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Best Business Schools in UK
A Business & Management Studies degree can help you towards a career in almost any industry. Our university rankings include Project Management and Human Resource Management.
Business and Management degrees in the UK will provide students with the chance to learn in-depth about how organisations are run, from small independent businesses to large corporations. Many business programmes are designed in consultation with businesses and are fully accredited by professional bodies.
International MBA degrees are some of the most popular study choices in the world. In order to help you find the Business degree that best suits your career interests, two of the most prestigious business school rankings in the world provide yearly lists of the business schools with great outcomes for international students.
Best Universities for Business and Management
UK institutions consistently feature in prominent positions in university league tables such as those compiled by The Complete University Guide, the Guardian, the Financial Times and QS Top Universities. These rankings are often arranged by subject, to give you an idea of the best universities depending on your interests.
Institutions that regularly appear in the top ten of 2021 business school rankings include:
- Durham University Business School
- Kings College London Kings Business School
- Loughborough University School of Business and Economics
- University College London School of Management
- University of Bath School of Management
- University of Cambridge, Judge Business School
- University of Exeter Business School
- University of Glasgow Adam Smith Business School
- University of Leeds Business School
- University of Oxford Saïd Business School
- University of St Andrews School of Management
- University of Strathclyde Business School
- University of Warwick Business School.
Business and Management Courses
These top institutions offer a variety of programmes at undergraduate and postgraduate level. As well as the standard accounting, economics, finance and management courses, you can also study more specific Masters programmes, such as:
- MSc Islamic Finance at Durham University Business School
- MSc Work Psychology at Loughborough University School of Business andEconomics
- International Business MLitt at University of St Andrews School of Management
- MSc Business Analytics at University of Warwick Business School
- MSc Enterprise and Entrepreneurship MSc at Leeds University Business School
- Masters of Studies in Social Innovation at Cambridge Judge Business School
- MSc Project Management and Innovation at the University of Strathclyde Business School.
As well as Bachelors and Masters degrees, business schools also offer the Master of Business Administration (MBA). An MBA is an advanced postgraduate qualification, which can be studied at general, executive and specialist level. An MBA is highly valued by business employers and can lead to promotion and increased salaries.
However, MBA courses are expensive and the cost of programmes varies considerably depending on where you study. Make sure you research the different courses on offer before committing to a programme. Learn more about the best MBA programmes in the UK.
The majority of business courses are available to study on both a full and part-time basis, enabling you to tailor your timetable around work or family commitments. Each business school is responsible for administering its own scholarships and bursaries, so check what financial help is available.
Postgraduate loans can also help to lessen the financial burden. In 2020/21, you can borrow up to £11,222 to help towards tuition fees.
How to choose a business school
Studying for a postgraduate qualification requires a huge investment of time, effort and money, so it’s essential you make the right choice.
You’ve done some initial research and now have a list of top-rated institutions, but how do you narrow down your options? First, decide on a course and list all the institutions that provide it. To help you reach a final decision, consider:
- Location – would you prefer to study close to home or further afield? In a city or somewhere a little quieter? You also need to take into account the living costs at different universities, and how you’ll cover them.
- Reputation – to discover more about an institution’s reputation speak to alumni, look at rankings and find out if the university has industry accreditation. Research its academic community. Is the faculty diverse? Are lecturers considered leaders in the business field? Does the faculty have industry connections? Does the faculty have global experience and business knowledge? Read more about universities and departments.
- Teaching methods – are class sizes big or small? Are classes flexible enough to allow you to meet other commitments? Is the programme curriculum as broadly or narrowly focused as you’d like? Will you have access to one-on-one time with a mentor? Will you have the opportunity to complete an industry placement? What are the assessment methods?
- Alumni – what is the school’s employment record like? Take a look at alumni networks to find out what past students are doing. What jobs, sectors and countries do they work in? Do they work in prestigious roles? Do any work for high-profile organisations? Also check out the reputation of the school’s careers service. How long after graduation is help and advice available?
To find out as much as possible about an institution, research and read through their promotional material including prospectuses, websites and social media channels. It’s also crucial to visit schools and, if possible, sit in on classes to get a real feel of the course. Attend open days and events such as study fairs to talk to admissions tutors, course leaders and current students and graduates.
It’s important to remember that while gaining a business degree from a prestigious university might look impressive on your CV, it’s in no way a guarantee of employment. Weigh up all the pros and cons of an institution before deciding on the right one for you.
How to apply
To apply for a course at most business schools you’ll complete an online application form. You’ll need to create an account on the university website, answer set questions and submit supporting documentation. Unlike undergraduate courses, you’ll submit your application directly to the university, so make sure that you’re aware of application dates and deadlines (as these can vary slightly) to give yourself plenty of time to complete it to the best of your ability.
