Masters in Finance 2016 ranking: Judge and HEC top FT tables

Cambridge course deemed best for those already in sector, Paris school keeps crown for younger students
© Cambridge Judge Business School

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After five years at the top, London Business School has ceded first place to Judge Business School at the Cambridge university in the FT’s 2016 ranking of finance programmes for students already working in the field.

In the ranking of programmes for students with little or no industry experience, HEC Paris has retained its top place for the sixth consecutive year, ahead of ESCP Europe of France and IE Business School of Spain, both of which moved up by one place.

The FT ranks Masters in Finance programmes both for those with little or no background in the financial industry (the pre-experience category) and courses for professionals who have already worked in the sector.

The 2016 rankings feature the top 55 pre-experience courses and five post-experience programmes. Only a handful of schools offer post-experience courses.

Using data provided by the business schools and their alumni who graduated three years ago (the class of 2013), the rankings are based on criteria ranging from alumni salaries three years after graduation to how much seniority and international mobility graduates achieved.

In the post-experience ranking, Judge Business School moved to the top thanks to strong performance in aiding career progression. The class of 2013 enjoyed the second highest salary three years after graduation at around $130,000 as well as offering the greatest value for money.

The alumni were particularly pleased with the faculty. “The management . . . had the drive, network and reputation to make it a world-class degree,” says one graduate.

Although London Business School dropped to second place, its alumni remained the highest earners, making an average of just under $137,000 three years after graduation. The programme also achieved the highest rank for international experience.

In the pre-experience ranking, HEC Paris stayed top with the second highest salary three years after graduation at $96,000, marginally ahead of IE Business School but significantly below MIT’s Sloan School of Management at $117,000.

The alumni of the Parisian school also boasted the second highest score for aims achieved and came top for international mobility. One of the school’s biggest advantages is the strength of its alumni network. “HEC provides excellent access to a network of people who are in key positions in top companies,” reports one graduate.

The University of Hong Kong registered the best progression, climbing 16 places to 29. It saw a significant increase in the salary of its alumni, from $60,000 to $75,000, and it also climbed 17 places in the career rank to 31.

Lancaster University Management School recorded the second best progress, climbing 10 places to 30. It did better thanks to a higher salary, from $43,000 to $55,000, and an improved career rank. It is the only school whose intake is entirely made up of international students.

The pre-experience ranking features a record 55 programmes, up from 50 last year. Four of the schools ranked last year could not be considered this year due to a low response rate from alumni. Eight schools are ranked for the first time, while QUT Business School returned to the ranking after missing out on a place last year. The new entrants include three schools from France, two from the US and mainland China as well as one from the UK.

EMLyon of France is the highest new entrant, at 24, ahead of another new joiner, the Shanghai Advanced Institute of Finance at Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The latter, in 28th place, ranked second overall for value for money, just behind HEC Lausanne.

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