Forbes’ MBA-Ranking: International programmes are picking up

Analysing data for its biennial ranking of business schools, US-magazine Forbes has found a significant increase in applications in international programmes outside of the US. IMD and London Business School topped the rankings for best international MBA programmes.


According to Forbes’ biennial ranking of business schools Switzerland’s IMD and the London Business School topped the rankings of the best international MBA programmes for one-year and two-year programmes respectively. But analysing data supplied by global business schools also delivered further information about trends and developments.

With shorter, more flexible, and inexpensive options being on offer outside of the U.S. in the past ten years, Forbes detected that international programmes (meaning those based outside the U.S.) saw an average five per cent increase in applicants and average 16 per cent growth in enrolments over the last ten years. The magazine compared this to the U.S. programmes and found that these had experienced a 16 per cent decrease in applicants and lost eleven per cent in enrolments over the same period.

Another interesting finding was the return on investment for most students. According to Forbes graduates from the best one-year international programmes produced an average “5-year MBA gain” of $ 91,300. Those from international two-year business schools had an average 5-year gain of $ 62,300, while graduates of U.S. programmes had a five-year gain of $ 54,500.

This means that graduates of one-year international programmes earned back their investment (tuition and two years of lost salary) in 3.1 years on average, while those from two-year international programmes had to spend 3.8 years. Graduates of U.S. programmes took approximately four years to pay back their investment.

Switzerland-based IMD topped the Forbes ranking before Insead, the largest MBA programme in the world with more than 1,000 enrolled students, for the one-year programme. The best two-year international programme turned out to be London Business School followed by HEC Paris.