Top Business Schools in 2021

Top Business Schools in 2021

By H. Young

Updated March 4, 2021 Updated March 04

The recently released QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021 features 556 of the top higher education institutions to study business.

The QS Rankings by Subject are based on four indicators: academic reputation, employer reputation, research citations per paper and the H-index (a way of measuring the productivity and published work of a scientist or scholar). You can find more details about the methodology behind the subject rankings here.

Read on to learn more about the best business schools in each region. Alternatively, if you would like to explore the 501 schools in further detail, click here to view the full table.

Top 10 Business Schools in the World

Based on the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2021


Name of Institution



Harvard University

United States





London Business School

United Kingdom


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)

United States


Stanford University

United States


University of Pennsylvania

United States


Università Commerciale Luigi Bocconi



University of Cambridge

United Kingdom


HEC Paris



University of Oxford

United Kingdom

See the full ranking for business schools here >

Top business schools in the US and Canada

A large proportion of the world’s best business schools can be found in North America this year, with 105 in the US and 22 in Canada. In North America an impressive 16 universities place in the world top 50 for business.

Four of the US’ business schools are ranked amongst the top 10 worldwide. The best of these is Harvard University – retaining the title of the highest ranked business school in the world for a sixth consecutive year. Harvard Business School earns a perfect score for employer reputation. The school has a strong alumni network, and its business school graduates are estimated to earn a median base salary of US$150,000.

There are 18 Canadian business schools in the ranking, with two universities making it into the global top 50 – the University of Toronto (joint 38th) and the University of British Columbia (joint 45th). Both of these schools earn strong scores for the H-index indicator, reflecting the productivity and impact of the business school’s faculty.

Top business schools in Europe

Europe is the most well-represented region in the business school rankings, with 216 schools ranked, including six in the top 10.

INSEAD is ranked as the best business school in continental Europe for the third year running: one of France’s 13 institutions featured this year. An international business school, INSEAD has campuses in France, Singapore, Abu Dhabi and San Francisco. It earns a perfect score in academic reputation this year, with the course placing huge value on diversity.

London Business School is once again the UK’s best institution, ranking third. It is one of the 62 UK business schools in the ranking this year, seven of which are in the top 50. The University of Oxford enters the top ten this year, overtaking the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE,11th). Another notable mover in the index this year is Imperial College London, dropping 10 places to 34th.

In Spain, IESE Business School makes an improvement in the index this year, rising four places to 25th. However, it is ESADE Business School one again that takes the top spot, in 21st. ESADE is known for the quality of its research and education, earning its highest score in the research citations per paper indicator. The school’s Institute for Social Innovation produces research used by companies, social entrepreneurs, NGOs and non-profit organizations.

Copenhagen Business School (15th) is one of Denmark’s five universities featured this year. The Netherlands’ Erasmus University Rotterdam (16th) ranks amongst its 11 universities, three of which are in the global top 100 for business. Other notable European top 50 business schools include France’s ESSEC Business School, Paris (33rd) and Austria’s WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business) in 42nd.

Top business schools in Asia

There are 110 Asian business schools in the rankings this year, including 11 in the global top 50.

The highest-ranked school in Asia is the National University of Singapore (NUS) in 12th place globally. NUS earns a high score for academic reputation this year. It has championed transparency during the COVID-19 pandemic, making its student feedback forms open to the entire community in order to continuously improve its teaching standards.

Two other Singaporean schools made it into the top 50 (out of four ranked schools) - Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in 20th (rising four places this year) and Singapore Management University in joint 38th.

Mainland China is the best represented region in Asia for business schools, with 21 institutions in the rankings. Four of these are in the global top 50: Tsinghua University (31st), Peking University (35th), Shanghai Jiao Tong University (joint 36th) and Fudan University in 50th place.

Hong Kong also has a significant presence in the global top 50, with seven business schools featured and their highest ranked school, The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) in joint 22nd place. HKUST’s business courses cover a wide range of topics, from Chinese business to Asian financial markets to entrepreneurship.

Two schools in South Korea round out the Asian presence in the global top 50 - Seoul National University (SNU) in 41st place and Korea University in 48th.

Two Indian institutions, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) – Ahmedabad and Indian Institute of Management (IIM) – Bangalore place within the global top 100, ranking at joint 76th and joint 80th respectively.

Top business schools in Australia and New Zealand

There are 23 business schools from Australia and seven from New Zealand featured in this years’ rankings.

Australia’s highest ranked program can be found at The University of Melbourne, which comes in 26th place globally. The University of Melbourne prepares graduates for a successful career in business, combining theoretical teaching with real life studies and even offering industry integration programs.

Other Australian schools in the global top 50 are The University of New South Wales (UNSW, dropping six places to 40th), The University of Sydney (43rd) and Monash University (joint 45th).

New Zealand has no business schools in the global top 50, but their highest ranked school, The University of Auckland (joint 94th) scores highly in the research citations per paper and the H-index indicators. It is home to 10 research and engagement centers, including the Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Top business schools in Latin America

There are 29 Latin American business schools featured in the rankings this year.

Chile’s Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (51st) is the highest ranked university in Latin America this year, earning a particularly high score for employer reputation. Chile has a total of six universities in the index this year, three of which are in the world top 100.

Colombia is the most well represented Latin American country with 11 business schools in the rankings. One of these ranks in the top 100: Universidad de Los Andes Colombia (Uniandes) in 89th, scoring highly in the research citations per paper and H-index indicators.

Brazil’s six entries this year include Universidade de São Paulo (USP, joint 90th). USP has quickly achieved a leading role in many different fields as a research center and is responsible for around 20 percent of all Brazilian academic output, earning a high score for the H-index indicator this year.

Two world-class business schools are found in Argentina this year: Universidad de Buenos Aires (151-200) and Universidad Torcuato Di Tella (351- 400). Peru has three, including two new entries in 2021: Universidad del Pacifico (351-400) and Universidad ESAN (501-550).

Costa Rica also brings a new entry to the index this year, with INCAE Business School coming in at 451-500. It earns a high score for academic reputation.

Top business schools in Africa and the Middle East

There are six African universities in the business school rankings, with three universities in Egypt and three universities in South Africa.

The highest ranked university on the continent is The American University in Cairo, ranked at 201-250. The business course at the American University in Cairo prepares students for a career in business, embedding real-world industry experience throughout the curriculum.

15 Middle Eastern schools feature in the rankings, with Lebanon’s American University of Beirut (AUB) ranking the highest at 151-200, rising up to 50 places this year.

The United Arab Emirates’ American University of Sharjah and Saudi Arabia’s King Abdul Aziz University (KAU) come in a close second place, with both schools ranking 201-250 for business this year.

Jordan, Qatar and Oman each have one business school in this year’s rankings and Kuwait’s new entry, American University of the Middle East (AUM) places at 451-500.

This article was originally published in March 2021 .

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