Both change and internationalism are themes typified by ESCP Europe, reaching the top of the table for the first time, after climbing from third place last year. With campuses in Paris, Berlin, London, Madrid and Turin, ESCP offers participants on its Europe masters programme the chance to study in multiple locations. Students are also encouraged to carry out internships overseas.

Blandine Faligot, a French graduate from the ESCP class of 2007, surveyed by the FT as part of this year’s ranking, is in no doubt about the value of this international exposure: “The European masters programme of ESCP … allowed me to study and do internships in three countries in three years.”

Such experience is particularly important when it comes to looking for a job.

“International employers were attracted by the ‘cultural’ experience gained, ability to work in different environments and language skills,” says Faligot, who now works as an investment banker for the Macquarie Group in the UK.

ESCP is not alone in offering students the chance to study overseas. FT data for the latest graduating class reveal that 52 per cent of graduates from ranked schools spent at least a month on an overseas exchange programme. International internships are also popular – 34 per cent of students spent some time working overseas during their programme. Of the 65 schools ranked, 58 reported that some students completed time overseas, either working or studying.

Student mobility is a growing trend, as highlighted by a historic analysis of the Masters in Management ranking. The inaugural list in 2005 focused exclusively on European business schools. At the time, 25 programmes were included, based in 13 different countries. Roughly 26 per cent of first-year students that year were international. Since 2005 this proportion has risen steadily, peaking at almost a third of students (36 per cent) by 2010.

Two main factors contributed to this increase. First is the European nature of the ranking. In spite of being open to schools around the world since 2007, 60 of the 65 schools listed in 2010 are based in Europe. Migration of European nationals between member states of the EU has increased over the past decade, particularly among the young. According to Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Commission, the number of people migrating to member states other than their home country rose by roughly 10 per cent a year between 2002 and 2006, when it reached nearly 1.2m. Of those moving during this period, half were younger than 30.

This broader trend of international mobility may have been more evident within Europe’s business education sector because of the implementation of the Bologna Accord. Signed in 1999 and now incorporating 27 countries, the agreement was designed to harmonise the method of awarding degrees across the continent, and to enable the movement of students between participating countries. Ten years on, this aim appears to be becoming a reality for Europe’s business schools.

The internationalisation of the student body has occurred at different rates in different countries. Schools located in France have consistently made up the biggest share of ranked schools since 2005 – six of the original 25 schools were based there, reaching 16 of the 65 by 2010. Overall, the percentage of international students attending French schools has risen over this period, from 16 per cent to more than a quarter (28 per cent).This figure reaches a third when schools that entered the ranking after 2005 are excluded.

In contrast to their Gallic neighbours, schools based in the UK have consistently reported participation by international students of roughly 85 per cent between 2005 and 2010. Of the 65 schools listed, 11 are based in the UK.

Despite the continuing dominance of European institutions, the number of ranked schools from outside the continent is increasing.

A notable new entry in 2010 is the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA). The school’s impressive debut at number eight is a result of the career prospects an IIMA degree offers. Every one of the most recent class found a job within three months of graduation, while the class of 2007 reported the highest current salary ($92,700), measured in purchasing power parity equivalents, of any of the programmes ranked.

“I am not sure if I could have been in the career I am in right now had I not been at the IIMA,” says one alumnus from the class of 2007. “The level of competition, courses, professors and the great friends I made while there will give me knowledge, inspiration and support through life. Those were wonderful years!”

Additional research by database consultant Judith Pizer of Jeff Head Associates, Amersham, UK

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