Best universities for business degrees 2018

Find the best universities for business degrees using Times Higher Education’s World University Rankings data

October 4 2017
Business chart

Studying a business degree, whether at an undergraduate or postgraduate level, is a common first step into a range of vocations.

Where to study business is an important decision for prospective students, so Times Higher Education has published a world ranking of business and economics degrees.

The subject ranking for business includes 200 universities across 27 different countries.


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The majority of the top 20 universities in the business ranking are US colleges, with Stanford University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology at the top.

Although the US dominates the ranking, universities in the UK and across Asia also do particularly well.

Three of the 26 Asian institutions in the ranking feature in the top 20, making Asia as represented in the highest positions as the UK, which also has three universities in the top 20.

Canadian, Dutch, Australian and German schools also perform well for business and economics degrees.

The ranking uses the same methodology as the World University Rankings, but with slightly more weight given to teaching and research metrics and slightly less to citations. The full methodology can be found here

Scroll down for a full list of degrees covered by the ranking and what you can do with a degree in them. 


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Top five universities for business and economics degrees

1. Stanford University

Stanford’s graduate business school admits students for MBA, PhD, master’s and executive degrees.

The school’s dean is Jonathan Levin, a renowned expert in industrial organisation.

In 2006, the school received what was then the largest endowment ever given to a business school: $105 million from an alumnus and the founder of Nike.

The business school at Stanford is known to be the most selective in the US, determined by the competition for acceptance on to a course. Typically, less than 7 per cent of applicants secure a place.

Postgraduate students can also take joint degrees at other schools, combining business with subjects such as earth sciences, education and law.

Although there is no specific business and management programme for undergraduates, students can choose to major in economics, international relations or management science and engineering.

2. Massachusetts Institute of Technology

The Sloan School of Management, also known as MIT Sloan, offers business programmes at the university.

In addition to MBA courses, executive training programmes and other postgraduate degrees, the school also teaches undergraduates through “Course 15”, which adds a business perspective to students with a technical and quantitative background.

The classes include problem sets that use real-world business cases and approaches them with a scientific methodology. The course also provides opportunities to do research and take part in entrepreneurship competitions.

Business courses cover a variety of topics at MIT, including operations research, consulting, entrepreneurship, finance, information technology, product development and marketing.

There is an emphasis on innovation across all these topics. Many influential new ideas in business, including the field of system dynamics, were born out of work at the Sloan School.

MIT is one of the most prestigious universities in the world. Based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, next door to Harvard, it is a hub of innovation and entrepreneurship.

3. University of Oxford

Undergraduate business students at the University of Oxford study economics and management within the traditional degree framework, largely taught in college in small group tutorials.

Oxford’s academic department for business is the Saïd Business School, which teaches across business, management and finance.

The school is 20 years old – fairly new compared with other prestigious business schools around the world.

Current dean Peter Tufano was at Harvard Business School before going to Oxford.

The postgraduate programmes on offer include the popular MBA programme, an executive MBA programme, a PhD in management studies and master’s degrees in financial economics, law and finance and strategic management.

MBA students can also extend their one-year degree to combine the course with one of the specialised master’s programmes.

All business students are members of an Oxford college and participate in university life outside the business school. Not all colleges accept business students but the majority do.

4. London Business School 

The London Business School is part of the University of London system and it was founded in 1964 under its original name of The London Graduate School of Business Studies. 

The main campus is located in Marylebone, London and a second satellite campus was opened in Dubai in 2007. 

All candidates are expected to take internationally recognised exams such as the IELT or GRE to demonstrate their proficiency in English. 

The college’s main course is the MBA (Master in Business Administration) which is centred around a group of core modules with a number of different elective courses for students to choose between. The university also offers master’s courses in finance, financial analysis, management and leadership and strategy.

Notable alumni include Tony Wheeler, co-founder of the Lonely Planet travel guides, Cyrus Pallonji Mistry, former chairman and CEO of the Tata Group, and Dame Mary Marsh, the former CEO of the NSPCC.  

