FT’s Best Global MBA Programs in 2014

The Financial Times released its 2014 global MBA rankings! Read on for the list, the facts, the analysis, and the sources.

The List:

2014 Rank

3 Year
(Avg) 

School Country 
1 1 Harvard Business School USA
2 2 Stanford Graduate
School of Business
USA
3 4 London Business School UK
4 3 U Penn Wharton USA
5 5 Columbia Business
School
USA
6 6 INSEAD France/Singapore
7 8 IESE Business School Spain
8 8 MIT Sloan USA
9 10 Chicago Booth USA
10 15 Yale School of Management USA
11 12 UC Berkeley Haas USA
12 15 IMD Switzerland
13 11 IE Business School Spain
14 11 Hong Kong UST
Business School
China
15 15 Northwestern Kellogg USA
16 19 Cambridge Judge UK
17 17 Duke Fuqua USA
18 18 NYU Stern USA
19 19 CEIBS China
20 18 Dartmouth Tuck USA

To truly understand the rankings, much less use them, please see the methodology so you’ll know what’s being ranked. While there are twenty factors considered in the FT rankings, the FT methodology puts the most weight on increase in salary in $US PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) and weighted salary in $US PPP.

Poets and Quants criticizes the FT rankings for absurd results in calculating “Value for Money” as well as for having too many criteria and several criteria that really don’t reflect the quality of education. Others say that it is biased against U.S. programs.

Regardless of the criticism’s validity, the FT ranking is arguably the most cited ranking of global programs because it compares U.S. and international programs in one ranking and seems to do a better job of it than the alternatives. That prominence doesn’t mean these rankings are Gospel. It does mean you have a lot of data in a format where you can easily compare MBA programs from around the world on designated criteria.

The Facts:

Here are some fun facts about FT’s 2014 rankings:

• 7 of the top 10 and 12 of the top 20 programs ranked are US schools.

• Big jumpers this year include Boston University’s business school and Washington Forster, which each jumped 20 spots, to 75th and 58th place, respectively. Another big US jumper this year was USC Marshall which jumped 17 spots to 65th place. UNC Kenan Flagler jumped up 12 slots this year from its 3-year average rank, moving from #45 to #33.

• The biggest losers this year include Dublin’s Smurfit School (dropped 27 spots to 91st place) and Vlerick Business School (fell 16 places to 100th place), as well as the schools which disappeared off the list entirely: U of Iowa’s Tippie School (74th last year), Korea University Business School (86th last year), Incae Business School in Costa Rica (90th last year), Case Western’s Weatherhead School (94th last year), and others.

• Newcomers to the list include: UC Davis (98th), Wake Forest (94th), BYU’s Marriott School (93rd), and ESMT European School of Management and Technology in Germany (89th).

• In terms of geographic representation, the top 20 schools are all in the US, UK, Europe (France, Spain, Switzerland), China, and Singapore, but further down the list, other countries gain their spots: India comes in at 30th place with the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad; SDA Bocconi in 31st place represents Italy; South Korea appears in 45th place with Sungkyunkwan University’s GSB; Canada’s first school on the list is Toronto Rotman at 51st place; Portugal follows with The Lisbon MBA in 52nd place (new to list); South Africa’s U. of Cape Town GSB comes in at 59th place; in the 62nd slot we have Australia’s Australian Graduate School of Management; and Brazil’s Coppead is in 79th place.

•  The city with the highest concentration of schools in the top 100 is (of course) Boston with six top b-schools – Harvard (1), MIT Sloan (8), Hult International Business School (61), BU School of Management (75), Boston College Carroll (82), and Babson Olin (95).

The Analysis:

While it’s fun to look at the changes – who climbed and who sank – for me the real lessons from this ranking are:

1. The top programs move and change very slowly. That lack of drama in these rankings is a better reflection of reality than the gyrations one sees outside the top twenty. Significant change takes time so sharp jumps and dives probably mean nothing. Sustained change in ranking has greater credibility – if you value the same qualities as the FT.

