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FT Global MBA Ranking 2015: Who will Beat Harvard?

FT MBA RankingHarvard is the school to beat in the Financial Times Global Business School Rankings for 2015. The School has taken the top spot for the sixth consecutive year, beating the rivals Wharton, Stanford, and London Business School. Stanford has dropped two places from 2014 rankings to rank at 4th while Wharton has sneaked in one position to rank at 3rd. London Business School also did the same trick by ranking at #2. Insead is tied at #4 with Stanford. ESMT and Duke Fuqua: the big surprise winner in BusinessWeek MBA ranking is featured at 63rd and 21st positions respectively.

Top #5 MBA Programs based on Weighted Salary(Dollars)

1) Harvard Business School - $179910 (96% Salary Increase)
2) Stanford Graduate School of Business - $177089 (80% Salary Increase)
3) University of Pennsylvania: Wharton - $171543 ( 90% Salary Increase)
4) Columbia Business School - $169252 (106% Salary Increase)
5) Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad – 167676 (88% Salary Increase)

Weighted Salary in Dollars is not the immediate post-MBA Salary. It is the three-year average salary after graduation, adjusted for salary variations across industries and job functions. FT MBA ranking also featured top MBA programs according to Alumni feedback. The Alumni were asked to shortlist three schools from which they would recruit fresh MBAs.

Top #10 MBA Programs (According to Alumni)


1) Harvard
2) Stanford
3) Wharton
4) Columbia
5) IIM Ahmedabad
6) Chicago Booth
7) Kellogg
8) MIT Sloan
9) Haas
10) Insead

Another category in FT MBA ranking is the ranking based on career advancement (Change in Seniority Level and Company Size Post-MBA compared to Pre-MBA position). Although change in Company Size as a criteria is flawed, change in seniority level is a valid way to look at career advancement.

Top #10 MBA Programs (According to Career Advancement)


1) Harvard
2) Stanford
3) Wharton
4) Columbia
5) IIM Ahmedabad
6) Chicago Booth
7) Kellogg
8) MIT Sloan
9) Haas
10) Insead

Interestingly, Alumni’s Top 10 MBA rating is the same as the Top 10 MBA programs according to career advancement.

Effectiveness of Career Service is a criteria that MBA aspirants should consider. When we sorted the ranking according to the Effectiveness of Career Service team as rated by Alumni, the top 10 MBA programs featured an interesting mix.

Top 10 MBA Programs (Most Effective Career Service Team)

1) University of Chicago: Booth
2) Sungkyunkwan University GSB
3) Carnegie Mellon: Tepper
4) IMD
5) University of Virginia: Darden
6) Indiana University: Kelley
7) Northwestern University: Kellogg
8) Michigan State University: Broad
9) Georgia Institute of Technology: Scheller
10) University of California at Berkeley: Haas

Will there be any biases? Of course. The ranking is based on Alumni feedback. The loyal Alumni base will rate their MBA programs favorably, and if the class selected were from a relatively lesser ambitious group, the post-MBA offers would influence their rating. The same offers might not excite a Harvard or a Stanford MBA.

Career Service team cannot guarantee a job, and for bigger brands their effectiveness is not a major criterion. A brand name like ‘Harvard’ or ‘Stanford’ when associated with your profile will open several doors for you without the need for diligent followup. But if you are selecting second tier schools, and looking at post-MBA jobs in the host countries, understanding the least performing MBA programs according to career service team will save you thousands of dollars. Switching careers depends on the support of the career service team and their ability to convince the Employer to consider your profile. After all, if the Employer is not convinced about the value of the MBA from the school’s aggressive posturing, your effort to push for a career switch won’t find any takers. If you are a career switcher looking for post-MBA jobs in the host country, the below ranking should help you.

Bottom 10 MBA Programs (Least Effective Career Service Team)

*From the Top 100 ranked MBA programs

1) Tias Business School
2) Melbourne Business School
3) Queen's School of Business
4) University of Cape Town GSB
5) The Lisbon MBA
6) University of Toronto: Rotman
7) Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
8) University of Alberta
9) Vlerick Business School
10) Macquarie Graduate School of Management

Normally, we have seen Business School rankings published with just 20-25% response rate but 2015 FT Global MBA ranking had a 40% Alumni response rate.

For those MBA aspirants who need help in choosing MBA programs with the best value for money, FT has ranked the program based on Salary today, Fees, Course Length, Extraneous costs, and Lost Income during the MBA program. We have listed the post-MBA weighted salary along with the Best 'Value for Money' MBA programs.

Top 10 MBA Programs (Value for Money)


1) University of Cape Town GSB:    $144744    
2) HKUST Business School:$132416    
3) The Lisbon MBA: $122334    
4) ESMT - European School of Management and Technology: $99822    
5) University of Cambridge: Judge:$146664    
6) Vlerick Business School: $100809    
7) IMD: $148148    
8) Mannheim Business School: $106106    
9) University College Dublin: Smurfit: $108154    
10) Macquarie Graduate School of Management:$120485    

When we had a chat with a disgruntled Alumnus, the objection, he raised was about the quality of the faculty. Majority of the faculty in the program was from the host country with poor English-speaking skills. If you are looking for an International MBA, the percentage of International Faculty will hedge the risk against learning about Management in one dimension. A US, French, Italian, Chinese, or UK Centric MBA will not give great returns if the conversation is all about doing Business in one region. With economies interconnected as never before, the diversity of the faculty will expose MBA students to different worlds and the unique problems defined from the faculty’s perspective.

For aspiring International MBAs, consider the ranking list below with the percentage international faculty in brackets.

1) IMD(96)
2) Insead(90)
3) Imperial College Business School(90)
4) London Business School(85)
5) University of British Columbia: Sauder(79)
6) University of St Gallen(77)
7) ESMT - European School of Management and Technology(77)
8) Warwick Business School(76)
9) University of Toronto: Rotman(75)
10) McGill University: Desautels(72)

Read: Complete FT Global MBA Ranking 2015