The Best Business Programs in the World Today

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The rise of both powerful computing and mobile digital technology has transformed the business and economics world.

From focusing on production to mastering data analytics, mobile technology, and non-traditional company structures, innovative companies like Uber and Airbnb have changed the service industry landscape with their workforce of private-contractors.

Increasingly, both businesspeople and economists must focus not on goods and services, but on information and technological applications.

In a world where the business stakes keep rising, people need a first-class business or economics education, such as an MBA degree or bachelor's in business administration. This list of schools is made up of the most forward-thinking and reputable business and economics institutions in the world.

Top 10 Business Programs in the World

  1. Harvard University
  2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
  3. Stanford University
  4. London School of Economics
  5. University of California – Berkeley
  6. University of Oxford
  7. University of Pennsylvania
  8. University of Cambridge
  9. University of Chicago
  10. Columbia University

Learn more about the top business schools in the world.

Top 25 Business Schools Worldwide

1. Harvard University

As an institution that has been serving students since 1636, Harvard has had ample time and resources to put toward its business and economics research and education programs. Beyond the prestige of the name, Harvard has established a vast network of faculty members and alumni around the world that includes over 300,000 alumni in more than 200 countries. The HarvardX initiative, produced to enhance online and distance learning education, reaches over 1,000,000 students from 195 countries worldwide.

In addition to offering some of the best business programs in the world, Harvard Business School boasts its own unique history and outreach efforts. The first MBA program in the world was started at Harvard in 1908. Global research centers affiliated with the school have been established in Japan, Europe, India, and other countries. Harvard’s 268 faculty members, there have been 18 books written, 193 research articles published, and 617 educational materials produced.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

From research on alternative energy sources to cancer therapies, MIT enjoys solving challenging problems that have global impacts. Some research achievements include the first wind tunnel, design of the TX-0 computer, and the contribution of a key role in the Human Genome Project. Founded in 1861, MIT now plays host to over 1,000 professors and more than 11,000 total students. The school’s vast alumni network spans over 90 countries and includes over 120,000 members.

With one of the leading business schools in the world, the MIT Sloan School of Management continues in the tradition of academic excellence of the school at large. MIT Sloan boasts 14 Action Learning Laboratories that focus on entrepreneurship, sustainability, and global health. Over 1,300 students, including undergraduates and business executives, participate in 10 academic programs. Classes are taught by approximately 200 experienced professors and lecturers. MIT Sloan alumni have founded over 650 companies, including:

  • E*Trade
  • Gartner
  • Genentech
  • HubSpot
  • InVivo Therapeutics
  • Teradyne
  • Zipcar

3. Stanford University

Stanford has taken a leadership role in education and research since the school’s opening in 1891. Located in the heart of California’s Silicon Valley, this diverse and intellectually dynamic university serves 7,000 undergraduate students and 9,000 graduate students. There are over 2,000 qualified faculty members dedicated to the proliferation of knowledge and preparing students for leadership roles. Twenty-one members of the school’s staff have received the Nobel Prize.

Founded in 1925, the Stanford Graduate School of Business employs 126 highly motivated faculty members. With some of the best business programs available today, the business school’s offerings include an MBA, an accelerated master of science in management, and a Ph.D. Students can also choose to participate in Executive Education programs or two global certificate programs. Students are exposed to diverse topics and cutting-edge business strategies that prepare them to face any challenges in their professional careers. Stanford’s extensive alumni network includes former students from over 50 countries.

4. London School of Economics

Though a relatively small specialty school, the London School of Economics (LSE) is extremely diverse and inclusive. LSE’s student population of 9,500 full-time students represents 140 countries and over 100 different languages. Their global approach carries over into its alumni, who are found in over 190 countries. 46% of LSE’s 3,000 faculty members are from outside the U.K. Sixteen Nobel Prize winners have been associated with the school.

LSE’s academic departments are organized into 24 areas of education and 20 centers for research, with much of the focus given to the areas of economics, management, finance, and the social sciences. Undergraduate programs include a bachelor of science, a bachelor of arts, and a bachelor of laws. The graduate degree programs include a master of science, a master of arts, a master of public administration, and a master of laws.

5. University of California – Berkeley

Founded by academic pioneers in 1868, Berkeley has always been progressive and aggressive in its academic training and research initiatives. Most research is cross-disciplinary and focuses on the global issues of the day. The success of Berkeley can be seen in the 1,600 full-time faculty members, seven of whom have won a Nobel Prize and four of whom have won a Pulitzer Prize. The students and alumni are equally successful and known for completing more Ph.D.’s than any other school in America.

