Best management schools: 3 easy steps to identify the best management schools

The best management schools are the logical place to start if you are looking to invest in quality executive education to further master the right management and leadership skills to boost to your career. The best management schools stand out for connectedness to the real world of global business, superior learning techniques and innovation. Identifying the best management schools doesn't need to be difficult. Here are three easy steps to help you find not only the best management schools, but the best management schools for you.

Step 1: Use reputable business management schools rankings
The ideal start-point to find the best management schools are the annual executive education rankings from well-known independent sources like the Financial Times, Forbes and The Economist. The best business management schools are identified based on quality indicators like professors' research publication records, diversity, and graduate career advancement. In the case of IMD business school in Lausanne, Switzerland, for example, consistent top rankings reflect a 100% commitment to executive education, a global perspective and international campus, and flexible, innovative programs. IMD is ranked FIRST in open programs worldwide and in the TOP 3 in executive education worldwide - 6 years in a row (Financial Times 2012-2017).

Step 2: Review the management programs for top learning techniques and real-world focus
A closer look at the leadership management training available at a top-ranked business school will help narrow down whether it falls among the very best management schools. You'll want to see two key things: (1) leading-edge executive education techniques, whose effectiveness is based on education and business research, and (2) a flexible approach developed to meet the needs of executives training for the real world:

Executive education learning techniques:

Real-world flexibility:

  • Mix of on- and off-campus
  • A business-style, problem-solving approach (versus a purely academic one), because it parallels the global business world.
  • Customizable team options that bring general management teams together to build strategic cohesiveness.
  • A global perspective, with intellectual and cultural diversity – the best management schools for this are international business schools.

Step 3: Consider your unique business challenges to find the best management school to meet your needs

You have unique challenges depending on your seniority, your function, your company's products/service and more. So it's important to be clear with yourself about your needs and to see how these correspond to the executive education programs offered at your shortlisted business schools.

  • What is your seniority level? Which business management schools have executive courses targeted to your rank?
  • Are you in a career transition? Seek business programs geared to your step change. For example, are you…
    o A manager in training looking for that launch pad?
    o A function manager aiming to move into general management?
    o A mid-career manager getting ready to move into global management?
  • Are you seeking a function-specific management course? Even among the best management schools, you will find a variety of different function-learning strengths and it's best to pick one known for programs in your area.

Investing in business management programs is an effective way to help you realize your career potential. A little research can go a long way in helping you establish your individual match among the world's best management schools.


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