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Europe is home to some of the best business schools which are popular among international students. LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP

The best business schools in Europe for international students make the most of their location. They offer pre-arrival advice so you hit the ground running. They deliver programmes that meet industry demands. Placements and internships in some of the continent’s best companies complement this. Career support is available to help international students land a job once they graduate.

The result? A great track record. A quick glance at the alumni list of the best business schools in Europe will show they are the launching pad of many millionaires, business consultants, politicians, businessmen, academics and more. 

While it may not be the cheapest continent, there are some countries where you can get an affordable, yet quality business education. Spanish business schools charge between 100 to 23,500 euros for a bachelor’s degree. In Italy, the range is between 150 to 43,000 euros. Over in the UK, tuition usually costs between 12,000 and 20,000 euros for most undergraduate degrees.

The best business schools in Europe may not be the cheapest, but you’re set for an experience of a lifetime with potentially great returns on investment.

The five best business schools in Europe:

IMD Business School

International Institute for Management Development (IMD) is a private business school in Lausanne, Switzerland. IMD is one of only two business schools in the world that has been ranked in the top five in the Financial Times Executive Education Rankings for over 15 consecutive years. In some rankings, IMD is consistently the best in terms of the international diversity of its international faculty and participants.

It holds all three prestigious triple crown certifications. This includes EFMD EQUIS, AACSB, and AMBA. IMD is known for its English-taught MBA programme. IMD is also ranked as the top business school in Europe by Bloomberg for the year 2022-2023.

IMD students have interned in Canada and Belgium before going on to land roles the likes of Senior Product Manager (Marketplace – Amazon Japan), Global Strategist (Samsung GSG – Korea) and Associate (McKinsey & Company – Russia).

INSEAD

As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD offers students a truly global educational experience. With campuses in Fontainebleau, France, one in Singapore, and the recently opened Abu Dhabi campus in the United Arab Emirates, INSEAD business education and research span the globe.

The MBA degree programme has an extensive list of courses: Organisational Behaviour, Financial Accounting, Strategy, Corporate Financial Policy, Processes and Operations Management, Macroeconomics, Managerial Accounting. The faculty also runs the Executive MBA programme which is a globally recognised degree.

The university has a remarkable list of alumni that includes Niels Christiansen (CEO, LEGO), Najib Mikati (Prime Minister of Lebanon), Elena Paranitis (Member of Greek Parliament), Tom Adams (CEO of Rosetta Stone) and Jussi Pajunen (Mayor of Helsinki).

INSEAD students receive an overall annual median salary of US$3,500 for their summer internships and projects. These took place in Singapore, the Netherlands and Colombia, among many other countries.

IESE Business School

Spain’s top-ranked private university is one of the top business schools in the world. The University of Navarra’s IESE Business School was founded in 1958 and has numerous campuses, located in Barcelona, Madrid, New York, São Paulo and Munich.

Their goal is to help you reach your full potential so that your leadership can impact the world. All IESE programmes are designed to instil the benefits of an entrepreneurial mindset. As a result, within five years of graduating from IESE, 30% of students launch a firm.

Several academic programmes are offered here, including the MBA, Executive MBA, Custom Programme, Global Executive MBA, Public Leadership and Government Programme, and General Management Programme. The university has significantly invested in research and has established many research centres such as the Centre for Business in Society and Institute for Media and Entertainment.

London Business School (LBS)

Founded in 1964, London Business School (LBS) is one of the world’s leading business schools and one of the few business schools in the world to hold triple crown accreditation (AACSB, EQUIS, AMBA). It operates through two campuses, one in London and the other in Dubai. 

The university frequently receives top 10 rankings for its programmes and is known as a centre for exceptional research. The school has an ideal location that provides students from over 130 countries with the tools they need to succeed in today’s business world.

LBS is known for its comprehensive academic structure offering a variety of degree programmes. These programmes include Master in Management, Master of Finance, Master of Financial Analysis (MFA), and Executive MBA. The school has been ranked the best business school in Europe for three consecutive years (2014-2016) by the Financial Times and third in the world for business and management studies by QS in 2022.

Saïd Business School (Oxford Said or SBS)

From the prestigious Oxford University comes Saïd Business School (SBS), named after businessman and philanthropist Wafic Said. Founded in 1965 as the Oxford School of Management Studies, it took on its current form the following year. Oxford University’s SBS combines the best of the old and the new.

It offers courses in the fields of economics, finance and management. The school has only one bachelor’s degree. That is a bachelor’s degree in economics and business management. Graduate programmes include MBA, Executive MBA and 1+1 MBA. There is also a doctoral degree programme in management and finance for those interested in advanced education.