HEC Paris
HEC Paris ranks first for value for money in pre-experience programmes

Cambridge’s Judge Business School has shot straight into second place of the FT’s rankings of Masters in Finance for professionals with relevant prior experience. It is the first time Judge has participated in the rankings, which separately assess both post-experience and pre-experience programmes.

London Business School, which in 2014 again came first out of the five ranked in the so-called post-experience category, scores highest on value for money and career progress. Its graduates earn the highest average salary at $130,000.

“The programme had all the benefits of an MBA without any of the fluff,” says Anton Voinov, an LBS graduate and now a vice-president of Siebert Brandford Shank, an investment bank. Judge, whose alumni earn the second-highest average salary among institutions ranked, gained top places for international mobility and international course experience.

The FT ranks master’s in finance programmes separately: those for people with little or no background in the financial industry (pre-experience) and those for professionals who have already worked in the sector (post-experience).

London Business School has topped the post-experience rankings since they were first established in 2011. This fourth edition of the tables also saw HEC in Paris fight off strong challenges in the pre-experience rankings. The latter assess 45 programmes this year up from 40 in 2013.

All the rankings are based on criteria including alumni salary three years after graduation; seniority; geographical mobility, and international course experience.

In addition, the post-experience ranking measures salary increase after the programme.

In the pre-experience ranking, HEC Paris comes first for value for money and second for aims achieved and international mobility. Its graduates boast on average the fourth-highest average salary ($91,000), behind MIT’s Sloan ($107,000), Boston College’s Carroll ($95,000) and University of Oxford’s Saïd ($92,000)

“HEC’s finance programme offers the perfect balance between lectures from top researchers and professionals from the most prestigious financial institutions,” says Etienne Casara, an HEC graduate and now analyst at Forum Partners, a property investment and corporate finance firm.

Esade, in Spain, came a close second. The school is ranked first for aims achieved and international course experience. Università Bocconi registers the strongest progression, jumping 12 places to eighth.

MIT Sloan is the best new entrant in the pre-experience group, coming in at number 10. Three-quarters of students enrolled in the latest pre-experience cohort were from overseas. In particular, Chinese nationals accounted for a third of this group.

However, distinctions should be made between schools in anglophone countries (UK, US, Australia and Ireland) and those elsewhere.

In the first group, 91 per cent of students are from overseas, with Chinese accounting for nearly three in five students.

In the non-anglophone category, 55 per cent of students are from overseas with only 7 per cent from China. Moreover, two-thirds of Chinese who graduated in 2011 have moved back to China since graduating.

One says “the very good reputation in China” of the school he attended, Nottingham University Business School, helps him “stand out among other [local] graduates”.

Overall, 38 per cent of graduates work overseas. Most of these work in the UK (45 per cent), ahead of the US (13 per cent) and Switzerland (8 per cent). Italian and French nationals are those most willing to work abroad, with two-thirds of them expats, mostly in the UK.

Masters in finance graduates earn on average a salary of $64,000 three years after graduation. Singapore ($93,000) leads the US ($87,000) and the United Arab Emirates ($81,000) for the best-paid location. Three years after graduation, 87 per cent of alumni work in finance, and the most popular sectors are investment banking/mergers and acquisitions, consulting, accounting and asset management.

The most lucrative pay is achieved at hedge funds ($100,000) followed by private equity/venture capital ($94,000). Retail banking ($37,000) and accounting ($42,000) trail at the other end of the pay scale.


Key to the weighting of ranking factors

Weights for the different criteria as a percentage of the overall ranking they informed are shown in brackets (pre-experience) [post-experience].

Salary today US$ (20) [20]: average alumnus salary three years after graduation, US$ PPP equivalent.*

Salary increase (n/a) [20]: average difference in alumnus salary before the master’s and today. Half this figure is calculated according to the absolute salary increase in monetary terms, and half according to the percentage increase.*

Value for money (5) [3]: calculated according to alumni salaries today, course length, fees and other costs, including the opportunity cost of not working during the programme.*

Careers (10) [7]: calculated according to the career status of alumni three years after graduation. Progression is measured according to seniority and company size.*

Aims achieved (5) [3]: the extent to which alumni fulfilled their goals or reasons for doing a masters.*

Placement success (5) [3]: effectiveness of the careers service in supporting student recruitment, as rated by alumni.*

Employed at three months (5) [3]: percentage of the most recent graduating class that found employment within three months. The figure in brackets is the percentage of the class for which the school was able to provide data.

Female faculty (4) [3]: percentage of female faculty. For this and all other gender-related criteria, schools with 50:50 (male:female) composition receive the highest possible score.

Female students (4) [3]: percentage of female students on the master’s programme.

Women on board (1) [1]: percentage of female members on the school advisory board.

International faculty (5) [5]: calculated according to faculty diversity by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from their country of employment – the figure published in the table.

International students (5) [5]: calculated according to the mix of nationalities among current master’s students and the percentage whose citizenship differs from country of study – the figure published in the table.

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

Faculty with doctorates (6) [6]: percentage of full-time faculty with doctorates.

International mobility (10) [8]: calculated according to changes in the country of employment of alumni between graduation and today.*

International course experience (10) [8]: calculated according to four criteria that measure international exposure during the master’s programme.

Languages (3) [n/a]: number of extra languages required to graduate.

Course length (months): average length of the master’s programme.

*Includes data for current and one or two preceding years where available.

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