For years ARINGO’s clients have kept the US M7 schools (Harvard, Stanford, Wharton, Kellogg, Booth, Columbia and MIT) at the top of their school list; however, recently, we’ve seen an uptick in clients moving the London Business School (LBS) and INSEAD up higher on this list.  It seems the Ivy’s may need to move over as this UK/EU duo become more highly sought after.  So, what is the difference between the top US programs and international business schools?

US universities are famous in all subject matters, not just business, boasting campus enrollment numbers in the tens of thousands. Harvard alone offers over 3700 courses. US MBA programs are typically 2 years long and the cohort comprises 60%-70% domestic students.

On the other hand, European and UK universities teach mainly Business studies, and nothing else, with 90% of international students in the class. The programs are usually 1-1.5 years long, thus, the return on investment is higher and quicker than in most US programs. ((Check out ARINGO’s MBA Return On Investment Calculator.))

INSEAD for example is ranked no. 1 in FT Global MBA Ranking 2021. INSEAD MBA is a 10-month long program with two intakes – January and September. The school has two campuses for its full-time studies: Fontainebleau and Singapore. Most of the students learn on both the campuses and the school is a global brand. While the course does not have any specialization, it has a large number of electives. Students from 80+ nationalities make the class truly diverse. The class size is ~1000 students with average GMAT of 711. Post-MBA, the majority of students get into management consulting, followed by the corporate sector, technology, and financial services. The average salary (3-year post-graduation) is 182,606 USD. The well-connected alumni base of 107k settled throughout the world (France, UK, US, Singapore, etc.) are working in almost all top companies (McKinsey, Microsoft, P&G, Amazon, etc.).

London Business School (LBS) which is 2nd ranked in the FT Global MBA Ranking 2021 has only one intake of September and as the name suggests is based out of London. The students have an option to choose not only which electives they would like to study, but also the length of the program which varies between 15, 18, or 21 months. LBS offers a large number of electives and concentrations- change management, entrepreneurial management, finance, marketing, etc. The cohort comprises students from 66+ countries with 38% of female students. In class strength of 500 students, the average GMAT is 707. Consulting is the favorite industry choice post-MBA, followed by financial services and technology. The average salary is 171,518 USD. The unique differentiators of the program are location (London is the global hub of almost all top companies), small class size, flexible curriculum, and flexible length of the program. The school has joint projects with the industry like London Cap, GBE, etc. In recent years, LBS has increased emphasis on Entrepreneurship & Technology, as well.

You may be thinking to yourself that all of the above sounds great, but are there any drawbacks? The 1-1.5 year MBA is not for the weary, these schools are top-ranked because of their curriculum, making it an intense 10-21 months of study.  You have to opt for the longer term of study (1.5 years) to gain an internship (or two – possible at LBS). These two factors make LBS and INSEAD a great choice for those with a strong career trajectory or those with more years of work experience than the typical candidate.  Another factor to consider is where you want to work post-MBA, both schools will grow your network local to the university and expand with your cohort and program alumni.

Will you be adding LBS and INSEAD to your shortlist?

Watch this video: INSEAD MBA vs LBS MBA – Similarities, Differences, & Unique Characteristics