Education and Skills

These are the world’s best business schools

Students and pedestrians walk through the Yard at Harvard University, after the school asked its students not to return to campus after Spring Break and said it would move to virtual instruction for graduate and undergraduate classes, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., March 10, 2020.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder - RC24HF9GWAX0

The world’s best business schools are in the United States and Europe, according to the latest performance analysis. Image: REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Victoria Masterson
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Education, Gender and Work

  • The 2021 global ranking of business and management schools by QS World University Rankings has been released.
  • North America, Europe, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Latin America and Africa and the Middle East are covered in the annual rankings.
  • Institutions are assessed on academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and the impact of a scholar’s published work.
  • Investment in education, skills and learning will be key to the world’s recovery from COVID-19, according to the Forum’s Future of Jobs report.

The world’s best business schools are in the United States and Europe, according to the latest performance analysis.

The QS World University Rankings, published by higher-education researcher Quacquarelli Symonds, compare institutions by region and subject.

More than 550 providers of business and management education feature in the 2021 Rankings by Subject. Here are some headlines.

Have you read?

Number 1

Harvard University in Massachusetts, US, is the highest-ranked business school in the world for the sixth year running.

It is a top scorer for employer reputation, with its business school graduates estimated to earn an average base salary of $150,000.

QS World University Rankings.
More than 550 business and management schools are ranked in the 2021 QS World University Rankings by Subject. Image: QS World University Rankings

North America

Another three US business schools – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Stanford University and University of Pennsylvania – make the top 10.

The US has 105 universities featured in the subject rankings for business.

Canada also has 18 business schools in the list, including two in the top 50 – the University of Toronto (joint 38th) and University of British Columbia (joint 45th).


Europe has the most business schools in the rankings – 216 – including six in the top 10.

INSEAD in Fontainebleau, France, is the top business school in continental Europe for the third year in a row. It is in second place globally and is one of 13 French institutions in the 2021 list.

London Business School ranks third globally and is one of 62 UK business schools in the rankings, including four in the top 10.

Italy’s Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi is the world’s seventh-best institution for business.

The rankings also include five Danish universities and 11 universities in the Netherlands.

INSEAD’s Fontainebleau campus in France.
INSEAD’s Fontainebleau campus in France. Image: INSEAD


In Asia, 110 business schools are represented in the rankings, including 11 in the top 50 globally.

The National University of Singapore (NUS) is Asia’s highest-ranked school, at 12th place in the world table.

There are 21 institutions in the rankings from China, seven from Hong Kong SAR, two schools in South Korea and two in India.

Australia and New Zealand

The University of Melbourne is Australia’s top business school, ranked 26th globally.

In total, there are 23 Australian business schools and seven from New Zealand in the 2021 rankings.

Latin America

Twenty-nine business schools in Latin America feature in the rankings, led by Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, in 51st place.

It is one of six Chilean universities in the list. There are 11 business schools from Colombia – the most from Latin America – six from Brazil, two from Argentina and a new entry from Costa Rica.

Africa and the Middle East

Six African universities feature in the business school rankings – three in Egypt and three in South Africa.

The American University in Cairo is the continent’s highest-ranked university.

There are 15 Middle Eastern schools included, led by the American University of Beirut (AUB) in Lebanon.

Four components are used to rank universities in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021. These are academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and “H-index”, which is a way of measuring both the productivity and impact of the published work of a scientist or scholar.

Not everyone will get the chance to study at the top institutions in the list, of course. But wherever they take place, education and learning will continue to be key drivers of economic success as new technologies and changing markets usher in the future of work.

The World Economic Forum’s Future of Jobs report predicts that, in the fightback from the pandemic, the most competitive businesses will be those who successfully reskill and upskill current employees.

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