Top 10 MBA Programs for Return on Investment 2021 |

Top 10 MBA Programs for Return on Investment 2021

By Niamh O

Updated March 27, 2021 Updated March 27, 2021

The QS Global MBA Rankings 2021 have been released today, ranking business schools from around the world. The rankings are also split up into regions: Asia, Europe, Canada, Oceania, Latin America, and the US.

MBA programs were ranked based on the indicators of employability, entrepreneurship and alumni outcomes, return on investment, thought leadership, and diversity. You can find out more about the methodology used to produce the rankings here.

We’ve compiled our data to find the top 10 programs providing return on investment (ROI) for MBA students post-graduation. Take a look at the top 10 below.

                                                                                                                QS Global MBA Rankings 2021: Top 10 MBA Programs for ROI
Business School Location
HEC Paris Paris, France
SDA Bocconi School of Management Milan, Italy
Mannheim Business School Mannhheim, Germany
EDHEC Business School Nice, France
ESCP Business School - Paris Paris; London; Milan; Berlin
ESMT Berlin Berlin, Germany
IESE Business School Barcelona, Spain
WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management Dusseldorf, German
Esade Ramon Llull University  Barcelona, Spain
Thammasat Business School Thailand, Bangkok


Thammasat Business School

Thammasat Business School by Sry85 via Wikimedia Commons

  • Tuition fees: US$22,293
  • Percentage of female students: 50
  • Percentage of international students: 45
  • Students in class: 20

Thammasat’s MBA program is 17 months.

In the first-year MBA students take foundation subjects (4.5 credits), required courses (including Business Function Management; Modern Management Concepts and Methods (36 credits)), elective courses like Accounting or Operations Management (3 credits), and a Thesis (15 credits).

In the second year, students earn the same amount of credits for the same courses, except that elective courses are worth 13.5 credits, and they switch the Thesis for Independent Study (4.5 credits).

ESADE Business School

ESADE Business School

  • Tuition fees: US$76,830
  • Percentage of female students: 39
  • Percentage of international students: 95
  • Students in class: 186

Students undertaking ESADE’s 18-month MBA program will enjoy studying on the third best program in the European top 10 for ROI – which is unsurprising when grads note an average salary of US$104,161.

ESADE’s MBA program has a strong international focus. Study tours take you to a range of destinations worldwide on five different continents. You can also do an international exchange of up to four months from a choice of 45 partner schools, including Dartmouth College Tuck School of BusinessChina Europe International Business School (CEIBS) and Warwick Business School. Although the program is taught in English; Spanish, French and German language lessons are also available.

WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management

WHU Otto Beisheim School of Management

  • Tuition fees: US$45,425
  • Percentage of female students: 48
  • Percentage of international students: 82
  • Students in class: 83

Students will complete WHU’s full-time MBA program in just 12 months.

The program incorporates core modules; electives; international modules in USA, India and China; Integrated Personal Growth and Leadership Development module; final MBA project.

90 percent of students accept jobs three months after graduation, noting an average salary of US$150,000.

IESE Business School

IESE Business School

  • Tuition fees: US$93,592
  • Percentage of female students: 32
  • Percentage of international students: 90
  • Students in class: 368

Barcelona’s IESE Business School offers MBA students the opportunity to complete its program anywhere between 15 and 19 months.

The MBA program scored second-highest in the European top 10 for ROI, with an impressive average post-graduation salary uplift of 124 percent – earning an average salary of $123,662 three months after graduation. 94 percent of students accepted jobs three months after graduation and 10 percent started their own business.

The school encourages connection with its Spanish roots, offering a Business Spanish learning program for MBA students as well as the option for advanced and native Spanish speakers to graduate with a bilingual MBA diploma.

ESMT Berlin

ESMT Berlin

  • Tuition fees: US$48,790
  • Percentage of female students: 39
  • Percentage of international students: 96
  • Students in class: 48

ESMT Berlin’s full-time MBA program is one year in total.

