Best Global MBA Programs for People Who Love to Travel

global mba

Sometimes choosing an MBA program is as simple as deciding you want to rub shoulders with Wall Street executives at The Wharton School. But what about when you’re looking to make international connections and travel? Choosing the top global/international MBA program isn’t quite as simple as selecting a top-tier U.S. School.

Top MBA programs outside the U.S. tend to differ in various ways, and so prospective students have a variety of factors to consider before making their decision. European programs are more welcoming to older candidates while top MBA programs in Asia are typically more affordable.

To help you decide the best global MBA program for you, we’ve outlined our top 10 best programs and what you can expect.

10 Best Global MBA Programs


Forbes ranked INSEAD as the #1 best international business school for a one year MBA, and there are many reasons it made the list. INSEAD has campuses in France, Singapore, and Abu Dhabi, confirming its tagline as “The Business School of the World.” Its most attractive feature is its highly varied class makeup. The school boasts over 90 nationalities, with its most recent class made up of 41% Europeans, 30% Asians, and 16% North Americans.

  • Median GMAT: 700
  • After Graduation Employment: 90%
  • Median Salary: $115,100
  • Travel Experience: INSEAD offers travel-focused students a unique opportunity to participate in a Campus Exchange The program allows MBAs to study in the US, China, or at any of the School’s fully-fledged campuses.
  1. London Business School

Ranked by Forbes as the #1 best international two-year MBA program, London Business School is another top pick. One of the School’s best qualities is its location in the heart of London, helping students land top jobs after graduation at prestigious companies such as McKinsey, the Boston Consulting Group, Amazon, and Bain. MBA students can also expect to have a diverse class experience since 92% of students come from abroad and speak over 60 languages.

  • Median GMAT: 700
  • After Graduation Employment: 93%
  • Median Salary: $117,836
  • Travel Experience: The Global Business Experience is ideal for helping travel-loving students get out of their comfort zones. The Experience lets students test and examine their business knowledge in New York, Boston, Hong Kong, Mumbai, Johannesburg, Tel Aviv or Lima.
  1. IESE Business School

Ranked by the Financial Times as the #7 best global MBA, IESE is an academically rigorous and truly international program. Its central location is in Barcelona, Spain but it also has locations in Madrid, New York, Sao Paulo, and Munich. 83 percent of IESE’s MBA students are foreign, coming from 56 countries. One of IESE’s most impressive features is that it was the first business school to offer a bilingual MBA degree.

  • Median GMAT: 680
  • After Graduation Employment: 90%
  • Median Salary: $101,625
  • Travel Experience: At IESE, students spend a trimester in another world-class school with the Global Exchange Program. MBAs can choose to spend time in the U.S., Mexico, Argentina, UK, Israel, India, Australia, South Korea, and more.
  1. IE Business School

Coming in at #4 on BusinessWeek’s Full-Time International MBA ranking, the IE Business School stands out as a leader in education. In 2016, just 9% of the class was a native of Spain, the rest of the class was made up of students from around the world. Another impressive feature of the school is its job placement rate. While half of Spaniards under the age of 25 were unemployed, 92% of graduates gained a job within three months of graduation.

  • Median GMAT: 685
  • After Graduation Employment: 92%
  • Median Salary: $116,029
  • Travel Experience: At IE, students can maximize their world learning by spending between three months or just one week at one of IE’s partner schools around the world. MBAs can also participate in the Social Impact Project in South Africa, Peru, and Brazil or take part in the Global Network Week.
  1. HEC School of Management Paris

Ranked #5 on The Economists global Full-Time MBA rankings, HEC School of Management in Paris has a lot to offer. The program is two-years in length and held at one of the oldest business schools in the world (founded in 1881). The School welcomed 92% foreign nationals to its program, and in 2014 half the class stayed to work in Europe after graduation while the rest scattered the world. One of HEC’s highlight attributes is its focus on experiential learning that takes students outside of the classroom to work in the real world.

