The 10 Best MBA Programmes in the World

Are you considering pursuing an MBA? Take a look at the highest-rated MBA programmes in the world.

Reviewed by Melina Theodorou

Best MBA Programmes in the World

A quick Google search will yield dozens of options for the best MBA programs and courses that could supercharge your CV to impressive heights or help you make a successful transition into a new career.

Typically lasting between one and two years, an MBA is a highly prestigious and beneficial qualification aimed at experienced business professionals and is designed to prepare them for more senior positions – usually within management.

But with thousands of schools across the world offering the course, it can be difficult to choose the best one. Therefore, to ensure you are equipped with the right knowledge and resources, we have compiled a list of the ten best MBA programmes, using data from the annual QS World University Rankings.

10. Haas School of Business

Duration: 21 months

Intakes: 331

Acceptance rate: 23%

Programme fee: $64,246

Nestled in UC Berkley’s campus, the Haas School of Business offers one of the best MBA programmes in the world.

Spread out across four semesters, students undertake courses such as Microeconomics, Strategic Leadership and Ethics and have the freedom to shape their studies through a wide range of electives including Real Estate Development and International Finance.

You will also have the option to partake in an exchange programme during your third semester as well as join Applied Innovation courses that allow students put theory into practise and address real-world problems.  

9. IE Business School

Duration: 12 months

Intakes: 395

Acceptance rate: 41%

Programme fee: $72,200

The IE business school’s full-time, one-year MBA programme has an acceptance rate of 41% and is relatively easy to enter.  

On average, about 2,000 people apply each year, and most of the candidates are from Europe and Asia.

The IE Business school offers several other programmes, including a master’s programme in Management and Finance, Executive Education, Executive MBA, and PhDs.

8. Columbia Business School

Duration: 20 months

Intakes: 1,215

Acceptance rate: 18%

Programme fee: $77,376

Columbia Business School at Columbia University is renowned for its MBA programme. It has been this way for many years, thanks to its excellent reputation and the plenty of options associated with its teachings in finance and business. These include:

  • Accounting
  • Leadership
  • Finance
  • Economics
  • Management
  • International business
  • Statistical analysis

Students have the option to enrol in Columbia University’s full-time, two-year MBA programme either in January or August. It is estimated that about 6,500 people apply for the roughly 1,200 spots.

7. London Business School

Duration: 15-21 months

Intakes: 500

Acceptance rate: 34%

Programme fee: £97,500 ($133,794)

Are you interested in a full-time two-year programme? The London Business School, which is considered one of the finest business schools in the world today, might have what you are looking for.

The academic facility keeps seeing the number of applications rise each year, perhaps because its MBA programme places a heavy emphasis on international perspective and cultural diversity. The coursework is intense, and one must remain dedicated to graduate.

All applicants need to have at least two years of work experience and must have the ability to work in a multicultural environment.


Duration: 10 months

Intakes: 1,000

Acceptance rate: 31%

Programme fee: €91,225 ($104,434)

INSEAD’s MBA programme can be completed within ten months. However, the competition is fierce as it receives roughly 6,000 applications from candidates worldwide, of which only one in three are approved. Applicants do not seem to be apprehensive about one of the most expensive MBA programmes in the world.

In addition to the full-time MBA, INSEAD also offers a Master’s in Finance, an Executive MBA and MSc/PhD in Management as well as several other executive programmes.

The school maintains four campuses, with locations in Paris, San Francisco, Abu Dhabi, and Singapore.

5. HEC Paris

Duration: 16 months

Intakes: 300

Acceptance rate: 4.5%

Programme fee: $78,000

HEC offers one of the most sought-after MBAs by new graduates and established businesspeople. It is one of the hardest programmes to enter as the acceptance rate is one of the lowest in the world, and 93% of candidates accepted come from outside France, with over 60 nationalities joining the programme each year.

Applicants can enrol in September or January, and most come from solid business backgrounds.

4. Harvard Business School

Duration: 21 months

Intakes: 1,000

Acceptance rate: 9%

Programme fee: $73,440

How do you know someone attended Harvard? They will tell you. This is a common joke as of late. That said, you cannot fault someone for being proud of being accepted into the prestigious Harvard Business School.

About one in 10 candidates are accepted into its full-time, two-year MBA programme, with thousands of individuals worldwide applying for a spot. If you also wish to apply, you’ll need at least one to two years of experience at the time of applying.

Research is highly encouraged at the Harvard Business School and the school has produced hundreds of Fortune 500 CEOs and governmental leaders, and successful entrepreneurs. Plus, nearly 71% of the candidates already have a full-time job offer at graduation.

3. Sloan School of Management

Duration: 24 months

Intakes: 350

Acceptance rate: 14.6%

Programme fee: $78,954

The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is more than an institution that excels in physics, chemistry, and computer engineering.

Indeed, their MBA at the Sloan School of Management is considered one of the top programmes in the world. Be warned, though: The school is quite selective with who it accepts. Still, if you land a spot at MIT, a job is almost guaranteed with an MBA from Sloan in a top corporation. It is estimated that almost 96% of graduates already have a job offer when they complete the programme.

2. The Wharton School

Duration: 21 months

Intakes: 856

Acceptance rate: 9%

Programme fee: $162,960

The Wharton School at UPenn is one of the most prestigious universities in both the US and the rest of the world. The school emphasises this fact, noting that their MBA is something that can help you start a business or work at the highest level at some of the biggest companies in the world today.

Suffice it to say, the programme is intense as it covers every aspect of business and finance. The majority of applicants need to have at least five years of working experience to be accepted, hence the low acceptance rate.

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business

Duration: 21 months

Intakes: 436

Acceptance rate: 6%

Programme fee: $149,400

And then there was one: the Stanford Graduate School of Business. A highly reputable place for higher education with an excellent MBA programme. Despite its immense cost, thousands apply to attend the university every year, but the acceptance rate is in the single digits.

Students have access to all specialist schools on the campus, and this collaborative, cross-disciplinary culture sees many choose to pursue a joint or dual degree. There is also an international focus, with global study trips and internships offered; this reflects the diverse, multinational makeup of both the faculty and the student body.

Final thoughts

Be it the Stanford Graduate School of Business or the London Business School, you should remember that MBAs are not intended as entry-level qualifications, and you should have around three years’ significant experience before undertaking a General MBA. You should also realistically possess a graduate degree due to the fierce competition for places, although some schools will waive this requirement if you can demonstrate exceptional professional performance.

One thing is certain - by attending any of these schools, you can greatly increase your chances of finding employment opportunities.

Are you currently considering pursuing an MBA? What are your top school choices? Let us know in the comments section below.


This article is an updated version of an earlier article originally published on 17 May 2019.