Berkeley’s Haas School of Business is the second-oldest business school in the country. Six degree programs are offered to over 2,200 students who come from around the globe. The programs and research are organized into three institutes: the Institute for Business Innovation, the Institute for Business and Social Impact, and the Energy Institute. The business school has an alumni network with approximately 40,000 members all over the world.

6. University of Oxford

Established in the twelfth century before the Magna Carta and the Aztec Empire, Oxford has had an unquestionable global and historical impact. Innumerable world leaders, brilliant thinkers, and reformers have attended Oxford. Today’s students can visit the same locations where great minds like Sir William Jones, Percy Bysshe Shelley, G.H. Hardy, and Stephen Hawking once roamed. The school’s reputation for excellence endures today; Oxford has been ranked top in the U.K. for quality of research and continues to produce more world-leading academics than any other U.K. university.

The Saïd Business School is a modern program set within an 800-year-old university that has been providing intellectual leadership through high-quality education since 1996. The department offers many challenging degree tracks including:

  • MBA Programs
  • A Master of Science in Law or Finance
  • A Master of Science in Major Program Management
  • Executive MBA Programs

Oxford also offers diplomas in:

  • Financial Strategy
  • Global Business
  • Organizational Leadership
  • Strategy and Innovation

7. University of Pennsylvania

Following in the global perspective, creativity, and entrepreneurial spirit of its founder, Benjamin Franklin, the University of Pennsylvania prides itself on the diversity and intellectual rigor of its staff and students. The international outreach of the school places it first among the Ivy League institutions for the number of students studying abroad. Of the 290,000 living alumni, 23,000 live outside the U.S., which further establishes Penn’s global network and influence.

As the world’s first collegiate business school, the university’s Wharton School delivers some of the best business programs on the planet and keeps pace with current issues with one of the largest and most-published business school faculties. Founded in 1881, Wharton now includes 10 academic departments:

  • Accounting
  • Business Economics and Public Policy
  • Finance
  • Healthcare Management
  • Legal Studies and Business Ethics
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • Operations, Information, and Decisions
  • Real Estate
  • Statistics

In addition, the school boasts 20 research centers and initiatives and 94,000 alumni in 153 countries.

8. University of Cambridge

Founded in 1318, the University of Cambridge has had more historical impact than just about any other school on the planet. Though its walls have seen nearly 700 years of history, the school’s modern teaching facilities, cutting-edge research, and public engagement keep it at the forefront of today’s leading institutions. With over 18,000 students, 9,000 staff members, 31 colleges, and 150 departments, the educational opportunities at Cambridge are nearly endless.

The Judge Business School recently celebrated its 25th anniversary. A few key highlights of the Judge Business School include:

  • A Reputation of Academic Rigor
  • A Focus On the Role of Women in Business
  • The Development of Over 1,600 Firms
  • The Support of Gender Diversity

Academic programs offered include:

  • A Ph.D.
  • An MBA, a Master of Finance
  • An Executive MBA
  • Executive Education Programs
  • Professional Practice Programs
  • Research Master’s Programs

9. University of Chicago

The University of Chicago prides itself on encouraging its over 14,000 students to pursue original ideas with academic rigor. Founded in 1890, the university now hosts more than 150 institutes and centers and has over 2,000 full-time faculty, who include seven Nobel Prize winners. The school’s alumni network features 157,000 members from all over the world. The school has many global connections but does not neglect those closest to home. The University of Chicago also partners with local institutions to conduct research with real-world benefits and replicable outcomes for urban universities.

The University of Chicago Booth School of Business focuses on rigorous inquiry in addition to using a multiplicity of analytical and behavioral tools to help transformational ideas succeed. The network of 49,000 accomplished alumni can attest to the value of a Booth School of Business education. The Booth School recently announced the opening of an executive MBA program in Hong Kong.

10. Columbia University

Founded by royal charter of King George II of England in 1754, Columbia University is one of the few schools established before the American Revolution. As a premier research institute, the university has many notable achievements, including the establishment of the first American medical school in 1767 and its annual distribution of the Pulitzer Prize. With such an extensive history, the school has a powerful alumni network that includes nine Supreme Court justices and three United States presidents.

Conducted in one of the business capitals of the world, Columbia’s Columbia Business School completes research that has a true global impact. Founded in 1916, Columbia’s ever-evolving curriculum trends with cutting-edge material that has produced 13 winners of the Nobel Memorial Prize in economics. Its global network of over 40,000 alumni is evidence of Columbia’s successful and innovative traditions.

