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The Financial Times has published its 12th annual ranking of masters in management programmes. The 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 several criteria to take part. In particular, they must be internationally accredited by either the AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) or Equis, a school accreditation system, and their nominated programme must have run for four years. Courses are one or two years in length and are designed for graduates with little or no work experience. Specialist programmes are not eligible.

A record 93 schools participated in this ranking, up from 90 the previous year. Both the schools and their alumni who graduated in 2013 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. About 7,200 alumni responded to this year’s survey — a response rate of 34 per cent.

The Cems masters in management, provided through 29 business schools, opted not to take part in this year’s ranking in order to consult its members following changes to the methodology about reporting international diversity.

The ranking is calculated through a broad range of criteria, each with a different weighting. The criteria weights remain unchanged compared with last year.

Alumni responses inform six criteria, from “salary today” to “placement success”, plus ”international mobility”, which 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 not counted. Remaining salaries are converted into US dollars using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. The highest and lowest salaries reported are subsequently discounted 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 six main business sectors of employment in the overall sample, we calculate the average salary by sector for each business school and recalculate the 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 the six sectors. The salaries of the alumni who are not in these sectors are 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 2016 figures. Responses from the 2016 survey carry 50 per cent of the total weight and those from 2015 and 2014 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 2016 and 2015, or 70:30 if from 2016 and 2014. 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 and 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.

The calculation of “value for money” changed compared with previous years with the inclusion of other costs such as accommodation, travels, living costs and learning materials.

An FT score is calculated for each school. First, Z scores are calculated for each criterion. As such, the FT MiM ranking is a relative ranking. Schools are ranked against each other for each criterion. The Z score is a statistic that shows 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 discounting 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 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

Key to the ranking

Weights for ranking criteria are shown in brackets as a percentage.

Salary today US$: average salary three years after graduation, US$ PPP equivalent (see methodology at†

Weighted salary US$ (20): average graduate’s salary with adjustment for salary variations between industry sectors, US$ PPP equivalent.†

Value for money (5): calculated according to alumni salaries today and other costs.

Careers (10): calculated according to alumni seniority and their company’s size in terms of the number of employees worldwide.†

Aims achieved (5): extent to which alumni fulfilled their goals for doing a masters.†

Placement success (5): effectiveness of the careers service in supporting student recruitment, as rated by alumni.†

Employed at three months % (5): percentage of most recent class that found employment within three months of completing their course. Figure in brackets is the percentage of the class for which the school was able to provide data. ‡

Female faculty % (5): percentage of faculty that is female at May 1. For all gender-related criteria, schools with a 50:50 (male/female) composition receive the highest score.

Female students % (5): percentage of women on the masters programme.

Women on board % (1): percentage of women on the school advisory board.

International faculty % (5): contribution to ranking is based on the mix of nationalities and the percentage of faculty members at May 1 whose citizenship differs from their country of employment (the figure published in the table).

International students % (5): contribution to ranking is based on the mix of nationalities and the percentage of masters students whose citizenship differs from their country of study (figure published in the table).

International board % (2): percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the school’s home country.

International mobility (10): calculated according to changes in the country of employment of alumni from graduation to today.†

International course experience (10): calculated according to whether the most recent graduating class undertook exchanges, company internships or study trips in countries other than where school is based. ‡

Languages (1): number of extra languages required on graduation.

Faculty with doctorates % (6): percentage of faculty with doctoral degrees at May 1.

Course fee (local currency): maximum programme fees paid by the most recently enrolled, in the currency of the school’s base.

Course length (months): average duration.

Number enrolled 2015-16: number of students who enrolled on the first year of the masters programme in the past year.

Relevant degree: whether an undergraduate degree in management, business or economics is required to enrol on the masters.

Company internships (%): percentage of the last graduating class that completed company internships as part of the programme. ‡

† Includes data for the class of 2013 and one or two preceding classes where available

‡ Graduated between May 2015 and April 2016

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