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FT Global MBA ranking 2020: analysis

January 26, 2020

In these troubled times for the full-time MBA it will be reassuring to some business schools that traditional strengths such as the brand value of the institution providing the course still count for something.

There is change at the top of the FT’s global ranking of MBA courses, but this is largely a reshuffling of the established group of schools at the forefront of business education, all of which are the best-known names in their respective national markets.

As this year’s list shows, the MBA is now a truly global qualification, with schools around the world ranked among the best for their residential courses. However, global demand for the degree is down for the second consecutive year.

Financial Times MBA ranking 2020

Find out which 100 business schools have made it to the 22nd edition of the FT MBA ranking.

More than half the business schools are from the US, followed by nine in China and nine in the UK.

The source of the problem is the US, where demand has been declining at most schools for five straight years, according to figures compiled annually by the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), the exam administrator. Total MBA applications worldwide are down 6.9 per cent compared with 2018. Some 52 per cent of MBA courses covered in the survey reported declining applications compared with 40 per cent for whom numbers increased.

This has produced fragmentation, or what Sangeet Chowfla, GMAC president and chief executive, calls “regional islands of education”. Applicants are picking just one or two schools rather than three or four and are staying closer to home in these choices, he says.

This jars with the positive message of globalisation that business schools have been so keen to promote and reflects how the world has been influenced by the rise of populist leaders with nationalist agendas, Chowfla notes.

The top 100 schools — by country

Country Schools per country*
US 51
China 9
UK 9
France 4
India 4
Australia 3
Canada 3
Germany 3
Singapore 3
Spain 3
Switzerland 2
France/Singapore 1
Ireland 1
Italy 1
Netherlands 1
Portugal 1
South Korea 1
Total 100
*Based on schools’ primary campus

The new number one on the FT ranking is perhaps the best-known name when people mention MBAs: Harvard Business School (HBS), the architect of the case study teaching method at the heart of management tutoring.

The strength of the brand is obvious in the top 10 institutions on this year’s list. All but one are the same as in the 2019 ranking. However, this does not mean that success is a matter of simply repeating the same formula.

While there is consensus about the need for change in the full-time MBA market to counter falling demand, few can agree exactly about what needs to be done.

One of the main criticisms of MBA programmes, especially at high-quality schools which make the FT ranking, has been the escalation in tuition fees, which have risen above the rate of inflation for much of the past decade.

This year, HBS and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business have taken the radical step of freezing tuition fees for the current academic year.

It is not possible to judge from looking at the FT ranking list whether or not this was a wise strategy. Since these tuition fees were put in place, HBS has risen up the rankings but Chicago Booth has fallen.

Few agree about what should be done to counter falling demand for full-time MBAs

Other US schools are also clearly happy to let tuition fees rise further, arguing that it is inevitable given the pressure to invest in world-class teaching facilities and faculty.

The University of California at Berkeley is a publicly funded school, so its tuition fees are much lower than its US peers. It continues to raise its MBA fees, this year increasing them from $61,506 to $64,652 for people coming to study from outside the state, because that is what the market drives top schools to do, according to Ann Harrison, the faculty dean.

“We are engaging in what all US universities do, which is price discrimination,” Harrison says. “All those that can afford to pay, do so.”

The primary issue for most deans at the top US schools is the tightening of work visa requirements for foreign students over successive White House administrations and the anti-immigrant rhetoric of the current president.

A group of 50 deans signed an open letter to the president, vice-president and main party leaders in the Senate and Congress in October, urging the removal of caps on the H-1B visa programme to allow more talented people to enter the country.

The letter also suggested the creation of a “heartland” visa that could encourage immigration to the regions of the US most likely to use the vitality of talented individuals.

The solution might lie in trying to ape other parts of the world, where the MBA market is relatively strong. Demand for the full-time degree is growing in Europe, according to GMAC. The notable difference here, aside from the more generous visa rules in many EU countries and the lower cost of their qualifications compared with the US, is the length of European teaching programmes, most of which last just one year rather than two.

For many MBA candidates, it could be that time is more valuable than money.

Top school: Harvard Business School

HBS is back at the top after four years thanks in part to a higher average weighted salary — an increase on last year from $205,486 to $210,110. For the 13th year, alumni of ranked schools also named it as the top choice institution from which they would recruit graduates. “Harvard has strong alumni base in key industries and a prestigious reputation among peer institutions and employers,” wrote one. Diversity also improved, with 43 per cent female students and 49 per cent women on the board.

Top for research: University of Pennsylvania: Wharton

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania rose two places to second overall in the MBA ranking. Among its strengths is the second highest weighted salary of $211,543, up from $197,267 last year. The school is also top of the research ranking, publishing the most articles by full-time staff in 50 selected academic journals between 2017-2019 (weighted by size of faculty). The school also leapt 15 places up the career progress ranking from 32nd to 17th position.

