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This is the seventh year the Financial Times has produced a ranking of European business schools. Fundamentally a “ranking of rankings”, it is compiled from the four FT Business Education rankings published earlier this year, of full-time MBAs (published in January); open enrolment and customised non-degree executive education programmes (May); masters in management degrees (September); and executive MBAs (October).

The result takes into account the number of programmes ranked by the FT for each school and the quality of these programmes. All criteria from each of the rankings are used in its compilation: 20 criteria from the MBA ranking and 16 each from the tables of open programmes in executive education, custom programmes, masters in management courses and EMBAs.

There are some differences between these criteria. For example, the MBA and EMBA tables measure the amount of research undertaken by faculty at each school, but the European masters in management and executive education rankings do not. The EMBA, MBA and European masters in management rankings include alumni salary data, but the executive education rankings do not.

The first step is to produce tables that contain only the European schools in each of the rankings. European schools that did not make it into the final table for each ranking (the top 100 in MBA, the top 95 in EMBA and so forth) are reinstated before each ranking is recreated to contain European schools only. Any European schools that appear in just one ranking – and this only on the basis of a jointly offered programme – are not included.

These new European-only tables include Z-scores for each school for each ranking in which they participate. Z-scores take into account the differences in score between each school in the ranking and the spread between the top and bottom schools. If a school participates in more than one programme within a given ranking, the Z-scores are weighted and combined. If a school is ranked on the basis of a joint programme only, it receives part of the total Z-score for the programme, based on the number of partner schools.

The Z-scores are converted to indices, so all scores for all rankings are within the same range. The indexed scores are added together and averaged out, depending on the number of rankings in which a school appears. The total and average figures are then weighted and combined to give a school’s final score.

Due to limited space, 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;

for example, salary data (for the MBA, EMBA and masters in management rankings) and salary percentage increases (for the MBA and EMBA rankings).

From the executive education rankings, both customised and open programmes, only the final ranks are displayed. No single criterion contributes a particularly high percentage of the final mark.

All individual ranking data are shown primarily for information purposes. The overall European business schools ranking is based on the indexed scores behind the individual rankings, not on a simple aggregation of the ranking positions.

Judith Pizer of Jeff Head Associates acted as the FT’s database consultant

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