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5 Best Business Schools in the UK

According to official statistics from the British government, around 27% of all international students enrolled at UK universities study for a business or business-related degree. This is largely because UK business schools consistently feature prominently in university league tables compiled by the Financial Times, and QS Top Universities. What's more, the UK's commitment to innovation and fostering entrepreneurs means there are lots of opportunities for graduates. The diverse range of degrees means students can find a direct path toward their career goals. For example, the Durham University Business School runs an MSc in Islamic Finance, while students at Loughborough University School of Business can get postgraduate qualifications in Work Psychology and Studies in Social Innovation. However, with so many options available, where should you look at studying? Well, for those of you reaching for the very top of the business world, here are the five best business schools in the UK.

Jan 15, 2021
  • Education
5 Best Business Schools in the UK

Cambridge Judge Business School

Cambridge Judge Business School is part of the University of Cambridge, one of the world's oldest and most prestigious universities. Cambridge Judge was founded in 1991, thanks to a large donation from business magnate and Cambridge Trinity graduate Sir Paul Judge. Since then, Cambridge Judge has consistently ranked among the best business schools in the world. It's currently rated number four by Times Higher Education, and 16th in the Financial Times’ best business schools rankings. It's also considered the number one school for students looking for a one-year MBA program. In addition to its world-class MBA courses, Cambridge Judge offers PhDs in business, as well as master's degrees in finance and other related subjects.

The school also runs executive education programs to help practicing professionals learn new skills. These include short courses like Healthcare Leadership and the Cambridge Rising Women Leaders Programme. Alexandra Masierowska, a Strategic Sales Account Manager at Salesforce, says of the Women Leaders Programme, "It's helped me reframe how I will approach my mindset, certain situations, and my growth as a leader. It was a great group of ladies. I feel I've learned a lot from the course material and from my peers. An amazing program!"

City Business School

Formerly known as the Cass Business School, the City, University of London Business School is the second-best business school in London and the fifth-best in the UK. It also made it into the QS Global's best 10 UK business schools and the top 20 business schools in Europe.

The school is well known for its wide range of academic programs, including undergrad courses in business and management, MBA and MSc options, in addition to PhDs for students interested in a more academic career. Students can take advantage of the school's close links with business in London, a global economic center, its financial district the 'City' second only to Wall Street in terms of size and power. They can do this via placements and work experience internships. A full calendar of social and network events helps students build their networks, while staying updated with the latest business trends and innovations. Last year’s students attended a panel discussion on the blockchain industry and a conference on retail business in the new digital ecosystem.

Ahmet Muhtar Kent, the former CEO of the Coca-Cola company, earned his MBA from the London City Business school. So did EasyGroup founder, Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou. Syed Ali Raza, the sitting President and Chairman of the National Bank of Pakistan, is another illustrious graduate of City Business School. Ana Maria Olaru is one of the more recent graduates following in these famous footsteps. She says, "One of the things that made the program stand out was how it used outside examples about things working in the real world. That practical focus really benefited me. My first job after graduating was in management consulting."

London Business School

With its outstanding academic expertise and truly global outlook, London Business School (LBS) is a forward-thinking institution that aims to have a "profound impact on the way the world does business." Inclusion and diversity are the school's cornerstone values, and it's certainly living up to these ideals. The student body comprises over 107 nationalities, while 50% of current students identify as BAME (Black, Asian and minority ethnic). Also, more than 60% of senior management posts at LBS are held by women.

LBS runs several initiatives to help more women succeed in the business. There's the Laidlaw Women's Leadership Fund, which aims to attract talented women from less privileged economic backgrounds. Female students can apply for the Forte Foundation grant, which covers 50-100% of the MBA program fees. Professor Herminia Ibarra oversaw the school’s pioneering diversity research study. She says, "If you want to make a real change, we have to make sure women are getting access to the biggest jobs."

The school's notable alumni include Nisreen Shocair, CEO of TV shopping company Ellay. Before her current role, Nisreen held boardroom positions at Viacom and Sony Music. The LBS graduate won Female CEO of the Year in 2011, and Businesswoman of the Year by Women in Leadership. She's also made it onto the Forbes 100 Most Powerful Arab Women's list for the last four years.

Manchester Business School

Ranked 2nd in the UK, Manchester Business School is one of the business schools most targeted by employers, with its graduates often courted by big companies offering generous salary packages and exciting career prospects. Some of these companies have bases in several major business hubs, such as Dubai, Hong Kong, Shanghai, and São Paulo. So if you're interested in a jet-setting career, Manchester Business School is an excellent starting point.

Manchester Business School runs undergrad and postgrad programs, as well as top-ranking MBAs, in addition to skills-focused executive education courses. It was one of the first business schools to fully embrace online learning and blended courses, allowing more students to fulfill their business and entrepreneurial ambitions. Manchester Business School continued its commitment to innovation by introducing three new courses last year. Students can now study online executive education courses in fintech, digital transformation in healthcare, and the 21st-century’s sexiest career: data science.

Panos Constantinides, Professor of Digital Innovation at the school, says, "Today's business leaders need to adapt to change. These courses seek to map out and address new challenges and opportunities faced by different organizations in the digital age." Courses like this are just the beginning, making Manchester Business School an exciting place to study for ambitious innovators. "We are already planning to introduce many more courses that will help to equip leaders with the skills and knowledge to leverage digital capabilities within their own organizations," adds Professor Constantinides.

Saïd Business School

Named after Syrian-Saudi billionaire Wafic Saïd, Saïd Business School is part of the University of Oxford. As well as its more traditional business courses and MBAs, Saïd Business school is developing a new set of modules and courses with a stronger focus on future technology. It recently partnered with the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) to create artificial intelligence principles to help businesses integrate human-centric AI technology into their current operations.

Researchers and students will look at the best ways to promote creative, dependable, and ethical applications of AI technology. They will also consider several other important factors, including privacy, accountability, bias, and the impact of new technologies on social inequality. Andrew Stephen, Professor of Marketing, explains how this new focus will build business models that work for everyone. "We will increase the societal and economic benefits of AI while mitigating harm. Such policy environments must be flexible, human-centric, globally compatible, and market-driven," says Stephen.

Saïd graduate Hanson Tosh is already using his skills to create more opportunities for people in developing nations, according to Study International. After working as a Malaysian Country Consultant for Google, Tosh launched Axiata Digital, a digital asset platform that hopes to become a neo-bank in the next few years. If successful, Axiata Digital will give millions without a bank account access to life-changing financial services and products.

And the great news for prospective business school students is that these are just five of the excellent business schools in the UK.

Stock exchange in City of London.

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Ashley Murphy


After graduating with a degree in English literature and creative writing, Ashley worked as a bartender, insurance broker, and teacher. He became a full-time freelance writer in 2016. He lives and writes in Manchester, England.