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5 Most Influential Business Schools in the World

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Tomorrow’s leaders are studying today at the best business schools in the world.

These institutions don’t just give their students exposure to the thoughts and practices of great economists and captains of industry, they also provide hands-on training that essentially launch viable businesses before graduation day. Let’s take a look at some of the top business schools in the world and what makes them so effective.

1. Harvard

Harvard Business School has been top-of-the-heap for ages, but it gets by on more than prestige alone. The reason this most venerated of the Ivy League schools has remained vital over so much time is because it embraces innovation. Over the past few years, Harvard’s educational model has become less strictly academic, transitioning away from the deep analysis of case studies and focusing more on the experiential end of the spectrum.

Heavily resourced and very well connected, Harvard uses its assets to introduce students to business experts from all over the world and puts students into the fray as soon as possible by partially funding functioning businesses built from the ground up by the students themselves. It’s hands-on minus the make-or-break risk, and that safety net makes highly successful entrepreneurs.

2. University of Chicago

The UofC Booth School of Business really benefits from interdisciplinary studies. While the globetrotting Executive MBA program opens up plenty of opportunities for students, the real draw of this program are the MBA variations that work in conjunction with other UofC departments like the prestigious Pritzker School of Medicine and the Harris School of Public Policy Studies.

Sharing expertise between these programs gives Booth School students an inside track on key industries, becoming conversant in specialized topics and networking with big players in multiple fields.

3. London Business School

While a lot of great MBA programs get their laurels from an ability to connect studies with hands-on experiences, the London Business School has its strongest suit in a more inward discipline. LBS regularly ranks among the top research institutions in the world, producing ready-made experts and the power consultants of the future with an unparalleled sense of why business and finance work the way the do.

It also helps that LBS has joint programs with the financial powerhouses of Dubai, China, the United States and India. There is perhaps no school that’s more global than LBS.

4. Wharton

The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania works for the same reason that the best medical schools are attached to top-tier hospitals. The staff and facilities of Wharton are working consultants with firms of their own and research institutions that put a lot of valuable information into the larger marketplace.

These factors keep Wharton on the cutting edge like few of its peers, making better-prepared and more savvy graduates than other schools in its field. Whether those students are networking the old fashioned  way or researching what’s out there on a website for investments careers, they’ll be ahead of the curve on thought and technology in their chosen fields.

5. UW Foster School

The University of Washington Foster School of Business has a lot of natural advantages, but a few really stand out. It’s just a stone’s throw from the Seattle headquarters of some of the biggest, most influential businesses in the world, among them are Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing.

Somewhat more subtly but perhaps more impactful in the long run, the Foster School is also at the center of a lot of green business innovation. UW’s sustainability-related programs are robust, and the city around it is a real leader in the field. The Foster School may not approach the sheer eliteness of older, more established programs back east, but its advantageous position in a future-leaning environment puts it in a good place to become increasingly relevant as the years progress.

There’s no single model for a great business school. Every top program offers something a little different, be it resources, expertise or an eye on tomorrow’s essential industries. When students are deciding where to apply, just as when recruiters are deciding where to look for talent, these nuances should be at the fronts of their minds.

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