11. Northwestern University

Northwestern University enjoys academic success and achievements consistent with a $11 billion endowment; Northwestern spends $550 million on research each year. Since 1851, the school has grown from its 25-acre campus in a Chicago suburb to a globally-minded institution with over 100 international opportunities and study abroad programs.

The university is organized into 12 schools and colleges that include the Kellogg School of Management, which has been ranked sixth in the world for business by U.S. News & World Report. The Kellogg School’s offerings rank among the best business programs available and include:

  • A Doctoral Program
  • A Full-time MBA
  • A Part-time MBA
  • An MS in Management Studies
  • An Executive MBA
  • Certificate Programs for Undergraduates
  • Executive Education

The Kellogg School runs one of the largest business program networks, featuring 37 exchange programs across 20 countries.

12. Yale University

Yale, one of the premier Ivy League institutions, boasts a history that dates to the 1640s and it has made significant historical and global impact in the academic world. The global influences of Yale’s students and faculty can be seen in Africa, eastern Asia, Europe, Latin America, North America, and the Caribbean. The majority of international study and networking is organized through the Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.

Delivering some of the best business programs available, the Yale School of Management was established with the intent of educating leaders in business and society. The Yale School of Management offers programs such as:

  • A Full-time MBA
  • A Master’s in Advanced Management
  • An MBA for Executives
  • Doctorates
  • Executive Education
  • The School’s Global Pre-MBA Leadership Program

There are seven centers for research and critical questioning, including:

  • The Center for Business and the Environment
  • The International Center for Finance
  • The Yale Center Beijing

13. Bocconi University

Established in 1902, Bocconi University was the first college in Italy to grant an economics degree and to focus its teaching and research on economics, business, and law. Bocconi University offers students an elite education and access to major companies and international agencies. Undergraduates study at a school that emphasizes simulations, group projects, and case history analysis.

The school oversees a catalog that includes three-year BS degrees in:

  • Economics and Social Sciences
  • Economics, Management, and Computer Science
  • International Economics and Management

The four-year world bachelor in business offers a unique curriculum divided into study both at Bocconi University and at two partnering schools: the University of Southern California and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Bocconi University offers a comprehensive suite of two-year MS degrees, most taught in English. They include majors in management, economics and social sciences, and economics and management of innovation and technology. The school also offers several one-year specialized master’s, with two taught in English: (1) quantitative finance and risk management, and (2) green management, energy, and corporate social responsibility. As one of the best business schools in the world, Bocconi University presides over a Ph.D. school with majors such as economics and finance, and business administration and management.

14. University of California – Los Angeles

Optimism is the key at UCLA for students and professors alike, who often work side by side in both the classroom and the research laboratory. UCLA’s global impact portfolio includes nearly 3,000 inventions and over 140 companies. Among the faculty and alumni are 13 Nobel Prize winners, 12 MacArthur fellows, and 36 Academy Award winners. Famous alumni include actress Mayim Bialik and Guy Kawasaki, one of the original promoters of Macintosh computers.

UCLA’s Anderson School of Management prides itself on collaborative interdisciplinary research and includes the following degrees among its offerings:

  • A Master of Financial Engineering
  • An MBA
  • A Ph.D.
  • Global Executive MBAs

The academic areas and research groups cover:

  • Accounting
  • Decisions, Operations, and Technology Management
  • Finance
  • Global Economics and Management
  • Management and Organizations
  • Marketing
  • Strategy

15. New York University

Taking advantage of its unique environment, New York University embraces diversity in all aspects: its student body, culture, and creative thinking. Founded in 1831 by Albert Gallatin, former secretary of the US treasury, the university has always been globally minded; NYU was the first major research institution to establish the first comprehensive liberal arts campus abroad. Today, the school has expanded into Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America as well, with a total of 11 global academic centers and research programs in more than 25 countries. But NYU still retains its base of operations in Wall Street’s backyard.

The NYU Stern School of Business offers the following high-standards programs:

  • A BS
  • An MBA
  • An MS in Business Analytics
  • An MS in Global Finance
  • An MS in Risk Management
  • An Executive MBA
  • The Langone Part-time MBA for Working Professionals
  • The TRIUM Global Executive MBA
  • A Ph.D.

Of the 339 faculty members currently on staff, there are three Nobel Prize winners.

16. University of Michigan

As one of the first public universities in the nation, the University of Michigan has always endorsed progressive goals. The academic outreach of the school includes 17 centers and programs with global themes that cover over 65 languages. The Institute of International Education ranked UM sixth in the nation for international studies. The 18,000 international alumni are a testament to the school’s global mindedness.

