Leading international MBA programs for Asian students
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Leading international MBA programs for Asian students

GLOBAL perspective is essential in a modern business education. An international view on business affairs allows today’s young professionals to engage with a global network of business contacts and secure top positions in major companies.

As Asia’s economies, led by China and India, continue to close the gap on their Western counterparts, there is a growing demand for well-educated managers and business professionals who can hold their own in an international setting.

For this reason, Asia’s best and brightest are looking beyond their own borders for full-time MBA programs that deliver a top class education in an international setting, and allow them to return to the workplace as quickly as possible.


Pic: Hult International Business School.

The best international MBAs immerse students in intensive academic and hands-on learning for the duration program, usually about one year. Class sizes are small and diverse, and students are often placed in real-world situations with top companies to sharpen their skills. Add to this the top business schools’ impressive alumni networks and graduates can be sure they will emerge with with the savvy and the contacts to make a mark in the business world.

Last year 2,000 Asian students traveled to Western Europe to enhance their business knowledge, and thousands more to Australia and the US. These students gained invaluable knowledge of business practices and experience in real life situations. Combined, the US, Europe and Australia produce about 200,000 MBA graduates each year. Add to this the new breed of quality MBA programs that are emerging in Asia, and it is clear that the Masters in Business Administration has never been so popular.

This popularity is hardly surprising given the benefits. MBA graduates are first in line for the best high level positions and benefit from excellent faculty and alumni networks. Professionals earning US$60,000 per annum pre-MBA can expect to make in the region of US$200,000 within five years of completing a top class MBA.


Pic: Australian Business School.

As with anything worthwhile in business a good MBA will require significant upfront investment, with many programs costing in the region of US$50,000. Add travel and living expenses and it can be seen that this is a qualification that does not come cheap, even with financial aid. That said, ask anyone in the business world if an international MBA is worth the investment, and the answer is invariably a resounding ‘Yes’.

With somewhere in the region of 2,500 MBAs in the world, competition among business schools is stiff. MBA programs are changing quickly to match the demands of the modern business world and students who expect to graduate with the skills and contacts they require to succeed in a global setting. Luckily, this competition breeds excellence and the choice of international MBA programs for Asian students is outstanding. Below, we’ve listed 25 of the best:

Based in the dynamic, international city of Barcelona, ESADE Business School is one of the world’s top-ranked business schools with over 50 years experience in management development. It offers a wide range of MBA and Executive Education programs across campuses in Barcelona, Madrid and Buenos Aires. It also has global centers in Sao Paulo and Munich. ESADE Business School is internationally recognized for the excellent standard of its MBA programs and is accredited by the world’s three most respected management education organizations: AACSB International, the EQUIS accreditation from the EFMD and the British Association of MBAs (AMBA).  Read full profile…



Hult has risen to the top one percent of business schools around the world in a relatively short amount of time. It operates an international network of institutes, including the recently opened campus in Shanghai. Through Hult’s 12-month accelerated MBA program, students can minimize time spent out of the work force. Better yet, they join one of the world’s most multinational student bodies, surfing between a choice of three international campuses and developing a dynamic Action Project in cooperation with a major Fortune 500 company. A year at Hult places students well ahead of the competition as they graduate with more than accolades and credentials – they have real-world experience and access to an extensive network of alumni across Asia, Europe and the US. Read the full profile…

Tel Aviv University’s Recanati School of Business has been preparing its students for leading roles in various sectors of the Israeli and international economy for over 40 years and is home of the highly regarded Sofaer International MBA. The only Israeli academic institution to be awarded the international accreditation of the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB), Recanati continues to expand its global reach through international academic degree programs, executive training forums, and a variety of international study and academic exchange programs.  The school’s breadth of activity and reputation for excellence continues to make Recanati School of Business graduates the most sought after by Israeli employers. Read the full profile…

Located at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, the AGSM MBA has been one of Australia’s top ranked MBA programs for the past three decades. Established in 1977 by the University at the behest of the Australian Government, the AGSM MBA has produced many global leaders and is consistently ranked amongst the top MBA programs in the world. The AGSM MBA program is ranked the 35th best MBA program in the world this year and number one in Australia for the last five years (Financial Times UK Global MBA Rankings). Not only is this the best MBA program that Australia has to offer, international students enjoy an enviable lifestyle here, with Sydney consistently ranked one of the most livable cities in the world and a great place for students to network and make business connections. Read the full profile…


Pic: Hong Kong Baptist University.

