The 11th annual FT masters in management ranking is based on a relative assessment of the world’s top pre-experience degrees in general management, calculated according to data provided by schools and alumni.

Business schools must meet a number of criteria to take part. In particular, they must be internationally accredited by either the AACSB or Equis, and their nominated programme must have run for four years. Courses are one or two years in length and are designed for graduates with little or no work experience. Specialist programmes are not eligible.

A record 90 schools participated in this ranking, up from 81 the previous year. Both the schools and their alumni who graduated in 2012 completed an online survey. 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, 6,811 alumni responded — 35 per cent of the graduates contacted.

Alumni of the Cems masters in management, provided through a global alliance of 29 business schools, were also given the opportunity to evaluate the degree.

The ranking is calculated through a broad range of criteria, each with a different weighting. The criteria weights remain unchanged compared with last year.

Alumni responses inform six criteria, from “salary today” to ”placement success”, 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 not counted. Remaining salaries are converted to US dollars using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. The highest and lowest salaries reported are subsequently discounted, and the mean ”salary today” is calculated for each school.

The calculations for weighted salary apply to schools with 50 or more alumni responses. Based on the six main business sectors of employment in the overall sample, we calculate the average salary by sector for each business school and recalculate the salary, assuming the school had the same percentage split over sectors as the total sample. The impact is more important for schools with a significantly higher proportion of alumni working in one of the six sectors. The salaries of the alumni who are not in these sectors are not weighted.

Where available, information collected over the past three years is used for all alumni criteria, except ”value for money”, which is based on 2015 figures. Responses from the 2015 survey carry 50 per cent of the total weight, and those from 2014 and 2013 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 2015 and 2014, or 70:30 if from 2015 and 2013. 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 and 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.

An FT score is calculated for each school. First, Z-scores are calculated for each criterion. As such, the FT MiM ranking is a relative ranking. Schools are ranked against each other for each criterion. The Z-score is a statistic that shows where a score lies in relation to the mean. These scores are then weighted as outlined in the ranking key, and added together for a final score.

After discounting the schools that did not meet the response rate threshold from the alumni survey, a first version is calculated using all remaining schools. The school at the bottom is removed and a second version is calculated, and so on until the final ranking is reached.

Other information in the table — course fees and programme 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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