The documents that you need to submit include academic transcripts and degree certificates, two academic references and a personal statement (sometimes called a statement of purpose). Some business schools may also ask you to submit samples of your work, a CV and a cover letter.
Upon completion you’ll need to pay an application fee. Institutions set their own fees so costs differ, but they’re typically in the region of £50-£60. Once your application is processed you’ll receive an offer of a place, or may in some instances be invited to attend a postgraduate interview. In order to secure your offer of a place you’ll need to pay a course deposit.
So here’s the top 10 UK universities in business and economics:
1. University of Oxford
Oxford has been named the No.1 university in the world for the past 3 consecutive years. Oxford is also the oldest university in the English-speaking world. But did you know that its school of business is named after an Arabian business man?
In fact, the Saïd Business School was founded in 1996, thanks to a generous donation from Syrian-Saudi businessman and philanthropist, Wafic Saïd. The school is Oxford’s center of learning for undergraduate and postgraduate students in business, management and finance.
2. University of Cambridge
Founded in 1209, the University of Cambridge is the 4th oldest surviving university in the world and the 2nd oldest university in the English-speaking world. Cambridge is also the 2nd top university in the world, according to the THE World University Rankings 2019.
Cambridge Judge Business School is considered to be particularly strong in entrepreneurship and innovation management.
3. London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE)
LSE is globally ranked 26th in the THE World University Rankings 2019. One of the most interesting facts about LSE is that 18 Nobel Prize Winners have taught or studied at this prestigious school, including the famous playwright George Bernard Shaw and the economist Professor Christopher Pissarides.
The top 4 industries for LSE graduates are Banking and Finance, Research and Education, Politics and Government, and Consultancy.
4. University College London (UCL)
UCL is the 14th top university in the world according to the THE World University Rankings 2019. It was the first university in England to welcome students of any religion, and women on equal terms with men. There have been 29 Nobel Prize laureates amongst UCL’s alumni and current and former staff to date.
UCL School of Management offers undergraduate, postgraduate and executive programs in management, entrepreneurship, information management for business, management science and business analytics.
5. University of Warwick
Ranked 79th in the world in 2019, the University of Warwick is actually based in the outskirts of the city of Coventry. Its campus is only 30 minutes away from Stratford-upon-Avon, the birthplace of William Shakespeare. Warwick Business School (WBS) is one of the most prestigious business schools in Europe and it’s also the largest department of the University. It is situated on an attractively landscaped campus of 300 hectares, three miles from Coventry city center.
WBS offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate programs in Accounting, Finance, International Business and Management.
6. University of Manchester
The University of Manchester is the 57th best university in the world according to the THE World University Rankings. The university has a rich academic heritage, with 25 Nobel laureates among their current and former staff and students.
Its business school, Alliance Manchester Business School, was one of the UK’s first two business schools. It offers world-class research and industry-focused education at all levels – from undergraduate to CEO.
7. University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh (UoE) is ranked 29th in the THE World University rankings 2019. Founded in 1583, UoE is the sixth oldest university in the English-speaking world.
The University of Edinburgh Business School offers undergraduate, postgraduate, and executive education programs in business and management and provides a platform for research, discussion and debate on a wide range of business issues.
8. University of Sussex
The University of Sussex is placed 161st in the world, in the THE World University Rankings 2019. Sussex was the first of the new wave of UK universities founded in the 1960s, receiving its Royal Charter in 1961.
The University of Sussex Business School is housed in the Jubilee Building – the newest academic building at Sussex. Their work draws on management, economics, science, technology and innovation studies, to make an impact on the future of people and institutions.
9. University of Nottingham
The University of Nottingham is one of the largest institutions of its kind in the UK, with a student population in the tens of thousands. The University is placed 149th in the THE World University Ranking 2019.
Nottingham University Business School is an international leader in finance and management education and a pioneer in entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability.
10. Lancaster University
Lancaster University is placed 146th globally. Its state-of-the-art campus is located in North West England, 3 hours by train from London, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
Lancaster University Management School is recognized as one of the few business schools in the world to hold quadruple accreditation. It consistently ranks in the top 10 UK schools for Accounting, Finance, Marketing, Business and Management.
Did you know? IDP can help you apply to many of these top UK universities. Speak to your IDP counsellor today to find the best business program for you at 90+ leading UK universities and schools.
Careers in the business and management field are characterised by high starting salaries, rapid progression and early responsibility. A Masters degree in a related subject can open up all kinds of opportunities in a variety of sectors, such as accountancy, hospitality, IT, marketing, recruitment and retail.
But with so many business schools in the UK, how do you know which one to choose?