September 16, 2012 10:16 pm

Methodology and key

The FT masters in management ranking, now in its eighth year, aims to give a thorough assessment of the top pre-experience degrees in general management. The rankings are compiled using data collected from surveys of participating schools and their students who graduated in 2009.

The 77 schools that took part this year met strict criteria. Foremost among these, schools must be internationally accredited and the programme must have run for at least four consecutive years. Courses are one or two years in length and designed for graduates with little or no experience. Specialised programmes or those concentrating on a specific function are not eligible.


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A 20 per cent response rate is required among alumni surveyed, with a minimum of 20 responses. This year, a total of 5,653 responses were submitted, representing 41 per cent of graduates contacted.

Alumni were also able to evaluate the Cems masters in management degree if they were participants. The Cems degree is provided through a global alliance of 27 business schools, and is awarded to students in addition to the degrees of their respective alma maters.

Data from alumni questionnaires were used to compile six of the 16 criteria that determine the ranking. These criteria, from “salary today” to “placement success” inclusive, plus “inter­national mobility”, together account for 55 per cent of the ranking’s weight.

Published figures for these criteria include data collated by the FT over the past three years, where available. Data gathered from the 2012 survey carries 50 per cent of the weighting, and those from the 2011 and 2010 rankings account for 25 per cent each. Except for salary, if only two years of data are available the weighting is split 60:40 if data are from 2012 and 2011, or 70:30 if from 2012 and 2010. For salary data, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data to negate any inflation-related distortions. “Value for money” is based on “weighted salary” and a programme’s minimum fees, taking into account its length.

In calculating salary data, those alumni employed in the non-profit and public service sectors and those in full-time education, are removed. The remaining salaries are converted to US$ PPP equivalent figures using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. Conversion to PPP – based on the premise that two identical goods in different countries should eventually cost the same – accounts for differences in relative currency values. Following this conversion, and removal of the very highest and lowest salaries reported, the mean average “salary today” is calculated for each school.

The remaining 10 criteria, collectively accounting for 45 per cent of the ranking weight, are calculated according to data provided in the school questionnaires. These include the diversity of the school’s teaching staff, board members and the nominated programme’s students, according to nationality and gender, and the international reach of the programme. For gender-related criteria, schools that have a 50:50 (male:female) composition receive the highest possible score.

The final criteria listed in the table – course fees and length, the number of students enrolled, the percentage of students who undertake internships and whether a relevant undergraduate degree is a requirement – do not contribute towards the ranking.

Following calculations for each criterion, an FT score is calculated for each school. A Z-score – a mathematical formula that creates numbers reflecting the range of the scores between the top and bottom school – is calculated for each of the measures. These scores are then weighted – according to the weights indicated in the ranking key – and added together, giving a final total, according to which schools are ranked.

Judith Pizer of Jeff Head Associates acted as the FT’s database consultant


Key to the 2012 rankings

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

Salary today US$: The average alumnus salary three years after graduation, US $ PPP equivalent. Includes data for the current year and the one or two preceding years where available. This figure is NOT used in the ranking.

Weighted salary US$ (20): The average alumnus salary today with adjustment for salary variations between industry sectors, US $ PPP equivalent. Includes data for the current year and the one or two preceding years where available.

Value for money rank (5): Calculated using the salary earned by alumni today, course length, fees and other costs.

Careers rank (10): Calculated according to the level of seniority and the size of company alumni are now working in. Includes data for the current year and the one or two preceding years where available.

Aims achieved % (5): The extent to which alumni fulfilled their goals or reasons for doing their masters degree. Includes data for the current year and the one or two preceding years where available.

Placement success rank (5): Alumni who used the careers service at their business school were asked to rank its effectiveness in their job search. Includes data for the current year and the one or two preceding years where available.

Employed at three months % (5): Percentage of the most recent graduating class that had found employment or accepted a job offer within three months of graduation. The figure in brackets is the percentage of the class for which the school was able to provide employment data.

Women faculty % (3): Percentage of female faculty. For the three gender-related criteria, schools that have 50:50 (male: female) composition receive the highest possible score.

Women students % (3): Percentage of female students.

Woman board % (1): Percentage of female members of the advisory board.

International faculty % (5): Percentage of faculty whose citizenship differs from their country of employment.

International students % (5): Percentage of current students whose citizenship differs from the country in which they study.

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

Faculty with doctorates % (6): Percentage of faculty with a doctoral degree.

International mobility rank (10): Calculated according to whether alumni work in different countries today than at graduation.

International course experience rank (10): Calculated according to whether the most recent graduating class undertook exchanges, company internships or study trips in countries other than where the business school is based.

Languages (5): Number of additional languages required on completion of the masters programme.

Course fee (local currency): The average programme fees paid by the most recently enrolled class, in the currency of the country where the school is based. This includes all fees required to complete the programme.

Course length (months): The length of the masters programme.

Number enrolled 2011/12: The number of students who enrolled on the first year of the masters programme in the past year (May 2, 2011 to May 1, 2012).

Relevant degree: Indicates whether an undergraduate degree in management, business or economics is required to enter the masters programme.

Company internships (%): The percentage of the last graduating class that completed company internships as part of the programme.

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