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The World's 50 Best Business Schools

Is an MBA that costs two years of your life and $US150,000 really worth it?

With increasing global competition and a tough job market, business school may hold the key to getting ahead — if you go to the right one.

For our fifth annual survey of the World’s Best Business Schools, we asked thousands of professionals from around the world who have experience hiring MBAs to determine the best business school. They came back with a clear favourite: Harvard University.

Survey participants rated the reputation of the graduates from top business schools around the world on a scale of poor to excellent (1 to 5), with excellent ratings used as a tiebreaker. We included responses only from professionals who said they had experience hiring MBAs at least half the time, as well as other filters to optimise our survey pool.

Click here to see a full analysis of the survey results >

Click here to see a map showing the top 25 schools >

In addition to the usual top American schools, international institutions like the London School of Economics (#8), London Business School (#9), Oxford (#13), and INSEAD (#15) placed in the top 15.

#50 George Washington University (School of Business)

Rated 2.44 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Washington, D.C.

Tuition and fees: $101,450 (cost of whole degree)

The D.C.-based school took a tumble from its 22nd place on our list last year. U.S. News, Businessweek, and The Financial Times ranked the school 65th, 54th, and 99th in the world, respectively.

While only 2% of survey participants rated the school as excellent, over 400 people ranked the school's reputation.

#49 Thunderbird School of Global Management

Rated 2.44 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Glendale, Arizona

Tuition and fees: $79,027 (cost of whole degree)

More than 40,000 people around the world call themselves T-Birds, as Thunderbird School of Global Management graduates refer to their own. Although the school dropped in the rankings from No. 41 this year, it continues to rank highly for the internationalism of its alumni network.

#48 The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK Business School)

Rated 2.45 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Hong Kong

Tuition and fees: $73,575

CUHK Business School launched its MBA program in 1966, becoming the first of its kind in Asia. This school is a newcomer to our list, even though it was ranked No. 27 globally by The Financial Times.

Nearly one in 10 survey participants who rated CUHK Business School marked it as very good.

#47 Indian School of Business

Rated 2.46 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Hyderabad, Telangana, India

Tuition and fees: $41,630

The Indian School of Business partners with Northwestern, UPenn, and the London School of Business to ensure that the curriculum maintains its intensity and practical relevance.

#46 Boston University (School of Management)

Rated 2.49 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Boston

Tuition and fees: $64,676

The School of Management encourages students to form professional and personal bonds with peers by assigning them to a cohort, a group of 50 to 55 students who take classes together and work together on assignments.

After rising 16 spots on our list last year, BU returned to the bottom half.

#45 Michigan State University (Eli Broad College of Business)

Rated 2.5 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: East Lansing, Michigan

Tuition and fees: $63,200

The Eli Broad College of Business earned top-10 spots on numerous B-school rankings, including Forbes' education satisfaction survey of MBA grads and Businessweek's list of schools most suited for teamwork. Last year, it was No. 34 on our list.

#44 Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

Rated 2.51 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India

Tuition and fees: $20,500

Another newcomer to the list, the Indian Institute of Management does joint-programming with Harvard Business School -- offering training for officials in the public sector and tax workers. Business Today, part of the India Today news network, named it the No. 1 business school in India.

#42 University of Manchester (Manchester Business School)

Rated 2.52 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Manchester, England

Tuition and fees: $93,945

With dedicated centres in Manchester, UAE, Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Miami, and Rio de Janeiro, Manchester Business School can deliver a top-ranked MBA on a global scale. Ranked No. 42 by The Financial Times, Manchester makes its debut on our list this year.

#41 The University of Warwick (Warwick Business School)

Rated 2.52 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Coventry and London, England

Tuition and fees: $83,190

Tumbling seven spots down our list this year, Warwick Business School enrolls more than 2,000 students from over 100 countries -- fostering a culturally rich community. It did inch forward on The Financial Times' annual ranking, from No. 27 to No. 25.

#40 Purdue University (Krannert School of Management)

Rated 2.53 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: West Lafayette, Indiana

Tuition and fees:
$42,174 ('13-'14 cost; 14-'15 N/A)

Krannert is home to a number of professional and social clubs that connect students beyond the classroom. MBAs take advantage of meeting their peers with like interests at entrepreneurship club, finance club, Krannert wine club, or golf club, to name a few.

#39 Indiana University (Kelley School of Business)

Rated 2.56 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Bloomington, Indiana

Tuition and fees: $71,412

The Kelley School of Business maintains the largest business school alumni network in the world, according to the school's website. It slid two spots down our list while earning the No. 21 spot on U.S. News & World Report.

#38 The Hong Kong University of Science & Technology (HKUST Business School)

Rated 2.58 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Hong Kong

Tuition and fees: $93,500

Named the best MBA program in Asia by Businessweek in 2012, HKUST Business School is largely considered one of the best business schools on the continent. A newbie on our list, HKUST draws its faculty from the leadership of major corporations around the world.

