London Business School vs INSEAD |

London Business School vs INSEAD

By Pavel Kantorek

Updated April 1, 2021 Updated April 1, 2021

When it comes to taking on talented professionals and turning them into the global business leaders of tomorrow, few institutions can match up to London Business School and INSEAD.

The 2013 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report rates the schools as the best in Europe for employer recognition, based on a major survey of over 2,000 global MBA employers. Among US schools, only Harvard Business School is targeted by a comparable number of MBA recruiters worldwide.

So for ambitious and high-achieving candidates looking for the very best business education Europe has to offer, the choice may inevitably boil down to London Business School vs INSEAD.





The flagship Fontainebleau campus of the private INSEAD franchise, which also has branches in Singapore and Abu Dhabi, was founded in 1957Part of the University of London, London Business School was established by the government in 1964 as one of two national business schools, alongside Manchester Business School


The picturesque commune of Fontainebleau, around 35 miles from central ParisIn the heart of central London, home to 12,000 of the world’s businesses and next to the beautiful Regent’s Park

QS Global 200 Business Schools Rating

Number one in Europe for overall employer recognition. Part of the Elite Global group of top schoolsNumber two in Europe for overall employer recognition. Part of the Elite Global group of top schools

Full-time MBA course duration

An intensive 10-month programA flexible programme with exit points between 15 and 21 months

Tuition fees


Average graduate salary


What do the students say?

Cynthia Schweer Rayner graduated from the INSEAD one-year MBA program in 2007, and now works as an independent consultant within the global health sector. “My main reasons for applying to INSEAD were the international make-up of the student body and the shorter duration of the program”, she states.

Whereas London Business School offers a flexible programme to suit a variety of needs with exit points between 15 and 21 months, the INSEAD MBA program takes place over 10 action-packed months. “The intensity and duration of the program are particularly suited to students who have a longer career history and don't want to take two years out of their career to do an MBA,” Rayner states.

“With the skills and network from the program, I was able to achieve all of my objectives in a far shorter timeframe than I could have imagined.”

However, for London Business School graduate Nitzan Yudan, the opposite view held true. Yudan took the 21-month course, and thinks that “it has a huge advantage over the one-year program, because it gives you more time to figure out what you want to do.”

Yudan used the second year of his London Business School MBA program to start his own business:, a network that connects MBA students and graduates who are looking for short-term rental accommodation.

“If I had done a one-year program I might have found myself in banking now rather than running my own business, which would be sad because I love what I’m doing now. The fact that I had more time and a safety net within which to try it out was for me the most important thing.”

MBA program comparison

Full-time MBA programs at INSEAD and London Business School are famed not only for their prestige and quality, but also for being highly demanding and rigorous.

London Business School

The London Business School MBA offers greater flexibility of length, with exit points between15and 21 months. Those students taking one of the latter options have the opportunity to undertake an international exchange at one of over 30 partner schools. Candidates will typically undertake an internship during the summer break. There is also a further opportunity for students to participate in the Entrepreneurship Summer School during the summer break. Additionally, a number of students take part in a paid consulting team based at London Business School each year.

London Business School offers core courses alongside a range of electives. Core courses are broken down into three groups: Tools and Techniques, Managing the Organisation, and Engaging with the World. In the first year, all MBA students attend London Business Experiences and, in the second year, Global Business Experiences. From day one MBA students develop a suite of leadership skills including one-to-one coaching.

Students who have previously studied Corporate Finance, Financial Accounting or Management Accounting can replace core courses in these areas with extra electives, offering greater scope to tailor the course to their interests.

Electives can be tailored to allow students to specialize in areas such as entrepreneurial management, finance, marketing, strategy, international management, private equity, economics, or change management.


The INSEAD MBA is an intense 10-month program, broken down into five eight-week ‘periods’.

The first half of the program is built around 13 core courses, covering key areas spanning financial markets and global economics, accounting, organizational behavior, strategy, management, and international politics. 

During the second half students choose from a wide range of ‘electives’, allowing them to tailor the course to fit their interests and aspirations. Candidates choose a total of 11 electives from a selection of more than 75 courses.

INSEAD partnership schemes mean candidates have the option to spend part of the course studying at one of three prestigious US institutions: Wharton, Kellogg School of Management, and John Hopkins University SAIS.