2. The one point made repeatedly in the commentary on this ranking, and it is the same conclusion I draw from both the FT ranking and the Forbes ranking, which both emphasize ROI and increase in salary, is this: The MBA education at top programs provides a solid return on investment for most students. The MBAs surveyed for the FT rankings started their MBA in 2008, just as the Great Recession hit, and graduated in 2010. These MBAs still report on average a 100% increase in salary over what they were making before they started business school.

There are obviously critics of graduate business education, specifically the MBA, and those detractors either believe an MBA isn’t valuable or that the value has declined. I agree with the latter group. However, the questions for today’s applicants are:

1. “Given my current professional background and salary and my anticipated salary after I earn an MBA, do the anticipated financial rewards plus increased job satisfaction justify the investment (both out of pocket and opportunity costs)?” The fact that those entering b-school ten or twenty years ago could anticipate a higher ROI is irrelevant. It is merely a historical curiosity and for you an unfortunate one.

2. “Is the full-time MBA – or whatever flavor you are considering – the optimal way for me to attain my MBA goals?”

FT, to its credit, also has an article on those claiming the MBA is not worth the effort. Sometimes they are right. Each one of you individually needs to examine your circumstances and goals to see if for you the MBA is an expensive waste of time and effort, or if for you it is likely to be worth both. Clearly, most of the people surveyed by Forbes, the Financial Times, and GMAC are in the latter group.

In this video  Della Bradshaw, FT’s Business Education Editor, discusses the results of this year’s FT Global MBA rankings including the finding that MBAs in the class of 2010 are now enjoying salaries double those they were earning before they entered b-school.

The Sources

• FT Global MBA Ranking 2014

•  FT: MBA Ranking 2014: Key & Methodology

•  FT: Big Names Dominate FT MBA Ranking Top Spots

•  P&Q: Winners & Losers in 2014 FT MBA Ranking

•  Accepted: 4 Ways You Should NOT Use the MBA Rankings

•  Accepted: MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know

Learn how to evaluate your profile to determine the best business school for you!

Linda Abraham By , 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.

FT Ranks 2013 EMBA Programs

Click here for more about rankings.FT Top 15 2013 Global EMBA Programs (last year’s rank in parentheses)

1. Kellogg/Hong Kong UST Business School (1)
2. Tsinghua University/INSEAD (4)
3. Columbia/London Business School (2)
4. Trium HEC Paris/LSE/NYU Stern (3)
5. UCLA Anderson/National University of Singapore (5)
6. Washington University Olin (9)
7. Wharton (8)
8. Duke Fuqua (16)
9. Chicago Booth (10)
10. CEIBS (7)
11. INSEAD (6)
12. IESE (14)
13. Nanyang Business School (N/A)
13. CUHK Business School (17)
15. Georgetown University/ESADE Business School (19)

In the Poets & Quants article that covers the rankings, John Byrne focuses on the standalone programs, and about how Washington Olin beats out all other standalones including Wharton.

Byrne also mentions that the reason why the top five programs on the list are joint programs is due to the FT’s ranking methodology, which, he explains, “heavily weights and then ‘adjusts; the salaries of survey alumni in ways that distort compensation. The adjustment to ‘purchasing power parity’ tends to favor programs that enroll a larger percentage of sponsored students from emerging economies.”

Byrne also notes that five out of the seven schools that took double digit falls were U.S. EMBA programs. Some details:

• The biggest loser this year was U. of Texas-Dallas EMBA which dropped 21 spots from 66th last year to 87th this year.
• Minnesota Carlson EMBA fell 17 spots from 80th in 2012 to 97th this year.
• Rochester Simon fell 16 places from 80th to 96th.
• Boston University SOM dropped 15 spots from 66th last year to 81st this year.

Of the schools that gained in double digits, only one was from the U.S. – Georgia State’s EMBA, which jumped 12 spots from 63rd to 51st.

What accounts for these large leaps and falls this year? Byrne quotes the FT which says that there were “minor changes to the calculation of international diversity measures for 2013. In addition to the percentage of schools’ students and faculty that are international – the figures published – the composition of these groups by individual citizenship informs a diversity-measuring score that feeds into the calculation.”

See more of Byrne’s commentary on the P&Q article, “Wash U Tops 2013 FT EMBA Ranking.”







