Financial Times Global MBA Rankings 2015

The MBA Rankings: What You Need to KnowFinancial Times 2015 global MBA rankings  were released this morning. Let’s see how our top schools fared this year…

Top 25 2015 Global MBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. Harvard Business School, USA (1)
2. London Business School, UK (3)
3. UPenn Wharton, USA (4)
4. Stanford GSB, USA (2)
5. INSEAD, France/Singapore (5)
6. Columbia Business School, USA (5)
7. IESE, Spain (7)
8. MIT Sloan, USA (8)
9. Chicago Booth, USA (9)
10. UC Berkeley Haas, USA (11)
11. CEIBS, China (17)
12. IE Business School, Spain (13)
13. Cambridge Judge, UK (16)
14. HKUST, China (14)
15. Northwestern Kellogg, USA (15)
16. HEC Paris, France (21)
17. Yale SOM, USA (10)
18. NYU Stern, USA (17)
19. ESADE Business School, Spain (22)
20. IMD, Switzerland (12)
21. Duke Fuqua, USA (17)
22. Oxford Saïd, UK (23)
23. Dartmouth Tuck, USA (20)
24. Michigan Ross, USA (23)
25. UCLA Anderson, USA (26)

The big news is how little the top 10 changed. More significant movement occurred outside the top 10, as is typical of most rankings. Here are some highlights:

• New to the top 10 in 2015 is UC Berkeley Haas which climbed one spot from 11th place last year to 10th place this year.

• Yale SOM, on the other hand, lost its top-10 berth and fell 7 places from 10th place last year to 17th place this year.

• Big jumpers in the top 25 include HEC Paris which moved from 21st place in 2014 to 16th place in 2015, and CEIBS which jumped from 17th place last year to 11th this year.

• IMD fell 8 slots this year from 12th place to 20th place. For possible reasons behind the drop, please see “5 Key IMD Officials Resign.”

• 7 of the top 10 business schools in 2015 are programs in the USA, which is the same number as last year.

• This is the third year in a row that Harvard Business School snagged the first place position.

• Further down the rankings (top 50), we see more big jumpers, including Imperial College Business School (UK) which jumped from 49th place in 2014 to 34th place this year; Manchester Business School (UK) which went from 43rd to 35th place; The Lisbon MBA (Portugal) which jumped from 52nd to 36th place; and Lancaster University Management School (UK) which jumped from 77th place to 50th place.

• The school that fell the most in the top 50 was Warwick Business School (UK) which fell from 25th place in 2014 to 38th place in 2015.

• Overall the FT rankings reflect the growing strength of Asian and European business schools.

The Financial Times rankings measure average salaries of alumni along with several other factors. Its lead article on the rankings notes that “the financial returns from completing a full-time MBA have fallen over the past three years and while a graduate can still expect to nearly double their salary, the average boost to earnings is down by almost a third from the qualification’s heyday.” It continues to explain that this is particularly true among b-schools in the U.S. (which account for 50 of the top 100 global programs). For an excellent critique of the FT methodology, please see P&Q’s analysis.

Here are some additional highlights from that article:

• In 2015, MBAs who were three years post-MBA reported salary increases of 92%. This is compared to 110% in 2012 and 153% in 2002 and 2003.

• In 2003, b-school alumni from 82% of programs ranked saw salary increases of more than 120% over 4-5 years post-MBA. This year, only 7% saw the equivalent increase.

• A factor contributing to this trend is the drop in MBAs heading into finance and banking (25% in 2015 compared to 29% in 2005). Survey respondents from the finance sector reported an average salary of $152,000 compared to the overall average salary of respondents of $133,000.

My take:

In terms of the flaws in the FT rankings, I suggest you see Poets & Quants excellent critique.

I also suggest you read “Boost to earning from MBAs falls.” The article reflects on the decline in earnings increase from the MBA as well as the weakness in the graduate business education market outside the top tier.

