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Poll: do alumni networks really deliver job opportunities?

Enrolling at a top business school is about more than gaining an education, writes Adam Palin. Membership of the club can open professional doors, as illustrated by the findings of an FT poll of recent MBA graduates.

Of the 2,490 graduates from the class of 2010 who responded to the survey, 83 per cent have learned about job opportunities through their school’s alumni network since graduation. Almost half (49 per cent) told the FT they had received job offers.

The number of graduates offered positions through their network varies between schools. The University of Southern California’s Marshall school (77 per cent) and the University of Toronto’s Rotman school (26 per cent) were at either end of the spectrum of those in the top 100.

The alumni networks of Indian and French schools provide the most opportunities to members, with 57 per cent and 55 per cent of their MBA graduates respectively receiving job offers.

Regular communication is key to networks’ strength. More than half of graduates surveyed (51 per cent) receive correspondence from their network weekly, with 15 per cent doing so most days.

Schools themselves make similar efforts to keep in touch. Almost half of alumni (49 per cent) hear weekly from their alma mater.

Language survey speaks volumes

How confident are you of doing business abroad? “My language skills set me apart in my career,” said one US MBA graduate in an FT poll, writes Laurent Ortmans. He is something of an exception: a quarter of US graduates speak no foreign language, and most of the remainder have only basic or moderate Spanish or French. Indeed, none of the US schools in the MBA ranking requires a second language. UK graduates do little better.

Most graduates from other countries speak English fluently and often a second or third foreign language. Belgian and Swiss graduates are among the most proficient, with Spanish, French and German the most spoken. Foreign languages spoken by only a small number of graduates include Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese and Russian.

Who taught the big hitters?

Mary Barra speaks during the final press preview day for the North American International Auto Show in Detroit, Michigan, in this January 10, 2012 file picture
Mary Barra © Reuters

Mary Barra, General Motors’ new chief executive, is one of eight women with an MBA, and one of eight Stanford Graduate School of Business MBA graduates, in charge of an FT500 company.

For an interactive graphic showing which schools in the 2014 FT Global MBA ranking have produced the most FT500 chief executives, go to

Architecture slideshow

Zaha Hadid's design for the Vienna University of Economics and Business campus
Campus designed by Zaha Hadid

Academic institutions often express their ambitions through their buildings. WU (Vienna University of Economics and Business) recruited renowned architects including Zaha Hadid to design its new €492m campus.

For a slideshow of projects around the world, go to

Ask the experts – live

David Schmittlein, dean of MIT Sloan
David Schmittlein © Charlie Bibby

A panel of experts including David Schmittlein, dean of MIT Sloan, and FT business education editor Della Bradshaw will answer questions 2pm-3pm GMT on January 29 at

Send questions to

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For analysis of the MBA ranking and how to use it go to

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