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This is the second time the FT has ranked the top schools in the Americas and Asia-Pacific. These top-25 tables reflect both the quality and breadth of business schools offerings. The FT measured performance in the main 2018 rankings: MBA, executive MBA, Masters in Management (MiM) and the two rankings for executive education. The tables use the same methodology as for Europe; the exception is that placings for the Americas do not include the MiM as too few schools participate
It has been a torrid few years for the US business education market. Most schools have suffered declining application volumes for the past four years, according to data from the Graduate Management Admission Council, administrator of the business school entry exam. Some of the biggest declines have been for two-year, full-time MBA courses, the foundation stone of the US business school market.
The FT’s ranking of the top 25 schools in the Americas — based on their performance in other FT rankings — reflects how the market is changing and also how it is not.
The biggest climbers since last year’s inaugural Americas list are not those that rely on the full-time MBA, but those business schools that have proved adept at providing courses that fit in with student demands for greater flexibility in the way they learn.
Washington University’s Olin Business School, the highest climber on the Americas list, is a stronger performer in the ranking of part-time EMBAs than the list of full-time MBAs.
In contrast, Stanford, which was top of the global MBA ranking this year, is in ninth place on the Americas ranking because of its lack of a part-time EMBA programme. It is just ahead of Harvard Business School in the Americas ranking, which created the MBA as a full-time residential course 110 years ago and does not offer an EMBA alternative.
For all the gloom about the US market, there are few signs of other countries, at least in the Americas, stealing significant market share from US institutions.
This has been a bumper year for applications at many Canadian business schools. However, only three make it on to our Americas ranking and none have moved up the order on this year’s list.
It is notable that all the new entries on this year’s Americas ranking list are US schools. While the traditional full-time MBA has been in decline, other areas of business education are growing. Shorter and more specialist business masters degrees have been the success story of recent years. So has executive education, reflected on this list.
Rutgers Business School in New Jersey is an example of how this can affect a ranking position. Its full-time MBA is number 89 in the FT global ranking, but the school makes it on to the Americas list because of its executive education offering. Another example is Michigan’s Ross School of Business: 26th in the Global MBA ranking, but joint fourth on this list because its open-enrolment executive education courses are judged to be the second best in the Americas.
There are success stories in business education in the Americas, despite the difficult US market for full-time two-year MBA programmes. The winners are those that follow the business rules that it always helps to be alert to changes in a market and adapt to the inevitable shifts in consumer tastes.
Asian business schools are coming of age. Applications to business schools in the region grew faster than anywhere else this year, up 8.9 per cent, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council.
When the FT published its first MBA ranking in 1999, it included the top 50 programmes worldwide, but no Asian schools. This year there were 15, including seven from China. The number would be higher if the list included Insead, which became a dual-centred school when it opened a Singapore campus in 1999. However, the school, second on the FT’s Global MBA Ranking this year and top in 2017 and 2016, is placed in the list for Europe, where it has its original Fontainebleau base, rather than our Asian ranking table.
The highest new entry in this year’s MBA ranking was the Lee Kong Chian School of Business at Singapore Management University. This helped make it the highest climber — rising from 13th to sixth place — on this year’s list of Asia-Pacific schools, based on other FT rankings.
But there is still room for improvement for Asia as a global centre for business education. The China Europe International Business School (Ceibs) broke into the top 10 global MBAs this year, but the Shanghai institution was the only purely Asian school in this top tier.
Asia might have arrived as an economic power, but it is still an emerging market for MBAs and business masters courses. There is a reason for this. Because many Asian schools were founded more recently, it has taken longer for most to go through the accreditation process. The Indian School of Business was the first from India to appear in the MBA ranking, in 2008, while the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta was ranked in 2017.
Business education in Asia is dominated by Chinese schools and this looks unlikely to abate, with yet more Chinese institutions waiting in the wings. Many are in the process of jumping through the necessary hoops to achieve globally recognised accreditation standards, which in turn enable them to be placed on rankings such as this.
Japan has historically been a minor player in business education, despite being a leading economic power. The arrival on this year’s Asian list of NUCB Business School, a privately owned college located in the Tokai region of Japan, is significant for the country’s international standing in the business education market. It has achieved this through its executive MBA, the part-time course that is popular across the Asian region.
However, Nagoya is the only Japanese school on this year’s list, a third of the number achieved by South Korea’s business education market.
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