The Financial Times has published the 2018 European Business School Rankings, offering a useful insight into the current quality of business education in Europe.

The rankings are highly useful to aspirants who are looking for full-time MBA, Executive MBA, and Masters in Management programmes offered by Europe’s leading universities.


The European Business School Rankings are published at the beginning of December every year. The Financial Times compiles them by taking into account the combined performance of Europe’s leading schools across some of its rankings: MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Management (MiM), and the two non-degree executive education programmes. The FT online MBA and Masters in Finance rankings are not considered.

Out of each of these main rankings, the Financial Times compiles European rankings. MBA, EMBA and MiM account for 25% each of each school’s total performance. Non-degree executive education programmes account for 12.5%.

The Financial Times points out that scores are not simply based on aggregation of published ranking positions. They are calculated using Z-scores — formulas that reflect the range between the top and bottom school — for the individual criteria that make up each component ranking.

You can read more on the methodology here.

Read: What Is Behind the Financial Times MBA Rankings?

Business education is growing in Europe

The Financial Times noted that business education is growing in Europe, including the UK, despite fears about the impact of Brexit. There are a total of 22 UK schools in the ranking, with only France having more – 25. Germany is a distant third with seven schools, followed by Belgium with five, and Netherlands, Portugal, and Spain with four each. Of all 95 schools in the ranking, 24 are participating with their own full-time MBA, Executive MBA, and Masters in Management programmes at the same time.

Applications to European business school programmes grew by 3.2% in 2018, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the organisation that administers the GMAT exam. About 63% of European schools in the GMAC survey reported an increase in international applications, which is good news for the local schools which are historically more reliant on foreign candidates than their counterparts in Asia and North America. International students accounted for 77% of applications to European schools in 2018, compared with 41% for business schools in Asia and 39% for US institutions.

Ranking highlights


The best MBA programme in Europe belongs to INSEAD, according to the ranking. Graduates from the 2014 MBA class had the highest average salary at more than USD 177,000. The school points out that at least 50% of its graduates start or run their own company at some point in their career. 

Learn more about MBA programmes at INSEAD by taking a look at this handy school profile.

Top for Executive MBA: HEC Paris

The French school has been in the top five of the global EMBA ranking since 2006 as part of the joint Trium programme, but this year its solo EMBA is the highest new entrant in sixth place. Its EMBA graduates (class of 2015) had earned more than USD 322,000 a year on average. About 44% of the participants in the EMBA programme of HEC Paris go on to create their own businesses.

Learn more about MBA programmes at HEC Paris by taking a look at this handy school profile.

Top for MiM: University of St. Gallen

The Swiss school is number one for Masters in Management for the eighth consecutive time.. Its alumni had earned a whopping USD 108,621, far above the average of USD 63,000. The majority of the graduates from the programme, which is called MA in Strategy and International Management, go on to take consulting jobs, which are very well paid. The rest choose to pursue careers within financial services, industry, or entrepreneurship. It is very common for students to have several employment offers before graduating from the University of St. Gallen.

Highest MBA salary increase: IESE

The Spanish school’s MBA alumni (class 2014) had earned USD 148,480 on average three years after graduation, which represents an increase of 126% from their pre-MBA income. About half of graduates pursue careers in highly paid sectors such as finance, banking, and consultancy. Many alumni also choose entrepreneurship. David Zarate (class 2013) says: “It’s the perfect MBA in terms of entrepreneurship. It gives you a general management perspective so that you can direct your company better in the future.

Learn more about MBA programmes at IESE by taking a look at this handy school profile.

High climber: University of Economics, Prague

The Czech university ranked 60th, jumping 26 places in the European table thanks to a strong performance in the ranking of Masters in Management. The school was ranked 22nd in the global MiM ranking. Its alumni had earned nearly USD 69,000 on average, up 52%.

Overall top performers:

London Business School (LBS) (UK) ranked first again in 2018, followed by HEC Paris (France), which finished second last year as well, and INSEAD (France). The UK school tops the composite European ranking for the fifth consecutive year. LBS had three Executive MBAs in the top 20 in the 2018 global EMBA table, including two joint degrees with other schools.

Read: Get a Feel for the Best Business Schools

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