Methodology and key: MBA 2016

How we ranked the top full-time global MBA programmes

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This ranking features the world’s best full-time MBA programmes. A total of 157 schools took part, all of which are internationally accredited and meet strict entry criteria. We survey alumni three years after graduation so the programmes need to be at least four years old. To qualify for the ranking, the FT also requires that a minimum of 20 per cent of a school’s alumni reply to the FT survey, with at least 20 fully completed responses. Participating programmes must have a minimum of 30 graduates each year to be considered.

This ranking used data collected from both the schools and the 9,800 alumni who completed a full-time MBA in 2012 — a response rate of 43 per cent.

Alumni responses inform eight criteria that together contribute 59 per cent of the ranking’s weight. The first two reflect alumni incomes three years after graduation. The salaries of non-profit and public sector workers and full-time students are removed. Remaining salaries are converted to US dollars using October 2015 International Monetary Fund purchasing power parity rates.

The highest and lowest salaries in each school are removed and factors are applied to reflect income differences between sectors. An average is calculated for each school and this figure, “weighted salary”, carries 20 per cent of the ranking’s marks. “Salary increase”, accounting for 20 per cent, is determined for each school according to the difference in average alumni salary from before the MBA to three years after graduation. Half of the weight applies to the absolute increase and half to the percentage increase (published).

FT data from the past three years is used for alumni-informed criteria. Responses from the 2016 survey carry 50 per cent of total weight and those from 2015 and 2014, 25 per cent each. Excluding salary criteria, if only two years of data are available, the weighting is split 60:40 if data are from 2016 and 2015, or 70:30 if they are from 2016 and 2014. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data.

“Value for money” is derived from fees, other costs and financial help given to alumni over the past three years.

Eleven criteria are calculated from school data, accounting for 31 per cent of the final ranking. These measure the diversity of staff, board members, students by gender, nationality and the MBA’s international reach. For gender criteria, schools with a 50:50 composition score highest.

With the exception of the “PhD graduates” category (see Key below), criteria based on school data use 2015 information only. KPMG, the consultancy, audits a number of participating schools every year.

The research rank, which accounts for 10 per cent, is based on the number of articles by full-time faculty in 45 internationally recognised academic and practitioner journals. The rank combines the number of publications from January 2013 to October 2015, with the number weighted relative to faculty size.

The FT Global MBA ranking is a relative listing. Schools are ranked against each other by calculating a Z-score for each criterion. The Z-score is a statistic that tells us 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 removing 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 we reach the top 100. The top 100 schools are ranked accordingly to produce the 2015 list.

Key to the 2016 FT Global MBA rankings

Weights for ranking criteria are shown in brackets as a percentage of the overall ranking.

Salary today: average alumnus salary three years after graduation, US$ PPP equivalent (see Methodology above). This figure is not used in the ranking.†

Weighted salary (20): average alumnus salary three years after graduation, US$ PPP equivalent, with adjustment for variations between sectors.†

Salary increase (20): average difference in alumni salary before the MBA to now. Half of this figure is calculated according to the absolute salary increase and half according to the percentage increase relative to pre-MBA salary — the “salary percentage increase” figure in the table.

Value for money (3): calculated using salary today, course length, fees and other costs, including lost income during the MBA.†

Career progress (3): calculated according to changes in the level of seniority and the size of company alumni are working in now, compared with before their MBA.†

Aims achieved (3): the extent to which alumni fulfilled their stated goals or reasons for doing an MBA.†

Placement success (2): effectiveness of the school careers service in supporting student recruitment, as rated by their alumni.†

Employed at three months (2): percentage of the most recent graduating class who had found employment or accepted a job offer within three months of completing their studies. The figure in brackets is the percentage of the class for which the school was able to provide employment data and is used to calculate the school’s final score in this category.

Alumni recommend (2): calculated according to selection by alumni of three schools from which they would recruit MBA graduates.†

Female faculty (2): percentage of female faculty. For the three gender-related criteria, schools with a 50:50 (male/female) composition receive the highest possible score.

Female students (2): percentage of female students on the full-time MBA.

Women on board (1): percentage of female members on the school’s advisory board.

International faculty (4): calculated according to the diversity of faculty by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from their country of employment — the figure published in the table.

International students (4): calculated according to the diversity of current MBA students by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from the country in which they study — the figure in the table.

International board (2): percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the country in which the school is based.

International mobility (6): based on alumni citizenship and the countries where they worked before their MBA, on graduation and three years after graduation.

International course experience (3): calculated according to whether the most recent graduating MBA class completed exchanges, research projects, study tours and company internships in countries other than where the school is based.

Languages (1): number of extra languages required on completion of the MBA.

Faculty with doctorates (5): percentage of full-time faculty with a doctoral degree.

PhD graduates (5): number of doctoral graduates from each business school during the past three years. The figure in brackets is the percentage of these graduates who took up faculty positions at a top 50 full-time MBA school.

FT research rank (10): calculated according to the number of articles published by current full-time faculty members in 45 selected academic and practitioner journals between January 2013 and October 2015. The FT45 rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.

Judith Pizer of Jeff Head Associates acted as the FT’s database consultant. The FT research rank was calculated using Scopus, an abstract and citation database of research literature.

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