The two are related. Grads from the top business schools by definition snag the highest salaries and sometimes the biggest increase in salaries. The lower ranked schools are struggling to compete, keep themselves affordable, and provide an ROI. Consequently several traditional two-year programs have closed – notably Thunderbird and Wake Forest. One-year programs and specialized masters are increasingly popular and experiencing increasing recruiter demand along with ROI.

For you as a prospective student, you need to focus not on the overall trend in salary increase for MBAs, and not even your ROI today vs what it maybe could have been 13 years ago when you were middle school, but your anticipated return on investment today and which degree is most likely to maximize it.

Frankly 92% increase in salary can be a phenomenal increase depending on where you start at and what you paid for it. And it’s the gift that keeps on giving since the increased salary continues and usually climbs annually for the rest of your career.

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings?
Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

 

Related Resources:

MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know
2014 BusinessWeek Rankings
The Benefits of an MBA According to John Byrn

Got Dinged? You Can Handle It!

Rejected from your top-choice school?It may or may not be fair, but many of you are going to get at least a few rejections. What are you going to do about them?

First and foremost—if you’ve gotten dinged at your top choice school, that doesn’t mean that you’re never going to get in. It doesn’t even mean that you won’t be going to school next year.

And so my first point is: DON’T GIVE UP.

However, you do need to respond constructively. For the Four Reasons for Rejection and tips on how to do exactly that, please see this video.

For more admissions-specific reapplication advice, check-out:

For all of you, if you don’t know why you were rejected or would you like expert advice on improving your next application, please consider an application review:

Subscribe to the Accepted Admissions Blog!

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws to Avoid
• Help! I’ve Been Waitlisted!
5 Ways to Clean Up & Optimize Your Online Presence Before You Apply

Oh No! A Typo!!

Worried about writing your application essays? We've got you covered!

If the readers see a lot of mistakes they will assume you are careless and sloppy.

Will it doom your otherwise perfect application to the great round file in cyberspace, putting the kabosh on years of effort and nixing your attempt to walk through the hallowed halls of your favored institution?

No.

A single, minor typo will do absolutely nothing. So don’t sweat one minor spelling mistake, a missed comma, or a couple of transposed letters.

You have cause for worry if you find any of the following after you have hit SUBMIT or put the envelope in the mailbox:

  1. You find several typos or mistakes. If the readers see a lot of mistakes they will assume you are careless and sloppy. Not exactly the impression you are aiming for, and one that will definitely hurt you.
  2. Your typo changes the meaning. For example, a client years ago submitted a draft to me in which he wrote, “Through research I exorcised my mind… ” I have never forgotten this one because I almost fell off my chair laughing. He meant “exercised.” If this only happens once, I don’t think it would necessarily be fatal, but you don’t want to be remembered for rib-splitting typos either. In his case, I just had a good laugh and it was never submitted.
  3.  You forget to change the school’s name somewhere in the essay. Ouch. Adcoms universally hate that. It isn’t really a typo either, and it usually results in rejection.

What should you do if you find any of 1-3 in your application after submitting. It’s a tough spot. If you find the error(s)–especially if you find 1 or 3 — soon after hitting SUBMIT, you can contact the school and say that you accidentally submitted the wrong draft of your essay(s). Maybe, just maybe, someone will have mercy on  you and let you submit the corrected draft.

Download 5 Fatal Flaw to Avoid in Your Application

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

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The Quick Guide to Admissions Resumes
5 Ways to Clean Up Your Online Presence for When You Apply
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Essay Tip: The Devil is in the Details

Trumpet your accomplishments loud and clear!

Don’t hide your achievements; trumpet them loudly and clearly!

You can argue about the devil, but certainly the substance, distinctiveness, and success of your essays depends on the details.

Many applicants tend to bury their uniqueness and success under vague assertions. You don’t want to hide your achievements; you want to trumpet them loudly and clearly. For instance, if you led a team working on a software development project, was it a three-member team or a thirty-member, cross-functional team with representatives from five different divisions and two continents? Was the potential market for the product $5 million or $200 million? Did you launch the product on time and in budget? Did it zoom to the top of the market-share charts? The details reveal the level of your responsibility, the confidence others have in your abilities based on their prior experience with you, and the significance of your accomplishment.