#37 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Rated 2.59 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Champaign, Illinois

Tuition and fees: $58,632

With the world's largest alumni network, according to its website, UIUC makes making business connections easy. The Financial Times ranked the business school at UIUC No. 3 among Big Ten schools.

#36 University of Navarra (IESE Business School)

Rated 2.6 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Tuition and fees: $52,632

The IESE Business School is based in Barcelona but has 'module' locations in New York City, Sao Paolo, Nairobi, and Shanghai. The 19-month MBA degree was ranked No. 3 in Europe by The Financial Times.

#35 University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management)

Rated 2.63 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Toronto, Canada

Tuition and fees: $85,166

New to our list this year, Rotman is a great school for international students, as MBA students are eligible for a three-year Canadian work permit when they graduate. Rotman was ranked No. 51 by The Financial Times.

#34 Washington University -- St. Louis (John M. Olin School of Business)

Rated 2.63 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: St. Louis

Tuition and fees: $52,535

Olin at Wash U stays steady on our list. To ensure that all students are prepared for the two-year, full-time program, students complete an online, pre-term course before arriving that gets them mentally ready for the rigour of the degree.

#33 International Institute for Management Development

Rated 2.63 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Lausanne, Switzerland

Tuition and fees: $135,091

This year, The Financial Times ranked IMD No. 1 in executive education and open programs worldwide. The 'real-world, real-learning'-focused school is making its debut on our list.

IMD tied with the University of Toronto and Washington University, but its high tuition pushed it furthest down the list.

#32 Instituto de Empresa (IE Business School)

Rated 2.68 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Madrid

Tuition and fees:
$80,995 (cost of entire degree)

New to our list, IE Business School at Madrid's Instituto de Empresa ranks No. 13 on The Financial Times' list. MBA degree programs are offered in English, Spanish, or bilingual.

#31 Vanderbilt University (Owen Graduate School of Business)

Rated 2.75 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Nashville, Tennessee

Tuition and fees:
$52,125 ('13-'14 cost; 14-'15 N/A)

Every student from Owen's class of 2014 graduated with an internship offer, and 96% of the class of 2013 was employed full time within three months of graduating. Owen ranked No. 25 on the U.S. News list of the best business schools.

While only 3% of survey participants rated Owen as excellent, more than 21% gave it a very good score.

#30 Escuela Superior de Administración y Dirección de Empresas (ESADE Business School)

Rated 2.76 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Tuition and fees: $80,723

ESADE offers classes of intimate size within the structure of a large university, providing the best of both worlds. It's a newbie on our list but received the No. 22 spot on The Financial Times' list of best global MBA programs.

#29 Emory University (Goizueta Business School)

Rated 2.77 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Atlanta

Tuition and fees: $68,922

No. 39 on our list last year, Goizueta makes a repeat appearance on this year's list 10 spots higher. Goizueta partners with more than 20 international business schools so that students can study abroad in places like Rio de Janeiro, Copenhagen, and Vienna.

#27 University of Notre Dame (Mendoza College of Business)

Rated 2.87 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Notre Dame, Indiana

Tuition and fees: $66,860

Mendoza fell 10 places from last year's list, but the school ranked No. 23 on U.S. News' list, tying with Georgetown's McDonough School of Business. Mendoza also offers a highly selective one-year program; the most recent one-year MBA class consisted of just 64 students.

#25 University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler Business School)

Rated 2.92 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Tuition and fees: $80,466

The Kenan-Flagler Business School fell just one spot from last year's list. It's known for giving great financial aid packages and for producing the third-highest-paid investment bankers -- a solid combination.

#24 University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business)

Rated 2.95 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Austin, Texas

Tuition and fees: $68,632

MBA candidates can choose from over 20 areas of concentration at the McCombs School of Business, in addition to dual-degree options. The Longhorns hooked the No. 15 spot on U.S. News & World Report and No. 19 on Businessweek.

Forty per cent of survey participants gave it a rating of good -- more than any other school.

#23 HEC Paris (École des Hautes Études Commerciales)

Rated 3.01 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Jouy-en-Josas, France

Tuition and fees: $87,888

École des Hautes Études Commerciales is a 21st-century school, offering an annual series of online conferences and master classes for MBA candidates. This is the first time HEC has appeared on our list.

#21 University of Virginia (Darden School of Business)

Rated 3.14 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Charlottesville, Virginia

Tuition and fees: $85,361

Up from No. 30 on last year's list, Darden School of Business challenges students to study more than 500 real-life business cases during their two years there. Darden pulled higher rankings at U.S. News & World Report and Businessweek, landing in 11th and 10th, respectively.

#20 University of California, Los Angeles (Anderson School of Management)

Rated 3.16 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Los Angeles, California

Tuition and fees: $40,643

Anderson School of Management produces the highest-paid investment bankers of any business school, according to Businessweek. It's up from No. 28 on our list last year and lands at No. 16 on U.S. News & World Report.

