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University of South Carolina


Having grown up in a rural Utah community where cows outnumbered people, Ryan Nielsen quickly followed his high school graduation with two years as a Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionary crisscrossing bustling South Korea. 

The experience convinced Nielsen that his life’s focus should be international as opposed to local. He came back the U.S. to pursue an International MBA at the Darla Moore School of Business at the University of South Carolina, where he undertook an immersion in China.

The International MBA was an opportunity to learn strategic thinking, operations, marketing and all the different aspects of business—with an added bonus close this his heart. “That my wife and newborn child could join me and share that experience was profound,” Nielsen says in Moore School promotional materials.

Before graduation, he learned about a leadership development program at the Bank of America. He applied, got accepted and remains with BofA as the vice president of Information Security in Charlotte, North Carolina, where he mitigates the global complexities of information security governance.

“Business school gave me direction,” Nielsen says now. “I didn’t really have a career before my MBA. I had jobs.”

He is not the only one who recognizes the superiority of the Moore School’s International MBA program. So does U.S. News & World Report, which places the program at the top of its 2020 list of the “10 Best Business Schools for an International MBA.” 

That’s impressive when you consider the University of South Carolina program placed ahead of such heavy hitters as the Harvard Business School, the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business and the University of California at Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. 

U.S. News & World Report gave the South Carolina program the edge because, “Moore offers a language track for its International MBA students, which includes an immersion experience in France, Germany or Mexico and requires students to develop foreign language skills.”

The full rankings follow:

1) University of South Carolina (Moore)

2) (Tie) Harvard Business School

2) (Tie) Georgetown University (McDonough)

4) New York University (Stern)

5) University of Pennsylvania (Wharton)

6) Columbia University, New York 

7) University of Michigan – Ann Arbor (Ross)

8) (Tie) George Washington University

8) (Tie) Florida International University

10) University of California – Berkeley (Haas)

What is also amazing about Moore School’s finish is the program ranks much lower on a prominent list of the best global MBA programs around the world—a list that ranks the other schools on the U.S. News & World Report collection much higher.

Global Trade has in the past shared the rankings of QS (Quacquarelli Symonds Limited), the world’s leading global higher education analyst. The QS portfolio includes its flagship website,

What follows are the top 10 on QS Global MBA Rankings 2020: 

1) (Tie) Penn (Wharton)

1) (Tie) Stanford University

3) (Tie) INSEAD, Fontainebleu Singapore

3) (Tie) MIT (Sloan)

5) Harvard Business School

6) London Business School

7) HEC Paris

8) University of Chicago (Booth)

9) University of California – Berkeley (Haas)

10) Northwestern University (Kellogg)

The Moore School does not land on a particular number in the QS Global MBA Rankings but within a range: 141-150. That places the program lower, according to the QS brain trust, than the University of North Carolina (Kenan-Flagfler) at No. 57 and North Carolina State University (Jenkins) at No. 95.

The snub and Carolina border wars continue: Business Insider in September published the top 50 schools from the QS Global MBA Rankings 2021. The University of South Carolina does not make the cut, but Duke University’s Fuqua program in Durham, North Carolina, does, at No. 21.

Here the top 10 for 2021, according to QS:

1) Stanford Graduate School of Business

2) Penn (Wharton)

3) MIT (Sloan)

4) Harvard Business School

5) HEC Paris

6) INSEAD, Singapore

7) London Business School

8) Columbia Business School

9) IE Business School, Madrid, Spain

10) University of California – Berkeley (Haas)


U.S. News & World Report 10 Best Business Schools for an International MBA:

QS Global MBA Rankings 2020: 

Business Insider The 50 Best MBA Programs in the World: