Key and methodology for the Executive Education rankings 2016

Key to 2016 customised programmes

The first 10 criteria, under the heading “corporate survey”, are rated by the companies that commissioned executive courses; the last five are based on data reported by business schools. These criteria are presented in rank form, with the leading school in each column ranked number one. The final two criteria are for information only and do not contribute to the ranking.

Figures in brackets show the weight each criterion contributes to the overall ranking. The weighting accorded to the first nine criteria, from preparation to value for money, accounts for 72 per cent of the total ranking’s weight. It is determined by the level of importance that clients attach to each on average.

Preparation (8.3): level of interaction between client and school, the extent to which clients’ ideas were integrated into the programme and the effectiveness of the school in integrating its latest research.

Programme design (8.5): flexibility of the course and the willingness of schools to complement their faculty with external experts.

Teaching methods and materials (7.9): extent to which teaching methods and materials were contemporary and appropriate, and included a suitable mix of academic rigour and practical relevance.

Faculty (8.4): quality of teaching and the extent to which teaching staff worked together to present a coherent programme.

New skills and learning (8.3): relevance of skills gained to the workplace, the ease with which they were implemented and the extent to which the course encouraged new ways of thinking.

Follow-up (7.3): extent and effectiveness of follow-up offered after the course participants returned to their workplaces.

Aims achieved (8.4): extent to which academic and business expectations were met and the quality of feedback from individual participants to course commissioners.

Facilities (7.2): rating of the learning environment’s quality and convenience and of supporting resources and facilities.

Value for money (7.8): clients’ rating of the programme’s design, teaching and materials in terms of value for money.

Future use (8.0): likelihood that clients would reuse the same school for other customised programmes in the future, and whether they would recommission the same programme.

International clients (5.0): percentage of clients with headquarters outside the business school’s base country and region.

International participants (3.0): extent to which customised programmes have participants from more than one country.

Overseas programmes (4.0): international reach of the school’s customised programme teaching.

Partner schools (3.0): quantity and quality of programmes developed or taught in conjunction with other business schools.

Faculty diversity (5.0): diversity of school faculty according to nationality and gender.

Total responses: number of individual surveys completed by the school’s clients. Figures in brackets indicate the number of years of survey data counted towards the ranking.

Custom revenues: income from customised programmes in 2015 in $m, provided optionally by schools. Revenues are converted into US$ using the average dollar currency exchange rates for 2015.

Key to 2016 open-enrolment programmes

The first 10 criteria are rated by programme participants; the next six are based on data submitted by the business schools. These criteria are presented in rank form, apart from female participants (%), with the leading school in each column ranked number one. Revenue data are provided for information only and do not inform the ranking.

Figures in brackets show the weight each criterion contributes to the overall ranking. The weighting accorded to the first 10 criteria, from preparation to facilities, accounts for 80 per cent of the total ranking’s weight. It is determined by the level of importance that participants attach to each.

Preparation (7.7): provision of advanced information on programme content and the participant selection process.

Course design (8.6): flexibility of the course and appropriateness of class size, structure and design.

Teaching methods and materials (8.3): extent to which teaching methods and materials were contemporary and appropriate and included a suitable mix of academic rigour and practical relevance.

Faculty (8.8): quality of the teaching and the extent to which teaching staff worked together to present a coherent programme.

Quality of participants (7.9): extent to which other participants were of the appropriate managerial and academic standard, the international diversity of participants and the quality of interaction among peers.

New skills and learning (8.8): relevance of skills gained to the workplace, the ease with which they were implemented and the extent to which the course encouraged new ways of thinking.

Follow-up (7.3): level of follow-up offered after participants returned to their workplaces and networking opportunities with fellow participants.

Aims achieved (8.5): extent to which personal and professional expectations were met and the likelihood that participants would recommend the programme.

Food and accommodation (6.6): rating of the quality of food and accommodation.

Facilities (7.4): rating of the learning environment’s quality and convenience, and of supporting resources and facilities.

Female participants (2.0): percentage of female course participants.

International participants (3.0): amalgamation of the percentage of participants from outside the business school’s base country and region.

Repeat business and growth (5.0): amalgamation of growth in revenues and percentage of repeat business.

International location (3.0): extent to which programmes are run outside the school’s base country and region.

Partner schools (3.0): quantity and quality of programmes taught in conjunction with other business schools.

Faculty diversity (4.0): diversity of school faculty according to nationality and gender.

Open-enrolment revenues: income from open programmes in 2015 in $m, provided optionally by schools. Revenues are converted into US$ using the average dollar currency exchange rates for 2015.

Methodology

This is the 18th edition of the Financial Times rankings of the world’s leading providers of executive education programmes — that is, non-degree courses for companies and working managers.

The first ranking features the top 85 business schools in the field of customised executive education — programmes tailored to the training needs of the organisations that commission them. The second ranking includes the top 75 schools for open-enrolment courses — courses on specific topics such as leadership that are directed towards all professionals regardless of their employer. Finally, a third composite ranking combines the first two to give the top 50 schools for executive education as a whole.

Schools taking part must be internationally accredited and have earned revenues of at least $2m in 2015 from either their customised or open non-degree programmes. This year, a combined total of 101 schools took part in one or both rankings.

The ranking of customised course providers is compiled using data from the business schools themselves and from organisations that commissioned courses in 2015. Each school must nominate a minimum of 20 clients. These clients complete an online questionnaire about their programme. At least five of them must complete the FT survey for a school to be eligible for the final ranking.

Clients select one of three options to categorise their programme: strategic — delivered to top management and designed to influence a company’s direction; general — delivered to management on operational aspects of a company; or functional — related to a specific function, such as marketing.

Client responses are weighted according to the programme type. Strategic programmes have the largest weighting and therefore the greatest impact on the ranking. Responses are also weighted according to the seniority of the individual responsible for specifying the course, the size of the client organisation and the number of schools with which that client has commissioned customised courses in the past three years.

The FT survey was completed by about 1,100 business school clients this year — 52 per cent of those invited. Due to a technical error, one question was missing from the first survey. A second one-question survey was sent to those who responded to the main survey, with a response rate of 73 per cent.

Each rated their programme on a 10-point scale according to a range of indicators. Their answers directly inform the first 10 of the ranking’s criteria, from course preparation to value for money and future use, which account for a combined 80 per cent of the ranking’s weight. The last five criteria, calculated from information provided by schools, evaluate the extent to which schools are internationally diverse in terms of course provision and nationality of clients and participants, as well as faculty.

The open-enrolment ranking is compiled using data from course providers and individuals who completed their nominated management programmes in 2015. Schools submit one or two general courses of at least three days in length and one or two advanced courses of at least five days. At least 20 per cent of these programmes’ participants must complete the FT survey, with a minimum of 20 responses, for a school to feature in the final ranking.

About 5,900 participants answered this year’s survey — a 38 per cent response rate — rating elements of their programme on a 10-point scale. Responses by advanced and general-level participants are collated separately and then combined with equal weighting to calculate the first 10 ranking criteria. These criteria, which include the quality of course design, of the teaching and the extent to which expectations were met, inform 80 per cent of the ranking. School data are used to calculate the remaining criteria.

For both rankings, information collected in the preceding two years is used, where available, to calculate criteria informed by client and participant responses. If a school has participated for the past three years, the weighting is 40:33:27, with 2016 data counting for 40 per cent. If two years of information is available, the weighting is 55:45, with 2016 data carrying 55 per cent.

The weightings accorded to the first nine and 10 criteria in the customised and open rankings respectively are determined by the level of importance that clients and participants attach to each in their 2016 surveys. Ranking weightings for these criteria therefore vary slightly from year to year. The weightings of criteria informed by school surveys remain unchanged from year to year, however.

Z-scores — formulas that reflect the range of scores between the top and bottom school — are calculated for each criterion. These scores are weighted according to the weightings outlined in the keys and aggregated. Schools are ranked according to these final aggregated scores for both customised and open-enrolment rankings.

Schools that feature in both rankings are eligible for the combined overall ranking. The top 50 schools are calculated according to an equal weighting of the total scores achieved in both rankings, rather than an average of ranking positions.

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