Highest salary: Stanford Graduate School of Business

Stanford dropped two places to third overall but like last year, it is the highest ranked by weighted salary, at $222,625. The school is also top for career progress. However, its salary increase from before the MBA to three years after fell from 129 to 117 per cent and its value for money rank from 60 to 69. Survey respondents praised the school for good career opportunities and personal development. “Stanford changed the entire way I think about myself,” one graduate wrote.

Top for international mobility: IMD Business School

IMD in Switzerland has underlined its strength in the international mobility of its alumni, repeating last year’s top placing in a category based on mobility before their MBA, on graduation and three years after. The school is also number one for international faculty, at 98 per cent of the total. IMD is in the top 15 in the European Business School 2019 ranking and the top 20 for Executive MBAs. “[IMD] helped me to change function, industry and geography in one go,” one respondent reported.

Aims achieved: University of Florida: Warrington

Warrington alumni did better at achieving a variety of aims — from working overseas to starting a company — than peers at any school in the 2020 ranking. Warrington is 34th overall, a rise of five places, and first for value for money. Careers support at Warrington was ranked second and cited by several alumni. “The career service . . . is out of this world. A small programme offers the ability to truly tailor recruitment support to your needs,” said one.

Top for career service: Renmin

Renmin University of China Business School is number one for its career service and ranked second for career progress. The school, 38th overall, was also top for career progress in 2018. Renmin has one of the highest scores for aims achieved among Chinese schools, at 91 per cent, meaning that alumni fulfilled their stated reasons for doing an MBA. “I achieved changing my career to the field I wanted,” said one.

Top for salary increase: Shanghai University of Finance and Economics

Alumni of the university’s College of Business report average salaries 216 per cent higher three years after graduation than before enrolment — yet the school ranks 77th for weighted average salary, at $119,531. As with many Asian schools, students receive lower salaries before their MBA. Alumni report good career progress and were shown to receive good value for money, coming fourth in the table for both categories.

Top for international students: RSM, Erasmus

Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University in the Netherlands has a strong focus on developing business leaders with international careers. RSM is top in the international students category, with 99 per cent of the current MBA cohort coming from other countries. The school was also among the top 15 in the 2019 European Business Schools ranking. “For me, it opened the door to the European job market,” said one student.

Female faculty: UC at Irvine: Merage

The University of California at Irvine: Merage is nearest to gender parity among faculty, at 45 per cent women. Yet this does not carry over to other categories, with women accounting for 27 per cent of students (down 10 percentage points from last year) and 32 per cent of board members. Merage is 65th overall, down 17 places from last year. The change in the alumni employment rate after three months is the main reason for this drop, having fallen from 85 per cent last year to 71 per cent.

Highest riser: George Washington University

The university’s School of Business is the biggest riser this year, jumping 20 places to 70th overall and also 20 places to 75th for career progress. Alumni reported salaries on average 115 per cent higher from before the MBA to three years after. A growing number of foreign students cite the school’s attractive location for business and policy. Gender balance also improved, with female students increasing from 33 to 40 per cent of the cohort, as well as more women on the board and female faculty.

School profiles by Tatjana Mitevska, Leo Cremonezi and Andrew Garthwaite

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Business Education

FT is looking for research participants!

Essential MBA reading: click here to sign up for a free FT trial .

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Wondering about whether and where to study for an MBA? Got questions about how to stand out in your application?

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Read our package of exclusive FT articles on Masters in Management for free!

An exclusive selection of articles offering valuable insights on how to get admitted, make the most of your programme and start a successful career:

— Some of the articles featured in the package:

— Business school admissions: What it takes to win a place

— Masters in Management graduates’ progress — in charts

— How business school careers services get graduates on track


The Financial Times Updates Global MBA Ranking for 2020

Harvard’s MBA program regains the top spot this year

The Financial Times has updated its Global MBA Ranking for 2020.

The new edition of the ranking, which lists full-time MBA programs from business schools all over the world, has Harvard Business School reclaiming the top spot, displacing Stanford Graduate School of Business, which held the position in 2018 and 2019.

Stanford now finds itself in position number three, with the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School taking the second spot. France’s Insead Business School, which topped the list in 2016 and 2017, is now ranked number four. China’s CEIBS Business School holds steady in position number five. MIT’s Sloan School of Management has risen two spots to land at position number six, and is followed by London Business School, which has dropped one spot. The MBA from Columbia Business School is ranked eight.

France’s HEC Paris takes position number nine, rising 10 spots this year, and the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business rounds out the top ten.

