HBS, Stanford, Insead, and London Business School Have the Most-Wanted MBAs

Harvard Business School in Cambridge, Mass. Photography by Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

In North America, recruiters say they prefer to hire MBAs from Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business, while Insead and London Business School are the leading choices in Europe, and Insead-Singapore is considered the best in the Asia-Pacific region, according to the 2012/2013 QS Global 200 Business Schools Report.

QS TopMBA, which puts out the annual report, surveys recruiters around the world to find the best business programs based on the MBAs they hire or interview. This year’s list echoes the favorite business schools cited by recruiters last year.

The report also identifies the top schools by employer reputation in 10 areas of specialization. Among U.S. schools, HBS is considered top in corporate social responsibility, entrepreneurship, leadership, and strategy. Employers like MIT’s Sloan School of Management for information management and operations management, while Stanford is considered the best in innovation. The Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania is No. 1 for finance, and Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management is the leader in marketing.

Recruiters do give high marks to some “emerging” business schools for the quality of their graduates, but their praise doesn’t translate into high salaries for graduates from schools that are not brand names. HBS grads take in, on average, $120,000 before bonuses, whereas grads of schools starting to gain popularity among local employers make about $70,000 on average, according to the report.

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