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Funding Options for International MBA Students

Student LoansA recent Financial Times article discusses the numerous alternative lending options available for foreign b-school students. Because international loans from schools have been on the decline since the financial crash a few years ago and an increase in international default risk, international students have been turning to non-school and non-government loans. Here are a few of the options:

1. SoFi  – This is a “peer-to-peer” lender that allows b-school alumni to provide loans to international students from their home countries. Interest rates are about 6%. (CommonBond is a similar peer-to-peer option.)

2. Pave – This crowdfunding start-up lets students raise funds from backers who will receive a share of future income as an investment. (A similar crowdfunding option is Upstart.)

See the FT’s article “Overseas students are lent a financial helping hand” for more details on these.







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Financial Times 2012 Rankings Are Out!

Winners and Losers in FT RankingsThe Financial Times published its annual ranking of MBA programs today. And the top 10 are:

  1. Stanford (3 year average: #3; last year tied for #4)
  2. Harvard (3 year average: #3; last year’s #3)
  3. Wharton (3 year average: #2; last year tied  for #1)
  4. London Business School (3 year average: #2; last year tied for #1)
  5. Columbia (3 year average: #6; last year’s #7)
  6. INSEAD (3 year average: #5; last year tied for #4)
  7. MIT Sloan (3 year average: #8; last year’s #tied for #9)
  8. IE (3 year average: #7; last year’s #8)
  9. IESE (3 year average #10: last year’s #9  )
  10. HKUST (3 year average: #8; last year’s #6)

The Financial Times rankings is based on two surveys: one of business schools and one of alumni who graduated in 2008. This ranking weighs salary growth for these alumni and attempts to adjust for purchasing power differences and even possible distortions caused by the size of the school. FT describes its methodology, and anyone who gives these numbers any credibility needs to understand what is being ranked and measured here.

One of the valuable aspects of this ranking is its global nature. US News and Businessweek do not rank U.S. schools with non-U.S. schools. The FT ranking compares both U.S. and international programs on several criteria, including increase in salary three years after graduation, the relative number of articles published by faculty at different institutions, diversity of teaching staff, and more. Again, for details, please see FT’s methodology.

How much should you pay attention to this ranking? Should you be combing it for schools that have gone up and abandon schools that have declined? If your criteria for a graduate MBA education match the survey elements exactly, pay a lot of attention to it. However, for most of you, while increase in salary is certainly important, it also has to be considered in the context of cost — something FT doesn’t consider. And FT uses salary across the board, not for the field you want to go into. That’s the figure that should matter to you. Then there are criteria that may or may not translate into a better educational experience for you — number of articles published by full-time faculty, for example. Is that really an important reflection of a quality educational experience? Or simply institutional bragging rights. Or could practitioner teachers also bring valuable insight and experience to the classroom without publishing a page, anywhere?

Use the results for the data, not for the ranking. If the data are important to you, then go into them more thoroughly, but don’t obsess about the ranking and changes in ranking, especially small ones. The Financial Times ranking is particularly known for its volatility. You don’t see it in the top 10, but fluctuations become more pronounced outside the top 10.

To learn more about the different MBA rankings, please see “MBA Rankings: Which Business Schools are the Best?”

For additional perspective and insight into this ranking, please see:

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

 

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MBA Admissions News Roundup

  

  • Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business announced that David A. Thomas will become Georgetown McDonough’s new Dean and William R. Berkley Chair starting October 1, 2011. One can learn more about Dean Thomas by watching a video that has been posted on McDonough’s website.
  • Fortune.com’s interview with Ankur Kumar, Wharton’s deputy director of admissions, reveals the full story behind the rise in female enrollment at Wharton School of Business. Kumar explains how the school worked hard to get to the point where 45% of the incoming class is women. Kumar spearheaded many new initiatives in the past two years to attract more women to visit campus and convince them to apply.
  • The Financial Times describes how the Anderson School of Management at UCLA has restructured its curriculum to help students stay career focused and become experts in their fields of interest. The incoming class in September will have the flexibility to acquire skills early in the program that will allow them to contribute in their specialty even during their internships.
  • Businessweek announced that Blair Sheppard will be stepping down as the dean of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business on August 1st. Sheppard will remain at the school and work in the fundraising and business development department for Duke’s new campus in Kunshan, China.  Duke Kunshan University is expected to open in 2012.
  • Fortune.com looks at how China Europe International Business School’s new dean, John Quelch, wants to transform the Shanghai business school into one of the top 10-ranked, research-focused business schools. Quelch plans on changing CEIBS by focusing on what he calls the “Four F’s”: Faculty, fame, fortune and fun. Although he struggles with recruiting faculty, Quelch feels fortunate that the Chinese government has given CEIBS “tremendous scope and freedom when it comes to curriculum design and delivery.”

