Studying internationally might be a little tricker right now, but it's not impossible. What might change is where in the world you choose to study.
While the temporary suspension of H-1B visas, and an unstable political environment, has put plenty of prospective MBAs off studying in the United States, international applications to schools in Europe are increasing.
European MBA programs cost on average $95,000 less than those in the US in terms of total cost and, with friendly visa policies in many European countries, candidates are increasingly looking outside the US for their MBA.
Which top schools attract the most international MBA students? The 15 business schools below are listed in the Financial Times (FT) Global MBA Ranking and ranked by the percentage of international students on their programs.
Best Business Schools For Internationals
15. University of St. Gallen (93% international)
St. Gallen also has one of the highest ratios of international faculty, with 81% of professors hailing from outside Switzerland. In the wider university community, 34% of students are international, hailing from 80 different nationalities—so you’re guaranteed a diverse study experience.
14. IE Business School (93% international)
Located in Madrid, students at IE Business School are already located in one of the best cities in the world for expats, and the MBA program at the school reflects this diversity. Students come from over 70 different countries, and just over 70% of the school’s faculty are also international.
13. EDHEC Business School (94% international)
EDHEC’s MBA campus is located in Nice, on France’s cosmopolitan south coast. Here, international students are joined by students from 29 different countries, in a cohort of less than 60 students. EDHEC also scores well in the FT’s international course category, a rank based on the number of exchanges, study trips, and internships are undertaken outside the country the school is based in. EDHEC offers four international specializations, with the chance to spend a week in London, Silicon Valley, Singapore, or New York.
12. Cambridge Judge Business School (94% international)
Cambridge is known for being a vibrant student city, with talented individuals from all over the world heading to the city to be part of the university. As you would expect from such an iconic institution, Cambridge Judge boasts a high proportion of international faculty—75%—while 41 nationalities are represented on the program, from countries as far afield as Indonesia, Venezuela, the US, Egypt, and South Africa.
11. London Business School (94% international)
It makes sense that a business school in one of the most multicultural cities on the planet would boast a huge proportion of international students. Just 8% of students on the two-year MBA program hail from the UK, compared to 14% from South East Asia, 18% from North America, and 14% from South Asia, among others. As well as the high proportion of international students on its courses, LBS also boasts a faculty comprising of 84% international teachers, and opportunities exist in the second year of the program for students to explore exchange opportunities at one of 30 partner schools worldwide.
10. Durham University Business School (95% international)
Though Durham isn’t one of the UK’s largest cities, Durham University attracts a wide range of international students, with more than 150 nationalities represented on campus. On the MBA program, students are taught by a faculty comprised of almost 70% international teachers, while the school also ranks in the FT’s top-50 for how global its course is.
9. Esade Business School (95% international)
Esade Business School is ranked fifth in terms of international courses by the FT—likely down to its global Study Tours, a four-month exchange program, and the option of gaining a Dual MBA degree with Peking University Guanghua School of Management in Beijing. Almost half of the faculty at Esade are international so you’ll be mingling with plenty of well-traveled professors.
8. HEC Paris (95% international)
Of the 260 students admitted to the MBA program at HEC Paris, 60 nationalities are represented, and dedicated Cultural Weeks at the business school allow students to explore the diversity on the program first-hand. The faculty at the school is also comprised of 70% international professors, and HEC also ranks in the top 15 of schools around the world for how global their programs are. Over half of students on the MBA program find a job outside of their home country.
7. University of Edinburgh Business School (96% international)
Edinburgh is one of the UK’s most visited cities. The city’s diversity is also reflected at the University of Edinburgh Business School, which boasts 96% International students on its MBA course. Almost 70% of the school’s faculty are international, while students looking for even more of a multicultural experience can take advantage of the Full-time MBA with International Exchange, taking students to one of the school’s nine partners for up to three months.
6. INSEAD (96% international)
With MBA campuses in France and Singapore, INSEAD ties with the University of Edinburgh for the proportion of international students on its MBA program. INSEAD beats the rest of the programs on this list for how international its courses are, coming in second overall—in part due to the campus rotation available to MBA students.
5. University of Oxford, Saïd Business School (97% international)
Oxford’s Saïd Business School benefits from the University of Oxford’s world-famous name and attracts a wealth of international students to the school every year. Over 60 nationalities are represented among the 300+ participants, with just 11% of students hailing from Western Europe.
4. ESSEC Business School (98% international)
With an impressive 98% International students on its MBA program, ESSEC Business School offers a truly global atmosphere, even from its location in the small town of Cergy, just outside Paris. MBA students can also choose to split their time on the program between Europe and Asia, spending part of their time at the school’s Singapore campus—another way to strengthen your international outlook on your MBA.
3. The University of Hong Kong (98% international)
The only Asian business school to make the list, HKU sits in one of the world’s largest international communities—an estimated 301,000 expats call Hong Kong home, 0.6% of the world’s expat population. The HKU MBA program offers further opportunities to expand your horizons with three tracks taking you to London, New York, or Shanghai. Thanks to these global opportunities, HKU is ranked sixth by the FT for international courses.
2. IMD Business School (98% international)
Switzerland frequently appears in the top rankings for expat cities, with international residents in the country praising the quality of life, healthcare, and public transportation. Although IMD Business School keeps its MBA class relatively small, with just 90 participants, 40 nationalities are represented on the program. IMD also scores highly in terms of international faculty—98% of the business school’s faculty hail from outside Switzerland.
1. Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (99% international)
Rotterdam is the second largest city in the Netherlands, and features a wealth of multinational businesses as well as a strong international community. This multicultural environment extends to Rotterdam School of Management, where 99% of students on the MBA program are international, including 40 different nationalities with just 7% coming from Western Europe. Considering Rotterdam’s strong expat community and global business links, this could well be the best business school in the world for international students.
Are you considering business school?
In our BusinessBecause MBA Application Guide 2020-21, we list the application deadlines for the world’s top business schools and guide you through each stage of the MBA application process with insider tips and insights from leading MBA admissions directors.