10 best business schools in the world for international students

best business schools in the world
Fancy starting your own business or launching a startup? Learn all the skills you'll need and more at the best business schools in the world. Source: AFP

A business major and its related subjects — such as finance, accounting, and economics — are among the most popular fields of study at universities worldwide, particularly at the graduate level, according to QS.

Much of this explains why many of the best business schools in the world are highly rated.

After all, studying for a business degree has plenty of benefits

Data from the Graduate Management Admission Council shows that the average starting salary for MBA graduates in 2022 was US$115,000, which is much higher than the US$75,000 average for people with a bachelor’s degree. 

What’s more, the art of running a business touches on various aspects of modern society — from marketing to human resources and more. 

What are some common features of the best business schools in the world?

The best business schools in the world usually share a few common features that prepares students for the challenges of a modern business environment. 

These institutions tend to house the most qualified and talented faculty from across the globe — most of the best business schools have a high percentage of international teaching staff. 

Apart from building a solid foundation on fundamental business concepts, experienced faculty can share the knowledge and experience they have gained, bringing real business challenges into the classroom. 

For mature students, flexibility is a key priority when pursuing a programme at one of the top institutions. The best business schools know this and offer flexible study modes, such as distance learning or part-time study options.  

Some of the best business schools in the world also have a diverse cohort. In this, you can learn and interact with people from all walks of life — something you’ll do when managing a business or working for a global organisation like Google, Microsoft, and Meta. 

It’s where you’ll build your network and net worth too.

Just look at Daniel Bernal Bachiller and Tingting Miao, who capitalised on EDHEC Business School’s graduate network.

It laid the foundation for their two e-commerce start-ups: Flora Colombia (which ships flowers from Colombia to China) and Ninfa de Colombia SAS (which imports assorted goods from China to Colombia). 

best business schools in the world

Bernal (pictured on the right) together with Miao (pictured on the left) on the first day of their MBA in France. Source: Daniel Bernal Bachiller

10 best business schools in the world for international students

1. Harvard Business School (Harvard University)

Founded in 1908, Harvard is one of the best business schools in the world.

Harvard emphasises the case method — a discussion of real-life situations that business executives have faced — in the classroom. In some cases, industry experts house these discussions.

Most notably, the Harvard Business School welcomed Toto Wolff, team principal and chief executive officer of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One (F1) team, as a guest lecturer and executive fellow.

The list of Harvard graduates also includes some of the most influential figures in the US, such as Jamie Dimon, George W. Bush, and Sheryl Sandberg.

What’s more, Harvard Business School offers dual degrees with several other schools within the university, which includes Harvard Law School, Harvard Medical School, and the Kennedy School of Government.


As one of the world’s leading and largest graduate business schools, INSEAD has campuses in France, Singapore, Abu Dhabi, and San Francisco. Clearly, INSEAD’s business education spans the globe.

More than 11,000 students join INSEAD’s executive education programme every year. Cohorts are also diverse, and in any MBA intake, there are over 70 nationalities.

Upon graduation, students will be connected to a network of alumni based in 180 countries.

Renowned faculty members from 41 countries inspire over 1,300 students in its undergraduate and PhD programmes.

best business schools in the world

Studying at London Business School (LBS) means you’re in the heart of the city, just a stone’s throw away from cutting-edge fintech startups and the London Stock Exchange. Source: AFP

3. London Business School

London is at the forefront of global business, trade, finance innovation, and culture. Studying at London Business School (LBS) means you’re just a stone’s throw away from cutting-edge fintech startups and the London Stock Exchange.

LBS also prides itself on being a “global family.” Each year, the school has 2,200 students across its 12 degree programmes, representing over 130 nationalities. 

The school curates a remarkable learning experiences. These opportunities include its rigorous academic programme and hands-on approach towards business education.

4. Stanford Graduate School of Business, Stanford University

At just 6%, Stanford Business School has the lowest acceptance rate in the world. 

Those who do get accepted, however, experience a postgraduate education like no other. 

Take the MBA programme, for example. 

The intimate class sizes, close peer-to-peer interaction, group activities, and one-to-one coaching keep students collaborating and expanding their mindsets. 

Their first-year curriculum provides a strong foundation and the second-year curriculum lets you define your future with your choice of electives.

