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Schools must meet strict criteria in order to be eligible. Their programmes must be full-time, cohort-based and have a minimum of 30 graduates each year. Finally, the schools must be either AACSB or Equis accredited. Courses are typically one or two years in length and are designed for graduates with little or no work experience. Specialised programmes are not eligible.
Alumni of the Cems programme were also given the opportunity to evaluate the degree, which is provided through a global alliance of 30 business schools.
A record 102 schools took part in the 2017 ranking process, up from 93 in 2016. The rankings are calculated according to information collected through two separate surveys, the first completed by the business schools and the second by alumni who graduated in 2014.
The FT requires a minimum response rate of 20 per cent of alumni, with at least 20 replies, for schools to enter the ranking calculations. About 6,300 alumni responded to this year’s survey — a rate of 29 per cent.
The ranking has 17 criteria, of which alumni responses inform seven that together contribute 58 per cent of the total weight. The remaining 10 criteria are calculated from school data and account for 42 per cent of the ranking’s weight.
For the first time in this ranking, the FT has introduced salary increase as a ranking criterion, with a weighting of 10 per cent. It is based on the average difference in alumni salary between their first MSc-level job after graduation and their current salary, three years after graduation. Half of the weight is applied to the absolute salary increase and the other half is applied to the relative percentage increase.
The FT has also started calculating career progress, which is based on changes in alumni’s level of seniority and the size of the company they work for between graduation and three years after graduation. Career progress has a weight of five. The previous career rank criterion, which was based only on seniority and company size three years after graduation, and had a weight of 10.
The weight for international mobility and international course experience were both reduced to eight and the weight of international board to one.
The current average salary of alumni has the highest weighting at 20 per cent. Local salaries are converted to US dollars using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. The salaries of non-profit and public service workers, and full-time students, are removed. The very highest and lowest salaries are removed.
Where available, information collected over the past three years is used for all alumni criteria, except “value for money”, which is based on 2017 figures only. Responses from 2017 carry 50 per cent of the total weight, and those from 2016 and 2015 each account for 25 per cent. Excluding salary-related 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 from 2017 and 2015. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data, to negate inflation-related distortions.
Data provided by schools are used to measure the diversity of teaching staff, board members and finance students, according to gender and nationality, and the international reach of the programme. For gender criteria, schools with a 50:50 (male:female) composition receive the highest score.
When calculating international diversity, in addition to schools’ percentage of international students and faculty — the figures published — the FT also considers the proportion of international students and faculty by citizenship.
An FT score is finally calculated for each school. First, Z-scores — formulas that reflect the range of scores between the top and bottom school — are calculated for each ranking criterion. These scores are then weighted, according to the weights outlined in the key to the 2017 ranking, and added together to give a final score. Schools are ranked according to these scores, creating the 2017 FT Masters in Finance ranking.
After discounting 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 the final ranking is reached.
Other information in the table — course fees and programme length, the number of students enrolled, the percentage of students who undertake internships and whether a relevant undergraduate degree is required — does not contribute towards the ranking.
Judith Pizer of Jeff Head Associates acted as the FT’s database consultant .