UM’s Ross School of Business was established in 1924. The school currently offers the following degree programs:

  • An MBA
  • A Bachelor of Business Administration
  • A Minor in Business
  • A Doctorate Program
  • Master’s Programs in Accounting
  • Management
  • Supply Chain Management

Classes are taught by 151 experienced faculty members. Over 3,000 students enroll annually and can network with 45,000 alumni in over 88 countries.

17. Princeton University

As a world-class research institution and Ivy League school, Princeton boasts both a historic culture and traditions that span generations. Founded in 1746, the school has developed into one of the richest schools in the world, educating students with its endowment of more than $22 billion. Academic programs are organized into 36 departments that serve 5,200 undergraduate students and 2,600 graduate students. Over 1,100 experienced faculty members work for Princeton. The university is well-known for four main areas: engineering and applied science, humanities, natural sciences, and social sciences.

The Department of Economics at Princeton has global connections with over 30 countries worldwide through its diverse and talented student body. The department is also known for its strong connections to the Federal Reserve through former professor and former Chairman Ben Bernanke. With 13 centers and programs for research and further education, Princeton’s economics department encourages multidisciplinary networking for students in its best business programs. The department offers a full range of academic programs that include undergraduate and graduate degrees. Educational resources include:

  • The Economics Library
  • The Industrial Relations Library
  • The American Economics Association Directory

18. Duke University

With its small 8-1 student-teacher ratio, the academic environment at Duke University is relaxed and encouraging. However, this does not detract from the global outreach and cutting-edge research done by Duke, which boasts an endowment of $8.5 billion; Duke University invests $992.8 million in research annually. Its network of over 157,000 active alumni worldwide further contributes to the school’s high quality reputation as one of the best business schools.

Established in 1969, the Fuqua School of Business employs 91 tenured faculty members who deliver some of the best business programs available. In 2014, economics was the top undergraduate major at Duke University. Students who want to pursue an MBA can choose from options like daytime courses, a cross-continent program, a global executive track, and weekend executive courses. Dual-degree and Ph.D. programs are also offered. Areas of research include:

  • Decision Sciences
  • Finance
  • Health sector Management
  • Operations Management
  • Strategy

19. Cornell University

Centered around discovery and meaningful societal impact, Cornell University’s focus has always included the dissemination of knowledge into the world. Sixty-three percent of the school’s more than 21,000 students participate in research endeavors, and 35% gain international experience. Students are taught by 1,600 professors who are academic leaders in their fields. Between professors and alumni, 43 Nobel laureates have claimed association with Cornell.

At the Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, business and economic theory turns into real-world practical application. The school, which possesses some of the best business programs, is organized into six areas:

  • A Full-time MBA
  • An Executive MBA
  • The Cornell-Tsinghua MBA/finance MBA; Executive Education
  • The Johnson Cornell Tech MBA
  • Ph.D.

With 55 full-time faculty members, Cornell’s Johnson College of Business keeps class sizes small to foster a collaborative environment. Research centers include:

  • The Emerging Market Institute
  • The Entrepreneurship and Innovation Institute
  • The Parker Center for Investment Research

Over 13,600 Cornell alumni represent a large global network.

20. University of Toronto

Networking opportunities abound at the University of Toronto, which has had one of the strongest research and academic faculties in Canada since its establishment in 1827. The institution’s 13,000 faculty members are highly educated leaders in their fields who possess a passion for proliferating knowledge. The diverse student body includes 68,000 undergraduates, more than 10,000 of whom are international students as well as 16,000 graduates, nearly 3,000 of whom are international students. The alumni network includes 537,000 students worldwide.

Within Canada’s commercial capital, students can find the Rotman School of Management, the largest and most influential business school in the nation. The school takes full advantage of its urban location by developing and maintaining close industry relationships for student networking. The MBA programs offered are flexible, with a variety of options that include:

  • A Full-time Track
  • A Joint Program
  • Morning and Evening Classes
  • A One-year Executive Track
  • The Omnium Global Executive Program

Undergraduate, graduate, and doctoral degrees are also available. The University of Toronto hosts 17 business institutes and centers for research and further education.

21. University of Warwick

The University of Warwick is one of the top academic and research institutions in Northern Europe. Founded in 1965, the school has expanded to include 29 departments and 50 research centers and institutes within its four major faculties: arts, medicine, science, and social science. 5,000 dedicated faculty and staff members educate some 23,000 students according to the highest standards of business excellence.

