Best MBA programmes in the UK

Author
Jemma Smith, Editor
Posted
September, 2019

While not definitive league tables can help you discover which business schools offer the most highly regarded MBAs - the ones that will give your CV that extra boost

The UK is home to some of the best MBA courses in the world, and this is recognised in all the major global league tables.

These are the UK business schools that performed best across the Financial Times (FT) Global MBA Rankings 2019, QS Global MBA Rankings 2019, and The Economist's Full-time MBA Rankings 2018…

10. University of Edinburgh Business School

The Edinburgh MBA boasts a 'boutique experience', combining small cohorts with a personalised experience. During your studies you'll hone skills required by managers and business leaders and expand your horizons.

You can study three types of MBA at Edinburgh - the full-time MBA and full-time MBA with international exchange - both lasting 12 months, or you can opt for the part-time executive MBA over a period of 27 months.

The full-time MBA focuses on a number of core business, management and leadership disciplines and allows students a choice of specialisation in finance, strategy or entrepreneurship. To apply for the course you'll need a first class or 2:1 honours degree and at least three years' work experience in a managerial role. 

The full-time MBA and full-time MBA with international exchange both have tuition fees of £32,500.

Learn more about the University of Edinburgh Business School.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 87th, QS: 30th, The Economist: 76th

9. Cranfield School of Management

An exclusively postgraduate university, Cranfield offers an impressive range of MBA courses. Alongside the regular full-time MBA and Executive MBA, there are four specialist programmes.

The MBA Energy, MBA Defence, Executive MBA Defence Export and Executive MBA Human Capital will set you up perfectly for a career in these industries. You'll pay £39,000, £36,000 and £27,000 in fees respectively to study these programmes.

To take the MBA Energy as an example, the modules will help you to apply typical MBA topics - such as strategic marketing, project management and accounting - to the energy sector. Compulsory classes include 'Energy markets: an executive perspective', 'Sustainable and conventional energy technologies', and 'Value chain of fuels production and energy conversion'.

For the MBA Defence, core modules include 'Risk and defence management', 'Leading change management in defence', and 'Defence economics and finance'.

Find out more about Cranfield School of Management.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 76th, QS: 18th, The Economist: 74th

8. City, University of London, Cass Business School

The 12-month, full-time MBA at Cass Business School combines lectures, workshops, live projects, overseas expeditions and international consultancy projects. Tuition fees cost £44,000.

For the first six months of the course, you'll build a foundational understanding and knowledge before tailoring the second half of the course to your interests.

If you take at least 40 credits worth of elective modules in a particular area, the school will recognise that as your 'concentration'. You can choose from corporate finance, corporate strategy, digital transformation, innovation and entrepreneurship, investment management, and marketing.

There is also an Executive MBA and modular Executive MBA, over 24 months, and an Executive MBA in Dubai, studying at the Dubai International Finance Centre.

Read more about Cass Business School.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 64th, The Economist: 72nd

7. University of Manchester, Alliance Manchester Business School

Describing itself as 'one of the world's most practical MBAs', The University of Manchester's programme will see you taking on three consultancy projects with real clients.

There are options to study over 12, 15 or 18 months, speeding up or slowing down as you choose at certain points in the course. Tuition fees are currently £44,000.

Alongside the full-time MBA, Manchester offers a global part-time MBA over 18 or 24 months, which involves teaching in three workshop residentials a year. Elective modules can be studied at centres in Dubai, Hong Kong, Manchester, Sao Paulo, Shanghai and Singapore.

Meanwhile, the Kelley-Manchester Global MBA is delivered jointly with the US-based Kelley School of Business.

Discover more about the Alliance Manchester Business School.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 59th, QS: 21st

6. Durham University Business School

Durham's MBA gives you the opportunity to focus on one of three specialisms: entrepreneurship, consultancy, or technology.

The full-time MBA is taken over 12 or 15 months and tuition fees currently stand at £30,000 - with a discount available for early application. The 15-month version gives you the chance to explore a new industry or job role, take an internship, or prepare to set your own business.

During the course you'll visit a business overseas, attend language classes, undertake a consultancy exercise with an organisation of your choice, and get involved in a real-life simulation of a boardroom.

