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Choosing the right business school is a crucial decision for aspiring business leaders. To help with this process, many organisations publish annual business school rankings. But how much weight should you give these rankings, and how are they even determined?

How are Business School rankings determined?

Business school rankings are compiled by analysing various metrics, often with different weighting depending on the ranking body. Here are some common factors considered:

  • Work opportunities: How successful are graduates in  getting job opportunities? This often includes salary data and placement rates.
  • Entrepreneurship & Alumni Outcomes: Does the program foster a culture of innovation? How successful are alumni in their careers?
  • Return on Investment (ROI): This considers factors like tuition fees and average graduate salaries.
  • Thought Leadership: Does the school produce influential research and contribute to the advancement of business knowledge?
  • Diversity: Does the program have a strong international student body and faculty?

Top Business Schools for 2024

While rankings can be a helpful starting point, it’s important to consider your individual goals and priorities when selecting a program to study in. Here’s a glimpse at the top 10 business schools according to the QS World University Rankings: Global MBA 2024:

  1. Stanford Graduate School of Business (US)
  2. The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) (US)
  3. Harvard Business School (US)
  4. London Business School (UK)
  5. HEC Paris (France)
  6. MIT Sloan School of Management (US)
  7. Columbia Business School (US)
  8. IE Business School (Spain)
  9. INSEAD (Singapore)
  10. IESE Business School (University of Navarra) (Spain)

Remember: Rankings are just one piece of the puzzle.  Before making your decision, research individual programs, talk to alumni, and consider factors like program curriculum, location, and specialisations of courses offered.

Extracurricular & Cultural Experiences 

While rankings offer valuable insights, a fulfilling business school experience goes beyond academics. Let’s delve into some of the exciting extracurricular activities and non-academic experiences that set these top institutions apart:

1. Stanford Graduate School of Business (US):

  • Clubs: Net Impact Club (sustainability), or the Wine Club (networking with a twist).
  • Treks: Immerse yourself in global business firsthand with treks to Silicon Valley tech giants or emerging markets.
  • Knight-Lancet Startup Garage: Unleash your entrepreneurial spirit with this incubator program, offering mentorship and resources.

2. The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) (US):

  • Wharton Leadership Conference: Network and learn from industry titans at this prestigious annual event.
  • Wharton Social Impact Initiative: Address global challenges through volunteer projects and social ventures.
  • Wharton Treks: Embark on international trips to immerse yourself in diverse business cultures.

3. Harvard Business School (US):

  • HBS Healthcare Club: Connect with healthcare professionals and explore opportunities in this dynamic field.
  • The Harbus: Hone your writing and business acumen by contributing to HBS’s renowned student newspaper.
  • Global Immersion Programs: Participate in short-term international programs focused on specific industries or regions.

4. London Business School (UK):

  • The LBS Vantage Point: Engage in lively debates and discussions at this student-run forum.
  • LBS Charity Auction Gala: Combine philanthropy with a glamorous evening at this annual fundraising event.
  • Global Business Experience: Gain practical experience by working on consulting projects with international companies.

5. HEC Paris (France):

  • L’Oréal Brandstorm Competition: Put your marketing skills to the test in this prestigious global competition.
  • HEC Entrepreneurship Club: Build your startup network and learn from successful founders at HEC.
  • International Student Trips: Explore European business landscapes with fellow students from diverse backgrounds.

6. MIT Sloan School of Management (US):

  • MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference: Delve into the intersection of sports and data science at this industry-leading event.
  • Sloan Sustainability Initiative: Develop solutions for environmental challenges through student-led projects.
  • Global Entrepreneurship Lab: Collaborate with international peers to develop innovative business solutions.

7. Columbia Business School (US):

  • Value Investing Club: Learn from the masters of value investing with this student-run organization.
  • Social Enterprise Club: Combine your business acumen with a passion for social good through this impactful club.
  • Global Business Immersion Experiences: Gain firsthand experience in international markets like China or India.

8. IE Business School (Spain):

  • International Clubs: Expand your network and celebrate cultural diversity with student groups from around the world.
  • Venture Lab: Turn your business ideas into reality with mentorship and resources offered by the school’s incubator.
  • Global Immersion Weeks: Tackle real-world business challenges in locations like Madrid or Shanghai.

9. INSEAD (Singapore):

  • INSEAD Treks: Explore the intricacies of Asian and other global business landscapes through customized treks.
  • The Trader: Develop your financial journalism skills by contributing to this student-run online publication.
  • INSEAD Alumni Ventures Network: Connect with successful alumni entrepreneurs and gain valuable mentorship.

10. IESE Business School (University of Navarra) (Spain)

  • IESE Social Impact Initiative: Address global challenges through student-led initiatives and partnerships with NGOs.
  • International Wine Club: Combine cultural exploration with business networking at this unique club.
  • Barcelona Global Challenge: Compete with classmates to develop innovative solutions for real-world business problems.

Remember, this list is just a taste of the vibrant extracurricular offerings at these top schools. Explore the possibilities and find the program that best suits your academic and extracurricular aspirations.