4 business schools shaping tomorrow’s business leaders
Group of mature international students studying in a graduate school of business. Source: Shutterstock

The job market is saturated with talent. With the abundance and variety of educational offerings available worldwide, graduates nowadays are as polished and refined as they can be when entering the workforce. All this results in a more challenging climb up the corporate ladder. This is where having a competitive advantage comes in handy — precisely the kind acquired through an advanced business degree.

High-profile leaders like Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer of Facebook, Tim Cook, CEO of Apple, and Sundar Pichai, CEO of Alphabet Inc. exemplify how advanced degrees can pave the way for strategic decision-making and leadership in cutthroat industries.

So whether you’re looking to scale the ladder or pivot into something completely new, having this additional edge can smoothen out an otherwise tough journey. Top universities around the globe see that challenge and provide solutions through their postgraduate offerings. From world-class faculty, exposure to a widespread network, comprehensive programmes accredited by professional associations — they lay everything on the table to equip learners with the competencies required to soar to the top.

University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business

The UCT Graduate School of Business has spent the last five decades producing innovative graduates confident enough to inform the business world. Source: The University of Cape Town Graduate School of Business

Located in one of the best cities in the world, the University of Cape Town (UCT) is the best in Africa. Ranking within the top 12% internationally in QS World University Rankings 2024 and the top 1.4% of universities globally in the Centre for World University Rankings 2023 Global 2000 list, UCT’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) is a familiar name on the Financial Times Top 100 Rankings.

With a triple-crown accreditation from the European Foundation for Management Development, the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) attracts students worldwide. In fact, the Financial Times EMBA Ranking 2023 ranks UCT GSB’s EMBA #4 in the world for inclusivity and diversity.

As the only business school in Southern Africa to offer the prestigious CEMS Master in International Management programme, the UCT GSB offers graduates of the one-year programme a powerful combination of theory and business expertise that expedites their future international careers. Moreover, the UCT GSB is uniquely placed to provide immersion and expertise in a dynamic emerging economy.

The journey is fulfilling, with international management courses, business skills seminars, international internships and business immersion projects, as well as a credit-bearing study term at one of the global networks of 33 CEMS partner universities. It’s clear that this is a qualification that graduates find advantageous in building an international career: 92% have worked outside of their home country, and 75% work for multinational organisations.

UCT’s GSB’s MBA – ranked #23 by Corporate Knights Better World MBA 2023, a leading sustainable-economy media and research group – is another sought-after programme that shapes you to become a future business leader. Ranked #5 in the world for value for money by Financial Times Top 100 Global MBAs, the programme gives a global perspective with emerging market relevance. Students understand and identify creative solutions to critical challenges in complex environments, and forge leadership skills through the UCT GSB’s Allan Gray Centre for Values-Based Leadership. The GSB’s MBA also offers a number of specialisations and electives that allow students to tailor their programme with particular industries, sectors or objectives in mind.

London School of Economics

LSE’s two-year Global Master’s in Management gives students the opportunity to gain an interdisciplinary education and real-world research skills in an international setting. Source: London School of Economics

Ranked 1st in the UK for research in Business and Management, the London School of Economics (LSE) Department of Management stands out from the typical business school by combining the historic LSE social science tradition of academic rigour with unique opportunities to network with some of the biggest companies in the world.

The Global Master’s in Management programme, in particular, prepares students for the dynamic world of business through a combination of intellectual rigour and practical experience in business operations. Core courses aside, ones not often found in a typical business school classroom are covered too, including economics, economic sociology and business psychology. This unique approach to management follows LSE’s successful tradition of social science academic study, and with an MBA degree rapidly becoming common currency in the job market, the differentiated approach of LSE helps graduates stand out to employers in a pool of business school graduates.

LSE’s renowned foundations in social science and academic rigour are central to CEMS’s MiM programme too. With a multidisciplinary academic approach to understanding the theory and practice of management and a strong focus on management theory, students develop their critical thinking skills and apply insights from research to organisational challenges.

Nova School of Business & Economics

Nova SBE students are exposed to excellent, rigorous teaching and various activities jointly conducted with top companies. Source: Nova School of Business & Economics

The best business school in Portugal, Nova School of Business & Economics (Nova SBE) is the only Portuguese school to rank among the top 25 by Financial Times European Business Schools 2023. 

Accredited by the AMBA, AACSB, and the EFMD Quality Improvement System, the school’s master’s programmes are equally impressive, ranking among the top 15 worldwide (International Master’s in Finance at #11 and International Master’s in Management at #15). Hence, 68% of its master’s students come from abroad, and 100% of graduates begin their careers within three months. 

The CEMS MiM is a two-year programme. In year one, students follow the curriculum of any of the eight Nova SBE master’s programmes; in year two, they spend one semester in one of the other business schools of the Alliance. This prepares students for leadership positions in the competitive international labour market, gaining knowledge in the management of international companies and practical experience through real consulting projects and internships.

As graduates, they can leverage Nova SBE’s industry links to access highly sought job market opportunities globally — as well as a 17,000-strong alumni network in more than 93 countries that organise over 150 events worldwide and with over 25 alumni hubs across the world.

Emory University Goizueta Business School

For over a century, Goizueta Business School has been a training ground for principled leaders and a laboratory for powerful insights. Source: Emory University Goizueta Business School

Since its inception, Emory University’s identity has always revolved around business education. The university’s Goizueta Business School hones in on that, setting the stage for a unique, community-oriented environment paired with the academic prestige and rigour of a major research institution. The Bloomberg Businessweek 2023-24 Best Business Schools MBA ranks Goizueta’s Two-Year MBA 16th in the US, and the Financial Times ranked the school’s EMBA programme 11th in the US and 43rd globally.

Here, it’s about going beyond “business as usual.” Goizueta has an accelerated one-year and a regular two-year MBA available. Both include working with real-world clients to solve real business problems, studying international business abroad, and learning from some of the world’s best business minds. Students can specialise by choosing from over 20 concentrations and more than 90 electives. With a 5:1 student-faculty ratio, connecting, networking and building relationships with faculty and classmates has never been easier. 

Through Goizueta IMPACT — the school’s signature approach to experiential learning for MBAs — students team up to address a critical client issue on various topics across industries and functions. Throughout the project, expert faculty with extensive research, resources, and expertise help nurture their skills and capabilities. 

*Some of the institutions featured in this article are commercial partners of Study International