Best MBA programmes in the UK

March, 2016

While any MBA course will be challenging and benefit your career, studying at one of the most highly regarded institutions can provide significantly greater rewards

The UK is home to some of the best business schools in the world, as demonstrated by the Financial Times (FT) Global MBA Rankings 2016. A total of 15 universities in the UK are included. Rounding out this elite group are the University of Bath, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Leeds, the University of Birmingham and Durham University.

The top ten MBA courses in the UK, according to the FT, are as follows.

10. University of Strathclyde

The only Scottish institution in the top ten, the University of Strathclyde (based in Glasgow) is 63rd in the overall global rankings. Its full-time MBA is a 12-month course with tuition fees of £28,000.

Alternatively, you can study part time through evening classes, which extends the course length to two or three years. Or there's a flexible option combining independent study with occasional workshops and seminars.

If you live in Bahrain, the UAE, Greece, Malaysia, Oman, Singapore or Switzerland, it's possible to study for a Strathclyde MBA at one of the university's centres in your home country.

Find out more about Strathclyde Business School's MBA course.

9. Cranfield University

Located just over an hour's drive from London, Cranfield University is well-placed both geographically and in the FT's global MBA rankings, where it sits in 57th position.

Cranfield's MBA is an intensive one-year programme starting in September, with tuition fees of £36,000. According to the university, 87% of its students are employed within three months of graduation, with destinations including Accenture, IBM, Jaguar Land Rover and the US Department of State.

There is also an Executive MBA, taught part time over two years. It focuses on real-world learning and leadership development.

Find out more about Cranfield University and its MBA course.

8. The University of Warwick

Warwick's MBA is among the top 50 courses in the world, at 46th in the FT league table. It's the best in the UK according to the Economist's full-time MBA rankings.

The one-year full-time course has tuition fees of £34,900, but the return on investment is impressive: graduates have achieved on average a 117% salary increase on leaving the course. The academic year includes a week spent in Vancouver and three days at The Shard in London.

Alongside the full-time programme, Warwick Business School offers distance learning and executive MBAs, as well as a specialist MBA focusing on the global energy sector.

Find out more about Warwick Business School's MBA course.

7. The University of Manchester

The University of Manchester's Alliance Manchester Business School offers full-time, part-time and executive MBAs. The full-time course lasts 18 months and sits an impressive 38th in the FT's rankings of the world's top MBA programmes.

Tuition fees are set at £41,000 and 30 nationalities are represented in the current class. Almost a quarter of 2014 graduates went on to work in consulting, 22% in financial services and 22% in technology. While half stayed in Europe, a fifth took up employment in Asia and 15% in the USA or Canada.

Students have the chance to study modules at international centres in Sao Paulo, Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore and Shanghai.

Find out more about Alliance Manchester Business School and its MBA course.

6. City, University of London

The MBA at City University London's Cass Business School is the 37th best in the world, according to the FT. There are three courses on offer: a full-time MBA, an Executive MBA, and an Executive MBA based in Dubai.

The full-time MBA is a 12-month course mixing lectures, workshops, live projects and overseas trips. Tuition fees for the September 2016 start are £39,500. In the 2015/16 class, students have an average age of 30.

Graduates have been employed by companies such as PwC, Unilever and Uber, and 62% changed the sector in which they worked after leaving the course.

5. Lancaster University

At Lancaster University you can study for a full-time one-year MBA or an Executive MBA. The quality of the MBA sees it reach 35th in the latest FT league table and graduates achieve an average 111% salary increase.

Tuition fees are £28,000 and the intake is no more than 45 students - so expect tough competition for places, as with any leading MBA course.

During the course you'll make visits to London and then, during your second term, undertake an overseas study tour. Previous destinations have included Singapore, Malaysia, China, South Africa and the Czech Republic.

Find out more about Lancaster University Management School and its MBA course.

4. Imperial College London

There are various options available at Imperial College London, which is 34th in the FT global rankings. Its MBA can be studied full-time, but there are also global online, weekend and executive alternatives.

The full-time course lasts one year, with tuition fees of £45,000. An impressive 91% of students are employed within three months of graduation, and 45% of students are female - significantly higher than the average.

For 2014 graduates, the most popular employment sectors were consulting, and banking and finance - followed by consumer and retail; engineering and construction; and IT, telecoms and technology.

Find out more about Imperial College Business School and its MBA course.

3. University of Oxford

Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford offers an MBA and an Executive MBA. There is also a 1+1 option, which gives you the chance to combine a Masters degree from another department with an MBA.

At number 28 in the FT league table, the full-time one-year MBA is hugely popular: the class size in 2015 rose to 340. Students were aged between 22 and 39, with 95% of them coming from outside the UK. Tuition fees for 2016/17 are £50,200.

More than 80 employers visited the school last year to recruit students and attend events. Recent graduates work for McKinsey & Company, Ernst & Young, Deutsche Bank and the United Nations (UN), among many other household names.

2. University of Cambridge

You can study an MBA or an Executive MBA at Cambridge's Judge Business School, which sits in an impressive 10th place in the FT global rankings.

Tuition fees for the 12-month MBA programme are set at £49,000. In 2015 there were 157 students on the MBA course, with 40 different nationalities represented. The average age was 29, with six years of work experience.

Recent graduates work for companies such as Amazon, Boston Consulting Group, Ford, Goldman Sachs and Google. Those completing the 2013/14 course went on to earn an average salary of £85,348.

1. London Business School

The third-best MBA course in the world and the best in the UK, according to the FT, is that offered by London Business School, a college of the University of London.

You'll pay £70,800 in tuition fees for a programme that can be taken over 15, 18 or 21 months. This prestigious course attracts students from around the world; a massive 92% are from overseas. It's no wonder it's popular when the average starting salary for graduates is £70,826.

London Business School also runs a part-time Executive MBA, with classes fortnightly on Fridays and Saturdays in the first year, and during evenings and weekends in the second year.

Find out more about London Business School's MBA course.

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