Launched in 1994, the HKBU MBA program has firmly established itself in the marketplace as a China-focused MBA program. The program is designed with a general theme of international business, balanced by a China focus. The curriculum balances the need for executives to acquire a global mindset, while it also appreciates the thrust to understand how to do business in Mainland China. The program covers a diverse range of management and business disciplines consisting of 18 courses – 14 core courses and 4 advanced elective courses. This is the first MBA in Hong Kong to offer a focus on China business. Besides the competitive China focus, it also incorporates the practical “live learning” activities which provide students with much-needed hands-on experience. Read the full profile…

Launched in 2004, Kent Business School has quickly developed into a leading educator in the field of business studies. With over 1,400 undergraduate students, over 250 postgraduate students and more than 70 academic and support staff, this is the largest department at the University of Kent. The Kent MBA is accredited by the Association of MBAs (AMBA) and guarantees a real and applicable learning experience to hone the business and management skills of its students. An international focus combined with an intensive curriculum help students to secure high-level positions after graduation. Read the full profile…

The MBA at George Mason University School of Management (GMU), Virginia, U.S., has earned repute for helping students to create the career possibilities they desire. With Asian students aspiring to become business and management executives, and the demand for MBA programs from the continent at an all-time high, this is a program designed to help prepare students capitalize on the opportunities that are available in the business world today. The Mason MBA prepares the next generation of world leaders through a rigorous yet stimulating business and management curriculum. Read the full profile…


Pic: George Mason University.


The Cranfield School of Management at England’s Cranfield University offers three MBA options – Full-time MBA; Part-time Executive MBA; and Modular Executive MBA. Many international students seeking a Cranfield MBA choose the first option, which allows them to gain a top class MBA in one year and return to the workplace as quickly as possible. Make no mistake, this is an intense and demanding program. For their efforts, graduates emerge with the business acumen and people skills to pursue a high level career. This is one of the few management schools worldwide that holds the big three accreditations – EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA – and performs consistently well in all the rankings that matter.

HKUST Business School at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology is another Asian school that offers a top quality full-time MBA program, delivering invaluable international business knowledge within a China context. Internationalization is a key focus here, leading the Financial Times to rank the HKUST Business School MBA ninth in the world for ‘International Experience’ in 2011. Over 90 percent of students are from outside Hong Kong, and enjoy frequent Asia field trips and unparalleled exchange opportunities.

The Trinity College Dublin MBA, offered through the school of business, is one of the first of its kind in Europe. Arguably Ireland’s most prestigious university, Trinity College in Dublin has a history of more than 400 years of academic excellence. This institution boasts excellent research and teaching techniques, which look towards enhancing the learning experience of each individual and integrating them into an inclusive university life. There is a strong international emphasis here too, both in the MBA student body and the international work experience they embark on. Students can choose a one-year full-time program, or complete their MBA in two years part-time.

Only 50 people are accepted into Copenhagen Business School’s full-time MBA program every year. This is one of the few management schools worldwide that holds the big three accreditations – EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA – and it prides itself on the personal attention that it can deliver to all its students. CBS’s MBA brings together a number of elements that makes this program popular with Asian students. Denmark has one of the strongest economies in the world and is an excellent place to network for anyone interested in doing business in the region. All participants are eligible to apply for the Green Card scheme if they wish to work in Denmark after graduation. Not only do students emerge with a premier qualification, they get to study and develop in a diverse environment that is made up of 90 percent international students.

IE Business School in Madrid, Spain offers two English-language MBA options – the International MBA and the Global MBA. IE is a world leader in business education that has been topping the rankings for more than three decades. Successful graduates re-enter the business world with a qualification that counts and are primed to pursue high-level careers. The full-time International MBA is the ideal option for Asian students. In 13 months it provides students with everything they need in terms of core academics and personal development. This is one of the most highly regarded MBA programs in the world.


Pic: Esade Business School.

In its 2011 Global MBA Rankings, the Financial Times place the SCDA Bocconi MBA first in Italy; 10th in Europe; and 28th in the world. These were record-breaking, if not wholly surprising, rankings for the Italian school, which continues to turn heads in the business education world. SDA Bocconi offers four MBA options – Full-time MBA; Global Executive MBA; Executive MBA; and Evening Executive MBA. For Asian students, the 12-month Full-time MBA is arguably the pick of the bunch, bringing together everything an international student could want: a diverse student body, a global network, a world-class faculty, and the charm of living in Milan, Italy.

For international students seeking a highly regarded MBA in Africa, the Capetown Graduate School of Business (GSB) MBA is the qualification of choice. It is the only MBA in Africa that makes the Financial Times Top 100 Global MBA ranking, and offers international focus within a distinctive African setting. Diversity and a global outlook is key at GSB and graduates join a worldwide network of alumni. The full-time GSB MBA program lasts one year and puts students through their paces with 11 compulsory core courses and a choice of 15 electives. Students can also extend their international reach by partaking in GSB’s exchange program, which allows them to spend one semester studying in one of 30 partner schools worldwide.

Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University offers Full-time, Part-time and Executive MBA Programs. Kellogg’s full-time MBA is one of the premier programs in the world and maintains a regular top-20 listing in all the MBA rankings that matter. For international students looking for a top-tier MBA the intensive full-time program gives them a world class education and allows them to return to the workplace as quickly as possible. Graduates join a network of over 50,000 alumni which, combined with Kellogg’s Career Management, can help them secure the best jobs out there.

