From the people who know best: Which country has the best business schools?

best business schools and countries
People walk past the Merlion statue with the backdrop of the Marina Bay waterfront in Singapore on January 3, 2024. Source: AFP

Where are the best business schools in the world?

That feels like a straightforward question to type into Google, but it can be more nuanced.

If you ask US News & World Report, the 2023-2024 best business schools are:

  1. University of Chicago (Booth)
  2. Northwestern University (Kellogg)
  3. University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)
  4. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan)
  5. Harvard University
  6. Dartmouth College (Tuck)
  7. Stanford University
  8. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross)
  9. Yale University
  10. New York University (Stern)

QS World University Rankings for Business & Management Studies has a more international selection:

  1. Harvard University
  3. London Business School
  4. Stanford University
  5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  6. University of Pennsylvania
  7.  Bocconi University
  8. University of Cambridge
  9. University of Oxford
  10. HEC Paris Business School

These rankings are informative as they are often based on research citations and the results of major global surveys of employers and academics.

While they are helpful in assessing which are the best business schools, there are other factors one might consider.

You should ask yourself, what makes this one of the best business schools for me?

Does it have the right culture? Can I speak the language, or does the school have the right resources to help me feel at home? The experience itself makes a difference.

Also, who is the right person to give you an unbiased opinion?

Perhaps a fellow international student. Better yet, an international student who has studied in more than one country.

This way, you can look at how the experiences compare and get a real feel for your options before naming it one of the best business schools.

While I did not study business, being an international student gave me a perspective of another culture and explored traditions different from mine.

That is not to say that it was a completely perfect experience.

However, if I wanted to know where the best country or school to study literature was, I would start with other international students who had been there.

With that in mind, we have profiled three international students who have studied in multiple countries to get their insights into what they learnt and a hint into what the best business schools might be.

best business schools

Peter Taylor went to Michigan State University before returning to France for his master’s. Source: Peter Taylor

Best business schools: French connection

Peter Taylor is no stranger to moving countries for his education.

Born in America, he moved to Strasbourg, France, at just five years old and schooled in the French system.

He then returned to the US for middle school, which he says was a big adjustment.

“I went to a small private school in Ohio for high school and wanted a different experience,” Taylor says.

“I chose Michigan State University to attend a big and diverse public school.”

Here he earned a Bachelor of Arts in General Management.

At Michigan State University, Taylor felt a bit like an outsider as about 90% of the students at the public institution were locals.

Still, he found clubs and societies where he could feel part of the community. University sports were certainly a big part of campus culture.

At university, he scored a scholarship to study abroad for a semester and returned to the country of his primary school, France.

“Through fate, I found myself in Rouen, France, for a semester,” says Taylor.

“It was a transformational experience to be back in France and to unlock so many distant memories and appreciation for France.”

After graduating, he worked for seven years in supply chain consulting and operations management roles in the US.

Taylor then decided it was time to add an international dimension to his career, and so he began looking out for MBA programmes.

“It’s probably apparent that I have a strong attachment to France,” he explains.

“I was really interested in Lyon as a cultural hub and a great place to study. When I met the recruitment team from Emlyon, I also felt a good connection to the programme.”

best business schools

Emlyon Business School might be one of the best business schools. Source: Emlyon Business School

Emlyon Business School is one of the European Business Schools in the Financial Times 2023 Ranking and scored fourth in the World University Ranking 2023.

Le Figaro and L’etudiant also rank the school fourth in the list of best French business schools.

“My biggest highlight was to be able to study with a very interesting collection of classmates from many different nationalities and professional experiences,” says Taylor.

“We shared many wonderful times in and out of the classroom in Lyon. I also had the opportunity to travel within France and Europe during my studies.”

When asked whether he preferred studying in the US or France, Taylor says that both countries have their merit.

Taylor’s advice for international students:

  • Branch out and try to integrate as much as possible. It’s easy to form a bubble of international students because it’s already exciting enough. But it’s important to assimilate to better experience and potentially settle abroad.
  • It’s important to be open-minded. The cultural norms are different, which can be frustrating or embarrassing, but it doesn’t have to be. That’s part of the excitement and can result in many humorous and memorable moments.
  • Many simple things that we take for granted are tough in the beginning, such as finding housing and setting up a bank account. Don’t get discouraged, they will get sorted out, and then the magic happens.

Best business schools: A global degree

Born in  Kyiv, Ukraine, Daniil Terletskyy grew up in Turin, Northern Italy.

