Ranking analysis 2015: Britain raises its game

Analysis: UK business schools are improving faster than their continental competitors
The Old Marylebone Town Hall is being redeveloped as a new campus

Listen to this article

00:00
00:00

British business schools shine in the 2015 Financial Times ranking of European institutions. Not only has London Business School (LBS) kept its crown as the best business school in Europe but three other schools in Britain have achieved the biggest rises since last year.

In the field of the best 85 business schools in Europe, HEC Paris remains in second place behind LBS, while Insead, the international school based in Fontainebleau, France, climbs two places to third.

Meanwhile, the University of Bradford School of Management and the University of Edinburgh Business School each climb 16 places, to 42nd and 55th, respectively. Judge Business School at the University of Cambridge rises 15 places to 14th.

This ranking measures the quality and breadth of the schools’ postgraduate programmes. It is based on their performance in the four main rankings published by the FT each year: MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Management and Executive Education. Only schools that take part in all four rankings are eligible for a full score.

A strong performance in all four rankings for LBS includes first place for its full-time MBA programme and third for both its joint Executive MBA programme (taught with Columbia Business School in the US) and customised executive education.

The quality of its students makes LBS particularly valued. “Studying among so many talented people has instilled in me the belief that I can actually achieve something on my own,” comments one MBA graduate from the class of 2011.

In 55th place, University of Edinburgh Business School regains the rank it held two years ago. The school dropped down the tables last year after failing to make it into the Masters in Management ranking. The University of Bradford School of Management recorded its best progression, aided by the school’s first appearance in the ranking of the top 100 Executive MBAs.

Cambridge Judge Business School also ends the year on a high, appearing for the first time in the rankings for both open and custom executive education, and climbing three places in the MBA ranking and 12 places in the Executive MBA table.

However, strong progress across the main rankings does not automatically translate into European success. Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, for example, rose one place in the MBA ranking, five places in the ranking of open executive programmes and broke into the top 10 of the Executive MBA ranking for the first time by moving up 12 places, but its European ranking remains unchanged, at 10th.

While British schools moved up two places on average, French schools, the largest group from any one country, fell one place on average. EMLyon Business School dropped outside the MBA ranking and lost 15 places overall, while Edhec Business School failed to make it into the Executive MBA ranking and lost eight places overall as a result.

Among French schools, Toulouse Business School made the best progress, up 14 places, after featuring in the Executive MBA ranking for the first time.

In terms of salary three years after graduation, Germany leads the way for masters in management programmes, with three schools in the top four. Graduates of WHU Beisheim have the distinction of earning the highest salary, at $98,123 on average.

In the MBA ranking, LBS, Insead and Spain’s IE Business School are bunched together with only a few dollars between them. Insead has the top salary at $155,015.

Finally, in the EMBA ranking, excluding joint programmes delivered with non-European schools, IMD of Switzerland, with an average salary of $261,397, is well ahead of Saïd Business School in second and IE Business School in third place.


Top in Belgium: Vlerick

With new dean Marion Debruyne, Vlerick Business School is on a mission to build an international business school from its campuses in Brussels, Leuven and Ghent.

Though the school has just 50 academics, it runs a full range of graduate programmes — MBA, Executive MBA, masters degrees and executive short courses. It is in these open enrolment and customised programmes the school’s real strength — and revenues — lie.

Vlerick is one of only a handful of schools to have repeatedly secured the coveted five-year accreditation from Equis, the accreditation body.

Top in the Netherlands: Rotterdam

With a full range of business degrees from undergraduate to doctoral level, Rotterdam School of Management at Erasmus University has always had a particularly global outlook and a strong research culture.

Its real strength lies in its masters in management degree, ranked fifth in the world this year. Selected students can take advantage of RSM’s membership of the Cems alliance, which sees exchange programmes between 29 business schools globally as well as internships at blue-chip companies.

It has a wide portfolio of other masters degrees taught in English.

Top in Germany: ESMT

Founded in 2002 by 25 leading companies, from BMW to Bosch and Siemens, ESMT has built its reputation as Germany’s highest-ranked business school through its close ties with its corporate partners.

Its first programmes were short open enrolment programmes, and it was not until January 2006 that it launched its first full-time MBA. Its Executive MBA launched in 2007. Though it recently launched a masters in management degree, this is not yet ranked by the FT, which means the Berlin school is still below the top schools in the European ranking.

Top in Poland: Kozminski

Warsaw’s Kozminski University (KU) is a private institution founded in 1993. Despite dropping four places in this year’s European ranking to 45th, KU remains Poland’s leading provider of business education.

It is also top in eastern Europe, where only a handful of business schools are accredited by either AACSB or Equis, the main US and European accreditation bodies. KU is ranked 42nd out of the best 80 global masters in management programmes and 36th in Europe. It was also ranked 61st out of 100 Executive MBA programmes worldwide.

Top in Turkey: Koç

Istanbul’s Koç University was founded in 1993 and is a private institution. The university’s Graduate School of Business has been a member of the Cems alliance, the global masters in management (MiM) programme, since 2009.

Koç’s MiM programme does not feature in the FT’s MiM ranking but the school makes the European ranking thanks to its EMBA — 59th in the 2015 global Executive MBA ranking, up 19 places. While it moved up six places to 28th among European schools in the EMBA ranking, it rose only one place in the overall ranking to 66th.

Top in Hungary: Corvinus

In 1996, eight years before the EU was enlarged to include many eastern countries, three new members from the region joined the Cems alliance masters in management programme. Corvinus University of Budapest was one.

The Hungarian university features in the FT Masters in Management ranking only, at 79th overall in Europe, the same as last year. Its MiM programme is ranked 58th in Europe, up from 63rd in 2014. The school’s alumni earn on average $41,000 three years after graduation and the programme was in the top 20 for value for money.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved. You may share using our article tools. Please don't copy articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.