“When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life,” said celebrated British 18th century writer and lexicographer Samuel Johnson.
Today, London remains a pulsing, diverse metropolis, a financial center and a political powerhouse.
Life in the UK capital does come at a cost. Imperial College Business School estimates that, on average, an international postgraduate student will spend well over $20,000 in living costs over the course of a one-year program.
Yet MBA students from around the world continue to flock to London. Here’s 10 reasons why:
1. Top Schools
London's MBA programs are among the best in the world. London Business School came third in the Financial Times’ global MBA ranking of 2016, while both Imperial College and Cass Business School were positioned in the top-40.
A number of top international schools have campuses in the UK capital; Chicago Booth’s European EMBA campus is located at the heart of the city’s bustling financial center.
2. Access To Employers
“An MBA in London is a great investment in your future,” says Elena Fedorova, a Russian MBA student at London’s Cass Business School (pictured right). “It’s prestigious and valuable virtually everywhere.”
She’s not wrong. As an international business and finance hub, London gives MBAs access to the world’s leading companies. 93% of LBS MBA students receive an offer of employment less than three months after graduation, according to the FT.
3. High Salaries
While living costs can be high, London offers higher salaries than its European counterparts.
London’s employees earn an average of more than $90,000 annually, compared to Munich’s at less than $85,000, and Paris’ at little more than $60,000, according to crowdsourced data from salary comparison platform Emolument. The average wage for financial sector workers in London tops $113,000.
According to the FT, MBA students at Imperial can expect six-figure salaries averaging $112,000; students at Cass $121,000; and students at LBS $154,000 less than three years after graduation.
4. Return On Investment
With high graduate salaries, short programs, and fees considerably lower than at top-tier schools in the US, London enables students to recoup their MBA investment in well under four years.
Based on QS data, students at LBS can expect an initial salary uplift of 107% on graduation and a massive ROI of almost $1 million after 10 years.
5. A Start-Up Hub
According to a government report, close to 90,000 new businesses were started up in London in 2014 alone.
The Digital City Index ranks London as the top European city for digital start-ups. Most are based around Old Street’s Silicon Roundabout, with the area accommodating 3,228 tech firms for every square kilometer, according to commercial estate agent Stirling Ackroyd.
“The diversity of London in terms of art, music, culture, food and people is second to none,” says Sterling Quan Soon (pictured left), who relocated from Trinidad and Tobago to pursue an MBA at Cass Business School.
Like the city itself, London’s MBA programs are cultural melting pots, where people from all corners of the earth come together as one. According to the FT, the proportion of international students at LBS stands at 93%; Imperial 88%; and at Cass 81%.
7. Social Life
From shopping on Oxford Street to high-end tea in Chelsea to East London’s hipster retreats to live music in Camden Town, London has something for everyone.
8. Big, Open Spaces
While London is known as a bustling, 24-hour city, there are plenty of places where MBA students can take a well earned break and relax.
Almost 50% of Greater London is made up of parks and woodland, according to the UK capital’s environmental records center, making London one of the greenest capitals in the world. LBS is located on the fringes of the historic Regent’s Park.
9. A Journey Through Time
From Roman remains to Tudor palaces, and Queen Elizabeth to the treasures of the Victorian British Empire, London is a city seeped in history.
10. Access To Europe
London sits on the doorstep of mainland Europe. MBA students can hop on the Eurostar and be in Paris in a little over two hours. Milan, Berlin and Barcelona are only a couple of hours away by flight.
For Nono Mkhondo, a South African MBA student at LBS (pictured right), London is “the perfect gateway to explore the world".