Revealed: The best UK university for students to start or manage a business

A new study involving 9.5 million former students has revealed which north and south UK university is the best for students to study at with the aim of starting their own company or running a business in key managerial roles such as CEO or Managing Director.

Stats from the study include:

  • One in five University of the Arts London alumni start or manage a business – highest in the UK
  • Falmouth University ranks 2nd in UK with 19.77% of students becoming business leaders
  • University of Oxford ranks 4th (15.23%) University of Cambridge ranks 5th (14.85%)
  • Rank 100th in the UK Goldsmith, University of London (14.77%) ranks 6th in the study

When applying to university, most students use league tables to help them decide which university they should study at and aim for the top 10 – believing these are the best for their future. However, the league tables do not tell the full story.




Students wanting to start their own business or become CEOs and Managing Directors would think that the best university for this would be the highest ranked in the UK. However, a recent study conducted by Hitachi Capital Invoice Finance revealed that the University for the Arts London was the number one ranked university in the UK for students graduating to start and manage a business.


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Known as the overall 39th best university in the UK, one in five (19.85%) of the creative university’s alumni became business leaders after graduating from the university. Almost one in ten (9.21%) of the alumni used their degrees to form their own start up – beating the likes of Oxford and Cambridge to the top spot.

Falmouth University ranked 2nd in the study with a total of almost one in five (19.77%) students managing a business or creating their own. This is a huge climb up the table for the Cornish university which ranks as the 52nd best university in the UK according to the league tables.

Graduates from the university are also the most likely in the UK to pursue freelancer roles with over one in ten (10.55%) previous students currently freelancing.

The redbrick university, the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) ranked third in the UK with one in six (16.10%) of their graduates running or owning a business. Graduates from the Golden Triangle university were also the most likely in the UK to manage a business with 8.90 per cent holding CEO and Managing Director job roles.

Claiming 4th place in the study, and the top spot in the rivalry of the Oxbridge universities, the University of Oxford places ahead of Cambridge in the study with over one in seven (15.23%) alumni from the prestigious university becoming business leaders.

Rounding off the top five, and completing the Golden Triangle, is the highest ranked overall university in the UK, the University of Cambridge. 14.85 per cent of Cambridge gradates progress into CEO roles or starting their own company.

The world-renowned university completes the top five UK universities for founding or managing a business – all the universities are located in the south of the UK.