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The Spiced Up MBA

  

When one applies to business school they typically worry about whether they have enough work experience under their belt, or whether they can compete with Ivy League graduates and 4.0 GPAs.  But statistics show that since the financial crisis MBA programs are no longer looking for cookie cutter students. “Diversity” is the name of the game.

The Spiced Up MBAAn article in the Financial Times (“Variety is the Spice of Life”) looks at how recruiters are now focusing on finding all different kinds of students to enroll in their MBA programs.  Schools like Harvard, Wharton and Stanford are enrolling fewer investment bankers and more women, entrepreneurs, military personnel, environmentalists and not-for-profit managers in future classes. In fact, only 12%-14% of the admitted students at Harvard and Wharton in 2011 had investment banking backgrounds.

Even the average age of incoming MBA students is changing! The typical incoming Harvard Business School student is now 27, up from 26 a year ago.

Wharton is also working to diversify its student body. Ankur Kumar, deputy director of admissions at Wharton, explains, “This has been a focal point for the past few years. We wanted to dispel some of the stereotypes and misconceptions [about MBA programs].” Wharton has gone so far as to reach out to high school students and teach them about the importance of a business education.

Stanford has even developed its own approach to incorporating diversity into its program. The school has ensured that one in six accepted MBA students is studying for another degree alongside their MBA.
Although American schools still need to incorporate more international students into their student body (Wharton is only 36% international and Harvard is only 34%), the MBA programs have made enormous strides towards accepting more women, applicants in a wider age range, and out-of-the-professional-box MBA candidates. This openness to diversity, if not commitment to wider definition of diversity, allows future applicants to think more creatively about how to market themselves to business schools.  Getting into MBA programs no longer requires fitting into the investment banking mold, but is more about breaking the mold altogether.

I have seen several articles about the increasing diversity of accepted MBA applicants and we have seen less emphasis on the classic professions with our clients as well. I recently spoke, however, to one admissions director who told me that this openness is driven as much by a change in the applicant pool as by the increased openness touted in this article.

Since the financial crisis and the subsequent layoffs of a few years ago, there are fewer investment bankers, and there are fewer investment bankers applying to MBA programs. There were also fewer college grads hired into investment banking in 2008 and 2009. But over the next few years members of those college classes will apply in increasing numbers. It will be very interesting to see if the trend discussed in this article represents a real increased commitment to professional diversity in MBA admissions, or simply a response to necessity combined with spin.

If the latter, investment bankers will once again have the inside track, and we’ll read that an MBA is a typical stop on the investment banking career track; if the former, professional diversity will continue to reign.

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Linda AbrahamBy , President and Founder of Accepted.com

Photo credit: lju photo

4 Ways You Should NOT Use the MBA Rankings

  

You’ll find loads of articles online enumerating the ways in which you can use the MBA rankings to your benefit. Most of these articles are found on the ranking websites. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t trust what you read on BusinessWeek, The Financial Times, or U.S. News – after all, the rankings do offer data comparing top MBA programs – but I do believe these sites are not offering you a complete picture.

So now I’d like to present you with the other side of the story – the rankings’ limitations. Blinding yourself to the rankings’ flaws could lead to an expensive, time-consuming mistake: choosing the wrong MBA program for you.

  1. They don’t measure your priorities.
  2. General rankings hide strengths (and weaknesses) in specific areas. There are numerous “gem” programs that thrive outside the top ten or top twenty. Many MBA students have a great chance of gaining acceptance PLUS receiving financial aid at these gem schools.
  3. Averages are exactly that. Average. They aren’t a cut-off and don’t reflect extenuating circumstances or the interplay between myriad factors in an admissions decision. At every school there will always be applicants who are accepted with below-average stats and who are rejected with above-average stats.
  4. Surveys, especially surveys of students and alumni, can be gamed. Students and alumni know that higher rankings increase the value of their degrees and have an incentive to think kindly of their schools.