The Florida State University College of Business offers a number of flexible MBA options that are available online or in the classroom. For international students looking to fast track their route to a US MBA qualification, FSU’s Accelerated MBA is a winning option. Students can concentrate exclusively on their MBA studies while building invaluable contacts in a diverse environment. Asian students who wish to continue working in their home country while studying for an MBA can avail of FSU’s online MBA offering. This MBA consists of 13 three-hour courses and takes about 13 months to complete.

Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California is a premier business school that offers a range of highly regarded MBA programs. A number of factors make Marshall a hugely popular choice among Asian students. Excellent rankings, an enviable location, a top class faculty and proven career advancement all make this one of the must-haves of the MBA world. Graduates join a network of over 70,000 alumni in more than 90 countries around the globe. In addition, PRIME—Pacific Rim International Management Education—is a key component of the Marshall MBA experience, and requires overseas study by all students. As well as its Full-time MBA, Marshall also offers an EMBA in Shanghai and an accelerated IBEAR MBA program.


Pic: Tel Aviv University.

NUS Business School offers one of the best MBA programs in Asia and is a winning choice for Asian students who want to gain a world-class MBA without leaving Asia. In 2011, it was ranked best in Asia, and fourth in the world (non-US) by Forbes, and was placed third in Asia and in the top 30 globally in the Times Higher Education World Reputation Rankings. NUS Business School’s MBA has a global outlook with a keen focus on Asia. Diversity is key here as students join colleagues and faculty from all over the world.

Located in the heart of New York City, the NYU Stern Full-time MBA opens doors like few other MBAs can. This business school boasts one of the largest faculties of any business school in the world so students can connect with people who really shape the business world from day one. Make no mistake, places here are highly sought after with fewer than 10 percent of applicants accepted. However, those who do make the cut are guaranteed one of the most highly regarded MBA qualifications around and invariably go on to great things, whether in the US or on the international stage. From initial acceptance to long after graduation, NYU Stern looks after its students with career advice, an enviable alumni network and the help required for a high level career.

Ideally located in Perth, the University of Western Australia’s Business School’s MBA program has been attracting international students for almost 40 years. In that time over 3,000 graduates have gone on to hold top tier positions in Australia and around the world. Today’s UWA graduates join this enviable network giving them an immediate leg-up in the business world. Nine core units and a broad choice of electives ensure that students come away with the skills they need to secure high level positions in top companies. With its proximity to Asia, enviable lifestyle and pleasant climate, Perth continues to be a top choice for Asian students.

The University of Sydney Business School offers an 18-month Global Executive MBA for domestic and international students who want to bring their business acumen to the next level.  This MBA is designed to produce graduates who are ready to join the new breed of global business leaders. Taking a hands-on approach, the Global Executive MBA places students in real-life business situations in Australia, India, France, the US and the UK in two-week residential blocks during the course of the MBA. The academic elements of this unique program are delivered in online modules. This is a top-class MBA that is manageable for even the busiest professionals.

The University of Miami School of Business Administration offers a range of MBA programs to suit every need. With full-time and part-time options ranging from one to two years, international students have plenty to choose from. For those who want to fast track their rise in the business world, the one-year MBA program is a flexible, innovative and career-focused option. The School’s full-time MBA spans 23 months and allows a great deal of flexibility, with areas of concentration including International Business, Marketing, Real Estate, and more. Executive MBA Programs and an MBA For Working Professionals Program are also on offer.


Pic: University of Kent.

The Macquarie Graduate School of Management offers a flexible and dynamic MBA at its campuses in Sydney and Hong Kong. International students looking to get qualified in the shortest time possible can complete this program in 12 months, while it can also be done part-time over two or three years. Students are required to complete 10 core units, including accounting, marketing and financial marketing, and six elective units. Students also have the opportunity to hone their skills through a 10-week project-based internship. All of MGSM’s offerings have a focus on international business leadership and expose students to an impressive faculty and a global alumni network.

China Europe International Business School in Shanghai offers world-class MBA programs in the heart of Asia. With standard and executive MBA programs, CEIBS is ideal for business professionals who want to tap into Asia’s economic powerhouse. Compulsory basic Chinese language competency and China-focused courses, as well as invaluable networking opportunities, make this a top choice for professionals wishing to make a mark in China. Boasting a diverse student body (almost 50 percent are foreign students), CEIBS is committed to diversity and delivering a top quality education. The school has brought together an esteemed faculty that can deliver knowledge and insight into professional management and practices.

In its 20 years in existence, Fudan University’s MBA has earned a reputation as one of the top MBA programs in Asia. The Fudan MBA embraces diversity and internationalization, while maintaining a strong China focus.  Students benefit from innovative modules with Harvard and Wharton, exchange programs with business schools worldwide, and an enviable network of faculty and alumni. Fudan also offers a choice of International MBA programs in partnership with the MIT Sloan School of Management and the University of Hong Kong, among others.