Swiss rank among top ten FT European business schools

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Two Swiss institutions – the University of St Gallen and the IMD in Lausanne – are among the ten best European business schools, according to the Financial Times.


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This content was published on December 7, 2020

Isobel Leybold-Johnson


The University of St Gallen (HSG) was ranked seventh and the Institute for Management Development (IMD) was placed tenth in the 2020 list, which was published by the international business newspaper on Sunday.

The list was topped by HEC Paris in France – the country was the dominant one in the list with Insead in third place. The London Business School came second.

“We can also be proud to be once again the best-placed public university in this Financial Times evaluation,” HSG President Professor Bernhard Ehrenzeller said in a HSG statement on Monday. This is the eighth time in a row that the HSG has been in the top ten (4th in 2019).

The IMD improved on its 11th place on the list in 2019. David Bach, Dean of Innovation and Programs at IMD, said the institution was the most distinctive among the top business schools with comparatively small degree programmes but a substantial executive education portfolio.

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“And yet we hold our own vis-à-vis our much larger peers, which is immensely gratifying and a reminder that clarity of purpose is critical for success,” he told in emailed comments.

Individual rankings

The European Business School Ranking consolidates four individual rankings published by the FT over the year.

In the European individual rankings, the HSG 2020 came first with its Master in Strategy and International Management (for the tenth time in a row, also worldwide).

The FT singled out the “impressive weighted average salary three years after graduation” at $113,175 (CHF101,214), the highest rank for gender equality i.e. one female student for every male, and the international diversity of the business school, with 96% of students from abroad.

The IMD topped the open-enrolment executive education in Europe listing (as it has for the global equivalent ranking since 2012). The FT says that competition is fierce in this category, but that the independent institution scored highly for its “highly rated teaching methods, faculty and facilities” and did well in the “aims achieved” category which looks at how much participants’ course expectations were met.

Covid impact

In its analysis of the 2020 results, the FT said institutions across Europe were capitalising on high international demand. They had faced much upheaval due to Brexit and its implications for cross-border research but also from the Covid-19 pandemic since spring.

But many business schools were able to develop new teaching methods and attract new students, said the FT.

The IMD IMD/Richard Juilliart
Higher education institutions across Switzerland are currently on distance learning due to the second coronavirus wave. They were also in lockdown over spring.

“Almost everything we have done since March has involved technology, from creating hybrid classrooms for our MBAs and EMBAs to delivering fully technology-enabled, highly-interactive programmes for dozens of clients and thousands of learners,” the IMD’s Bach said.

“This has opened up vast opportunities to make learning more impactful, enabling us to more effectively serve clients around the world from our base in Switzerland. Covid-19 has transformed executive learning, by and large that is a good thing, and IMD is at the forefront of change.”


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