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This is the third year the Financial Times has produced a ranking of European business schools.

This meta-survey is based on the five Financial Times business education rankings that appeared in 2006; the full-time MBA ranking (published in January), the rankings of open enrolment and customised non-degree executive education programmes (May), the European Masters in Management ranking (September) and the EMBA ranking (October).

This year, the methodology for compiling the ranking has been changed, therefore, the 2005 ranking position has not been included. This change has been effected in order to reflect both the extent of programmes ranked for each school in the various Financial Times surveys and the quality of these programmes as assessed by the rankings, in a more statistically accurate way.

Additionally, the separate European research rank is no longer included: this column was not used in the calculation of the final ranking in previous surveys. Moreover, individual rankings in this survey already contain an in-built assessment of research; in the MBA and EMBA rankings, the research rank is one of the criteria that contributes to the final score.

In fact, all the criteria from each of the rankings were used in the compilation of this survey; 20 criteria from the MBA ranking, 16 from the open programmes Executive Education ranking, 17 from the custom programmes Executive Education ranking, 16 from the European Masters in Management ranking and 16 from the EMBA ranking.

There are some differences in the criteria used to compile the different rankings. As mentioned above, the MBA and EMBA rankings measure the amount of research undertaken by faculty members, whereas the European Masters in Management ranking and the Executive Education rankings do not. Another important difference is that the EMBA, MBA and European Masters in Management rankings include alumni salary data, whereas the Executive Education rankings do not. All the criteria used can be viewed at: www.ft.com/businesseducation/mba

The first stage in the compilation process of this survey was to produce tables that contained only the European schools for each of the separate rankings. Those European schools that did not make it into the final table of each ranking, (the top 100 in the MBA ranking, the top 85 in the EMBA ranking, etc) were reinstated before each ranking was rerun. Those European schools that only appeared in one ranking and this on the basis of a jointly offered programme were not included.

These new European-only tables included overall z-scores for each school for each ranking that they participated in. Z-scores take into account the differences in score between each school in the ranking and the spread of scores between the top and bottom school.

If a school participated in more than one programme within a given ranking, the programme scores were weighted and combined. If a school participated in a ranking on the basis of a joint programme only, that school received a proportionate score for the programme, based on the number of partner schools they offered the programme with.

The z-scores were then converted to indices so that all scores for all rankings were within the same range. The indexed scores were added together and were also averaged out, depending on the number of rankings each school took part in. The total and average figures were then weighted and combined to give the final score for each school. The ranks displayed are based on this final score.

Because of the limited space available, only a few of the individual ranking criteria are displayed in the final table. These include the most heavily weighted criteria for some of the rankings – salary data (for the MBA, EMBA and European Masters in Management rankings) and salary percentage increases for the MBA and EMBA rankings.

From the Executive Education survey, both customized and open programme rankings, only the final ranks are displayed. In both cases, there is no one criterion that contributes a particularly high percentage of the final mark.

Finally, it is worth remembering that all of the individual ranking data displayed in the table is shown primarily for information purposes.

The overall European Business Schools ranking itself is based on the indexed scores behind the individual rankings. It is not a simple aggregate of the ranking positions.

Additional research by Wai Kwen Chan. Database consultant Judith Pizer of Jeff Head Associates, Amersham, UK

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