The 19 best-value MBAs from Europe’s elite business schools

Europe has some of the best business schools in the world, and the graduates getting MBAs often see their salaries explode in the years after graduation.

But which are the most financially worthwhile for the students attending? How quickly can they make back the money they spend on the MBA after they finish?

We took the recently published tuition-fee data from the QS/Top MBA global rankings, and used the top 25 European institutions in the ranks as the elite schools.

We also looked at the salary data from the Financial Times' 2014 European Business Schools rankings. The FT looks at the salary of graduates of each school's MBA programme three years after graduation, compared to salaries before the course began. Nineteen of the 25 best Top MBA schools were covered by the FT.

With this, we worked out what proportion of the total fees you could have paid off with the salary increase you saw over the three years after you finished the course. Of course, that salary increase can't all be put down to the school, but it's a good gauge of how quickly graduates are able to recoup the cost of the fees.

18. Imperial Business School: Salary gains pay for 64% of fees in three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $103,604

Salary gain in percentage terms: 68%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $41,935

Initial MBA fees: $65,691

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 22nd

London-based Imperial Business School comes in at No. 9 for the most affordable MBAs in the UK alone.

With the increase in salaries seen three years after getting an MBA at Imperial, the average holder could pay for 64% of his or her total tuition fees.

17. University of St. Gallen Business School: Salary gains pay for 67% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $102,158

Salary gain in percentage terms: 65%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $40,224

Initial MBA fees: $60,000

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 15th

St. Gallen is Switzerland's second-best-value business school.

That 65% boost in average salaries is nothing to sniff at, but it's a little lower than some of the other schools — and as a result, after three years the typical student's earnings gain would be enough to pay for 67% of the course of study.

16. London Business School: Salary gains pay for 77% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $156,553

Salary gain in percentage terms: 107%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $80,924

Initial MBA fees: $105,689

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 1st

According to TopMBA, LBS offers the best MBA course in Europe, and its students on average have larger salary increases in nominal terms than at any other business school in the continent.

But that's not enough quite to make up for the cost — which runs to six figures! After three years the salary gain is worth 77% of the price of the course itself.

15. Cass Business School: Salary gains pay for 77% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $110,260

Salary gain in percentage terms: 76%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $47,612

Initial MBA fees: $60,610

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 22nd

Cass is one of nine British institutions on the list, and it's stationed in the City of London, the heart of European financial life.

The salary gain seen by graduates of the school three years after graduating would be enough to pay off 77% of the fees.

14. Manchester Business School: Salary gains pay for 79% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $106,535

Salary gain in percentage terms: 96%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $52,180

Initial MBA fees: $65,800

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 14th

Manchester is the only school from northern England that makes it onto the list, and comes sixth in terms of schools in the UK.

With the increase in pay that the average MBA holder from Manchester gets after three years, he or she could pay for 79% of their course fees.

13. Edinburgh Business School: Salary gains pay for 80% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $91,335

Salary gain in percentage terms: 65%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $35,980

Initial MBA fees: $45,000

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 24th

Edinburgh has one of the lower increases in salary for any university listed here, but it's also the least expensive MBA on the list.

The increase in salary after three years could still pay for 80% of the fees.

12. Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University: salary gains pay for 81% of fees after three years

Salary three years after graduation: $98,771

Salary gain in percentage terms: 94%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $47,858

Initial MBA fees: $59,316

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 20th

Rotterdam offers the 20th best MBA in Europe, according to Top MBA's rankings, but it's the best among the Netherlands' business schools.

Though graduates tend to have lower incomes three years after they receive their MBA, that's compensated for by lower course costs than many other major institutions. It's enough extra to cover 81% of the fees.

11. Saïd Business School — University of Oxford: salary gains pay for 82% of fees after three years

Salary three years after graduation: $133,315

Salary gain in percentage terms: 91%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $63,517

Initial MBA fees: $77,014

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 3rd

Oxford's MBA is the third best in Europe, according to Top MBA's rankings, and the second best in the UK overall.

For affordability, the boost in wages that graduates get is enough to cover 82% of the course costs after three years.

10. ESADE: salary gains pay for 84% of fees after three years

Salary three years after graduation: $120,718

Salary gain in percentage terms: 120%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $65,846

Initial MBA fees: $78,449

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 7

ESADE records one of the highest increases in salary for graduates of its MBA programme, with a whopping 120% boost, putting it near the middle of our rankings.

Located in Barcelona, it's one of Spain's several elite business schools, the third most affordable in the country. Salary gains could pay for 82% of fees after three years.


