October 15, 2012 12:14 am

Rankings analysis: Joint winners

illustration of a computer user sitting in front of a mirror by Neil Webb©Neil Webb

The 2012 Financial Times executive MBA ranking highlights the merits of sharing culture, experience and expertise, with five cross-continental joint programmes topping the tables.

The ranking is based on a survey of business schools and alumni who graduated in 2009, rated by criteria ranging from career progression and school diversity to idea generation.

In first place for the fourth consecutive year is the joint EMBA run by the Kellogg school in Illinois and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. Its alumni have the highest average salary, are top for aims achieved, have the second best work experience and comprise one of the most diverse cohorts.

New York’s Columbia Business School and London Business School and Trium (the triumvirate of HEC Paris, LSE and New York University: Stern) occupy the second and third spots for the fourth consecutive year, albeit swapping position once again.

Eighteen of the programmes ranked in 2012 did not feature in 2011, including 12 from schools participating for the first time. In particular, the joint programme run by Tsinghua University in Beijing and Insead in Singapore, is the highest new entry, in fourth position. Sun Yat-sen University entered the ranking at number 11.

The EMBA is to China what the MBA is to the US, the masters in management is to France and the PGP is to India – the most popular diploma for managers and executives. This is reflected in the ranking, with nine out of the top 12 programmes taught at least partly in Asia.

Schools in the top half of the ranking tend to maintain a more stable position than those in the bottom half. A comparison of 2011 and 2012 rankings shows that schools from the top and bottom halves moved on average five and 15 places respectively. Thirteen schools in the bottom half moved 20 places or more, mostly downwards. The ranking of schools in the bottom half is more sensitive to changes in average salaries. This is because some of these schools score a significant proportion of their overall Z-score (see methodology, p30) from alumni salaries and fare less well in other criteria.

The profile of the typical EMBA participant is remarkably similar across the globe. On average, students are 36 years old when they embark on an EMBA programme in order to move their career to the next level, having held three different positions beforehand. The main motivation is to develop managerial skills, with networking and improved salary coming second and third. Ramón Andrade, a Trium alumnus, is a typical example. “The [EMBA] programme provided me with the skills required to break barriers in my organisation and help it grow. It also helped tremendously in terms of personal and professional growth.”

The FT data show that the level of seniority of EMBA participants increases significantly within three years of graduation. Among the FT survey respondents, the proportion of directors/partners increased from 16 per cent before the EMBA to 31 per cent three years after, and the proportion of board members/chief executives increased from eight to 21 per cent. The breakdown by region shows that participants in Europe and Asia tend to be more senior than in North America.

In the US, relatively more junior managers opt for an EMBA to develop their managerial skills than in Europe and Asia.

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