The World’s 20 Best Business Schools to Apply To (2024)

Your entry point to a career in business management.

Reviewed by Chris Leitch

Best Business School in the World

Obtaining a business-related degree can open many doors, not least of which are great job opportunities in leading companies that require academic business studies as a job requirement. A career in business can combine with many other professional areas and help you develop transferable skills that can be used in a variety of different settings.

Kicking off your career in business begins with finding a business school that is aligned with your academic and professional goals, but there are plenty of institutions to choose from. This article introduces you to the best business schools, according to Top University’s QS World University Rankings 2024.

20. Columbia University

Columbia University

Location: New York City, United States

QS score: 82.8

Columbia University’s core curriculum focuses on liberal arts such as philosophy, history, politics, literature, art, music, science and writing. Through a unique concentration on business management, subjects cover aspects such as accounting, financial reporting and economics principles.

Undergraduates develop their business knowledge through a series of elective courses curated by the Columbia Business School, where students can partake in research opportunities and co-curricular activities such as lectures, industry panels, informal mentoring and networking events with MBA students and alumni.

19. University of Chicago

Location: Chicago, United States

QS score: 83.1

The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business prides itself on a flexible approach to education, offering many different programs such as both part- and full-time MBA programs, master’s in finance or management, doctoral programs, and executive education options.

The school’s most famous program is the 21-month MBA, which allows students to progress through 20 classes independently and in alignment with their own career goals, with one more Leadership Effectiveness and Development (LEAD) being taken all together.

The Booth School of Business also has a “pay it forward” tradition that encourages graduates and alumni to mentor new students and guide them through their MBA experience.

18. Erasmus University Rotterdam

Location: Rotterdam, Netherlands

QS score: 83.6

As one of the youngest establishments on the list, Erasmus University Rotterdam has a long list of achievements. A steady presence among the top-tier business schools in Europe, the university provides a wide range of specialized bachelor’s degrees, MBAs and PhDs, as well as executive education programs.

Its English Language Bachelor of Science in International Business Administration (BScIBA) program consists of independent research and extensive academic training, while you can expect a taste of real-world experience through internships, international exchange programs and collaborating with industry experts.

17. Universitat Ramon Llull

Location: Barcelona, Spain

QS score: 83.7

The Esade Business School at Universitat Ramon Llull in the vibrant city of Barcelona is passionate about developing conceptual leaders with forward-thinking and responsible approaches.

The university offers a rich mix of degrees with a wide focus, including degrees focused on emerging business trends like bachelor’s degrees in artificial intelligence, social impact or global governance, and master’s in entrepreneurship, innovation or sustainability.

Esade’s signature MBA program is called the Executive MBA (EMBA) and has an entrepreneurial focus that encourages students to think “big” and develop visionary ideas to form companies. The EMBA also offers study tours and optional exchange programs.

16. New York University

New York University

Location: New York City, United States

QS score: 84.2

New York University is a highly prestigious university where students can obtain a bachelor’s degree at the Stern School of Business. With numerous departments and concentrations to choose from, students can truly refine their areas of expertise.

Aside from core subjects, students can also take elective courses across NYU’s other schools. Furthermore, there is the option to complete a dual degree, so you could combine business with law, mathematics or investment banking, among other subjects!

NYU Business School’s great location also means there are plenty of job opportunities for graduates. Plus, the university has excellent ties to many notable businesspeople. Jack Abernethy, CEO of Fox Television Stations, is one of Stern’s many alumni.

15. Copenhagen Business School

Location: Frederiksberg, Denmark

QS score: 84.3

This respected business school features an exceptional academic program that strives to lead the way in responsible management education. Situated in the affluent area of Frederiksberg, CBS offers a substantial number of programs and courses for its 23,000 students, who have the chance to study communication, economics, languages and politics, amongst other specializations.

CBS’ teaching methodology is designed to teach students the leadership development skills they will need to pursue careers as executives, professionals and entrepreneurs. Students can also opt for customized development programs, while the school prides itself on having close working relationships with some of the world’s leading businesses, including Deloitte, Google, KPMG and Maersk.

14. Northwestern University

Location: Evanston, United States

QS score: 84.4

Taught at the renowned Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University offers some of the best MBAs in the world. With a broad range of programs to choose from, the school facilitates learning on different levels.

The school offers the opportunity to apply academic knowledge in real-world settings and encourages collaboration with experts in the field. Moreover, students can follow a cross-disciplinary path and customize their curriculum to suit their needs and interests.

13. National University of Singapore

Location: Singapore, Singapore

QS score: 85.6

The National University of Singapore, or NUS as is it more commonly known, has grown into a leading, multidisciplinary higher education institute, and its business school (which was founded in 1965) is often listed among the best schools in the world.

The NUS Business School offers a holistic BBA program that fuses Western and Asian perspectives. Further, it provides its students with the freedom to design their curriculum and combine modules from different disciplines to encourage the development of diverse social and cultural perspectives.

12. University of California, Berkeley

University of California, Berkeley

Location: Berkeley, United States

QS score: 86.7

Based on the sunny West Coast, the University of California, Berkley is a well-established global institution, while its faculty includes 99 Nobel laureates, 23 Turing Award winners and 14 Pulitzer Prize winners.

The Haas Undergraduate Program offers its business majors a range of courses, and each program uniquely combines business with other disciplines including engineering, global perspectives and biology. The curriculum covers a broad area of business operations through its core modules, while elective courses focus on subjects such as brand management, corporate finance and advanced accounting.

