INSEAD vs LBS MBA: Comparison Based on Location, Cost, Duration, Ranking, Profile & the Famous Finance vs Consulting Debate

Insead vs LBSLondon Business School (LBS) and INSEAD Business School offer MBA programs that are ranked among the best in the world.  The quality of the students, the teaching methodology, curriculum, faculty expertise, networking opportunities and employment statistics have contributed towards the rise of these two giants among the MBA elites.

1) Location

LBS is located in London, which has been consistently voted as the best European City to live. The school campus is located next to Regent’s Park, the epicenter for experiencing London's history, art, and culture. 43 Universities in the City earned London the title as the ‘largest concentration of higher education in Europe.’  In addition to that, over 75% of Fortune 500 companies have their offices in the city.

INSEAD’s main campus is located in Fontainebleau, 34 miles away from Central Paris. Students will experience a peaceful environment, isolated from the hustle of the city. It is not far off from the renowned Forest of Fontainebleau. The highly integrated transportation system in France allows students to take a quick detour to Paris - the fashion capital of the world. 

A clear advantage that INSEAD has over LBS is the three-campus structure that allows MBA students to pick the campus according to their convenience and post-MBA goals. The other campuses are in Singapore and Abu Dhabi.  For students who feel that their post-MBA career prospects would mostly be in Asia, INSEAD is a better choice than LBS.

Networking (City): LBS >
Location Advantages: Read MBA in the UK (2018) & MBA in France (2018) (PDF)

2) Ranking

Although ranking is just one indicator of the quality of the MBA program, for top schools, it gives us an idea about the small variations in some key metrics like post-MBA Employment rate, Student Satisfaction, and Recruiter Preference.  According to Financial Times Global MBA Ranking 2017, LBS is ranked 6th, and INSEAD tops the ranking. The Economist ranking has placed LBS at 25th and INSEAD at 13th.

If ranking is the only metric that you are going to consider, then INSEAD has a clear edge over LBS in 2017.

Ranking: INSEAD> LBS
Related Download: INSEAD MBA Essay Guide LBS MBA Essay Guide

3) Duration and Cost

INSEAD MBA is a 10-Month program with a fee of €80,800 for the Class of December 2018 (January 2018 intake) with 2-Month Summer break that include Internship opportunities. LBS MBA program is a 15-21 Month flexible program with a fee of £75,100 or €
85,615 (1 pound = 1.14 Euro). If you compare the two programs as a 12-month course, LBS Tuition Fee is at €68492 per year as against €80,800 for INSEAD, a much cheapter option than INSEAD in terms of Tuition Fee.

To give a holistic idea about the actual expense, we have used data from Numbeo to summarize the Cost and Purchasing Power of both the cities along with Singapore and Abu Dhabi.

                                                         London       Paris      Abu Dhabi    Singapore

Cost of Living Plus Rent Index:               74.83       62.42         66.21          76.50
Local Purchasing Power:                         83.51       99.27        136.28         97.56
Rent Index                                           68.75       42.21         68.80          68.88
Groceries Index                                     58.11       75.08         53.03          73.58  
Restaurants Index                                 88.46        81.07         64.62          58.54

Cost of Living (Costliest> Least Costly): London>Singapore>Abu Dhabi >Paris
Purchasing Power (Highest > Least Purchasing Power): Abu Dhabi > Paris > Singapore > London

In terms of cost, London and Singapore are the least favorable while Paris and Abu Dhabi scores high on both cost and purchasing power

Note: These Indices measure cost relative to New York City. A 120 index means the price is 20% more than that in New York City. 80% means its 20% Cheaper.  London is the most expensive city with the lowest purchasing power.

Unfortunately, we cannot compare locations purely based on income and expense; the quality of life should also be factored when you consider the cost. On aggregate, INSEAD’s three-campus structure offer a better value for money.

Value for Money:

4) Class Profile

The Quality and diversity of the Class play a major role in the learning process. In INSEAD, the largest pre-MBA experience was in Corporate (40%), with Consulting (27%) and Financial Services(22%), completing the top three. LBS has a similar representation in Consulting (26%), but Finance/Accounting had a higher representation (27%). Professionals from FMCG and Energy industry completed the third largest group.

When you compare the class composition, do note that LBS MBA class
(425) is only half the size of Insead (999). The latest LBS MBA Class is represented by 70 nationalities with an average experience of 5 Years and Average GMAT Score of 708 against INSEAD's 93 nationalities scoring an average GMAT of 707 and work experience of 5.7 years (average)

Finance Background:
Consulting Background: INSEAD > LBS

5) Finance vs. Management Consulting

INSEAD is known for its excellent consulting placement.One reason is the 27% of MBA candidates from Management Consulting background. Post-MBA 46% chose Management consulting, accommodating candidates from Technology, Finance and Corporate sector to make the career switch.

In terms of job function, nearly half (48%) of the INSEAD class chose consulting, while Finance was at 12%.

INSEAD has a record of Alumni in CEO position. One reason is the strong leadership development focus in the curriculum. The results of the latest class prove the assertion. 10% and 11% of the class joined Leadership Development and General Management job functions respectively - a pre-cursor role to CEO position.

INSEAD has a reputation of picking candidates from the Big Cs, and many of them chose to join the organization back after an MBA. If you discount that number, still, McKinsey, BCG and Bain & Company are the three leading recruiters welcoming 75, 41 and 34 candidates respectively from INSEAD's Full-time MBA class.

On the contrary, 26-28% of the latest LBS MBA class was from consulting background, and the final push into Consulting post-MBA was 35% of the latest class. Candidates joining Management Consulting is not to the same extent as
INSEAD's latest class, but the 3 Big Cs (The Boston Consulting Group, McKinsey & Company, and Bain & Company) were the leading recruiters in LBS MBA program.

25% of the class chose Finance as an industry with Private Equity & Venture Capital finding near equal representation as Investment Banking.

Insead vs LBS MBA Consulting and Finance post MBA salary

Note: The mean salary tends to be higher than Median by $10 to $15k. Do discount the number from LBS data as the team has not shared the median salary in their latest Employment reports

Finance: LBS > INSEAD
Management Consulting: INSEAD > LBS
Industries (Analysis): Read MBA in the UK (PDF) and MBA in France (PDF)

Recommended Reads
MBA in the UK (2018) - Industry Analysis, MBA Comparison and Funding
MBA in France (2018) - Industry Analysis, MBA Comparison and Funding

LBS MBA Essay Guide

INSEAD MBA Essay Guide
Comprehensive MBA Research Guide

Read the Second Part of the Series - INSEAD MBA vs London Business School MBA Program

Full-time MBA ($)Median Base SalaryOther Guarnateed PaymentsTotal Median Salary
Finance (INSEAD)$80700$38800$119,500
Finance(LBS)*$127,588** $52,414**$180002
* Salary by Industry
** Mean Salary

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