#19 Cambridge University (Judge Business School)

Rated 3.2 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Cambridge, England

Tuition and fees: $89,554

Missing from both U.S. News & World Report and Businessweek's lists, the Judge School of Business dropped 11 spots from last year. It did land on one tongue-in-cheek Businessweek ranking -- No. 4 on 'Schools For People Who Like To Sleep In Class.'

#15 Institut Européen d'Administration des Affaires (INSEAD)

Rated 3.44 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Fontainebleau, France

Tuition and fees:
$85,593 (cost of the whole degree)

Incoming MBA candidates at INSEAD range in age from 23 to 37, about a third of whom are women. Known as the 'Business school for the world,' INSEAD has campuses in Europe, Asia, and Abu Dhabi. It was No. 42 on last year's list.

Twenty-two per cent of survey participants gave it a rating of excellent.

#14 Duke University (Fuqua School of Business)

Rated 3.46 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Durham, North Carolina

Tuition and fees: $58,000

U.S. News ranks Fuqua comparably on their list of business schools (No. 14) to our ranking this year, but the North Carolina school dropped nine places from last year's list. Fuqua offers a number of joint MBA programs, including MBA/JD, MBA/MD, and MBA/MPP.

#12 University of California, Berkeley (Haas School of Business)

Rated 3.57 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Berkeley, California

Tuition and fees: $82,763

The second-oldest business school in the U.S., Haas is home to award-winning faculty and an alumni network of more than 40,000 graduates. Haas took the 16th spot on our list last year; this year it ranks No. 7 on U.S. News' list.

#11 Yale University (School Of Management)

Rated 3.58 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: New Haven, Connecticut

Tuition and fees: $85,875

After skyrocketing to the No. 2 spot on our list last year, Yale dropped down to No. 11 this year. U.S. News & World Report ranked it the 13th-best business school in America, and it's ranked No. 21 by Businessweek. Still, Yale's MBA program stands out for its integrated curriculum, emphasising analysis of a wide array of materials such as stock charts and articles, beyond the standard case study.

#10 Dartmouth College (Tuck School of Business)

Rated 3.61 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Hanover, New Hampshire

Tuition and fees: $93,550

Tuck jumped three spots on our business school rankings and placed at No. 9 on U.S. News. Graduates of the New England business school report average starting salaries of over $US115,000, with signing bonuses of almost $US30,000.

#9 London Business School

Rated 3.7 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: London, England

Tuition and fees:
$109,567 (cost of the whole degree)

The London Business School moved up from No. 29 last year. LBS is also No. 3 on The Financial Times' list of the world's best business schools.

#8 London School of Economics and Political Science

Rated 3.77 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: London, England

Tuition and fees:
$80,247 (cost of the whole degree)

The London School of Economics MBA program (known at LSE as a master's in management) sees 28% of its graduates moving into industries of banking and finance after their degrees, which makes sense, given that London is a hub for finance. Michael Lewis and George Soros are alumni.

#7 Northwestern University (Kellogg School of Management)

Rated 3.79 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Evanston, Illinois

Tuition and fees:
$88,807

A global program, Kellogg has five international locations -- Hong Kong, Tel Aviv, Toronto, Vallendar/Koblenz, and Beijing -- which 85% of the student body takes advantage of during coursework. Kellogg also offers a one-year accelerated MBA degree.

#6 Columbia University (Columbia Business School)

Rated 3.83 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: New York, New York

Tuition and fees: $96,468

Columbia may have slipped two places on this year's list, but it stays steady at No. 8 on U.S. News. Columbia operates around an entrepreneurial philosophy and offers a number of resources for budding entrepreneurs, from mentors to discount memberships at coworking spaces around New York.

#5 University of Chicago (Booth School of Business)

Rated 3.94 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Chicago, Illinois

Tuition and fees: $94,933

Fourth place on U.S. News's list, Booth jumped up an impressive 20 places from last year's list of the best business schools. Booth offers four different MBA programs: full-time, evening, weekend, and executive.

#4 Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sloan School of Management)

Rated 4.09 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Cambridge, Massachusetts

Tuition and fees:
$92,827 ('13-'14 cost; '14-'15 N/A)

More than 92% of Sloan MBA recipients received job offers within three months of graduating, the school reports, including from notable companies like Amazon, McKinsey & Co., and JPMorgan. Sloan ranked No. 7 on our list last year.

#2 Stanford University (Stanford Graduate School of Business)

Rated 4.33 out of 5 for graduate reputation.

Location: Palo Alto, California

Tuition and fees: $99,435

Stanford swiped the top spot from Harvard in 2012 but fell short of No. 1 for the second year in a row.

Still, nearly one-third of survey participants rated Stanford as very good, while only 24% awarded that rating to Harvard. And the Cardinals remain more selective than the Crimson, admitting 6.8% of applicants in 2013, compared to Harvard's acceptance rate of 11.3%.

Now see the best places to work after business school.

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