Masters in management 2011: methodology

The FT masters in management report ranks the top 65 programmes in general management for students with no prior work experience. Established in 2005, the ranking assesses courses submitted by business schools worldwide. It also looks at the schools themselves and their alumni.

Two sets of online surveys are used to compile the results, once business schools have met the criteria for participation. The first survey is completed by the schools and the second by alumni who graduated three years previously. This year, the targeted alumni were the class of 2008.

For schools to be eligible, a 20 per cent response rate is required from alumni, with a minimum of 20 responses for schools with fewer than 100 alumni in the graduating class.

Schools are asked to alert alumni to the ranking prior to the start of the survey. However, once the process is under way, they are not allowed to contact their alumni directly or encourage them to participate in any other way.

Seventy-six programmes were submitted this year, five of which were new. A total of 5,080 responses were received from alumni – a response rate of close to 40 per cent.

The alumni survey also allows students to evaluate the Cems masters in management degree, if they have participated in it. The degree is awarded to students through a global alliance of 27 business schools, in addition to the degrees of their alma maters.

The data from the alumni survey are used to determine six of the 16 criteria: weighted salary (US$), value for money, careers, aims achieved (per cent), placement success and international mobility.

The figures in the first column, titled “Salary today (US$)”, are also based on the data from the alumni survey but are published for information only.

To calculate the “Weighted salary (US$)” column, data supplied by alumni working in the non-profit and public service sectors, or who are still full-time students, are excluded first. Then purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund are used to convert the remaining salary data to US dollar figures.

PPP rates are conversion rates that iron out differences in purchasing power between different currencies.

Next, the very highest and lowest salaries are excluded before the average salary is calculated for each school.

For larger schools (with more than 50 alumni responses) there is one further stage: the average salaries are weighted to reflect variations in salaries between different employment sectors. The weights are derived from a breakdown of the sectors in which alumni are working. Average salaries within sectors are calculated for each school. The overall sector weights are then used to calculate the proportion that each sector salary average will contribute to the total average figure for a school.

The remaining 10 criteria are calculated using data from the school surveys.

After all calculations have been applied to the data for each ranking criterion, the results are ranked using Z-scores on a column-by-column basis. That is, for each criterion, a separate set of Z-scores is calculated. These take into account the differences between each school and the spread of scores between the top and bottom school.

The Z-scores in each field are then multiplied by the column weights (see online table key), and these results are added to give a final score for each school, which is presented as the school’s overall rank.

Criteria that contribute to the ranking have underlying Z-scores, but in the table the data are shown as US dollar equivalents, ranks, percentages or, for languages, the number of additional languages required on graduation.

The columns titled “Course fee (local currency)”, “Course length (months)”, “Number enrolled 2010/11”, “Relevant degree” and “Company internships (%)” are supplied only to inform readers.

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