Masters in Management: Methodology

The criteria, methods, scores and rules that underpin the ranking

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The 10th annual FT masters in management ranking is based on a relative assessment of the world’s top pre-experience degrees in general management, calculated according to data provided by schools and alumni.

Business schools must meet a number of criteria in order to take part. In particular, they must be internationally accredited and their nominated programme must have run for four years. Courses are one or two years in length and designed for graduates with little or no work experience. Specialised programmes are not eligible.

A record 81 schools participated in this ranking. Both the schools and their alumni who graduated in 2011 completed an online survey. For a school to be eligible for the ranking, at least 20 per cent of alumni must respond to the FT survey, with a minimum of 20 responses. This year, 6,142 alumni responded, 37 per cent of the graduates contacted.

Cems alumni were also given the opportunity to evaluate the degree, which is provided through a global alliance of 29 business schools.

The ranking is calculated through a broad range of criteria. Alumni responses inform six criteria, from “salary today” to “placement success” inclusive, plus “international mobility”, that together account for 55 per cent of the ranking’s weight.

In calculating salary-related measures, the salaries of alumni employed in the non-profit and public sectors, as well as those in full-time education, are removed. Remaining salaries are converted to US dollars using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. The very highest and lowest salaries reported are subsequently removed, and the mean “salary today” is calculated for each school.

The calculations for weighted salary apply to schools with 50 or more alumni responses. Based on the main six business sectors of employment in the overall sample, we calculate the average salary by sector for each school and recalculate the school’s salary assuming the school had the same percentage split over sectors as the total sample. The impact is more important for schools with a significantly higher proportion of alumni working in one of these 6 sectors. The salary of the alumni who are not in these six sectors is not weighted.

Where available, information collected over the past three years is used for all alumni criteria, except “value for money”, which is based on 2014 figures. Responses from the 2014 survey carry 50 per cent of the total weight, and those from 2013 and 2012 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 2014 and 2013, or 70:30 if from 2014 and 2012. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data, to negate inflation-related distortions.

Information provided by the schools informs the remaining 10 criteria (45 per cent of the ranking weight). These measure the programme’s international exposure as well as the diversity of the school’s faculty, board members and masters in management students, according to nationality and gender. For gender-related criteria, schools that have a 50:50 (male:female) composition receive the highest score.

An FT score is calculated for each school. First, Z-scores – a number that reflects the range between the top and bottom school – are calculated for each criterion. These scores are then weighted, according to the weights indicated in the key, and added together to give a final total. Schools are ranked according to this total score.

The contribution of both the “female students” and “female faculty” criteria has increased from 4 to 5 per cent. The “language” criterion now accounts for 1 per cent.

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

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