MBA Admissions



Number of students

1,008 (global)406

Average age


% female


Average years work experience


Nationalities represented


Average GMAT score


(2012/13 data)

As Europe’s leading business schools, both INSEAD and LONDON BUSINESS SCHOOL maintain rigorous admissions standards, with only outstanding candidates likely to be accepted.

Both have an average age of 29, meaning the majority of candidates are mid-career professionals who have amassed a solid foundation of professional experience and are looking to take their career to the next level.

Candidates at both schools have an average of 5 years' work experience.

In terms of average GMAT scores both hover around the 700 mark, with INSEAD slightly higher at 703 compared to 698.

Both schools are highly international, though INSEAD’s global footprint is slightly larger, with 83 nationalities represented across its 1008-strong student body, compared to London Business School’s  80 across the two years of the MBA.

Both schools are still predominantly male in their MBA intake, reflecting a longstanding global trend that is only slowly being overturned, although London Business School has a slight edge over INSEAD with 33 per cent of the MBA class comprising women.

QS Global 200 Business Schools Report: MBA Specializations

MBA Specialization









Operations Management


International Management






Information Management




Corporate Social Responsibility




Source: QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2012/13

As part of the QS Global 200 Business Schools Report, the world’s top business schools are ranked within 10 MBA specializations, based on their reputation among global employers for producing MBA graduates in those areas.

Both perform consistently across the board, with INSEAD making the top ten globally in 9 out of 10 subjects areas, compared to 8 out of 10 for London Business School.

London Business School’s best performance comes in Finance (3), while it also makes the global top 5 in Strategy and Leadership.

INSEAD ranks number 1 for International Management, reflecting its extremely diverse and cosmopolitan nature, and also makes the top 3 for Strategy, CSR and Leadership.

Alternative study programs

INSEAD and London Business School are famed for their MBA programs, but there are also several other study options. Both institutions offer a PhD course aimed at training the next generation of business scholars and producing graduates who are acknowledged as experts in their area of research.

Courses last four to five years, much of which is spent writing a thesis. In both cases, all entrants receive a full tuition fee waiver and living stipend, so this option has the added benefit of being debt neutral.

London Business School also offers Masters in Finance and Masters in Management programs, alongside executive and EMBA programs. It also offers the Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy, a highly prestigious course for more experienced professionals.

INSEAD offers a Masters in Finance, alongside two executive programs: the Executive MBA, and Executive Masters in Consulting and Coaching for Change.


QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2012/13 asked over 2,000 MBA employers around the world to identify the schools that produce the best graduates.

The results are conclusive: London Business School and INSEAD produce the most sought-after graduates in Europe, and along with Harvard Business School form a trio of the world’s top schools for MBA graduate employability. For instance, in 2012, 92 per cent of London Business School’s students were employed within three months of graduation.

INSEAD claims the number one spot in Europe overall, with London Business School in second place, ahead of Swiss school IMD, Spain’s IE Business School, and IESE Business School, University of Navarra.

Graduate Salaries

MBA graduates at both institutions can expect to earn top salaries, in keeping with the schools’ stellar reputation among employers. INSEAD’s figure of US$119,100 puts it marginally ahead of London Business School, at US$118,000.  Three years out, however, London Business School has the edge with $162,000 over INSEAD’s $155,000.

However, the leading European school for average graduate salary is IMD, at a whopping US$130,000.

Both schools compare favorably with leading schools in the US, with only Stanford Business School (US$127,000) and Harvard Business School (US$122,000) edging out the pair.

Fees and funding

As might be expected, in order to achieve graduate salaries averaging over six figures, candidates are expected to make a substantial investment. For the 2012-2013 academic year, tuition fees at both schools are very much at the upper end of the scale, with London Business School currently charging GB£57,500 for its 15 to21 month MBA program, compared to EU€59,500 at INSEAD for one year.

Both schools offer a diverse portfolio of scholarships and awards, though as might be expected competition is extremely fierce. The reality is that an MBA from either of these prestigious schools is a substantial investment – though one that it likely to pay off in the long term.

Further information on scholarship and funding opportunities can be found here:

London Business School


Learn more about each school on

This article was originally published in April 2016 . It was last updated in April 2021

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