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The 10 Best MBA Programs For Diversity In 2018

50% of the Financial Times’ top-10 global MBA programs for international diversity are based in the UK

Thu Feb 15 2018

Every year, the Financial Times’ Global MBA ranking showcases the 100 best business schools around the world. The data shows everything from salary increase, to number of female staff on the board, and the percentage of international students on each school’s program.

Based on the FT's data, Switzerland’s International Institute of Management Development (IMD) came out on top in terms of international diversity, where only 1% of the students on their MBA programs are Swiss nationals. This may come as little surprise given the country’s international outlook, bordering France, Germany, Italy, and Austria.

Of the 101 schools listed, almost one in every two had an MBA program comprised of at least 50% international students; nearly a third had cohorts comprising of 75% or more; and only 14% had an international presence of less than a quarter.

50% of the top 10 schools for international diversity are based in the UK, showing that the Brexit result in 2016 has not deterred international students from applying to UK schools. Or, maybe international students are simply rushing to apply before the Brexit deadline: The University of Cambridge’s Judge School of Business and Alliance Manchester Business School increased their international cohorts by 2% and 4% respectively since last year.

Across the channel, INSEAD is the only French-based school in the top 10 schools for international diversity—it boasts a 97% international cohort and clocks in at number two—second only to Stanford—in the overall, global rankings.

INSEAD has campuses in France, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi, and with 94% of the school’s faculty teaching outside their native countries, the school also ranks second globally in terms of faculty diversity.

The FT's top 10 for international diversity also features Lancaster University Management School, with 98% international students; Spain’s ESADE Business School with 97%; the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School with 95%, and Durham University Business School with 93%.

Of the Financial Times’ top-10 global MBA programs overall, only INSEAD appears among the top 10 for international diversity, and is one of only two schools in the overall top set with more than 50% international students—London Business School is the other, which is ranked fourth overall and has a class that is 92% international (putting it at joint-7th place for international diversity).

By contrast, across the pond, Stanford Graduate School of Business has 41% international students in its MBA program. Figures are similar for the other seven schools in the Financial Times’ global top 10, most of which are schools based in the US.

As recent GMAC reports indicate, international interest in US MBA programs outside the top-ranked schools is waning—schools in Europe and Canada are about twice as likely to report growth in international applicants compared with the US. The current political climate in the US doesn't help.

US MBA programs, like those presented by Stanford and Harvard, offer much in the way of prestige and generally provide a strong return on investment. However, the comparative savings in tuition and opportunity costs of the one-year courses offered in Europe may hold sway with many international students.

Here's the world's 10 best MBA programs for international diversity in 2018: