The 2013 Financial Times European Business School ranking, celebrating its 10th anniversary, is topped for the first time by joint winners: HEC Paris of France and IE Business School of Spain. The two schools head the table of the best 75 business schools in Europe.

Unlike the other rankings produced by the FT, this European edition ranks business schools rather than their programmes. The tables are based on the indexed scores achieved by schools taking part in the 2013 FT MBA, executive MBA, masters in management, and open and custom executive education rankings.

Both quality and quantity are required to reach the top. Quantity counts since schools taking part in all five rankings typically make it into the top half of these tables. However, quality is foremost: only schools that did consistently well across the rankings make the top 20.

HEC Paris returns to the top position it lost last year thanks to a very strong performance across all the FT rankings. It came first for customised education, second for open-enrolment programmes, third for EMBAs with its joint programme Trium and fourth for its masters in management.

IE lost one or two places in some rankings but scored highly enough to retain the top spot it gained last year, in particular being ranked fourth for its MBA and fifth for its masters in management.

Students value these two schools for the quality of the faculty and fellow participants, the international exposure and the extensive alumni networks. While some were disappointed by the schools’ career office (HEC and IE were ranked 80th and 90th for placement success in the MBA ranking), the extremely strong reputation of their brands more than make up for it.

Other schools registering strong performances this year include France’s Edhec, which rises eight places to 17th with its participation in both MBA and EMBA rankings. The Netherlands’ TiasNimbas is ranked 20th with the help of a top 100 MBA programme and Germany’s HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management is up to 23rd after entering the top 100 EMBA programmes.

Schools from 19 European countries feature in this ranking, although half are from either the UK or France (20 and 18 respectively). Masters in management are the most popular type of programme offered in Europe, with 61 to choose from in this ranking. In comparison, MBA and Executive Education programmes are offered by only about half of the schools ranked.

Which graduates enjoy the highest salary three years after graduation? Graduates from Germany dominate masters in management programmes with an average salary of $70,000, closely followed by Spain at $69,000 and Switzerland on $65,000. French MBA graduates perform best with an average salary of $145,000, mostly thanks to Insead’s programme, followed by Spain on $144,000. Finally, Spain’s EMBA graduates come top with an average salary of $174,000, and the UK’s alumni second on $170,000.

France’s Télécom Business School has the most gender-balanced faculty at 50 per cent female, while Switzerland’s University of Zurich has 9 per cent of women in its faculty. IMD, also in Switzerland, has the most internationally diverse faculty, while St Petersburg Graduate School of Management’s faculty is all Russian.

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