He completed his  Bachelor of Science in International Economics and Management at Bocconi.

Terletskyy was drawn to business management for numerous reasons. He wanted to develop qualitative and quantitative skills so he could study and learn in an international environment.

Bocconi was the perfect choice as it was a prestigious university — which he notes is within the top 10 of international rankings — in a big city. It also helps that the teaching was in English.

Terletskyy’s top three highlights were the ambitious and competitive environment, his own personal growth, and the people he met along the way.

best business schools

Terletskyy enrolled on Mannheim Business School for a Master in Management double degree with ESSEC Business School. Source: Daniil Terletskyy

After his bachelor’s, he pursued a Master’s in Management double degree with ESSEC Business School.

Through this programme, Terletskyy managed to study abroad in four different countries. Each had distinct benefits.

“Honestly, comparing the countries that I have studied in – namely Italy, Germany, France, and Singapore – is quite a challenging task, as they each offered me a unique blend of different and memorable life experiences,” he says.

“Indeed, they are distinct in their cultures, languages, and specificities, making direct comparisons not straightforward at all.”

For Terletskyy, who is now a Client Services Team Associate at AlphaSights (a job he obtained with the help of the school’s career services), each country taught him something different.

best business schools

No matter which of the best business schools you go to, learning a new language might be something you must commit to. Source: AFP

Here’s the advice he would impart to aspiring study-abroad students in each country:


  1. Explore Southeast Asia as much as possible
  2. Exploit the networking opportunities in Singapore
  3. Learn about diverse cultures and be open-minded


  1. Be honest with yourself about your French skills
  2. Do not stick to Paris, but go beyond and visit other regions
  3. Network as much as you can and learn about the local job market


  1. Take your studies seriously and put effort into your courses
  2. Consider the werkstudent opportunities as they are a great model
  3. Learning German will help, but you need business fluency


  1. Italian will be necessary in most job settings
  2. Can be the perfect destination to work in luxury, fashion, or design
  3. Italian students are open to internationals and will feel welcome

Best business schools: From engineering to business

Coming from a South Asian household, Zakaria Ali Shah’s choices for his future were narrowed down to a doctor or engineer, and he picked the latter.

He secured a scholarship which paid for his tuition and accommodation to Bilkent University, a non-profit private university located in Ankara, Turkey for a BS in Mechanical Engineering.

Although he was scared about studying abroad for the first time, Shah managed to make friends quickly. It did help that there were about 70 other people from Pakistan attending that year.

The language barrier proved to be a big struggle. It made sense that his school had compulsory Turkish lessons.

While at this university, Shah participated in an Erasmus exchange programme which took him to the Netherlands.

Surrounded by international students from all over the world, Shah experienced what it would be like to be part of a global community. There was certainly less of a language barrier.

best business schools

For Shah, Vlerick Business School might be considered one of the best business schools. Source: Zakaria Ali Shah

After graduating, Shah worked remotely in Pakistan for the American company Motive as a technical support engineer (tracking and telematics pod).

Shah felt it was time to switch gears and decided to enroll in an MS in General Management at Vlerick Business School. This was certainly an area which held his interest.

Having business knowledge with his engineering background would allow him to become a consultant.

“It was a truly transformational decision. I love every second of it,” he says.

“I learned a lot because, coming from an engineering background to a business school, I received things that are totally new to you.”

Being in Belgium proved to be Shah’s most positive international student experience, perhaps making it one of the best business schools.

“The school played a really important role in making sure that the international students are well integrated and they feel welcomed,” Shah adds.

Today, Shah is an Automotive Consulting at delaware BeLux, fulfilling his career goals.

Here are his tips for each country he studied in:


  1. Before you go, do a Turkish crash course.
  2. Be proactive. Join the conversation and lead the conversation.
  3. The food: try everything that you can. The food is really good.


  1. Buy a bicycle as soon as you can, or if you are renting one, book it as soon as possible. There is no other way to travel around the city as an international student.
  2. The Netherlands is much more international, so try making friends from different countries.


  1. Getting a bicycle is much easier here, but get one as soon as possible.
  2. Travel as much as you can, because travel is cheap in Europe. Whenever you get the opportunity, make friends and travel with them.
  3. Integrate more with locals. Belgian, they are reserved at first. However, if you try they are welcoming.
  4. Every opportunity that comes your way, take it, don’t think about it.