The Top 10 Business Schools in Asia-Pacific 2014/15

Top 10 business schools in Asia-Pacific

The newly-released QS Global 200 Business Schools Report 2014/15 ranks the world’s MBA programs across five different regions.

As with its predecessors, the opinions of the international recruiters that hire MBA graduates form the basis of the report’s MBA rankings. However, this year a second element – the esteem in which schools are held by a global pool of business academics – was added for the first time, accounting for 15% of the ranking.

The change in methodology to this year’s regional MBA rankings has led to a great deal of movement among the top 10 business schools in Asia-Pacific, with only a single institution remaining in the same position it held last year.

Greater diversity among this year’s top business schools in Asia

The ups and downs have resulted in a greater number of countries being represented. Institutions in six different nations make up this year’s 10 top business schools in Asia-Pacific, as compared to four countries (Singapore, India, Australia and China) last year.

Hong Kong and South Korea are the newly represented nations, with business schools in India making way. Indeed, each of the three new entries to Asia-Pacific’s top 10 replaces an Indian school – leaving the country with a solitary institution in the top 10 this time round.

The biggest gains have been made by Hong Kong. Last year, none of the institutions based in China’s Special Administrative Region made the top 10 business schools in Asia-Pacific. However, this time round, three institutions were listed in the top 20 – two of which climb as high as the top five.

Download the report in full for a look into the MBA demographics to be found among the 30 business schools featuring for the Asia-Pacific region, including GMAT averages and class proportions of international students. But, what now follows is a rundown of this year’s top 10 business schools in Asia-Pacific.

1. INSEAD – Singapore

INSEAD SingaporeThe French campus may have lost out on the top spot in this year’s European MBA rankings, but its Singaporean sibling, INSEAD Singapore, still leads the top 10 business schools in Asia-Pacific – the only institution in the region to remain right where it was last year.   

It also doesn’t look likely to be going anywhere anytime soon, as its score among international recruiters, which still counts for 85% of the final tally, is far superior to those below it and would be competitive in both a European and North American context – where the most well-established providers of MBA programs are to be found.  

INSEAD Singapore itself was set up in 1999, making INSEAD the first business school to have two fully functioning campuses complete with resident faculty.

2. NUS Business School, Singapore

NUS Business SchoolUp two places to second position this year is NUS Business School, making it a one-two for the city-state whose name of ‘Singapore’ literally means ‘Lion City’, despite uncertainty as to whether lions ever inhabited the island.   

Nevertheless, lions are the symbol of the National University of Singapore, the number one institution in this year’s QS University Rankings: Asia, out of which NUS Business School was officially established in 2002, having existed as a business administration department within the university for almost 40 years prior to this.

The full-time NUS MBA program has been on offer since 1985 and can currently call on the former central bank governors of both India and Japan as faculty members. NUS Business School is also the home of an annual student-run MBA case competition, which recently announced its tenth anniversary winners

3. HKUST Business School, Hong Kong

HKUST Business SchoolHKUST Business School, ranked 12th last year, is the first of two new entries from Hong Kong to jump straight into the top five, having placed outside the top 10 business schools in Asia-Pacific last time round.

The school, founded only in 1991, offers an executive MBA for sponsored students in collaboration with the Kellogg School of Management in addition to its full-time MBA program. It also currently boasts 12 research centers spread across six departments – something that undoubtedly helps explain its very strong showing in the new academic segment of QS’s annual MBA rankings.

This year, HKUST Business School appointed Jitendra V Singh as its new dean. Singh, a long time faculty member at Wharton was formerly the dean at another of our top business schools in Asia-Pacific, Nanyang Business School (see below).

4. Faculty of Business and Economics, University of Hong Kong

The University of Hong KongHong Kong’s second new entrant to the top five is the University of Hong Kong’s (HKU) Faculty of Business and Economics, which has risen an impressive fifteen places to reach fourth position.

