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 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

QS Global TopMBA Rankings 2014

TopMBA’s new 2014/2015 global report ranks business programs according to geographic location based on surveys completed by 5,669 actively-hiring MBA employers and 7,187 academics in the field of business and management. (See more about the methodology here.)

Top 20 B-Schools in North America

Learn how to make the business school rankings work for you, not against you!

Some highlights:

•  The top 10 remained virtually the same this year as last, with two rather large exceptions: Ross and Stern entered the top 10 scene from 12th place to 8th place for Ross and 12th place to 10th place for Stern. Losing top 10 stature this year were Duke Fuqua which fell from 10th to 13th place and Toronto Rotman which fell from 8th to 14th.

•  There were three newcomers to the top 10 this year – NYU Stern (see above), Texas McCombs (29th last year to 19th this year), and BU School of Management (24th to 20th). HEC Montreal fell from the top 20 (16th place last year to 22nd this year), as did York Schulich (13th to 28th) and Queen’s School of Business (18th to 31st).

•  Big jumpers further down in the rankings include USC Marshall (42nd to 23rd), UC Irvine Merage (51st to 33rd), UC Davis (54th to 36th), Michigan State Broad (71st to 38th), UC San Diego Rady (61st to 40th), Ohio State Fisher (60th to 42nd), UT Dallas Naveen Jindal School of Management (83rd to 45th), Washington Olin (83rd to 47th), and Minnesota Carlson (87th to 49th).

•  Big droppers include UVA Darden (28th to 37th), University of Miami School of Business Administration (32nd to 77th), Rutgers Business School (67th to 82nd), and Vanderbilt Owen (37th to 86th).

Top 20 B-Schools in Europe

Learn how to make the rankings work for you and not against you!Some highlights:

•  HEC Paris jumped from 10th place last year to 4th place this year and Cambridge Judge jumped from 13th to 10th place; otherwise, the top 10 in Europe remain pretty much the same. Copenhagen fell from the top 10, from 9th place last year to 12th place this year.

•  New to the top 20 this year are ESSEC (29th place to 16th place), Manchester Bossiness School (27th to 14th place), and European Business School (21st to 19th). Trinity MBA in Dublin fell from the top 20, from 12th place to 21st

•  UK programs dominate the 65 schools on the European list with 26 programs represented. This is followed by France (9), Spain (5), Switzerland (4), Germany (4), the Netherlands (4), Italy (3), Denmark (2), Ireland (2), Greece (2), Finland (1), Portugal (1), Turkey (1), and Belgium (1).

You can download the full report here.

Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings? Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Businessweek Rankings 2014
• 2014 Economist MBA Rankings
• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?

More BW Rankings: Best International B-Schools 2014

I hope you didn’t think we were done with this year’s Businessweek rankings! Next up…the top 20 international MBA programs.

Learn how to make the business school rankings work for you, not against you!

Here are some highlights:

• There are 2 new schools to the top 10 this year, both of which were unranked in 2012: ESMT (3rd place) and Cambridge Judge (6th place).

• ESADE fell dramatically from 6th place in 2012 to 19th place this year. The other school to fall from the top 10 this year was McGill Desautels, which dropped from 10th place to 15th

• Other schools taking a hit this year include Imperial College London (fell from 13th to 23rd); York Schulich (14th to 24th), Erasmus Rotterdam (17th to 25th), and Manchester (19th to 26th).

• New to the rankings this year are ESMT and Cambridge Judge (as mentioned above), as well as Cranfield (ranked at 13 this year), CEIBS (17th place), Concordia Molson (20th), Hult (21st), National University of Singapore (22nd), and Melbourne (27th).

BW provides a comprehensive chart where you can look at the specific ways these schools were ranked, including Intellectual Capital Rank, Employer Survey Rank, and Student Survey Rank. These are all explained in the ranking methodology section.

For Linda’s analysis of the BW rankings and their increased volatility, please see “Businessweek Rankings 2014.”
Are You Misusing the B-School Rankings? Helping You Write Your Best

Related Resources:

• Businessweek Rankings 2014
• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?
• Top 10 B-Schools with the Most Satisfied Graduates

Businessweek Rankings 2014

Let’s see how full-time MBA programs in the U.S. fared this year on the BW rankings…

Check out our Zone Pages for more info about the top MBA programs!

There were some huge changes this year! Let’s take a look at some of the highlights:

• Newcomers to the top 20 this year are Yale SOM, which made a huge jump from 21st place to 10th place; Maryland Smith which went from 24th to 17th place; and Emory Goizueta which jumped from 22nd place to 18th place this year.

• There are three new schools in the top 10 this year – Yale SOM, as mentioned above; Columbia Business School (13th in 2012 and 5th this year); and CMU Tepper (which moved just one place from 11th place to 10th place).

• Beyond that, there was some major shifting in the rankings. The top 3 schools were all different this year (Wharton and Booth still there, but rearranged), with Harvard Business School falling from 2nd place to 8th place.

UVA Darden also fell significantly this year, from 10th place to 20th.

• Big jumpers further down the rankings include Rice University Jones (from 34th to 25th); UC Irvine Merage (43rd to 31st); and Rochester Simon (50th to 38th).

• The schools that fell the most in the rankings include Texas A&M Mays (26th to 42nd); University of Wisconsin-Madison (33rd to 44th); Boston University (39th to 57th); Babson Olin (from 42nd to 58th); Thunderbird (45th to 62nd); and Arizona Carey (49th to 67th).

And here’s the scoop on the best U.S. undergraduate business schools in 2014…

Do MBA rankings really matter? Click here for the 2-min answer.