In the Global Management Immersion Experience (GMIX), students develop their global mindset by engaging with a new culture and workplace through a four-week project with a sponsoring organization. 

GMIX includes hands-on opportunities spanning countries across Asia, Europe, Africa, Latin America, Oceania, and the Middle East.

best business schools in the world

At Sloan School of Management, students can specialise in one of three tracks: entrepreneurship and innovation, finance or enterprise management. Source: AFP

5. Sloan School of Management, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Sloan first-year students participate in Career Core to analyze their strengths, interests and values to choose their path. 

The best part? 85% of students go on to change their career trajectory. 

At Sloan School of Management, students can choose to specialise in one of three tracks: entrepreneurship and innovation, finance or enterprise management. 

There’s also no shortage of hands-on opportunities. Sloan hosts three entrepreneurship competitions — the Pitch, Accelerate and Launch Contests — that dole out over US$350,000 in prize money each year. 

The school’s E-Lab also puts students on projects with local tech startups for one or two days a week.

6. Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania

Founded in 1881, Wharton is the oldest US business school and second-largest behind Harvard. 

Like Harvard, Wharton offers dual-degree programmes with seven other schools at the University of Pennsylvania and joint programmes with Johns Hopkins’ School of Advanced International Studies and Harvard’s Kennedy School.

Wharton’s programme is top-ranked. Its MBA placed first, ahead of the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, in a 2023 global survey of the best business finance schools by US News & World Report. 

The school is best known for its rigorous finance programme, making it the ideal choice for those seeking careers in investment banking, private equity, investment management, or venture capital.

best business schools in the world

Located in downtown Milan, Bocconi University has supported the socio-economic progress of Italy and Europe. It’s no wonder why its one of the best business schools in the world. Source: AFP

7. SDA Bocconi School of Management, Bocconi University

Since its inception, Bocconi University has supported the socio-economic progress of Italy and Europe through scientific innovation, advanced research, and training of tomorrow’s business leaders. 

Bocconi is widely recognised as one of the top European institutions of higher learning and research in the social sciences, including fields such as management, finance, economics, and many more. 

Its campus is located in downtown Milan, one of Italy’s most cosmopolitan and dynamic cities. It is also a capital of commerce, design, fashion, and music — making it the perfect city for a well-rounded uni experience. 

In this classroom, students can expect a combination of strong theoretical background with real-world application taught by expert faculty.

Little wonder why they are one of the best business schools in the world.

8. Judge Business School, University of Cambridge

Judge Business School (JBS) is part of one of the most prestigious research uni — offering students a chance to learn from renowned academics. 

From its initial offering of one MPhil in 1991, JBS has expanded to a suite of master’s programmes ranked in the global top 20. 

The school’s world-class faculty‘s research interests span the full spectrum of business issues and industries. 

Many are leaders in their field: directing cutting-edge research; consulting for top businesses; advising governments; and bringing their new-found knowledge and experiences to the classroom.

best business schools in the world

At Saïd Business School, students think expansively at one of the best business schools in the world. Source: AFP

9. Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford blends the best of new and old by gathering both young and experienced leaders within a vibrant academic community.

The school delivers cutting-edge education and ground-breaking research that transform individuals, organisations, business practices, and society.

Here, degree programmes and short executive education programmes seek to challenge traditional perspectives and produce powerful ideas. 

The result? Students think expansively. Some questions they think about include: 

  • What are the rules of the game: how do written and unwritten rules affect the performance of business?
  • What types of organisations, whether high growth, high impact, or high scale, will fundamentally change the business landscape?
  • How do we map the trends that will define the future of business? 
  • How do we educate and energise a community that can address these huge issues?

10. HEC Paris School of Management

HEC Paris is a leader in research and education in management sciences.

It enjoys a longstanding tradition of educating leaders at the forefront of business. According to the 2017 Times Higher Education Alma Mater Index, HEC Paris has the highest concentration of graduates who become CEOs of Fortune Global 500 companies than any other university in Europe.

Whether your goal is to join the ranks of a multinational company or establish your own startup, you’ll benefit from the entrepreneurial spirit that thrives at HEC Paris.

An estimated 25% of students go on to start their own business and the faculty supports the creation of nearly 400 schoolwide entrepreneurial projects every year. 

The best part? HEC Paris champions diversity, with a world-class faculty of over 120 professors from more than 30 different countries and an international student body of 135 nationalities.