More MBA candidates are flocking to business schools in Asia. According to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), 48% of business schools in the Asia Pacific region reported growth in domestic applications in 2019, with 37% seeing an increase in applications from international candidates.
Top Asian business schools—in China and Hong Kong, Singapore, and India—offer candidates exposure to some of the world's fastest-growing markets where employers are racing to recruit MBA students.
Asian business schools also offer a quality education without the high cost demanded by their counterparts in the United States.
We break down the latest Financial Times Global MBA Rankings to bring you the 18 best business schools in Asia:
Best Business Schools in Asia
18. City University of Hong Kong
The College of Business at the City University of Hong Kong comes in at 98th on the FT’s list, with 2019 being the first year it has ranked. The College has accreditation from the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and the EFMD Quality Improvement System (EQUIS), and offers MBA, EMBA, and Business Masters programs.
While situated in the heart of Hong Kong, one of Asia’s largest business centers, the school’s business graduate programs also offer plenty of opportunities for experiential learning abroad. Each year—at least pre-COVID-19—MBAs get to visit Silicon Valley to learn from venture capital firms plus a Residential Trip within Asia, allowing students to take part in real-life business consulting.
17. Singapore Management University: Lee Kong Chian School of Business
Lee Kong Chian School of Business boasts triple accreditation from AACSB, EQUIS, and the Association of MBAs (AMBA), a privilege given to just 1% of schools across the world. Its graduate business programs rank highly across Asia: the MSc in Wealth Management is the top program in Asia, and the MSc in Applied Finance comes in the top-five among Asian business schools.
Their MBA program, ranked 63rd on the FT’s MBA rankings, jumps to 29th when considering salary increase, with graduates reaching an impressive 125% uptick compared to before their studies.
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16. Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad
India is frequently hailed as one of the fastest growing economies in the world, with its GDP growing by 4.2% in 2019. The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) places students in one of India’s most important Indian cities for business. Industries such as textiles and chemicals are well represented in the city.
The Post Graduate Program in Management at IIMA is a rigorous program with courses that are frequently revised to represent the contemporary business landscape. Compulsory courses include Marketing, Legal Aspects of Business, and Financial Reporting, while elective courses allow students to focus in on a range of subjects including agricultural management, human resources, economics, and organizational behavior.
Students graduating from the two-year program achieve an almost 100% salary increase, making this an affordable yet intensive option for an MBA in Asia.
15. University of Hong Kong Business School
The University of Hong Kong puts students right at the center of business in Asia, in an impressive economic hub and on the edge of opportunities in mainland China. Their MBA offers multiple tracks, taking students to either New York or London for exchange opportunities, or a third with China-focused electives from Fudan University in Shanghai. Up to 20 nationalities are represented on the program, with 98% of students hailing from outside Hong Kong.
A China Immersion program taught throughout the one-year MBA allows students to explore the specifics of business in China, and other core courses explore management skills such as IT, corporate social responsibility, and ethics. The focus on business in Asia pays off, too—92% of students who graduated from the MBA program went on to secure jobs in Asia, with 49% of these located in Hong Kong.
14. Sungkyunkwan University GSB
Sungkyunkwan University (SKKU) just misses out on the top-50 of the FT Global MBA list, ranking 54th in the world. The only South Korean school on the list, SKKU is one of the most prestigious schools in the country, with a strong focus on innovation and research in part due to its sponsors Samsung and Hyundai—it’s no surprise that 18% of graduates of their MBA program go on to work in technology or telecom.
On the MBA program at SKKU, students follow core courses in business foundations as well as one of three industry-focused Applied Business Projects in Finance, Marketing, or Strategy. Approximately half of the intake each year are international students, from 16 represented countries.
13. CUHK Business School
CUHK is the first Asian business school on this list to make it into the top-50 of MBA programs globally, jumping from 57th in 2019 to 50th in 2020. The school features 53% international faculty while the MBA program boasts students from 10 different countries, along with a strong Asian focus in its curriculum.
Students on their full-time MBA program take advantage of the school’s location in Hong Kong with a Business Practicum project linking students with corporations in the city, and a curriculum focused on innovation and digital business.
In fact, students dive into cutting-edge topics including AI, FinTech, and Impact Investing; or, they can opt for a concentration in Entrepreneurship and Innovation or Finance and Technology.
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12. Shanghai University of Finance and Economics
The first school in mainland China on the list, Shanghai University of Finance and Economics features at 47th in its first year in the rankings. The program has a regional focus along with distinguished faculty encompassing international professors and a part-time faculty of successful entrepreneurs. This is a great choice for an MBA in China.
Shanghai University’s MBA program also boasts some impressive career stats. All graduates on the program were employed three months after their program ended, achieving an average 216% increase in salary compared to before their MBA—higher than some US MBA programs.
11. Indian Institute of Management Calcutta
Based in the major city of Kolkata, the IIM is at the heart of one of the largest city economies in India, with major industries in the city including textiles, agriculture, and metals. Triple-accredited by EQUIS, AMBA, and AACSB, this Asian business school appears at number 42 on the FT’s list, climbing from 78th in 2018.
The core curriculum of IIM Calcutta’s MBA program focuses on the business essentials with some courses focusing specifically on business in India, such as India Economic Policy and Indian Social Structure. On the back of this rigorous business degree, 30% of MBA graduates landed jobs in consulting, with general management and IT & Analytics making up the top three sectors.
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10. Renmin University of China
Renmin is the first Asian business school to creep into the top 40 of the FT’s ranking at 38th place. Located in Beijing, the school boasts an International MBA program with a focus on Chinese management practices and a host of international opportunities for students looking for a broad business outlook. Two reasons an MBA from Renmin could be your ticket to jobs in China.