Durham also offers an online/blended MBA, meaning you can study the course entirely online or in a combination of online and taught residential modules. Another option is the Executive MBA delivered jointly by Durham and Germany's European Business School.

Learn more about Durham University Business School.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 43rd, QS: 23rd, The Economist: 65th

5. Imperial College Business School

Imperial's MBA includes a Global Experience Week, which is a highlight for many students. It's an intensive foreign trip to explore businesses in an international context.

The full-time MBA takes 12 months, with tuition fees of £53,500. Among the most recent class, students had an average age of 28. 33% of students were female and 26 nationalities were represented.

Students had diverse previous experience in engineering, energy, pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and healthcare as well as the traditional MBA industries of banking, finance and consulting.

Other options at Imperial include a weekend MBA, a two-year Executive MBA and a two-year global online MBA.

Find out more about Imperial College Business School.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 39th, QS: 8th

4. University of Warwick, Warwick Business School

Warwick Business School's MBA gives you the chance to get involved in workshops on client persuasion skills, effective presentations, diversity and culture in global business, and impactful applications and interviews.

The full-time MBA is a 12-month course, with tuition fees of £40,450.

You'll have the chance to specialise in entrepreneurship, which involves spending 50% of your time on that topic and 50% on the core MBA content. Modules include 'Innovation and creativity in organisations', 'Managing in a New World', and 'Organisational behaviour'.

Other options at Warwick include a distance learning MBA and an Executive MBA (as well as distance learning and Executive MBAs based at the university's London base, in The Shard).

Read more about The University of Warwick.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 36th, QS: 16th, The Economist: 18th

3. University of Cambridge, Judge Business School

At the centre of Cambridge's MBA is the Global Consulting Project, during which groups of students undertake live consulting projects for companies around the world.

Tuition fees for the 12-month full-time MBA stand at £57,000. The class of 2018 was made up of 206 students: 64% male, 36% female with an average six years' work experience, and an average age of 29. There were 51 nationalities represented.

The curriculum follows a 'micro to macro' pathway with four phases: team building, team leading, influence and impact, and application and relaunch. You can choose to specialise in areas such as entrepreneurship, global business, energy and environment and healthcare strategies.

You can also study an Executive MBA at Cambridge. It's a 20-month course delivered over 16 weekends and four week-long blocks.

Discover more about Judge Business School.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 16th, QS: 9th, The Economist: 45th

2. University of Oxford, Saïd Business School

The University of Oxford ranks both as a leading global university in general and a top provider when it comes to MBAs. Among the highlights of its MBA programme is the Global Opportunities and Threats: Oxford (GOTO) project, described as 'action-oriented problem-solving' that addresses a key issue facing the world today.

The one-year course at Oxford's Saïd Business School starts in September and costs £59,490. There were 315 students in the most recent class, representing 62 nationalities in total - with 93% of them coming from outside the UK. Students on average had at least five years of work experience and 39% of the class was female.

Alternatively you can opt for an Executive MBA or the unique Oxford 1+1 MBA. This is an opportunity to combine the one-year MBA with one of a select list of Masters degrees in subjects such as public policy, computer science and criminology.

It gives you a chance to deepen your understanding of a chosen specialism before undertaking the general business administration programme.

Learn more about Saïd Business School.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 13th, QS: 5th

1. London Business School (LBS)

Marketing itself as 'the world's most flexible', the LBS MBA is widely regarded as one of the most prestigious in world, and certainly among the best respected in Europe.

You can choose whether to study over 15, 18 or 21 months. 2019 fees were set at £82,000, including flights and accommodation for the Global Business Experience - a week-long international trip involving site visits, workshops, panels, guest speakers and opportunities to visit local LBS alumni. Fees for the August 2020 intake are yet to be decided.

The LBS class of 2020 is made up of 485 students, 40% of them are women. 64 nationalities are represented and the average years of work experience is five and a half.

LBS also offers an Executive MBA and two other EMBAs - the EMBA Global Asia and the EMBA Global Americas and Europe. The former is a chance to study in Hong Kong, Shanghai, New York and London, while the latter involves study in London and New York.

Learn more about London Business School.

Global rankings: Financial Times: 6th, QS: 1st, The Economist: 27th

Find out more