Why Do These MBA Programs Come out on Top?

mba programs

Why Do These MBA Programs Come out on Top?

For the majority of MBA students, graduating from one of the world’s top business schools almost guarantees a plethora of top-tier positions and career paths.

A Harvard, Cambridge, or IMD MBA demonstrates an ability to thrive in a dynamic business environment and to excel in leadership, management, and innovation.


What makes these programs so special, and why have they consistently been ranked as some of the top MBA programs globally?

The following is a look at the competitive advantages of the world’s top 20 MBA schools based on global MBA rankings from a variety of publications.

1- Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School (HBS) is, without a doubt, one of the most comprehensive MBA programs in the world. Its self-contained environment of highly motivated and highly competitive individuals is what sets this business school apart from the rest. Students are immersed in a community of brilliant minds and are primed to make a lasting difference. HBS claims to be the only top business school in the United States to have a residential campus nestled within a major city. Students enjoy many on-campus amenities including gourmet dining, sporting facilities, seminars, and other events. Attending HBS is not just rigorous and rewarding, it’s inspiring.

2- London Business School

Why London? From a stellar international faculty to empowering academics, there are many advantages to attending the London Business School (LBS). An MBA from LBS provides students with a global leadership edge, something many other top-ranked schools cannot boast. By being closely connected to international businesses headquartered in London, students are offered countless opportunities to build a global network while still in school. LBS is also known for having a diverse student body and faculty, which provides a rich and vibrant community in which to learn and form lifelong relationships. Ninety-two percent of graduates in the most recent MBA class came from outside the UK, with 60 languages represented.

3- Stanford Graduate School of Business

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, Stanford gives its MBA students a unique advantage through its roots in research. This is a school where one can draw upon a complex environment of innovation and superior progress through open-minded collaboration. Many Stanford graduates go into finance and technology, but a significant proportion goes on to become successful entrepreneurs.


INSEAD refers to itself as The Business School for the World®, and with good reason. With campuses in France, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi; faculty from more than 40 countries; and partnerships with other top business schools all over the world (including MIT Sloan, Wharton, and CEIBS), INSEAD MBA students are trained to work effectively anywhere in the world. Graduates of this program are primed for success in the global business landscape.

5- Columbia Business School

Columbia strikes the perfect balance between tradition and vision. Located in New York City, this well-regarded institute of higher learning is marking its 100-year anniversary in 2016. Over time, the school has developed an extensive network and an integrated presence in the global business community. In order to stay ahead of the ever-changing world of modern business, Columbia prides itself on an evolving curriculum. This gives students the ability to meet both current and future challenges.

6- IESE Business School

In addition to providing a track to earn traditional MBA degrees, IESE offers students who have a global focus the opportunity to receive a renowned Global Executive MBA or World Executive MBA degree. These programs provide cross-cultural training, the development of a global mindset, and flexible options for active professionals with a blending of on-campus and virtual learning. Another advantage of IESE Business School is its bilingual MBA degree option, which is an important asset in the international business world.

7- University of Chicago Booth MBA

The Chicago Booth MBA program empowers students through its challenging curriculum and invigorating faculty. With a solid reputation for a high standard of excellence, Booth produces MBA graduates who are highly sought after in the business community. One look at the list of notable alumni from Chicago Booth demonstrates the vigor and reputation of the program. The school’s MBA graduates include top business leaders and successful entrepreneurs such as Joe Mansueto, Chairman and CEO of Morningstar; Scott Griffith, CEO of Zipcar; and Peter Peterson, former U.S. Secretary of Commerce and co-founder of Blackstone Group.

8- Haas School of Business

Founded in 1898, this Berkeley business school is the second oldest in America. It currently boasts nearly 40,000 living alumni. One of the greatest advantages of Haas Berkeley is the faculty it attracts, which includes three living recipients of the Nobel Prize in Economics: Oliver Williamson, George Akerlof, and Daniel McFadden. Also, with its commitment to public service, the school encourages its students to focus on public mindfulness. As such, Berkeley has more graduates in the Peace Corps than any other university, which demonstrates the embodiment of the values of responsibility and service. The largest and most robust club on the Haas campus is the Net Impact student club, which focuses on responsible leadership at the corporate, public, and nonprofit levels.

9- China Europe International Business School (CEIBS)

There are plenty of enviable advantages to enrolling as an MBA candidate at CEIBS, including the opportunity to earn a Global MBA, World MBA, or even a Chinese Language EMBA. CEIBS is reputed for having a strong finance curriculum, and with its access to China’s rapidly evolving business and economic landscapes, the school is nearly unrivaled among top MBA programs in China. CEBIS has risen to global prominence in just a few short years. Unlike other top business schools, which have decades or centuries of academic history, CEIBS was founded just 21 years ago and has ranked among the top 25 schools in the world for the last ten years.

