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The Most Searched-For Business Schools On Google

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Which business schools are potential applicants searching for the most?

The top of the business school applicant funnel is like a deep, dark jungle—vast, impenetrable in places, and tricky to navigate.

People express an early interest in applying to business school in a variety of ways—attending events, student fairs, speaking to students, contacting admissions staff directly—but most research starts in one place: online.

According to AIGAC’s 2018 MBA Applicant Survey, more than 80% of business school applicants target school websites as their most valuable source of information. And where does the search for business schools start? Google.

The more people searching for a school on Google, the more interest there is. Sure, people could be searching for a business school for any number of reasons, but you can bet that a good proportion will be potential applicants considering a degree program.

The world’s top-20-ranked business schools, according to the Financial Times’ Global MBA rankings.

Results & Insight

INSEAD, Harvard, and Wharton are the world’s most searched-for business schools on Google in the Financial Times’ top-20, registering 90,500 global average monthly searches each.

London Business School (74,000 searches) is the world’s fourth most searched-for business school, while Columbia Business School, in fifth, records 27,100 average monthly searches.

Cornell Johnson (2,400) is our least searched-for business school, although potential applicants will likely search for the school under a variety of names. Cornell MBA (4,400) registers more average monthly searches.

Globally, just under half of searches are done on mobile devices; most are done on desktop. Searches tend to peak in January—those ambitious New Year’s resolutions!

Top-ranked by the Financial Times, Stanford (search term: Stanford Business School) attracts 12,100 average monthly searches. 35.8% of those are from the US; 12.6% from India; 5.7% from the UK; 2.9% from Germany; and 2.5% from Brazil. The remaining searches originate from a variety of countries around the world.

For a US school, Stanford attracts a strong percentage of searches from outside the US (64.2% from outside; 35.8% from inside), although eclipsed by Columbia Business School, Harvard Business School, and Wharton (71.8% from outside the US; 28.2% from inside).

The US schools which attract the highest percentage of searches from inside the country are Yale School of Management (44.7% of searches come from inside the US) and MIT Sloan (44.7%).

Internet users in the US tend to use either desktop or mobile to search for business schools, although the majority of searches from India for Stanford Business School were conducted on mobile (56.6%).

INSEAD attracts a more diverse audience than the US schools. 23.1% of searches for INSEAD come from the US; 17.2% India; 4.6% UK; 4.3% France; 3.2% Brazil; and 47.6% other countries.

Unsurprisingly, London Business School has a very strong footprint in the UK. 20% of Google searches come from the UK; 18.1% US; 12.7% India; 2% Japan.

IESE Business School is the Spanish school with the highest percentage of searches from the US. 26.9% come from the US; 14.9% India; 6.5% UK; 3.2% Spain; 2.4% Brazil. The results are similar with a Spanish language search.

ESADE Business School’s 9,900 average monthly searches come mostly from the US at 24.1%. 22.9% come from India; 5.3% UK; 3% Spain; 2.7% Germany. IE Business School—not ranked by the Financial Times this year—attracts an impressive 40,500 average monthly searches; 25.5% from the US; 13.7% India; 6.2% UK; 2.7% Spain; 2.6% Brazil.

With Google blocked in China, the 4,500 monthly searches Shanghai-based CEIBS attracts are understandably low. In fact, if Google was widely used in China, search numbers would be boosted across the board. According to GMAC data, almost 60% of applicants from East and Southeast Asia target business schools in the US or UK.

China excluded, 23.6% of searches for CEIBS come from the US; 12.1% India, 7.8% UK; and interestingly 2.4% from Italy. After the US, India, and the UK, Hong Kong’s HKUST Business School sees 3.1% of its 2,900 average monthly searches originate from South Africa.

Just outside the Financial Times’ top-20, HEC Paris attracts 49,500 average monthly searches; 33.4% from the US; 12.7% India; 4.1% Pakistan; 4% France; 3.6% UK.

Hult International Business School is one of the most searched-for outside the top tiers of the rankings tables, attracting 33,100 average monthly searches; 26.8% from the US; 15.2% India; 7% UK; 2.4% Brazil; 2.2% Spain.


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