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The University of St Gallen in Switzerland has topped the Financial Times ranking of the best masters in management (MiM) programmes worldwide for the fifth consecutive year. HEC Paris, which topped the ranking four years in a row between 2005 and 2008, is in second place. France’s Essec Business School in third place completes the podium.

St Gallen retained the top spot in the face of growing competition. The 2015 ranking features the top 80 masters programmes for students with little or no previous work experience, up from 70 programmes ranked in 2014.

The MiM ranking is based on data collected from two surveys — one of the participating business schools and the other of alumni who graduated three years ago (the class of 2012). The ranking is in part based on how successful alumni have been in their careers, as reflected in salary data.

St Gallen’s alumni had an average salary of nearly $90,000 three years after graduation, third-highest in Europe behind WHU Beisheim and HHL Leipzig of Germany. The school is ranked first for international experience and aims achieved, third for job placement and fourth for value for money.

Nova School of Business and Economics in Portugal and La Rochelle Business School in France are the two highest climbers, up 17 and 16 places respectively to rank 31st and 48th.

Eight schools are ranked for the first time; IIM Bangalore is the highest entrant, at 26. The ranking also contains its first joint MiM: the programme from Spain’s IQS, Fu Jen University of Taiwan and the University of San Francisco is in 58th place.

British and French business schools especially continue to dominate, accounting for 42 per cent of ranked institutions. The number of British schools rose by two to 13, while French schools were up by three, taking the total to 21. While French schools are distributed across the ranking, British schools are mostly in the bottom half, with nine out of 13 ranked 49 or below. Only London Business School (sixth) and Warwick Business School (23rd) moved up the ranking.

One reason is the poor performance of British schools in international course experience. London Business School is 41st by this criterion, the highest UK school. While 87 per cent of recent graduates in French schools took part in exchanges with overseas schools, almost no UK-based students did so.

International exchanges provide exposure to different environments and a chance to learn from other faculty from top schools at little cost and to gain jobs abroad. “I am extremely satisfied with the international aspect of my school,” said one survey respondent. “I did two exchange programmes (in the US and in Hong Kong) and spent a semester in Germany on internships. My school definitely helped me get an international career.”

Not all international experiences are purely business related; some are about personal development. Students at La Rochelle Business School in France do about a semester of humanitarian work in France or abroad. “The strength of my school was to make me realise that business management could be applied in humanitarian activities,” said one graduate.

Top overall: St Gallen

Nestled between the Alps and Lake Constance, the University of St Gallen, in Switzerland, has developed a masters in management degree that is proving attractive to both students and recruiters, reports Della Bradshaw. As a result, its MiM is top for the fifth consecutive year. A hallmark of the degree is the requirement that students complete a sustainability project. The school now runs close to 10 pre-experience masters degrees in English.

Top for careers: IIM Calcutta

IIM Calcutta is first in the careers rank, just ahead of its sister schools in Bangalore and Ahmedabad. The rank is based on seniority of graduates and size of company. Calcutta’s graduates work mainly in three sectors dominated by multinationals: IT/software/telecoms, finance/banking and consultancy. Two-thirds of Calcutta graduates work in companies with more than 5,000 employees compared with just under half of all graduates on average.

Top for placement success: WHU Beisheim

Lack of support from the careers office is a common complaint from students. Not so at WHU Beisheim. The students rate their school highly for the effectiveness of its careers service in helping them find jobs. The school has been top since it made the ranking in 2010. All students complete an internship during their masters. About three-quarters of students from the class of 2012 received a job offer following their internship, half of them accepting it.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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