  • Median GMAT: 690
  • After Graduation Employment: 90%
  • Median Salary: $112,466
  • Travel Experience: MBAs at HEC can participate in Fieldwork Projects either on a team or individually. These projects can be carried out anywhere in the world, and previous projects have taken place in Kenya, Ghana, and all over the world.
  1. IMD

Forbes ranked IMD as the #2 School on its list of Best International MBAs: One-Year Programs. It received its ranking due to its small class size—only 90 students—and its focus on real-world application. MBAs at IMD complete consulting projects in Switzerland, work with local startups, and study international business for two weeks in a foreign country. As for its highly diversified class, IMD stands out with 45 different nationalities in the Class of 2015 with members speaking four languages on average.

  • Median GMAT: 670
  • After Graduation Employment: 87%
  • Median Salary: $129,976
  • Travel Experience: Students who attend IMD can gain an immersive global experience by participating in an International Consulting Project. In the past, projects have taken students across five continents and into 65 countries to deliver new ideas and develop corporate strategies.
  1. Judge School of Business University of Cambridge

Ranked #8 on BusinessWeek’s list of Full-Time International MBA programs, the Judge School of Business is located in Cambridge, also known as Silicon Fen (referencing Silicon Valley). It’s known for its extensive and international alumni network as well as its focus on local startups, particularly those in electronics and biotechnology. For globally focused students, each year the School welcomes 40+ nationalities from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences.

  • Median GMAT: 690
  • After Graduation Employment: 89%
  • Median Salary: $90,741
  • Travel Experience: One of the major milestones for Judge MBAs is the four to six week Global Consulting Project, which gives students an opportunity to work for a major international company, anywhere in the world.
  1. ESADE Business School

Ranked #11 by BusinessWeek, #19 by the Financial Times, and #10 by Forbes, ESADE earns its top spot as a global MBA program. Located in Barcelona, Spain, ESADE has an incredibly diverse class of MBAs with only 4% being native to Spain. A unique aspect of ESADE is the ability to take a bilingual course load in English and Spanish or English and Catalan. While the class size is small, less than 200 students, its focus on real-world challenges is one of the things that helps it stand out.

  • Median GMAT: 640
  • After Graduation Employment: 88%
  • Median Salary: $83,356
  • Travel Experience: Students at ESADE can add travel to their MBA program in one of two ways: the Global Study Tours or the Exchange Programme. The Study Tours allow MBAs to spend one to two weeks abroad while earning credit while the Exchange Programme offers students the ability to spend three to four months at a Partner school almost anywhere in the world.
  1. SDA Brocconi School of Management

Ranked #4 by Forbes and #12 by BusinessWeek, SDA is the only Italian school to make it onto our global list. While SDA doesn’t have as diverse of a class as many of its competitors — only 71% foreign nationals — its offering of exchange programs with 30 different schools from around the globe make it an excellent option. The program is one-year in length and is located in Milano, the heart of Italy’s business, finance, and fashion. One unique feature of the School is its concentration in Luxury Business Management.

  • Median GMAT: 664
  • After Graduation Employment: 85%
  • Median Salary: $99,863
  • Travel Experience: The International Exchange Program at SDA gives MBAs the opportunity to spend the last months of their program at another top business school located in France, Spain, Netherlands, Japan, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and more.
  1. Säid Business School Oxford 

Ranked #15 by U.S. News, #6 by BusinessWeek, and #7 by Forbes, the Säid Business School is an exceptional global MBA. The class is truly internationally focused with 97% of all students coming from outside of the UK. The program is also focused on helping students tackle world-scale issues by taking students outside the classroom to complete projects directly with active businesses. One unique feature of Säid is its Silicon Valley Comes to Oxford program, which brings tech executives to campus.

  • Median GMAT: 700
  • After Graduation Employment: 82%
  • Median Salary: $100,366
  • Travel Experience: The Strategic Consulting Project allows students to spend six weeks working for a company anywhere in the world. In the past students have consulted for companies located in East Africa and China.


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About the Author

Kelly Vo    

Kelly Vo is a writer who specializes in covering MBA programs, digital marketing, and personal development.

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