As with HKUST above, HKU’s rise can be at least partially attributed to its high score in the academic segment of this year’s regional MBA rankings, although the school has a number of other strings to its bow – not least posting a near perfect level of gender parity, with 49% female students in its MBA class this year. This is a score beaten only by the 55% reported by China’s Fudan University among all 30 top business schools in Asia-Pacific included in this year’s Global 200 report. 

Incidentally, Fudan University is one of three partners at which students of the full-time HKU MBA can take electives. The others are London Business School and Columbia GSB

5. Nanyang Business School, NTU, Singapore

Nanyang (NTU)To complete a top five made up entirely of schools in the Asian Tigers of Singapore and Hong Kong, we return to Singapore and to Nanyang Business School, which is up from 10th to 5th place this year. The School of Accountancy and Business at Nanyang Technological University began offering an MBA program in 1991, before being renamed as Nanyang Business School in 1995. More recently, the school featured as one of only three institutions from outside the US and Europe in a list of the top 35 places to study for graduates seeking post-MBA jobs in investment banking.

Nanyang Business School also offers a double MBA program, leading to two degrees, with Tokyo’s Waseda Business School – which, at 26th place in the region, is the only Japanese institution to feature among this year’s top business schools in Asia-Pacific.  

6. Beijing International MBA - BiMBA, Peking University

BiMBA at Peking UniversityThe Beijing International MBA, known as BiMBA, available at Peking University is up one place this year to sixth.

The BiMBA started life in 1998 – a year which marked the centenary of Peking University’s formation– and became the first government-approved joint international MBA program in Beijing in the process. Its aim is to produce MBA graduates that are at ease with Chinese markets, yet also knowledgeable on the subject of international business practices.

Belgium’s Vlerick Business School – listed among the 65 top business schools in Europe this year - became joint operator of BiMBA in 2008 and, as well as contributing faculty to the program, is the awarding body for BiMBA's MBA degrees.

7. Melbourne Business School

Melbourne Business SchoolAustralia’s highest entry in the top 10 business schools in the Asia-Pacific region continues to be Melbourne Business School, although in dropping down to seventh place overall, it has fallen victim to the rises seen elsewhere in the table.

Melbourne Business School was the first institution in Australia to offer an MBA, back in 1963, and is the graduate business school of the University of Melbourne – a member of Australia’s Group of Eight (Go8) coalition of leading universities.

These days the school offers an array of specialized master’s programs in addition to its regular full-time MBA, the latest of which – in business analytics – is an acknowledgement of the increasing importance ascribed to management in the field of big data.

8. Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad

IIM AhmedabadIIM Ahmedabad is the sole survivor from India in this year’s 10 top business schools in Asia-Pacific, and has fallen from second to eighth position in the regional standings this time round. 

Despite this, the competition for places at the top business schools in India is such that IIM Ahmedabad still commands Asia-Pacific’s highest GMAT average. Indeed, the school’s average of 711 is higher than that reported by two schools in this year’s top 10 business schools in the USMichigan Ross and UCLA Anderson (although one must factor into this the prevalence of the Indian CAT at Indian business schools).

IIM Ahmedabad also received the third highest score from international recruiters in this year’s regional MBA rankings. However, outside the top-tier of Indian business education, graduates have not enjoyed anywhere near as much standing among employers and some schools, despite high demand for management education in India have faced closure. India’s government this year announced plans to establish more institutions of the quality of IIM Ahmedabad in response to this. 

9. AGSM MBA, University of New South Wales

University of New South WalesThe second Australian entry in this year’s MBA rankings is that on offer at the University of New South Wales’ Australian Graduate School of Management (AGSM), based in Sydney.

AGSM is the postgraduate arm of the Australian School of Business, former posting of new Wharton dean Geoffrey Garrett. This year, the school hosted the first program in a new international leadership development initiative for MBA students formed in collaboration with Wharton and France’s INSEAD.

