Supercharge your resume with our top-rated Mini MBA Certificate. Start now with a free trial!


Best MBA in the United Kingdom (UK)

Top business schools in the UK – Ranking, costs, salaries

Even with England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Island under its state the United Kingdom, or UK, is only one-third the size of Texas.

But that hasn’t stopped it from building a formidable empire in its regrettable colonization days or one of the world’s most massive national economies by GDP in the current times.

The presence of a real-life queen with many bright hats, and elite university buildings that also double as centuries old relics, have made the UK an international hotspot for tourism as well as education.

There are nearly 184,920 non-research post-graduate international students studying in the UK as of 2019-20.

If you chose to be not so picky about the level of study or EU status, then there are approximately half a million international students in the pursuit of higher education in the UK.

England hosts the most number followed by Scotland and the rest.

And China and India, as usual, top the charts of the highest number of student imports there.

Included among those are some of the brightest minds in business education at some of the best business schools in the world.

In this article, we will cover the motivation behind getting a business education in the UK, the benefits it provides, the eligibility, cost, and the future prospects of getting an MBA degree in the UK.

Benefits of an MBA in the UK


Quality of Business Schools

First off, the names Oxford and Cambridge are synonymous with a history of excellence.

So are London School of Economics, London Business School, Manchester University, you name it.

Over 10% of the top 100 MBA programs in the world are from the UK, according to the Financial Times Global MBA and QS Global MBA Rankings.

These are not just good business schools but global brand names respected in both academic and professional circles.
Especially if you have to make an enviable decision between stalwarts like Oxford vs Cambridge.

This is evident from the GMAT scores sent to UK in the recent years.

Despite the instability introduced by the Brexit vote, applicants from the EU sent 11.3% GMAT scores to UK Programs in 2017.

This was nearly steady from the years before (2016 and 2013). Non EU internationals, on the other hand, went on an unexpected increase in applications at 4.4% GMAT scores sent in 2017 as compared to 3.8% in 2016.

MBA Duration and Cost

The cost of an UK MBA can be steep. However, most UK MBA programs are only a year long.

This provides an added advantage to make good on the opportunity cost lost in getting a two year MBA like most traditional US and Indian MBA programs.

UK also has some of the major financial centers of the world. London, for instance, provides massive networking opportunities for cashing in on an MBA ROI.

Typical expenses in the UK depends on the city housing the university.

Here are some of the monthly budget concerns in a few cities chosen for the sake of this article.

Monthly cost Cost of living per person Food cost/person Rent
London $1,000 $200 $1,500 – $2,000
Manchester $800 $170 $700 – $1,000
Edinburgh $800 $200 $800 – $1,000

Source: Numbeo

For international students, however, their immigration policies concede to up to 20 hours of part-time on-campus jobs and full-time jobs during holidays.

These do help in relieving financing stress, especially for MBA students with heavy student debts.

However, students do have to keep in mind the added pressure of balancing a job and full-time studying simultaneously.

Life in the UK as an international student

Another major advantage for internationals is UK’s highly cosmopolitan nature.

There is a large variety of ethnicity from all parts of the world.

While that gives international students a cozy home away from home feeling, communicating in the English language aids in an easy passage into a foreign land.

Also read International student life in the United Kingdom (UK): What to expect

Eligibility requirements to apply to UK MBA Programs

Most UK MBA programs, like anywhere else, follow the same recipe to judge the MBA readiness of its applicants. And they do so by monitoring some or all of the application criteria, as sampled from various top B-schools in the UK.

GMAT / GRE Scores

As usual these standardized tests are used to compare candidates against a baseline.

Typical GMAT scores, even in the top programs are in the 680 – 700 range.

Almost none mention a minimum requirement but the generally accepted competitive score is over 650.
(MBA in Canada Europe with low GMAT scores and without GMAT)

As for GRE, a score of over 160 for Verbal and Quantitative, each, is considered competitive.

English Language Proficiency

A language proficiency test may not be necessary if the applicant has a degree where the medium of instruction has been English.

Though this concession really depends on the program.

TOEFL (with a minimum of about 100), IELTS (minimum about 7.5), Cambridge CPE, CAE or PTE Academic scores are the typical proficiency tests accepted.

Undergraduate degree

The usual good academic pedigree is a requirement no matter where you apply.

Though anyone with a low GPA can also explore as long as their profile is otherwise strong.

Work Experience

A minimum of two years of work experience is usually expected. Though the average is about 6 years.

The details are program dependent but the quality of previous employment should be able to demonstrate leadership and applicants should be able to add to the classroom richness through their global experiences.

The rest of the documentation like MBA essays, reference letters, CV, interviews, are the other commonly required items for application.

Life after MBA in UK


Jobs after MBA in UK

UK has been featured as the fifth highest payer for MBA degree holders, with the average salaries & bonus close to $122,000, according to 2018’s version of QS Salary Trends report.

Here are the average salaries after an MBA from some of UK’s top B-Schools (obtained from 2019/2020 employment reports).

Business School Post MBA average salary
London Business School $133,000
Oxford University Saïd Business School Based on location.

$78,200 (in Asia) to $124,000 (in North America)

Cambridge University Judge Business School $126,000

Most of the top schools have excellent career services and resources.

For instance, London Business School collaborates with recruiters to design its MBA curriculum, fully loaded to train students with the most relevant skills.

Not surprisingly, well over 90% MBA graduates manage to find a lucrative job offer within 3 months of graduation.

Some, like this Oxford grad, manage to find excellent positions.

Work Permit in the UK after graduation

Immigration policy changes have also made transitioning from an UK student visa to a work visa much easier than the recent years.

Instead of the measly four months allowed to look for jobs, international students who graduate in the UK will now be offered a two-year period to seek work there.

Thus, better chances of finding long-term employment and a position that can help them get into the skilled work visa system.

Permanent residence status is automatic after living and working in the UK for at least 5 years.

Top MBA Programs in the UK

Here are some of the most popular business schools in the UK that regularly feature among the top 100 MBA programs on a worldwide scale.

Business School Full Time MBA Duration Tuition (Approx.)
London Business School 15-21 months $126,165
Oxford University Saïd Business School 12 months $89,140
Imperial College Business School (Imperial College London) 12 months $77,800
Cambridge University Judge Business School 12 months $83,000
Warwick Business School 12 months $62,500
Cranfield School of Management 13 months $53,000
Manchester University Alliance 12-18 months $61,200
Durham University 12 months $47,600
University of Strathclyde Business School 12 months $42,800
University of Edinburgh Business School 12 months $48,800
Cass Business School 12 months $62,600


Is an MBA from UK worth it?

Excellent schools, globally recognized brands, multinational employers with highly competitive salaries and responsibilities, significant networking opportunities, outstanding student resources, and a much shorter MBA duration, makes UK MBA programs a force to be reckoned with.

Add to these the chance of establishing a permanent residentship within UK and easy access to the European Union, and you get a highly worthwhile international business education opportunity.

At MBA Crystal Ball, our admission consultants have helped many applicants get into the top MBA programs in UK.

If you need professional help with your applications, drop us an email.

Some related links for UK MBA programs:

Best one-year MBA programs

Harvard Stanford vs Cambridge Oxford

How to get into the London School of Economics (LSE)

London Business School

Getting into Cambridge MBA

Sources: 1, 2