Careers

The 10 best business schools in the world

The best MBA programs in the world provide serious advantages to their graduates. Alumni from the top business schools lead some of the biggest companies in the world and earn well-over six figures, on average.

However, as the cost of attending business school continues to rise, students need to be thoughtful about where they choose to earn an MBA. Quacquarelli Symonds (QS) recently ranked the 251 most prominent MBA programs in the world in order to determine which business schools are the best investments. QS based their research on 13 criteria in five categories: employability, entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, return on investment, thought leadership and diversity. They also collected data from tens of thousands of employers around the globe.

Here are the 10 best full-time MBA programs in the world, according to QS:

Columbia University
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Columbia University

10. Columbia University

Country: United States

Class size: 776

Student body gender ratio: 38 percent women/62 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 92 percent

8. IE Business School (tie)

Country: Spain

Class size: N/A

Student body gender ratio: 31 percent women/69 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 89 percent

8. University of Chicago — Booth (tie)

Country: United States

Class size: 585

Student body gender ratio: 42 percent women/58 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 95 percent

7. HEC Paris

Country: France

Class size: 239

Student body gender ratio: 32 percent women/68 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 93 percent

6. INSEAD

Country: Abu Dhabi, France and Singapore

Class size: 536

Student body gender ratio: 33 percent women/67 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 82 percent

MIT 
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MIT 

5. MIT — Sloan

Country: United States

Class size: 409

Student body gender ratio: 40 percent women/60 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 81 percent

4. London Business School

Country: United Kingdom

Class size: 411

Student body gender ratio: 37 percent women/63 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 96 percent

3. University of Pennsylvania — Wharton

Country: United States

Class size: 851

Student body gender ratio: 44 percent women/56 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 96 percent

2. Harvard University

Country: United States

Class size: 941

Student body gender ratio: 42 percent women/58 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 91 percent

1. Stanford University

Country: United States

Class size: 417

Student body gender ratio: 41 percent women/59 percent men

Students employed three months after graduation: 88 percent

Graduating Stanford University students
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Graduating Stanford University students

Stanford topped the list of the best MBA programs in the world. According to QS, the average salary of someone with an MBA from Stanford is $144,455 three months after graduation.

Harvard ranked second on the list and shows huge returns for alumni: QS research finds that 91 percent of alumni are employed within three months of graduation and the average salary for an alumni just three years after graduation is $177,541.

American institutions dominated the list but several international programs such as London Business School, INSEAD and HEC Paris also ranked highly.

Common among all of the schools on the list is a gender imbalance. In the United States, women are more likely to earn a college degree and yet are still underrepresented in top business programs. At many well-respected business schools like Cornell, Rice, NYU and Northwestern, the percentage of students who are women is continuing to decrease. None of the schools on the list of the best programs in the world had greater than 44 percent women, and at some schools the percentage was as little as 31.

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