Alumni of AGSM, which also offers a specialized business and technology ‘MBT’ degree, include Bruce Buchanan, the former CEO of Qantas’ low-cost offshoot Jetstar Airways, now CEO of marketing firm, ROKT.

10. Graduate School of Business, Seoul National University

Seoul National UniversityTo round off our tour of the top 10 business schools in Asia-Pacific this year, we must pay a visit to the capital of another Asian Tiger, South Korea, where the Seoul National University (SNU) Graduate School of Business has jumped 10 places to 10th overall in the region.

SNU, founded in 1946, came in as high as fourth in the QS University Rankings: Asia this year. Its 16-month MBA program has a curriculum that has been produced in consultation with a board of representatives from leading businesses based and/or stationed in Korea, such as Samsung, LG and AT Kearny.

In addition, a partnership signed with Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business makes it possible to pursue a dual degree combining a master’s in management studies from Fuqua with the SNU MBA. The school’s current dean and marketing professor, Byung-Do Kim, is an MBA alumnus of NYU Stern and completed his PhD at Chicago Booth.

image source for SNU: flickr/jgmarcelino

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Written by Tim Dhoul

Tim is a writer with a background in consumer journalism and charity communications. He trained as a journalist in the UK and holds degrees in history (BA) and Latin American studies (MA).

8 Comments
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How good do these universities enjoy the response of international students ? Are they given the equal opportunity ?
Hello, thanks for posting - I hope this reply can help in answering: Seven of the 10 schools featured above reported a majority (more than 50%) of international students in their MBA classes this year. The precise numbers do, of course, vary quite a bit between schools but you can see those figures in the report itself: http://www.topmba.com/why-mba/publications/200-global-business-schools-report-201415 / Tim, on behalf of TopMBA.com
Hi Tim.. Thank..such a helpful list I have two question How can this list being out of any Malaysian Business school? could please enlighten us with the main element of ranking system for these schools?
Hi Ebrahim, thanks for posting. The ranking methodology comes from the opinions of recruiters and academics (full article here: http://www.topmba.com/mba-rankings/methodology-qs-global-200-business-schools-report-201415) So, as to why there is currently no Malaysian school featured, I would think this is because business education at MBA level is not quite as well established in Malaysia as it is elsewhere in the region right now. Of course, these things can and do change - recent news about MIT Sloan's partnership in Malaysia, for example, may be one to watch in the years to come (more on that here: http://www.topmba.com/blog/mit-sloan-s-malaysian-expansion-mba-news) Thanks for reading, Tim
Hello Tim, thanks for the comprehensive ranking by employers. I have been accepted by Mainland China's top bschool (BiMBA at Peking University) and am concerned about the employability of someone who does not speak any Chinese yet. Could you throw some light on the employment opportunities for foreign students at BiMBA ?
Hi Nishant – good question – I’m sure that knowledge of Mandarin would put job seekers hoping to work in China (or even with China on a regular basis) at a distinct advantage. But, this is very much a question for the career services of the school to which you have been accepted. They are the ones who will be assisting you and your fellow classmates in the job seeking process and they should be able to provide reassurance in this regard. Certainly, BiMBA’s proportion of international students in recent years suggests that there will be a number of others in your situation. Having said that, there wouldn’t be any harm in starting to look at few of essentials before your course of study begins!
Why CEIBS has not made to the list, but it was ranked very high this year from both FT and economics.
Hi Ranfeng, Good question - CEIBS did not the make the top 10 for the Asia-Pacific region as a whole in this edition, but it does feature in the top 25 and is one of five institutions in China in the full Global 200 report. It is worth mentioning, in general rather than in CEIBS's case specifically, that different rankings assess schools in different ways. QS focuses on full-time MBA programs in the Global 200 and on online MBA programs in a separate ranking. You can take a look at the Global 200's methodology here: http://www.topmba.com/mba-rankings/methodology-qs-global-200-business-schools-report-201415