January 26, 2014 7:02 pm

MBA ranking 2014: key and methodology

Weights for ranking criteria are shown in brackets as a percentage of the overall ranking.

Audit year: indicates the most recent year that KPMG audited the school, applying specified audit procedures relating to data submitted towards the ranking.

Salary today: average alumnus salary three years after graduation, US$ PPP equivalent. This figure is not used in the ranking.†

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Weighted salary (20): average alumnus salary three years after graduation, US$ PPP equivalent, with adjustment for variations between sectors.†

Salary increase (20): average difference in alumnus salary before the MBA to now. Half of this figure is calculated according to the absolute salary increase, and half according to the percentage increase relative to pre-MBA salary – the “salary percentage increase” figure published in the table.

Value for money (3): calculated using salary today, course length, fees and other costs, including lost income during the MBA.

Career progress (3): calculated according to changes in the level of seniority and the size of company alumni are working in now, compared with before their MBA.†

Aims achieved (3): the extent to which alumni fulfilled their stated goals or reasons for doing an MBA.†

Placement success (2): effectiveness of the school careers service in supporting student recruitment, as rated by their alumni.†

Employed at three months (2): percentage of the most recent graduating class who had found employment or accepted a job offer within three months of completing their studies. The figure in brackets is the percentage of the class for which the school was able to provide employment data, and is used to calculate the school’s final score in this category.

Alumni recommend (2): calculated according to selection by alumni of three schools from which they would recruit MBA graduates.†

Female faculty (2): percentage of female faculty. For the three gender-related criteria, schools with a 50:50 (male/female) composition receive the highest possible score.

Female students (2): percentage of female students on the full-time MBA.

Women board (1): percentage of female members on the school’s advisory board.

International faculty (4): calculated according to the diversity of faculty by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from their country of employment – the figure published in the table.

International students (4): calculated according to the diversity of current MBA students by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from the country in which they study – the figure published in the table.

International board (2): percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the country in which the school is based.

International mobility (6): calculated according to whether alumni worked in different countries pre-MBA, on graduation and three years after graduation.

International course experience (3): calculated according to whether the most recent graduating MBA class completed exchanges, research projects, study tours and company internships in countries other than where the school is based.

Languages (1): number of extra languages required on completion of the MBA.

Faculty with doctorates (5): percentage of full-time faculty with a doctoral degree.

FT doctoral rank (5): calculated according to the number of doctoral graduates from each business school during the past three years. Extra points are awarded if these graduates took up faculty positions at one of the top 50 full-time MBA schools of 2013.

FT research rank (10): calculated according to the number of articles published by each school’s current full-time faculty members in 45 selected academic and practitioner journals between January 2011 and October 2013. The rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.

† Includes data for the current year and the one or two preceding years where available

* KPMG reported on the results of obtaining evidence and applying specified audit procedures relating to selected survey data provided for the Financial Times 2014 MBA ranking for selected business schools. Enquiries about the assurance process can be made by contacting Michelle Podhy of KPMG at mpodhy@kpmg.ca. The specified audit procedures were carried out between November and December 2013. The audit date published denotes the survey for which the specified audit procedures were conducted.

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Methodology

This ranking evaluates the world’s best full-time MBA programmes. This year, 153 schools took part, having met strict entry criteria. All are internationally accredited and their MBAs have run for at least four years.

The ranking is compiled using data collected from the schools and a survey of alumni who completed full-time MBAs in 2010. For schools to be ranked, 20 per cent of their alumni must respond to the FT survey, with at least 20 fully completed responses. This year, 10,986 alumni completed the survey – a response rate of 47 per cent.

Alumni responses inform eight criteria that together contribute 59 per cent of the ranking’s weight. The first two criteria, the most heavily weighted, reflect alumni incomes three years after graduation. The salaries of non-profit and public sector workers and full-time students are removed. Remaining salaries are converted to US dollars using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. (PPP conversion – based on the premise that identical goods should cost the same in different countries – accounts for differences in the strength of currencies.) The highest and lowest salaries are removed and factors are applied to reflect income disparity between sectors. An average is calculated for each school and this figure, “weighted salary”, carries 20 per cent of the ranking’s weight.

“Salary increase”, accounting for 20 per cent, is determined for each school according to the difference in average alumni salary from before the MBA to three years after graduation. Half of this figure is based on the absolute increase and half according to the percentage increase relative to pre-MBA salaries.

Where available, information collated by the FT in the past three years is used for alumni-informed criteria, except “value for money”, which is based on 2014 data. Responses from the 2014 survey carry 50 per cent of total weight, and those from 2013 and 2012 25 per cent. Excluding salary-related criteria, if only two years of data are available, the weighting is split 60:40 if data are from 2014 and 2013, or 70:30 if from 2014 and 2012. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data.

Eleven criteria are calculated from school data, accounting for 31 per cent of the final rank. These measure the diversity of staff, board members and students by gender and nationality, and the international reach of the MBA. For gender criteria, schools with a 50:50 composition score highest.

In a minor change to the “employed at three months” criterion, this measure of employability is calculated according to the percentage of the most recent MBA class that had found a job within three months of completing their studies, rather than graduation.

With the exception of the “doctoral rank” (see key), criteria based on school surveys use only 2013 data. To ensure the integrity of information, KPMG, the consultancy, audits a number of participating schools every year.

The research rank, which accounts for 10 per cent of the ranking, is calculated according to the number of articles published by full-time faculty in 45 internationally recognised academic and practitioner journals. The rank combines the number of publications from January 2011 to October 2013, with the number weighted relative to the size of each school’s faculty.

An FT score is then calculated for each school. First, Z-scores – mathematical formulae that reflect the range of scores between the top and bottom school – are calculated for each ranking criterion. These scores are weighted according to the weights in the ranking key and added to give a final score. The top 100 schools are ranked accordingly to form the 2014 ranking.

Judith Pizer of Jeff Head Associates acted as the FT’s database consultant. The FT research rank was calculated using Scopus, an abstract and citation database of research literature

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