11. The London School of Economics and Political Science

Location: London, United Kingdom

QS score: 87.5

Known for its leading academics in cultural, social and economic disciplines, the London School of Economics is paving its way as the most prominent research institution in the UK. With students from over 140 countries, LSE prides itself as a truly international student community.

Its BSc in Management combines business with social sciences, as its curriculum incorporates economics, statistics, mathematics and psychology. The program combines theory and practice, encouraging critical thinking through practical management competence, teamwork and data presentation.

10. HEC Paris School of Management

Location: Paris, France

QS score: 88.9

HEC offers a wide range of business courses and was ranked the best in the world in the QS Business Masters Ranking in 2020. The school is led by recognized professors and continues to attract highly talented, innovative and ambitious individuals every year.

Students are encouraged to develop bold and creative mindsets that will stand them in good stead when they enter the world of work. With a blend of academic immersion and cultural diversity, the school has been praised for its unique variety of programs, its pioneering research, and its outstanding student body.

9. University of Oxford

Location: Oxford, United Kingdom

QS score: 89.9

The University of Oxford is a globally-renowned educational establishment, and its business school, the Saïd Business School, is no different.

It offers MBAs with a distinct focus on individual and collaborative research; amongst these is the 1+1 MBA, where you can opt to finish a master’s degree in your selected discipline before joining an MBA for your second year.

The school has also teamed up with Fortune 500 Company and global investment banking leader, Goldman Sachs, to offer the 10,000 Small Businesses program.

8. University of Cambridge

University of Cambridge

Location: Cambridge, United Kingdom

QS score: 90.2

As a prominent, high-achieving institution, the University of Cambridge excels in multiple fields and disciplines, including business. Centered at the heart of the collegiate campus, the Cambridge Judge Business School offers a refined educational experience to its students.

Its one-year MBA program, for example, is a broad management degree focused on developing a deep understanding of business functions, interpersonal skills and leadership abilities. The curriculum is split into four phases which offer students the opportunity to consolidate their knowledge and progress smoothly from their degree to their business career.

7. Bocconi University

Location: Milan, Italy

QS score: 90.6

Located in the beautiful city of Milan, Bocconi University is an internationally acclaimed research institution. The university offers a variety of courses focused around business, management and finance, and students have a fair selection of bachelor’s science programs to choose from.

Bocconi also offers specialized master programs as well as a PhD course in business administration and management.

Upon entering the job market, students are given great support through the university’s strong connections, ensuring that its graduates can kick-start their careers successfully.

6. University of Pennsylvania

Location: Philadelphia, United States

QS score: 90.7

Instituted by one of the United States’ founding fathers, Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania is devoted to research and educational development. Business undergraduates studying at the Wharton School have an exceptional opportunity to learn from leading academics in the field.

The available undergraduate programs address crucial financial concepts, discuss organizational management, and focus on efficient problem-solving tactics. With your first year of studies focusing on core subjects, you’re gradually given the opportunity to design your curriculum and develop in selected areas.

5. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Location: Cambridge, United States

QS score: 91.9

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s mission revolves around the development of scientific knowledge and technological advancement. In true MIT fashion, its undergraduate management program takes a scientific approach towards business.

The program, taught at the Sloan School of Management, introduces its undergraduate students to varying business perspectives via three available majors and minors in management, business analytics or finance. Another critical aspect of this program is its flexibility, as you can specialize in a specific area of study or follow a cross-discipline path.

4. Stanford University

Stanford University

Location: Stanford, United States

QS score: 92.1

As one of the world’s top colleges, Stanford University emphasizes the importance of a liberal arts education. This also applies to its MBA program at the Stanford Business School, as the core curriculum fuses principles of social sciences.

Management functions are coupled with analytical skills development and creative thinking to encourage innovative approaches to leadership. Global experience is also integrated into every program, and you also have the option of completing a joint degree.

3. London Business School

Location: London, United Kingdom

QS score: 93

Located at the heart of the world’s financial district, the London Business School is a global institution that offers elite educational opportunities. The school prides itself with the highest rate of employable graduates and a diverse student community, with over 100 nationalities represented on campus.

Their MBA program includes core topics such as management science and operations, marketing, and organizational behavior. Traveling is also integrated into every degree, and students are encouraged to exchange knowledge with their peers across the globe.


Location: Fontainebleau, France

QS score: 93.8

INSEAD is an excellent institution that offers a globally-renowned Executive MBA that specializes in producing entrepreneurs. Studying at INSEAD will give you the foundations needed to excel in a senior leadership role. Thanks to the school’s innovative learning methods, students will develop a variety of leadership styles.

Their teaching methods also use the latest technologies, while students are encouraged to develop a close rapport with their instructors. The school has a multicultural student body, and students will benefit from access to a diverse global alumni network.

1. Harvard University

Harvard University

Location: Cambridge, United States

QS score: 96.5

Harvard University is synonymous with academic excellence. With a global reputation that precedes itself, the Harvard Business School offers a two-year MBA program with a strong focus on general management and real-world experience.

The program includes case method courses and field projects within its experience-based curriculum. There is also a strong focus on developing leadership and collaborative skills through small team projects and activities. During your second year, you’re free to customize your degree to your electives.

Final thoughts

As an aspiring entrepreneur, you have a wide selection of business schools to choose from. But whichever one you choose to apply to, make sure you pick the one that matches your ambitions.

Although ranking can be a critical element in any application process, it certainly shouldn’t be a determining factor. The right university will offer you a truly diverse set of skills and knowledge that will certainly come in useful in any career path you choose to follow.

What do you make of this list of the best business schools in the world? Are there any other universities you’re surprised didn’t make the cut? Let us know in the comments section below!

Originally published on August 16, 2019. Updated by Mike Dalley.