Best of British: The top 5 UK business schools

The UK boasts some of the most admired business schools in the world. We’ve taken a closer look at the top 5 (according to the FT Global MBA Ranking 2015) to help you pick the right MBA course for your student loan, lifestyle and aspirations.

1. London Business School

Ranked third in the world by the Financial Times, LBS is the most recognised business school outside of the US. It’s no surprise then the School cultivates an international crowd, with 92% of the Class of 2017 from outside of the UK and representing a whopping 68 nationalities. David Simpson, LBS’ admissions director, says, “Cultural and professional diversity are the elements our students really value; they get to meet and build connections with individuals from all over the world.”

London Business School - Top 5 UK business schools for MBAs

While this first-class MBA doesn’t come cheap - fees are currently set at £70,800 - students report the highest earnings of the UK schools with an average salary of £155,904 three years after graduating, and a salary increase of 97%. Thanks to its worldwide reputation and exceptional alumni network, you’re likely to be snapped up by employers, too: 93% of LBS students found a job within three months of graduating.

The institution still lags behind when it comes to female enrolment (63% of students are male), but the School does fund a female-only scholarship called the 30% Club.

2. Cambridge Judge Business School

Riding on the reputation of one the world’s oldest and most prestigious universities, Judge actually only opened its doors officially in 1995. Located just a half-hour train ride from London, it boasts good links to the UK’s financial centre, but it’s the local vicinity that has the most to offer. You’ll be studying within the burgeoning tech hub known as Silicon Fen or the Cambridge Cluster, which is home to high-tech start-ups and is one of the most important tech hubs in Europe. For budding entrepreneurs and those seeking opportunities in electronics and biotechnology, Judge’s links can prove invaluable.

Cambridge Judge Business School - Top 5 UK business schools for MBAs

Vital statistics include an average salary of £110,810 three years after graduating, with an increase in salary of 93%. Judge students also enjoyed the highest international mobility of the UK schools last year, with 52% heading abroad to work. Fees for a Judge MBA are currently set at £63,960.

3. Saïd Business School, University of Oxford

Another school with a reputation to match its parent university, Saïd offers a larger MBA than Cambridge (340 vs 152) and in a larger, buzzier town. With an impressive alumni network of around 2400 high-flyers, this is a great school to make influential connections. Students boast an average salary of £102,051 three years after graduating, with an average salary increase of 86%.

Said Business School - Top 5 UK business schools for MBAs

Saïd students find jobs easily (89% within three months of graduating) and 11% went on to hold President/MD/CEO job titles within three years. Saïd also ranks high for global diversity and international mobility, with 95% students from outside UK and 48% heading abroad to work. The cost of this MBA is also significantly less than Judge: a full-time MBA will set you back £50,200.

4. Imperial College Business School

Imperial College Business School has a broader approach to its curriculum. In their own words, “Unlike other business schools, our pioneering research and expertise does not stop with business. Our intersection with Imperial College’s outstanding faculties of engineering, medicine and natural sciences offers you a unique, multi-disciplinary experience.” So if your interests lie outside of finance, banking and consultancy, this could be the school for you.

Imperial College Business School - Top 5 UK business schools for MBAs

ICBS is also flying the flag for gender equality, with female students making up 49%. The average salary reported after three years is £80,779, with an increase of 88%. The School is ranked highly for networking and a considerable number of students (12%) went on to hold President/MD/CEO job titles within three years of completing the course. More good news: the cost of this MBA is a reasonable £45,000.

5. Alliance Manchester Business School

Established in 1965, it was one of the first two business schools in the UK and enjoys a global reputation. The School received a £15m donation from Lord Alliance of Manchester last year and has big plans for its research and facilities.

Alliance Manchester Business School - Top 5 UK business schools for MBAs

Alliance MBS has a great track record for boosting your earning power: students reported an average salary of £88,099 three years after graduating and an increase in salary of 92%. Its location makes finding jobs a little trickier for Manchester graduates than their London-based rivals (66% within 3 months). However, the cost of living is much cheaper and its MBA has the lowest fees (£41,000). You’ll also enjoy the community feel of the largest campus-based business and management school in the UK.

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