5. University of Cambridge

Rounding off the top five universities that provide the best business and economics degrees is the University of Cambridge. The university is made up of 29 separate colleges. 

The university is also home to over 100 libraries, which hold more than 15 million books in total. 

Business and economics degrees are generally taught at the Cambridge Judge Business School. Courses include the MBA, master of finance, master of accounting and a number of MPhil programmes. 


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Best universities for business and economics 2018

Click each institution to view its World University Rankings 2018 profile

Business Rank 2018  University  Country
1 Stanford University United States
2 Massachusetts Institute of Technology United States
3 University of Oxford United Kingdom
4 London Business School United Kingdom
5 University of Cambridge United Kingdom
6 Harvard University United States
7 University of Chicago United States
8 Northwestern University United States
9 University of Pennsylvania United States
10 University of California, Berkeley United States
11 Columbia University United States
12 Cornell University United States
13 New York University United States
14 Hong Kong University of Science and Technology Hong Kong
15 Carnegie Mellon University United States
16 National University of Singapore Singapore
17 Peking University China
18 University of Minnesota United States
19 University of British Columbia Canada
20 University of Mannheim Germany
21 Tilburg University Netherlands
22 University of Toronto Canada
23 University of Warwick United Kingdom
=24 University of California, San Diego United States
=24 Erasmus University Rotterdam Netherlands
26 University of Manchester United Kingdom
27 Bocconi University Italy
28 LMU Munich Germany
29 Tsinghua University China
30 Copenhagen Business School Denmark
31 University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
=32 Pennsylvania State University United States
=32 University of Southern California United States
=34 Dartmouth College United States
=34 Michigan State University United States
=36 Australian National University Australia
=36 University of Texas at Austin United States
38 Boston University United States
39 Hong Kong Polytechnic University Hong Kong
=40 Indiana University United States
=40 Pompeu Fabra University Spain
42 University of Melbourne Australia
43 University of Zurich Switzerland
44 Arizona State University United States
45 University of Virginia United States
46 Georgia Institute of Technology United States
47 University of Bonn Germany
48 McGill University Canada
49 University of Maryland, College Park United States
50 University of Sussex United Kingdom
51 University of Amsterdam Netherlands
52 Chinese University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
53 Western University Canada
54 University of Leeds United Kingdom
55 University of New South Wales Australia
56 Maastricht University Netherlands
57 Boston College United States
=58 Aalto University Finland
=58 KU Leuven Belgium
60 Lancaster University United Kingdom
=61 University of Edinburgh United Kingdom
=61 Fudan University China
63 University of St Gallen Switzerland
64 Rice University United States
65 University of Groningen Netherlands
66 City University of Hong Kong Hong Kong
67 Federal University of Toulouse Midi-Pyrénées France
=68 Free University of Berlin Germany
=68 Korea University South Korea
=68 Université Catholique de Louvain Belgium
71 City, University of London United Kingdom
72 York University Canada
73 University of Arizona United States
74 Monash University Australia
75 University of Nottingham United Kingdom
=76 University of Queensland Australia
=76 University of Vienna Austria
78 Nanyang Technological University Singapore
79 Texas A&M University United States
80 Cranfield University United Kingdom
=81 Washington University in St Louis United States
=81 WHU – Otto Beisheim School of Management Germany
83 University of Sydney Australia
84 Technical University of Berlin Germany
=85 Aston University United Kingdom
=85 University of California, Irvine United States
=87 National Taiwan University Taiwan
=87 Temple University United States
89 University of Lausanne Switzerland
90 University of Surrey United Kingdom
91 Polytechnic University of Milan Italy
=92 Autonomous University of Barcelona Spain
=92 Cardiff University United Kingdom
94 Case Western Reserve University United States
95 Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam Netherlands
96 University of Bologna Italy
97 Georgia State University United States
98 Ghent University Belgium
=99 Georgetown University United States
=99 University of Notre Dame United States

Click here to view all top 200 universities for business degrees

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Read more: Need help choosing a degree? Here is the most comprehensive to help you choose 

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