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8 of the Best Cities for Business Students

By Laura T

Updated October 13, 2021 Updated October 13, 2021

Big business is based in big cities, and those looking to study business or business-related programs are after drawn to the world’s major business hubs, not least due to the dream of finding prestigious internships and graduate training schemes nearby. Below, we’ve listed 8 of the best cities for business students. Drawing on the results of the QS Best Student Cities 2015 and the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2015: Business and Management, we look at the number of top business schools in each city, as well as the general industry outlook.

While some of the best cities for business listed below may be more obvious than others (ahem, London!), there’s still plenty of diversity on offer, with cities across Asia, Europe, North America and Oceania.

1.  London


City of London, UK

The UK’s leading financial hub, generating as much as 22% of the entire country’s GDP and home to over 840,000 private sector businesses, London has a lot to offer prospective business students. Not only does the city host the world’s number one institution in the recently released business and management ranking, it is also home to 100 of Europe’s largest companies, meaning graduate opportunities for business students are plentiful.

Ranking in the QS Best Student Cities 2015: 3rd

Top business schools in London: London Business School (1st for business and management); London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE, 9th); Imperial College London (35th); City University London (51-100); King's College London (KCL, 51-100); UCL (University College London, 101-150).

2.  Seoul


Yeouido business district, Seoul, SK


South Korea is one of the four ‘Asian tigers’, renowned for their remarkable economic development throughout the second half of the 20th century and beyond. The capital city of Seoul is where this growth is most evident; it’s now the world’s fourth largest metropolitan economy, following global cities Tokyo, New York City and Los Angeles. Also one of the largest cities in the world, Seoul is home to another impressive selection of the world’s 200 top business schools.

Ranking in the QS Best Student Cities 2015: 10th

Top business schools in Seoul: Seoul National University (SNU, 33rd for business and management); Korea University (45th); Yonsei University (48=); Sungkyunkwan University (51-100); Hanyang University (151-200); Kyung Hee University (151-200); Sogang University (151-200).

3.  Boston


Downtown Boston, US


The wider metropolitan area of Boston is home to two of the world’s most famous institutions – Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Boston, which come first and fourth in the overall QS World University Rankings®. These two are also internationally renowned for business and management, thanks to the ultra-prestigious Harvard Business School and MIT’s Sloan School of Management. A fairly affluent, leafy city in the US’s New England region, Boston promises booming industry in biotechnology, financial services and tourism.

Ranking in the QS Best Student Cities 2015: 6th

Top business schools in Boston: Harvard University (2nd for business and management); Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT, 6th); Boston University (51-100); Boston College (101-150).

4.  Hong Kong


Hong Kong skyline

This ‘special administrative district’, a bustling island city on the southern coast of China, Hong Kong emerged from a series of historical conflicts to become the thriving hub of global trade and finance it is today. Known for its gleaming skyline and efficient infrastructure, Hong Kong has a highly developed capitalist economy offering more economic freedom than anywhere in the world, and the seventh largest stock exchange. To read more about studying in Hong Kong, see our dedicated guide.

Ranking in the QS Best Student Cities 2015: 5th

Top business schools in Hong Kong: Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST, 18th for business and management); University of Hong Kong (HKU, 24th); the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK, 28th); City University of Hong Kong (46=); Hong Kong Polytechnic University (51-100).

5.  Melbourne


City of Melbourne, Australia


Australia boasts an impressive number of the world’s most liveable cities, one of which is Melbourne, a city which benefits from strong healthcare services, cultural diversity, low levels of crime and corruption, and pristine, sunshine-smattered streets. As well as offering one of Asia-Pacific’s leading financial centers and five out of 10 of Australia’s biggest companies, it also boasts successful industry within tourism, sports, healthcare, arts and entertainment, and research and development.

Ranking in the QS Best Student Cities 2015: 2nd

Top business schools in Melbourne: TheUniversity of Melbourne (15th for business and management); Monash University (39=); Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT, 51-100); Deakin University (151-200).

6.  Singapore


Singapore skyline

The third Asian tiger featured in this list (along with South Korea and Hong Kong), city-state Singapore is another Eastern economic success story. Boasting the world’s fourth largest financial center and one of the world’s top five busiest ports, Singapore is also the only country in Asia to hold a triple-A credit rating. Singapore’s booming market economy depends heavily on trade, offering good levels of economic freedom and low tax rates. Surprisingly for a port city, Singapore also boasts some of the world’s lowest levels of corruption, similar to levels seen across Scandinavia. Learn more about studying in Singapore with our dedicated guide.

Ranking in the QS Best Student Cities 2015: 15th

Top business schools in Singapore: National University of Singapore (NUS, 11th for business and management); Nanyang Technological University (NTU, 31st); Singapore Management University (50=); London School of Business and Finance Singapore

7.  Paris


Paris' financial district, France


For two years running, Paris has ranked first in the QS Best Student Cities, and for good reason! The city’s position is largely thanks to its affordable higher education fees, combined with its vast number of internationally renowned universities. Boasting five of the world’s top 200 business schools, Paris offers a great environment for business students and graduates alike. The banking and financial center of France, the Paris region accounts for 30% of the nation’s GDP (US$694 billion in 2012)  and ranks among the top five wealthiest regions in Europe, with as many as 30 Fortune Global 500 companies headquartered here.

Ranking in the QS Best Student Cities 2015: 1st

Top business schools in Paris: HEC Paris (13= for business and management); ESSEC Business School, Paris (51-100); ESCP Europe (101-150); Université Paris Dauphine (101-150); Université Paris I Pantheon-Sorbonne (151-200).

8.  Sydney


Sydney city, Australia

Another of Australia’s most-coveted cities is Sydney, renowned for its cultural landmarks, sandy beaches and as the site of the world’s largest natural harbor. Claiming a US$337 billion GRP (gross regional product) – bigger than the entire nations of Denmark, Singapore or Hong Kong – Sydney has particularly strong industry in finance, manufacturing and tourism. Despite Australia being among the world’s most expensive places to live, wages in Sydney may well compensate for this, offering the 7th highest wage levels of any city worldwide, all great news for business students!

Ranking in the QS Best Student Cities 2015: 4th

Top business schools in Sydney: The University of New South Wales (UNSW, 19= for business and management); University of Sydney (32nd); University of Technology, Sydney (UTS, 51-100); Macquarie University (101-150).

More of the world’s best cities for business students:

This article was originally published in May 2015 . It was last updated in October 2021

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Written by

Laura is a former staff writer for TopUniversities.com, providing advice and guidance for students on a range of topics helping them to choose where to study, get admitted and find funding and scholarships. A graduate of Queen Mary University of London, Laura also blogs about student life.

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