Many UK MBA programs have dropped in this year’s ranking

In this year’s FT Global MBA ranking, many UK schools have lost ground, or even dropped out entirely. Imperial College Business School, for example, dropped from 39th last year to 55th this year. Likewise, Durham University Business School fell from 43rd to 62nd. The MBA from Cranfield School of Management, which was ranked 76th last year, is no longer ranked this year.

However, other UK business schools, such as Alliance Manchester Business School and Cass Business School, showed strong gains this year.

FT Global MBA Ranking 2020: Big movers

Although the ranking was fairly stable overall, a few schools moved quite a bit. Spain’s IE Business School, for example, fell from 31st last year to 52nd this year. The school’s ranking drop coincides with a large decrease in average salaries from the previous year. Singapore Management University fell 20 spots, from 43rd to 63rd.

On the other hand, the US’ George Washington University rose 20 positions, from 90th to 70th. Another US school, SMU — Cox, gained ground as well, from 92nd to 74th.

In terms of the overall numbers of business schools by country, the US dominates with 51 schools represented. Notably, China (including Hong Kong) and the UK both have nine each, while France has five, while India has four. Australia, Canada, Germany, Singapore and Spain all have three business schools in the ranking; Switzerland has two. Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and South Korea all have one school a piece.

To determine the rankings, the FT looks at a number of factors, including post-MBA salary (three years after graduation), salary increase, and international mobility. The data is from three years out, that is, for the 2020 ranking, the class of 2016 was surveyed. A total of 150 schools took part in the 2020 Global MBA Ranking; all participating schools must have accreditation from AACSB or EQUIS.

Here’s a list of the top 20 schools in this year’s FT Global MBA Ranking, as well as their change from last year.

The FT’s Global MBA Ranking 2020

FT MBA Ranking 2020 Business School Location Change from 2019
1 Harvard USA +1
2 Wharton USA +2
3 Stanford USA -2
4 Insead France -1
5 Ceibs China no change
6 MIT — Sloan USA +2
7 London Business School UK -1
8 Columbia USA +1
9 HEC Paris France +10
10 Chicago — Booth USA -3
11 Northwestern — Kellogg USA +3
12 UC Berkeley — Haas USA -2
13 IESE Spain -1
14 Yale USA -3
15 NUS Business School Singapore +2
16 (tie) Dartmouth — Tuck USA -1
16 (tie) Duke — Fuqua USA +3
18 Virginia — Darden USA +5
19 (tie) Cambridge — Judge UK -3
19 (tie) HKUST China -1

FIND MBA’s previous coverage of the Financial Times’ Global MBA Ranking:

Read more about MBA Rankings on FIND MBA’s MBA Rankings page.


Названы лучшие бизнес-школы мира по версии Financial Times

Новостной редактор Rusbase

Британское издание Financial Times представило свой ежегодный рейтинг 100 лучших бизнес-школ в мире. Лучшей в этом году стала бизнес-школа Стэндфордского Университета.

Программы МВА бизнес-школ оцениваются по нескольким критериям: карьерный рост выпускников, новаторство вуза, этническое и социокультурное многообразие студенческого коллектива и преподавательского состава.

Ранжирование бизнес-школ зависит в том числе и от того, как выросли доходы выпускников по сравнению с уровнем их доходов до обучения. На основе опроса определяется и «Value for money», то есть насколько оправданно (окупаемо) было вложение средств в обучение по программе MBA в той или иной школе.

Первое место в 2018 году заняла американская бизнес-школа Stanford Graduate school of business, которая представляет собой один из факультетов Стэндфордского Университета. Среди выпускников встречаются и нобелевские лауреаты, и основатели крупнейших международных компаний. Средняя зарплата выпускников – $214742 (самый высокий показатель во всем рейтинге). Увеличение зарплаты – 114%.

Второе место досталось лидеру 2017 года — школе Insead. Кампусы этой бизнес-школы расположены во Франции и Сингапуре, что отличает ее от конкурентов международной культурой и разнообразными сообществами выпускников. Интересно, что в Insead программа MBA рассчитана на один год, когда в большинстве других школ действует двухгодичный стандарт. Средняя зарплата выпускников – $177157. Увеличение зарплаты – 105%.

Тройку замыкает Уортонская школа (Wharton), которая работает при Университете Пенсильвании. Школа носит статус одного из мировых лидеров MBA. По последним данным, в Wharton обучается порядка 80 тысяч студентов из более чем 100 стран мира. Средняя зарплата выпускников – $190826. Увеличение зарплаты – 96%.

В рейтинге Financial Times доминируют американские бизнес-школы (50 из 100). Далее следуют британские школы (14 штук), китайские (7) и французские (5). Российские бизнес-школы в списке не представлены.

Полный список можно посмотреть здесь.

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