What about your volunteer work? Do you simply “volunteer”? If you do, you aren’t saying anything distinctive or substantive. Are you an EMT working five hours per week? Do you volunteer at a legal aid clinic? What have you seen or experienced? What have you learned? Have you launched a bereavement group in a country where such services were previously unheard of? What were the challenges you overcame to establish that group? What did you learn from the experience? How has it influenced you?

You may ask, “How can I fit all these details into a short essay?” Good question. Include many of the specifics in the work history sections — the boxes — of the application or in an attached resume if allowed. Then in the essay, provide enough detail to provide context and create interest. Balance your profound insight and reflection with devilishly dazzling detail.

How can you show the adcom that you will be a leader in the future? Click here to find out!

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

5 Fatal Flaws To Avoid
6 Tips for Getting Started on Your Application Essays
Personal Statement Tip: Story Time

4 Reasons You Got Dinged (And What You Can Do About It)

Check out our MBA Application Evaluation service. You don’t want to repeat the same mistakes again.

The adcom may ding you because you failed to present your qualifications effectively.

Many top MBA programs released decisions in the past several days, including: Chicago Booth, Cornell Johnson, Duke Fuqua, Michigan Ross, MIT Sloan, Northwestern Kellogg, UVA Darden, and Wharton.

Did your app hit the chopping block? Here’s why:

1) You didn’t qualify.

You gotta call a spade a spade sometimes (or always, really). If you had weak test scores, low grades, or inadequate work experience either quantitatively or qualitatively, then you’re just not going to measure up at the top schools. In essence you fail to convince the school that you can handle the work or represent the school well to recruiters…and you’re toast. …and they may be right. (Sorry to be tough here, but not everyone is qualified to attend H/S/W/C.)

TIP: Apply R2/R3 to different, less competitive programs OR reapply next year to the same schools after you’ve strengthened your profile (improved test scores, taken additional coursework, increased work responsibilities, etc.).

2) You didn’t present your qualifications, fit, or goals well.

There are a number of points to be made here. B-schools seek applicants with multiple talents, and you need to demonstrate that you’ve got them. Competitive stats are frequently necessary for admission, but not sufficient. For example, if you have the stats, but didn’t show the soft skills, didn’t show fit, didn’t explain why you need the degree from this particular program, or failed to present your achievements in an authentic, thoughtful, and compelling way, then the answer could easily still be DECLINE. The adcom may ding you for lacking such qualifications, even though you may have them, because you failed to present them effectively.

TIP: Apply R2/R3 or reapply next year with a stronger application that clearly highlights your qualifications, fit, and goals.

3) You were a victim of the numbers at intensely competitive programs that reject more qualified applicants than they can accept.

This is true of most top 15 programs especially if someone comes from an over-represented group in the applicant pool.

TIP: Apply R2/R3 to different programs or reapply next year to the same ones and keep your fingers crossed for better luck!

4) Combination of the above.

Most likely you weren’t rejected for one single reason, but due to a combination of various factors.

For more on understanding your rejection (and then doing something about it!), please see http://www.accepted.com/mba/rejection-acceptance-videos.aspx#2.

And let’s face it, it’s hard to be objective about your application. If you’re unsure why you were rejected or what you can do to change the outcome next time around, check out our MBA Application Review. You really don’t want to repeat the same or similar mistakes again.

Don't make the same mistakes again! Get expert help for when you reapply.

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of Accepted.com and co-author of the new, definitive book on MBA admissions, MBA Admission for Smarties: The No-Nonsense Guide to Acceptance at Top Business Schools.

Related Resources:

The MBA Admissions Directors’ Recipes for Rejection
4 Reasons for Rejection
Tips for Executive MBA Reapplicants