Warwick Business School is one of the most elite business schools in the world. The Financial Times ranks its online MBA program as first in the U.K. and second internationally, while the school’s doctoral program ranks among Europe’s top three and its executive MBA ranks among the world’s top 20. Popular areas of research and study include:

  • Accounting
  • Behavioral Science
  • Enterprise
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Finance
  • Innovation
  • Marketing

22. London Business School

Located in a city that contains many of the world’s leading financial institutions, London Business School has 50 years of successful specialized educational experience at the graduate level. Its diverse faculty and student populations represent over 100 countries, and it has many international research relationships with institutions like Hong Kong University. Additionally, London Business School alumni continue to make a global impact and reside in over 130 nations.

Available academic degrees include master’s, MBA, executive education, and Ph.D. programs of study. Subject areas include:

  • Accounting
  • Economics
  • Finance
  • Management Science and Operations
  • Marketing
  • Organizational Behavior
  • Strategy and Entrepreneurship

There are six major research centers and institutes:

  • Deloitte Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • The AQR Asset Management Institute
  • The Aditya Birla India Centre
  • The Centre for Corporate Governance
  • The Coller Institute of Private Equity
  • The Leadership Institute

23. National University of Singapore

The National University of Singapore started out in 1905 as a modest medical school on a small island. Now featuring three campuses, 12 undergraduate schools, and four graduate schools, NUS has been able to educate and support approximately 28,000 undergraduates and 10,000 graduates annually. The student body represents over 100 countries. Approximately 5,700 faculty and research staff members are available to the students for support, and 26 research centers provide cutting-edge material for study and exploration.

Of the university’s 16 graduate and undergraduate schools, the NUS Business School has been one of the most adaptive and creative schools in the changing times. The school’s Faculty of Business Administration was opened in 1965 and is organized into six divisions:

  • Accounting
  • Decision Sciences
  • Finance
  • Management and Organization
  • Marketing
  • Strategy and Policy

Students in the best business programs learn from expert faculty and are encouraged to complete projects and internships.

24. University of Melbourne

In 1853, Australia’s Parliament set in motion the founding of Australia’s second-oldest academic institution, the University of Melbourne. The growth and development of the school led to the formation of 22 faculties and graduate schools that offer 11 undergraduate degrees and 270 graduate courses. Of its 47,000 students, there are 12,000 international students from 130 countries. Melbourne is the top research university in Australia, with $850 million Australian dollars ($587.8 million US) in annual research expenditures.

Melbourne Business School was founded in 1963 for graduate-level students. Degree programs include:

  • A Master of International Business
  • Doctoral Options
  • Six Master of Management Programs
  • Specialist Master’s and Diploma Studies
  • Various MBA Tracks

There are part-time and full-time options to help make scheduling more flexible for the working student. All classes are taught by experienced leaders in the field who pass on firsthand knowledge and encourage global perspectives.

25. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology

Since its founding in 1991, HKUST has made some impressive strides in research and academics. The school hosts more than 13,000 eager students and 660 passionate teachers. There are over 250 exchange programs available, including the Kellogg-HKUST EMBA Program, which has been ranked first in the world by the Financial Times for four consecutive years. The academic programs are organized into four main schools: science, engineering, business and management, and humanities and social sciences.

The School of Business and Management was accredited in 1999 and has quickly risen to a position of prominence. The school offers:

  • 12 Undergraduate Programs
  • Four MBA Modules
  • Two Executive MBA Programs
  • Eight Master’s Degrees
  • Seven Ph.D. Programs

With 140 international faculty members, all classes are taught from a global perspective and incorporate the faculty members’ personal experience. Faculty and students use HKUST’s twelve research centers as excellent learning resources.

Ranking Methodology

From the QS World University Rankings, we identified the 25 best programs in the latest University Rankings for Business and Economics.

Taking the QS ranking as our point of departure, we set their ranking against the ranking for business and economics programs produced by AcademicInfluence.com. Using machine learning and search algorithms to characterize academic influence on the web, AcademicInfluence.com avoids the human bias that infects most academic rankings.

The rankings uncovered by AcademicInfluence.com are based on the influential faculty and alum publications, citations, and references associated with a school, degree programs, departments, or discipline. This ranking by influence approach elevates a school or degree program based on which members of its academic community are objectively influential in a given discipline.

By weighing both the QS Programmatic World Rankings and Academic Influence’s rankings, we not only created a unique ranking of the top 50 business and economics programs, but we reveal why each university business and economics program appears where it does.

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