In short, don’t give the rankings too much importance. Don’t replace school research and self-reflection with rankings to determine where you should apply or attend.

For more tips on how you should and should not use school rankings please see Accepted’s free, instantly downloadable special report, MBA Rankings: What You Need to Know.

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MBA Admissions News Roundup

  

  • The Daily Pennsylvanian celebrates the fact that 45% of Wharton’s incoming MBA class of 2013 will be women.  This number represents quite an achievement—a 5% increase from the classes in the past two years and the highest percentage in Wharton’s history. Harvard has also reached a new record this year with women representing 39% of its incoming class.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek wrote about the fervor worked up around plagiarism at the GMAC annual conference coming up. Due to excessive amounts of plagiarism discovered in last year’s batch of Penn State applications, many business schools are expected to be more aggressive this year.  Penn State has begun using a software application called Turnitin, and many other universities are expected to follow suit.
  • An article in the Financial Times announced that Trium, the three-center Executive MBA program taught by New York University’s Stern school, HEC Paris, and the London School of Economics (LSE), will be adding a second cohort in 2012. While students already split their time between New York, London and Paris, the new cohort will enable more time to be spent in emerging markets, such as India and China.
  • A $37,000 tweet? It sounds like a misunderstanding, but Bloomberg Businessweek explains that it is in fact a full-tuition award package for whoever can tweet the most creative response to The University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business’  “application tweet” question:  “What makes you an exceptional Tippie Full-time MBA candidate and future MBA hire? Creativity encouraged!” While social networking savvy is increasingly important to business schools, Tippie has definitely taken it to the next level!

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Change is Good

  

A recent survey of 2007 MBA graduates by The Financial Times suggests that changing jobs is not necessarily a bad thing.  In fact, a bit of change is good. Very good.

The survey, which polled alumni of business schools across the world from the graduating class of 2007, shows that MBA graduates who were on the lookout for higher paying jobs in the past few years actually earn more than if they had stayed at their first jobs.  

Although this fact is surprising in light of the recent recession, The Financial Times, in its article “It Really Does Pay to Change Jobs,” believes that this data really proves the value of an MBA because it shows the degree’s usefulness even during a recession.

But there’s a catch. MBA graduates who changed jobs were more successful only if they changed jobs just once. Those lucky individuals earned an average of $135,600 within three years of graduating—$1,600 more than their classmates who stayed at the same jobs.

The bottom line is that change is good – just not too much change. The most unfortunate MBA graduates were those who switched jobs multiple times and ended up earning an average salary of $106,300.

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MBA Admissions News Roundup

  

  • An article in Inside Higher Ed examines Wake Forest University’s Schools of Business climb in the rankings. The school’s success is due to its focus on job placement and career management.  This news only highlights how important it is for business schools to advocate on behalf of their students looking for employment.
  • With all the outsiders debating the importance of getting an MBA, the Huffington Post takes a look at a dean’s insider perspective on the value of a graduate degree in business. Joe Thomas, the Dean of Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University, explores how MBA programs have grown and become increasingly valuable over the years.
  • Bloomberg Businessweek has assembled a list of what business school professors think MBA students should read over the summer to prepare for the following school year.  The top choices include: Wizard of Lies: Bernie Madoff and the Death of Trust (Times Books, April 2011) by Diana B. Henriques, Billions of Entrepreneurs: How China and India are Reshaping their Futures and Yours (Harvard Business Press, March 2011) by Tarun Khanna, and How to Write a Sentence and How to Read One (Harper, January 2011) by Stanley Fish.
  • An article in The Financial Times announced that the Kenan-Flager school at University of North Carolina will launch a dual-degree program with the school of pharmacy. The new PharmD/MBA degree will allow students to earn both a doctorate in pharmacy and an MBA in five years.
  • US News evaluates how American MBA programs have encouraged their students to learn about the modern day global economy through classroom study and treks abroad.  However, Guy Pfeffermann, founder and CEO of the Global Business School Network, feels not enough is being done and “schools need to bring in more students from emerging markets and developing countries.”

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