Some highlights include:

• Newcomers to the top 20 are Northeastern (from 25th last year to 19th this year) and CMU Tepper (from 24th last year to 17th this year).

• The only new school in the top 10 this year is Indiana Kelley, which jumped from 13th place last year to 8th place this year.

Michigan Ross fell from the top 10, from 8th place to 12th place.

• Big jumpers include Southern Methodist Cox, which jumped from 30th to 21st place; Babson, which jumped from 36th place to 26th place; UM Amherst Isenberg, which jumped from 45th to 36th; Bryant, which jumped from 63rd to 49th; and Case Western Reserve Weatherhead which jumped from 69th to 50th.

• Big falls include Villanova, which fell from 15th place to 24th; U of Illinois Urbana-Champaign which fell from 21st to 34th; and James Madison University which fell from 29th to 40th place.

For details on how ranking methodology see:

Best Business Schools 2014: How They Were Ranked

Best Undergraduate Business Schools 2014: How We Ranked Them

Analysis of the 2014 Businessweek Rankings

Businessweek made changes to its methodology (presented here and analyzed here by John Byrne, the founder of the BW rankings) this year.

The Basics of BW’s Rankings Remain Unchanged

This year, as in the past, BW surveyed recruiters and students. The recruiter satisfaction results comprise 45% of the ranking. The student satisfaction survey results comprise another 45% and the remaining 10% is determined by “expertise of each school’s faculty” as evidenced by faculty research published in prominent academic journals AKA intellectual capital.

What’s New in BW’s Rankings Methodology?

• The employer ranking reflects this year’s data only. Previous rankings used data from the last three surveys or six years of biannual rankings data while weighting the most recent year most heavily.

BW surveyed fifteen times the recruiters this year than it did in previous years. Previously, BW surveyed major recruiters who tended to recruit at multiple business schools. This year, BW attempted to survey as many MBA recruiters as possible, including “recruiters” who recruit primarily if not exclusively at their alma mater. The increased survey size is a major methodology change. The alumni recruiters may have a certain bias towards the school they attended. BW attempted statistically to reduce the impact of that bias, but it probably helped smaller schools like Duke, Tepper, and Yale, and hurt the traditional leaders, like Harvard, Wharton, and Chicago.

Impact of the Methodology Changes

• Surprise! The results will shock many applicants. Seven programs, including Duke and Yale, rank above HBS and MIT. Indiana Kelley and Maryland Smith rank above Haas, NYU Stern, and Darden. These are unexpected results.

• Reemphasizes the importance of understanding methodology. The changes highlight the need for anyone using the rankings as indications of “quality” or even reputation and brand value (a bad idea in my book) to look at the underlying data. Smith is ranked overall at 17. It was ranked #1 for student satisfaction and #51 in the employer survey ranking. Applicants to Smith should inquire about what is changing in its career management center. Clearly there is a satisfaction gap that has to be addressed.

• Increased volatility. Since BW has removed older rankings data from the ranking and has dramatically widened the survey pool while incorporating alumni recruiters, you are guaranteed to see more changes and more radical changes than with the previous methodology.

• Cognitive Dissonance. Either BW rankings will lose credibility because they don’t conform to expectations and will be more volatile, or people’s perception of the programs will change because of the BW rankings.

My money is on the former: loss of credibility. If BW’s results become less stable and predictable (like The Economist’s), they are more likely to lose credibility than to contribute to changes in school reputation.

As always my best advice to applicants reviewing the rankings is to:

• Use specialty rankings to get a sense of what schools excel in your areas of interest.

• Use the data that the ranking databases provide.

• If you have any thought of actually using the overall rankings, understand what they measure, and ask yourself if those qualities are of paramount importance to you. BW has been wonderfully transparent and even shared the questions actually asked in the survey.

• Layer in reputation and brand, i.e. ranking, after determining what schools best support your goals and are most likely to accept you.

Learn How to Choose the Best MBA Program for You!

Linda AbrahamBy Linda Abraham, president and founder of 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:

• 2014 Economist MBA Rankings
• MBA Rankings: Why Should I Care?
• U.S. News 2015 Best Colleges

PayScale: How Much Can You Earn, and How to Earn It?

lydia-frank-payscaleTrying to figure out if grad school will pay off? How much you’ll earn with your career of choice? Which graduate program will position you to for the best payoff?

If so, tune in to our conversation with Lydia Frank of PayScale to find out how to get the stats and info that you need to make an informed financial decision.

00:03:11 – PayScale: who they are and what they do.

00:04:35 – The College Salary Report (and the recent inclusion of grad school data).

00:05:53 – How PayScale collects data (and why you should complete their survey, too!).

00:09:13 – Helpful resources for folks in the research stage.

00:12:47 – What surprises people about the PayScale survey results.

00:16:46 – Different uses for the (many!) resources at PayScale.

00:24:28 – New data we’ll be seeing in the future reports.

00:29:03 – Accounting for the opportunity cost of education in the salary report. (Yes, they do.)

00:30:28 – Advice from Lydia for balancing what you love with what pays.

Listen to the full conversation to learn more!*Theme music is courtesy of

Related Links:

• Which Grad Schools Produce the Highest Earners?
• Lifetime Earnings by Degree & Major
Social Mobility Index

Related Shows:

• Career Direction: It’s Ok to Love Your Job!
• How to Become a Management Consultant
• The Facts About Financial Services
• Is a PhD a Good Idea?
• Which Schools are Good for PE/VC and VC-Backed Entrepreneurship
• Interview with Anna Runyan of Classy Career Girl

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