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A Global MBA Picture

In a recent survey, over 3,300 MBA employers around the globe shared their rankings for the world’s top business school.

The results contained a little bit of the expected—traditional powers like Harvard Business School were near the top—and a little bit of the less expected—India’s top business schools were ranked as the most academically qualified, despite finishing below European and North American schools in other categories like employability and salaries.

Taken as a whole, the report indicates several important trends for MBA education as the industry grows in an increasingly globalized age. Let’s take a deeper look.

The survey results indicate a trend that we have long been watching: the globalization of the elite MBA.

Like most other things in the business world, the globe seems significantly smaller for today’s MBA applicants.

The top three MBA programs indicated in the survey are from three different countries: London Business School in the United Kingdom, Harvard Business School in the United States, and INSEAD in France (notably, with additional campuses in Singapore and Abu Dhabi).

Such tough international competition has contributed, along with other factors, to the much-discussed application decline that some top U.S. B-schools are reporting.

While most American MBA programs are two-years in duration, many international programs can be completed in one year, an option that has attracted many American students and has caught the eye of many U.S. schools.

Look for even more international competition going forward, as more students explore international MBA options and choose to pursue their education abroad.

While indicating trending globalization, the three top schools listed in the survey—London Business School, HBS, and INSEAD—also indicate a gap that could be a key future market for MBA programs.

Only three schools from Asia were ranked in the most elite category- INSEAD Singapore; Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad; and the National University of Singapore Business School.

No B-schools from Africa, the Middle East, or Latin America made that elite list.

This by no means indicates a lack of qualified applicants; rather, it indicates that those applicants are seeking out programs in other countries and continents.

In the coming decades, look for B-schools in those regions, and satellite campuses from other regions, to strive to fill the current need and build up more elite MBA programs in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

MBA programs, and the employers that hire them, offer more globalized opportunities than ever before.

As students and as employees, today’s MBA applicants will move in a world that looks around the globe nearly as often as it looks down the street, and MBA education will continue to adapt to and drive that reality.

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