Top 10 Executive MBA Programmes in Europe 2021

Top 10 Executive MBA Programmes in Europe 2021

By H. Young

Updated February 8, 2023 Updated February 08

HEC Paris has surpassed IESE Business School as the best school in Europe to study an executive MBA in the QS EMBA Rankings by Region 2021.

Released today, the QS Global EMBA Rankings 2021 reveal the top executive MBA programmes both globally and regionally, helping you find the perfect EMBA programme for you, wherever in the world you might like to study.

TopMBA caught up with some of the top performers in this year’s European rankings to find out what makes EMBA programmes unique and what sets them apart in the business education sector.

EMBA Rankings by Region 2021: Europe


European Rank





HEC Paris

Executive MBA



IESE Business School

Global Executive MBA

Barcelona, New York, Silicon Valley


Saïd Business School

Oxford Executive MBA



Booth School of Business

Executive MBA




Global Executive MBA

Fontainebleau, Abu Dhabi, Singapore


London Business School

Executive MBA



ESADE Business School

Executive MBA

Barcelona, Madrid


IE Business School

Global Executive MBA



Judge Business School

Executive MBA



Warwick Business School

Executive MBA


HEC Paris

Andrea Masini, Associate Dean for HEC Paris’ EMBA programme, ranked the best in Europe and the world said: “EMBA programmes are more important than ever. Our participants learn how to test their ability to make decisions under uncertainty, to be adaptable and agile, to be resilient, and to acquire new competences.

“Companies are more in need than ever of people who are able to manage uncertainty and disruption and our EMBA graduates leave with that ability. The EMBA remains a great option for those looking to make a radical career change and/or start their own company.”

HEC Paris offers EMBA candidates five flexible, part-time tracks to fit their professional needs, as well as eight specialisations in nine different locations, allowing them to expand their knowledge and skills within their preferred industry or sector.

Masini says flexibility and a global mindset are crucial components of the programme, as they help shape the leaders of tomorrow.

He said: “HEC Paris EMBA participants are not only taught skills – the programme combines rigorous academic theory with learning by doing, driving students to stretch their limits. Just as in the real world of business, our students develop an approach to problem solving and decision making that they will use throughout their lives, preparing them to go further than they ever thought possible.

“One of the many benefits of the international mobility option is the way it facilitates exchange between classmates from different regions and highly diverse professional and cultural backgrounds. Our EMBA program has 250 students representing 50 nationalities. This option transforms an already international Executive MBA programme into one with even greater global scope.”

Masini adds that another key aspect of HEC Paris’ EMBA programme, and one that makes it stand out in the business education field, is executive leadership.

He said: “Executive leadership is embedded across our EMBA curriculum and covered in many of our core courses, and is further developed through custom projects, such as personalised coaching, the Leadership Development Plan and on-going reviews of achievements during the programme.”


IESE Business School

Arve Utseth, Associate Director of International Executive Programs at IESE Business School, says international exposure is the most important feature of the school’s top-ranked Global Executive MBA.

He said: “The Global Executive MBA at IESE is unique in terms of its global exposure and extremely international nature. The blended learning format allows for participants to live anywhere in the world, and therefore we typically have 30 to 35 different countries represented in the class. Also, this 17-month long programme is itinerant through four continents, as the on-campus periods take place in Barcelona, New York, Munich, Silicon Valley, Shanghai and electives additionally are offered in Brazil, Ghana, India, and Southeast Asia.

“IESE also counts with a very internationally diverse faculty body. Thus, the Global Executive MBA guarantees its participants a strong global awareness, since we also complement the academic learning with locally embedded activities in each city, such as company visits, local panel speakers, and social/cultural activities to holistically understand each local setting. We are one of the very few to offer a truly global Executive MBA that is supervised and delivered by one business school only, guaranteeing a seamless and personalised learning journey throughout.”

IESE’s Global Executive MBA is structured around nine two-month modules, each combining part-time at-home studying and full-time on-campus classes. Participants spend a total of 15 weeks together on campus in blocks of intensive two weeks, which Prof. Utseth believes to be a unique networking experience.

He said: “Above all, we look to build a diverse cohort, where everyone can contribute to the learning of the others. It is therefore important that the class is balanced in terms of age, years of management and leadership experience, and previous international exposure.

“We seek candidates who value participative learning, who are generous in terms of sharing their skills and knowledge with others, hard-working and highly motivated, smart and competent, but also excellent human beings who embrace our vision of good leadership and our ESG focus.”



Rachel Maguer, Global Director of Marketing and Recruitment at INSEAD, says the school’s Global EMBA is ideal for professionals looking for a dynamic learning format.

The programme is highly interactive and varied, combining in-depth theory, soft skills development, management challenges, team-based business simulations and a Leadership Development Programme.

Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the school has implemented a hybrid model for its EMBA programme, combining in-person and online teaching.

Maguer said: “INSEAD was already leveraging technology to deliver some online content and facilitate interactions around the world to bring our community together online. We have really taken this to the next level this year, bringing VR and AR solutions into our teaching environment. We have made significant investments to ensure that our facilities provide an exceptional dual learning experience for those on campus and peers joining from their homes and that online delivery is not just a retransmission of what would have been planned on-campus.”

INSEAD received a perfect score for employer reputation and one of the highest scores for diversity in the European top 10, a reflection of the school’s commitment to fostering an inclusive learning environment.

Maguer said: “The INSEAD EMBA programme is named Global and this is what we feel sets it apart from other programmes. Each year we welcome over 200 participants from over 60 nationalities and 60 percent of the executives who join are working outside their home country. This incredibly diverse cohort brings a wealth of experiences and viewpoints into the classroom and results in exceptional peer-to-peer learning.

“We also have class sections in France, Singapore and the UAE, through which students benefit from regional delivery of their core courses, but also have the opportunity to come together as one cohort throughout the programme through online interactions and in-person for electives.”


Warwick Business School

Hossam Zeitoun, Professor of several EMBA courses at WBS, says a successful Executive MBA needs to combine a great learning platform with networking and career development opportunities.

He said: “Our learning platform my.wbs is unique. Designed by our eSolutions team, it provides a virtual classroom for our students where we run lectures, knowledge groups, online case studies and hosts rich interactive learning resources.

“In a competitive job market where many opportunities are hidden, doing an Executive MBA also gives students access to our highly effective careers service. Our CareersPlus department delivers one-to-one coaching, mentoring, career consultations, workshops, negotiation skills training, assertiveness skills, online job interview simulations, CV preparation, recorded and streamed recruiter presentations, as well as lots of networking events.”

This article was originally published in June 2021 . It was last updated in February 2023

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