9. INSEAD: Salary gains pay for 85% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $148,183

Salary gain in percentage terms: 87%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $68,941

Initial MBA fees: $80,811

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 2nd

INSEAD, which began in Paris but now has campuses in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, is regularly in contention as Europe's best business school, and comes second in the rankings for its MBA.

For salaries, INSEAD only gets beaten by LBS, and the increase in salary could pay for 85% of the initial fees for the degree.

8. IESE Business School: Salary gains pay for 88% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $143,168

Salary gain in percentage terms: 125%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $79,538

Initial MBA fees: $90,730

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 9th

In nominal terms, graduates with an MBA from Barcelona's IESE get colossal salary bumps after three years, the second highest of any institution on this list.

That 125% increase in salaries is the largest on the list, though due to high course costs the gain will only cover 88% of the initial course fees.

8. IMD Business School: Salary gains pay for 89% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $142,446

Salary gain in percentage terms: 72%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $59,629

Initial MBA fees: $67,061

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 8th

The International Institute for Management Development provides Switzerland's most affordable elite MBA, according to our method. Though the percentage gain in salary is one of the lowest in our 18 schools, the overall salary level is beaten by only a handful of schools.

A graduate with an MBA from IMD could pay off 89% of his or her fees with their salary gain after three years.


7. Cranfield School of Management: Salary gains pay for 91% of fees after three years.

Former International Air Transport Association director general Giovanni Bisignani speaks at Cranfield.
Salary three years after graduation: $120,941

Salary gain in percentage terms: 75%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $51,832

Initial MBA fees: $57,050

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 17th

Cranfield seems like one of the less well-known additions to the list, and it's not attached to an elite university institution like many of the others, but comes out well in terms of fees and income.

In fact, Cranfield graduates could typically pay off 91% of their initial course fees with the gain in salary they see after three years.

6. Mannheim Business School: Salary gains pay for 92% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $97,962

Salary gain in percentage terms: 73%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $41,337

Initial MBA fees: $45,003

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 18th

Mannheim is one of the best-ranked schools in value for money, despite a smaller boost in expected salaries. That's largely due to much lower fees charged at Germany's best business school — the MBA costs run to less than half of what they do at London Business School, for example.

That salary gain still covers 92% of Mannheim's MBA fees.

5. IE Business School: Salary gains pay for 95% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $146,933

Salary gain in percentage terms: 112%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $77,625

Initial MBA fees: $81,885

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 6th

According to our rankings, IE comes out as the most affordable Spanish business school. Though there's not as much of a salary boost, the MBA fees are nearly one-third cheaper than those at IESE, a close competitor.

That increase in a graduate's salary would pay off 95% of course fees.

4. SDA Bocconi: Salary gains pay for 95% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $112,901

Salary gain in percentage terms: 112%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $59,646

Initial MBA fees: $62,739

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 5th

SDA Bocconi is judged to have the best MBA in Italy by TopMBA, and it's regarded as the country's best business school by QS, too. It comes out as the most affordable in southern Europe in our rankings, largely down to the impressive salary boost recorded by graduates.

Bocconi graduates could afford 95% of their tuition fees with their salary increase after three years.

3. HEC Paris: Salary gains pay for 97% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $120,016

Salary gain in percentage terms: 104%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $61,185

Initial MBA fees: $63,000

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 4th

HEC manages to beat the stiff competition from other French business schools, coming out as the best value for money by our measurement. It's also the highest-ranked European business school outside of the UK by our methodology.

The gain in salary would cover 97% of the initial fees.

2. Cambridge Judge Business School: Salary gains pay for 98% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $144,350

Salary gain in nominal terms: $69,168

Salary gain in percentage terms: 92%

Initial MBA fees: $70,419

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 10th

Despite being one of the more expensive business schools in the rankings, the major salary boost the Cambridge Judge Business School's MBA graduates see is practically enough to pay for the entire course, with the gains covering 98% of the total fees.

1. Warwick Business School: Salary gains pay for 100% of fees after three years.

Salary three years after graduation: $119,121

Salary gain in percentage terms: 87%

Salary gain in nominal terms: $55,420

Initial MBA fees: $55,228

MBA ranking (Top MBA): 13th

Warwick comes first of the top business schools, the only one for which a graduate could afford 100% of his or her MBA fees with only the nominal salary gain from the beginning of the course.

By this metric, it beats not only its typical British rivals, but also every other one of Europe's top business schools.


Read full story: Business Insider

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