Available tracks on the program include Innovation & Entrepreneurship; Managerial Analytics; Strategic Leadership. MBAs will also undertake a Consulting Project between November and January after completing their elective courses.

Students can also customize their degree through the Responsible Leaders Fellowship (post-MBA) or by enrolling in intensive German language courses in Berlin pre-MBA to start your path to fluency or boost your current level.

92 percent of students accepted job offers three months after graduation, noting an average salary of US$105,900.

ESCP Business School

ESCP Business School

  • Tuition fees: US$40,378
  • Percentage of female students: 44
  • Percentage of international students: 100
  • Students in class: 88

ESCP Business School’s MBA in International Management is an intense program, taking only 10 months to complete. Each semester will take MBA students to a different ESCP inner city campus. Similarly, students will take part in two Company Consultancy Projects over two countries.

ESCP’s MBA program offers 24 electives across seven countries, 155 active research professors from over 30 nationalities, and grads can enjoy an alumni network of 60,000 from 150 countries.

Students can make use of the MBA career development program, the International Leadership Advancement Program (I-LEAP) which helps students find their ideal job after graduation. The program includes:

  • Three-day professional orientation seminar
  • Alumni-mentor program
  • Individual Professional Coaching

EDHEC Business School

EDHEC Business School

  • Tuition fees: US$49,350
  • Percentage of female students: 36
  • Percentage of international students: 98
  • Students in class: 74

EDHEC’s Global MBA is 12 months in total. The program offers Leadership Development; an eight-week MBA project tailored to your post-MBA ambitions; specialization tracks & global business trips: International Finance in London, Global Leadership in Singapore, Entrepreneurship in Silicon Valley, Digital Innovation in New York. 

There are 32 nationalities represented on EDHEC’s program, and although female students only make up 36 percent of the cohort, EDHEC says it wants to hit gender parity soon.

Mannheim Business School

Mannheim Business School

  • Tuition fees: US$44,303
  • Percentage of female students: 21
  • Percentage of international students: 91
  • Students in class: 56

Students can complete Mannheim’s full-time MBA program in 12 months. The program scored highly for the thought leadership indicator.

The Mannheim MBA offers general management education, a wide range of elective courses, as well as a three-month Business Master Project at the end of the program.

Every class independently plans and implements its own group project in the Rhine-Neckar Metropolitan Region for the Social Class Project, organizing everything itself and directly applying its management skills to the task. MBA participants can also obtain an additional Management Analytics Certificate.

SDA Bocconi

SDA Bocconi

  • Tuition fees: US$66,174
  • Percentage of female students: 33
  • Percentage of international students: 74
  • Students in class: 92

SDA Bocconi’s full-time MBA will see students complete the program in 13 months.

For nine months students take core classes and concentrations, with up to another six months where you can choose from individual internships, entrepreneurial projects, or group business labs to put your learning into practice.

HEC Paris

HEC Paris

  • Tuition fees: US$76,434
  • Percentage of female students: 34
  • Percentage of international students: 95
  • Students in class: 281

The HEC Paris MBA program earned first place in Europe for yet another year, achieving the joint highest score – 100 percent – in the European rankings for ROI with SDA Bocconi, and scored very highly for the thought leadership and employability indicators too.

HEC graduates have been known to enjoy a staggering 152 percent salary increase post-MBA, with students earning a whopping average salary of US$128,206. The 21-month program focuses on developing leadership potential, such as leadership seminars, a student-run MBA multisport MBA tournament and the HEC Global Leaders Series, with influential speakers from the world of business.

This article was originally published in September 2020 . It was last updated in March 2021

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Written by

Niamh is Deputy Head of Content at QS (;, creating and editing content for an international student audience. Having gained her journalism qualification at the Press Association, London and since written for different international publications, she's now enjoying telling the stories of students, alumni, faculty, entrepreneurs and organizations from across the globe.