD, also Swiss, topped the executive education rankings.
LBS put in a strong performance in all five rankings this year, including the MBA category, where it placed no 3 above US rivals Wharton School and Stanford Graduate School of Business.
LBS' key strength is the wide range of students from different countries. More than 90% of its 2015 cohort were from abroad, coming from 60 different nations.
UK business schools are more international than their EU counterparts, with both British faculty and students in a minority.
However this advantage will be tested as Brexit unfolds and if, as expected, signs emerge that UK universities may find it more difficult to enrol overseas students, whose diversity enrich classrooms.
Elsewhere several French business schools gained ground in the FT's ranking. EDHEC Business School shot up 11 places to no 14, after falling eight spots last year due to a low response by alumni to the FT's survey. EMLYON Business School climbed nine places to no 20, after dropping 15 places the previous year.
IE Business School is top in Spain and no 4 overall. It beat its two close Barcelona rivals ESADE and IESE Business Schools, which are also in the top-10.
SDA Bocconi of Italy is ranked no 6.