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Best European Business Schools | Financial Times Ranking 2021

Find out which business schools are ranked best in Europe by the Financial Times in 2021

Mon Dec 6 2021

HEC Paris has been crowned the top business school in Europe by the Financial Times in a 2021 best European business schools ranking that sees France assert its dominance over its European peers.

The ranking scores schools based on their performance across the FT’s rankings for Full-Time MBA, Executive MBA, and Master in Management, as well as open and custom executive education programs.

It’s the third year in a row that HEC Paris has topped the list, and the school has seen a strong ranking performance across its suite of programs. The school’s MBA program jumped again this year from ninth to seventh in the FT’s Global MBA ranking 2021. The school’s Master’s in Management was also ranked the second best in the world this year by the FT, and the Executive MBA program climbed from third to claim top spot.

The top 10 of the best European business schools ranking shows France as a top destination for graduate management educationwith HEC Paris followed by INSEAD in third, Essec Business School in eighth, and Edhec Business School in 10th; there are 22 French business schools in the 95-strong list.

The UK is also heavily represented. London Business School (LBS) is ranked the second best in Europe, and the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School has climbed one place to ninth; there are 19 UK business schools in the ranking.

In a year where the pandemic continued to influence business school teaching—with certain travel restrictions impacting international students and hybrid teaching becoming the norm—46% of graduate business programs in Europe still reported an increase in applications, as applications across the world held steady with 2020’s spike.

Best MBA programs in Europe


(©INSEAD / via Facebook)

INSEAD again tops the list for best European MBA. MBA graduates from the school increase their salary on average by 96%, earning an average weighted salary of $188, 000 three years after business school. The classroom at INSEAD is an international melting pot, with the typical MBA class being represented by 110 nationalities. 

INSEAD’s French counterpart, HEC Paris, sits in fourth best European MBA program in a top 10 that boasts schools from a variety of European countries.

London Business School’s MBA is in second place, and Spain’s IESE Business School follows as the third best European MBA program according to the FT. Fifth and sixth place are taken by Italy’s SDA Bocconi School of Management and the UK’s University of Cambridge Judge Business School, respectively.

The UK is also represented in seventh place by the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School. In eighth place is Switzerland’s IMD Business School, in ninth Spain’s Esade Business School, and in 10th the UK’s Alliance Manchester Business School.

Check out the FT's Full-Time MBA ranking.

Best Executive MBA programs in Europe


(©HECParis / via Facebook)

HEC Paris continues the strong performance at the top of the ranking by French schools, with the institution’s Executive MBA program taking top spot in Europe in 2021. The school is also ranked as the best EMBA program in the world this year. Graduates from the school’s EMBA program increase their salary on average by 95%, and take home an average salary three years out of business school of $438, 000.

The next program ranked as a standalone EMBA program—schools also pick up points for joint programs with schools not in Europe—is ESCP Business School’s Executive MBA, in fourth place. 

Spain’s IESE Business School has Europe’s fifth best EMBA program according to the FT, while Oxford’s Saïd Business School is in eighth place. Spain’s IE Business School sits in ninth. 

The top 10 is rounded off by another strongly performing French school, INSEAD, ranked as the third best school overall in Europe. 

Check out the FT's Executive MBA Ranking.

Best Master’s in Management programs in Europe


(©HSGUniStGallen / via Facebook)

Europe is renowned for the strength of its master’s in management programs. This year’s FT ranking of the best master’s in management programs in the world again featured a top 10 made up entirely of European schools.

The University of St Gallen again takes top spot in this year’s best master’s in management programs in Europe. HEC Paris follows in second, with University College Dublin Smurfit Graduate Business School (third), London Business School (fourth), and Rotterdam School of Management (fifth) making up the top five.

Essec Business School is sixth, with ESCP Business School in seventh, and Stockholm School of Economics in eighth. The top 10 is completed by the joint-ninth finish of Imperial College Business School and Edhec Business School.

Check out the FT's Master's in Management Ranking.

Best Business Schools in Europe

FT Best European Business Schools: 2020 | 2019 | 2018

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This article was updated on December 6th 2021 to reflect the latest Financial Times best European business schools ranking