Top 15 Cities to Work in According to INSEAD Alumni

A study by the INSEAD AlumniAssociation France and the Challenges magazine

Top 15 Cities to WorkCan you believe it?

Dubai #1 ; London #10 ; Paris #11 …

It was never done before at such a large scale … 835 Alumni from INSEAD, The Business School for the World, have taken 30 minutes of their precious time to answer a very detailed questionnaire on the city they work in. THANK YOU!

They live and work in capital cities, as locals or expatriates, as corporate executives or entrepreneurs, as men or women, and they agreed to rank those cities against different criteria (30) over summer, to evaluate their attractiveness, dynamism, quality of life and cost of life. You will discover their Top 15 cities in the attached study.

Many of these 835 people have worked in different cities across various continents, as our 46.000 Alumni usually do after their MBA or executive education programme. I sincerely believe that their views – and therefore the results of our study – are unique, compelling, and visionary. The scores have been enriched by great interviews of selected Alumni whom I wish to thank personally.

What I found most surprising when looking at the league table is the overall ranking, which overwhelmed me with mixed feelings and emotions:

– The huge disappointment of seeing “la plus belle ville du monde” ranked #11 only.

– The joy of having lived in 4 countries amongst the Top 15 globally.

– The pride of having worked across 13 cities from the Top 15.

– The frustration of still missing 2 cities which I have not even visited.

– The amazement to see that the “Big Apple” was less attractive than the “Venice of the North”.

– The sadness to see the largest city of beautiful South America ranked last.

– The full agreement in seeing London as the most expensive… No really?

And I bet that each of you will also analyse our results in great detail, and then agree or disagree violently. You will certainly discuss at length with other readers and citizens of the world, and it will prompt interesting debates. But please, do not take any of the scores personally, and try not to offend any city patriot when comparing scores 🙂

This study, conducted with the leading French business magazine, Challenges, is truly aligned with the vision of the INSEAD Alumni Association in France: Inspire and Connect!

– We hope that the study, the interviews and the article will really inspire you: to travel the world, to discover new cultures, to create new companies, to convince your city authorities and governments to do a better job, to send your children abroad, to change your life or your perspectives, … and to help make the world a better place.

– We also hope that our study will help you to connect: to connect with your friends in other cities, to connect with business partners in your city, to connect with the interviewees, to connect with new entrepreneurial ideas, to connect with other realities of the world, … and to connect with INSEAD Alumni wherever they live and whoever they are.

We really look forward to reading your reactions to the IAAF-Challenges study, please email

Enjoy the reading, be inspired and connected!

Jean-Marc Liduena, MBA’99J
INSEAD Alumni Association France

Print Friendly, PDF & Email