The ninth annual FT masters in management ranking provides a thorough assessment of the world’s top pre-experience degrees in general management, calculated according to data provided by schools and alumni.

To take part, business schools must be internationally accredited and their nominated programme must have run for four years. Courses are one or two years in length and designed for graduates with little or no work experience. Specialised programmes are not eligible.

The 80 schools that participated completed an online survey, as did their alumni who graduated in 2010.

For a school to be eligible for the ranking, at least 20 per cent of alumni must respond to the FT survey, with a minimum of 20 responses. This year, 6,043 alumni responded, 41 per cent of the graduates contacted.

Cems alumni were also given the opportunity to evaluate the degree, which is provided through a global alliance of 28 business schools.

Alumni responses inform six criteria, from “salary today” to “placement success” inclusive, plus “international mobility”, that together account for 55 per cent of the ranking’s weight.

In calculating salary-related measures, the salaries of alumni employed in the non-profit and public sectors, as well as those in full-time education, are removed. Remaining salaries are converted to US dollars using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. Conversion to PPP – based on the premise that identical goods should cost the same in different countries – accounts for differences in the relative strength of currencies. The very highest and lowest salaries reported are subsequently removed, and the mean “salary today” is calculated for each school.

Where available, information collected over the past three years is used for all alumni criteria, except “value for money”, which is based on 2013 figures. Responses from 2013 carry 50 per cent of the total weight, and those from 2012 and 2011 each account for 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 2013 and 2012, or 70:30 if from 2013 and 2011. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data, to negate inflation-related distortions.

Information provided by the schools informs the remaining 10 criteria (45 per cent of the ranking weight). These measure the programme’s international exposure as well as the diversity of the school’s faculty, board members and masters in management students, according to nationality and gender. For gender-related criteria, schools that have a 50:50 (male:female) composition receive the highest score.

There have been minor changes to the calculation of international diversity for 2013. In addition to the percentage of schools’ students and faculty that are international – the figures published – the composition of these groups by individual citizenship informs a diversity-measuring score, which feeds into the calculation. Additionally, the contribution of both the “female students” and “female faculty” criteria has increased from 3 to 4 per cent. The “languages” criterion now accounts for 3 per cent.

Following calculations for these criteria, an FT score is calculated for each school. First, Z-scores – a number that reflects the range between the top and bottom school – are calculated for each criterion. These scores are then weighted, according to the weights indicated in the key, and added together to give a final total. Schools are ranked according to this total score.

The final information 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 required – does not contribute towards the ranking.

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

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