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This ranking evaluates the world’s best full-time MBA programmes. A record 159 schools took part. All had to meet strict entry criteria and are internationally accredited. Their MBAs have run for at least four years and have a minimum of 30 graduates each year.

The ranking is compiled using data collected from the schools and a survey of alumni who completed full-time MBAs in 2011. For schools to be ranked, 20 per cent of their alumni must respond to the FT survey, with at least 20 fully completed responses. This year, about 9,700 alumni completed the survey — a response rate of 40 per cent.

Alumni responses inform eight criteria that together contribute 59 per cent of the ranking’s weight. The first two criteria 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 2014 International Monetary Fund purchasing power parity rates. The highest and lowest salaries in each school are removed and factors are applied to reflect income disparity between sectors. An average is calculated for each school and this figure, “weighted salary”, carries 20 per cent of the ranking’s weight. “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).

Where available, information collated by the FT in the past three years is used for alumni-informed criteria. Responses from the 2015 survey carry 50 per cent of total weight, and those from 2014 and 2013 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 2015 and 2014, or 70:30 if they are from 2015 and 2013. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data.

“Value for money” is now derived from fees, other costs and financial help reported by the alumni, and information from the past three years is used.

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

With the exception of the “doctoral rank” (see Key to the 2015 rankings), criteria based on school surveys use only 2014 data. To ensure the integrity of information, KPMG, the consultancy, audits a number of participating schools every year.

The research rank, which accounts for 10 per cent of the ranking, is calculated according to 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 2012 to October 2014, with the number weighted relative to the size of each faculty.

The FT Global MBA ranking is a relative ranking. 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.

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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