The IMBA program boasts two specialization tracks in Financial Management and Leadership & Corporate Social Responsibility, giving students the chance to focus on in-demand areas. Students graduating from the school’s MBA program achieve an impressive 188% salary increase, while 99% of students are employed three months after their program.
9. Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai School of Economics and Management
Just one rank above Renmin University, Shanghai Jiao Tong University was the first MBA program in China to reach triple accreditation and reaches the top four Chinese MBA programs on the FT’s list. Their International MBA program is a two-year degree based in China’s economic powerhouse, Shanghai, with ample opportunities to experience business in the city with company visits included on the program.
The International MBA curriculum features a wide range of core courses including CSR, Data Modeling, and International Business Law. Success in the job market is evidenced by an average salary increase of 201% after graduation—placing Jiao Tong in the top three schools globally to achieve such an increase.
8. Nanyang Business School
Nanyang Business School ranks in the top three Singapore business schools on this list, with an impressive international MBA program taught by over 160 professors with 30 different nationalities. Despite the international makeup, graduates of the program are poised to work in varied positions in Asia—53% of graduates go on to land jobs in Singapore, followed by 20% in East Asia.
The International MBA program is built around three key components, each offering students an insight into real-life business concepts. Business Study Missions offer students the chance to consult with real companies. In the past they’ve taken students to Argentina, Myanmar, and Japan. In addition to this, Strategy Projects boast collaboration between MBA students and industry partners in Singapore, exploring real-world challenges with companies.
7. Fudan University School of Management
Fudan University’s International MBA has been climbing the FT’s ranks over the last three years, and now sits at 33rd in the world. The program aims to offer a blend of Eastern and Western business teaching and is taught in collaboration with MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Based in Shanghai, students are taught by a faculty comprised of 40% international lecturers, as well as up to five visiting professors from MIT each year.
Students on the MBA get to participate in project-based learning projects with partner companies in China and as far away as Finland. The participation with Chinese companies pays off, too—87% of graduates in 2019 found employment in Shanghai, with a further 7% landing jobs in other cities in China.
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6. Indian School of Business
Indian School of Business sits in the 1% of business schools worldwide with triple accreditation from AMBA, EQUIS, and AACSB, and benefits from partnerships with other top global business schools such as The Wharton School, London Business School, and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. Students on the Post Graduate Program in Management come from backgrounds in consulting, IT, FMCG, and manufacturing, with 78.5% of graduates shifting industry after graduation.
Located in Hyderabad, one of India’s foremost technology hubs, students can explore real-world learning on the program with a dedicated Experiential Learning Program, while an Entrepreneurial Venture course gives budding entrepreneurs the skills to set up their own business.
5. Indian Institute of Management Bangalore
Placing 27th on the FT’s ranking, the Indian Institute of Management Bangalore (IIMB) is the highest-ranking Indian business school on our list. Based in one of India’s tech hubs, IIMB’s focus is on innovation, with a research lab focusing on big data and a separate center for entrepreneurial learning.
The school’s two-year MBA program allows students to network with a range of companies in the Bangalore area, with experiential learning a strong component of the course. In the end, graduates go on to secure jobs with multinationals such as Bain & Company, The Boston Consulting Group, and Amazon.
4. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) Business School
HKUST consistently finds itself in the top-20 of the FT’s Global MBA ranking. More than 90% of students on the program are international, with over 20 nationalities represented, and those students get to tap into the diversity of Hong Kong and myriad businesses in the region.
The full-time MBA at HKUST boasts a tech-heavy program, with a dedicated career track in Business Technology and Analysis, which offers courses in FinTech, AI, and Python. Tech is a big focus of the MBA program at HKUST, as the school looks to tap into Hong Kong’s burgeoning technological hub set in the heart of Asia.
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3. National University of Singapore Business School (NUS)
The NUS MBA ranks an impressive 15th on the FT’s list, beating the University of Cambridge and Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business—it’s also just one rank below Yale School of Management. The school’s MBA program is taught by almost 120 professors from 19 countries, with over half their faculty hailing from outside Singapore. This diversity is also reflected in the program itself, with almost 60% of students arriving from outside Singapore, including Vietnam, Belgium, Canada, and Japan.
Taught over two years, the NUS MBA is based around experiential learning, featuring an intensive five-day soft skills program at the start of the degree. There is also a consulting project in collaboration with Singaporean SMEs.
Sitting in fifth place in the FT’s ranking, the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) is also the best business school in China. Located in Shanghai, the MBA at CEIBS offers students a program focused on Chinese business with a global perspective, and offers four concentrations in Finance, Marketing, Digital Business, or Entrepreneurship.
Students will follow a China Strategy Project during their MBA, a high-level strategy project in collaboration with Chinese businesses. International experience is gained through five overseas electives. After this intensive program, graduates achieve an average 187% salary increase, with 86% of students landing jobs in mainland China.
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The title of best business school in Asia goes to INSEAD, which ranks fourth overall on the FT’s list. Though originally based in Fontainebleau, France, INSEAD offers students the choice of studying at their Singapore campus in the Knowledge Hub district of the city.
Flexibility is also afforded by the choice of two intakes—students starting in September complete a fast-tracked 10-month program, while those starting in January are afforded a two-month summer break to fit in an internship or summer project.
With 88 nationalities represented on INSEAD’s MBA, this is certainly an international program. Furthermore, 93% of their faculty are international, and students can also choose to spend the end of their program at exchange on another of INSEAD’s campuses—Fontainebleau or Abu Dhabi. Overall, 37% of graduates find employment in Northern/Western Europe and a further 27% in Asia Pacific—in fact, 50% of graduates change their county of residence after the program.
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