10- MIT Sloan School of Management

MIT Sloan is known for its very hands-on, dynamic program curriculum, which includes Action Learning Lab classes, in-depth case studies and plenty of collaborative projects. The greatest advantage of earning an MBA from MIT Sloan, however, is that students have the ability to earn a joint degree in Leaders for Global Operations or System Design and Management with the MIT School of Engineering.

11- University of Cambridge Judge Business School

Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS) is one of the most supportive MBA programs available. CJBS’s vision is to encourage and support business, intellectual gain, and social enterprise. Cambridge is a hub of high-tech enterprise and entrepreneurship. It is also the only top 20 MBA program with a Women’s Leadership Initiative. The combination of its location, inspiring and positive academic environment and comprehensive program curriculum is what makes this business school an outstanding option for MBA candidates.

12- HKUST Business School

Established in 1991, HKUST is one of the youngest and best business schools in the world. With a focus on teaching global leadership and developing minds that can contribute to social and economic transformation in Asia and around the world, this Chinese business school provides its students with a remarkably forward-thinking curriculum. Those enrolled at HKUST can choose from among full-time, part-time, and part-time bi-weekly MBA course tracks.

13- Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University

Kellogg educates students through experiential learning, which is the focus on learning through experience rather than through lectures and seminars. With plenty of simulated business experiences, Kellogg MBA students graduate with confidence and armed with the knowledge necessary to find strategies and solutions for the most challenging real-world business issues. With more than 1,000 opportunities for learning by doing, students can choose which experiences they need to succeed in their chosen career paths. Another advantage of Kellogg is its expansive alumni network – 58,000 strong across the globe.

14- HEC Paris School of Management

HEC Paris attracts students from all over the world because of its excellent leadership-based curriculum and flexible MBA programs. Executive MBA students, for example, can choose to take classes in Paris, Beijing, Shanghai, and/or Doha. They can also choose from among eight different major specializations. Perhaps the biggest draw of HEC, however, is its TRIUM Global Executive MBA, a highly prestigious EMBA degree issued jointly by the London School of Economics and Political Science, the New York University Stern School of Business, and HEC Paris.

15- Yale School of Management

Aside from its stellar reputation and a curriculum designed to promote strategic thinking, Yale has a specific advantage for MBA students looking for a rich experience: the “Raw” Case Approach. With this method, students receive data pertaining to actual business-world situations and then work toward finding real solutions. Yale also attracts students from a variety of educational backgrounds, offering a vibrant exchange of ideas. The majority of students in the Class of 2017 are non-business majors, with most matriculating at the Yale School of Management with backgrounds in humanities, engineering, social sciences, or computer science.

16- University of Pennsylvania: Wharton

The MBA program at Wharton is incredibly versatile, fostering independence and confidence. More than 225 faculty members representing 10 academic departments, provide students with a challenging and diverse curriculum. With more than 200 electives, 20 research centers, and the largest global alumni network of any school, students can tap into Wharton’s immense resources and forge an unparalleled and very individualized MBA education experience.


The IMD MBA program provides a powerful advantage for graduate students by giving them an authentic and rigorous curriculum with standards of Swiss excellence. An IMD MBA centers on the concept of “real world, real learning.” Students face the same challenges that executives routinely face in the real world, and they develop strategies and solutions. This prepares them for a future of success in the global business environment. Hiring managers count on IMD MBA graduates to be among the most prepared problem solvers in the applicant pool.

18- New York University: Stern

Located in vibrant Greenwich Village, NYU Stern offers fast-paced and intensive MBA programs as well as a global reach and a vast alumni network. Stern takes advantage of its global hub location, immersing students in opportunities in which they can get a hands-on learning experience in one of the most dynamic business centers of the world. Another advantage of Stern is that it is part of the TRIUM EMBA program, through which students can earn a degree that is offered jointly by NYI Stern, HEC Paris, and the London School of Economics and Political Science. The TRIUM EMBA is the ultimate in global EMBA degrees and is designed specifically for global leaders who wish to make an impact on the world.

19- ESADE Business School

ESADE concentrates on one of the toughest issues in business – social responsibility. As a business school with an international focus, ESADE’s faculty is committed to creating effective leaders who are well-versed in ethics, sustainability, and social responsibility. ESADE is also unique in its approach to research and information. By teaching and encouraging fierce debate in an open-minded environment, the school provides graduates with the opportunity to forge truly innovative business careers.

Choose an MBA Program that Will Prepare You for the Challenges Ahead

Committing to an MBA program is a cornerstone of any executive career. This is why business students and professionals compete to get into the top programs. Attending one of the consistently high-ranking programs isn’t just about building your reputation or gaining access to the networking resources available. Graduating from one of these top programs means that you have learned from the best and worked with the brightest. It also provides you with the tools you need to realize your full potential as you make your mark on the world.

This post is written by guest blogger Gretchen Shaw. Gretchen is an author, blogger and entrepreneur with a penchant for baking. She is passionate about communication, continued learning, and connecting people. You can follow her on Twitter: @shawgret

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