FT Global MBA ranking 2017: Methodology and key

How the table was compiled

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This ranking features the world’s best 100 full-time MBA programmes. A total of 156 schools took part in the 2017 edition of this ranking. All participating schools meet the FT’s entry criteria, including being accredited by Equis or the AACSB.

We survey alumni three years after graduation so the programmes must be four years old. For schools to enter the ranking calculations, the FT requires that a minimum of 20 per cent of alumni reply to the survey, with at least 20 fully completed responses.

This ranking uses data collected from the schools and the 9,000 alumni who completed a full-time MBA at them in 2013 — a response rate of 41 per cent.

The ranking has 20 different criteria. Alumni responses inform eight criteria that together contribute 59 per cent of its weight. Eleven criteria are calculated from school data, accounting for 31 per cent of the final ranking. KPMG audits a number of schools every year. The remaining criterion, the research rank, counts for 10 per cent.

Alumni-informed criteria are based on the data collected in the past three years. Responses from the 2017 survey carry 50 per cent of total weight and those from 2016 and 2015, 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 2017 and 2016, or 70:30 if they are from 2017 and 2015. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data.

The first two alumni criteria are average income three years after graduation and salary increase compared with pre-MBA salary, both weighted at 20 per cent. For the latter, half of the weight applies to the absolute increase and half to the percentage rise (published). Salaries are converted to US dollars using October 2016 International Monetary Fund purchasing power parity rates.

The salaries of non-profit and public sector workers and full-time students are removed, as are the highest and lowest salaries from each school, to calculate a normalised average. Finally, salaries are weighted to reflect differences between different sectors.

“Value for money” for each school is calculated by dividing their average alumni salary three years after graduation by their MBA’s total cost, including tuition, opportunity cost and other expenses. Any financial help given to alumni is subtracted from the total.

The school criteria include 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, criteria based on school data use 2017 information only.

The research rank is based on the number of articles by full-time faculty in 50 internationally recognised academic and practitioner journals. The rank combines the number of publications from January 2014 to October 2016, with the number weighted relative to faculty size. The list of journals used for this criterion was updated and increased from 45 to 50, following a consultation with business schools in June 2016.

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 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 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 2017 list.

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.

Key to the 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. 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 work 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.†

Careers service (2): effectiveness of the school careers service in terms of career counselling, personal development, networking events, internship search and 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 nationality 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 nationality 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.

International course experience (3): calculated on whether the most recent graduating 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 graduation. *

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 50 selected academic and practitioner journals between January 2014 and October 2016. The FT50 rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.

† Includes data for the class of 2013 and one or two preceding classes where available

* Graduated between July 2015 and June 2016

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