Methodology: Response rate rises to 53%

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This is the sixth year that the Financial Times has published its ranking of Executive MBA programmes – part-time MBA degrees for working managers.

The ranking is compiled using data from two sets of surveys; one is completed by alumni who graduated from the respective programmes three years ago, in 2003, and the other by the business schools.

More than 8,000 alumni were contacted to participate in the 2006 ranking and over 4,000 completed the online questionnaire. The overall response rate was 53 per cent.

In 2005, the response rate was 43 per cent.

This year 104 business schools took part in the survey, compared with 95 in 2005. Of these 104 schools, 90 had a sufficient response rate (20 per cent of alumni and a minimum of 20 responses in total) to be considered for the ranking of the top 85 programmes.

Data from alumni questionnaires are used to determine positions in five of the 16 criteria that make up the ranking; from “Salary today (US$)” to “Aims achieved rank”. The figures for these five criteria include data collected by the FT over three years.

The data collected in 2006 (from the EMBA class that graduated in 2003) carries 50 per cent of the total weight. Data from the 2005 and 2004 rankings are each given 25 per cent of the total weight. If only two years of data is available, then the ratio is 60 per cent from this year’s survey and 40 per cent from the 2005 survey.

The first four criteria in the table examine the salaries and career progression of alumni from before they started their EMBA to the present day – usually a period of around five years. These four contribute 50 per cent of the final score.

The following process is applied to salary data before it is used to calculate the salary figure presented in “Salary today (US$)”.

To start with, salary data of alumni working in the non-profit and public service sectors, or who are full-time students, are removed.

Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates supplied by the World Bank are then used to convert the remaining salary data to US$ PPP equivalent figures. PPP rates are rates of currency conversion which are applied to iron out differences in purchasing power between different currencies, in this case so that alumni salary data can be standardised and compared meaningfully.

After this conversion has been completed, the very highest and lowest salaries are excluded before the average salary is calculated for each school. The data that are shown on the table are the US$ PPP figures.

The salary percentage increase, “Salary increase %”, is calculated according to the differences in average salary for each school before alumni started the EMBA and today.

The next two criteria measure the career success of alumni before and after the EMBA. “Career progress rank” quantifies changes in the level of seniority and the size of the company in which alumni now work versus before the EMBA. “Work experience rank” takes into account the seniority of alumni, the size of the company they worked for, the length of time they stayed there and any international work experience all before they began the EMBA.

The fifth criterion, “Aims achieved”, assesses the extent to which the school has enabled respondents to fulfil their goals or reasons for doing an EMBA. It carries 5 per cent of the total weighting.

The next eight criteria, from “Women Faculty (%)” to “Languages” are calculated using data from the business school survey. They measure the diversity of faculty, board members and EMBA students at each school, and the international reach of the EMBA programme. These criteria contribute 25 per cent of the final rank.

Of the final three criteria, two are based on data from the business school survey.

The last criterion in the table, “FT research rank” is calculated according to research conducted by the Financial Times on the number of articles published by faculty members in 40 international academic and practitioner journals.

The period for which publications are assessed is January 2003 until June 2006. For each publication, a point (or a fraction, if there is more than one author) is awarded to the school where the author is currently employed. The final rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number of publications adjusted for faculty size.

After all calculations have been applied to the data for each of the different ranking criteria, the Z-scores are applied on a column-by-column basis. That is, for each criterion on the table, a separate set of Z-scores is calculated. Z-scores take into account the differences in score between each school in that column and the spread of scores between the top and bottom school.

The Z-scores in each field are then multiplied by the column weights (see table key). The multiplied Z-scores from each criterion are then added together to give a final score for each school. This final score is presented as the school’s overall rank for 2006.

All the criteria which contribute to the final ranking have underlying Z-scores but in the table the data is presented as US$ equivalents, ranks, percentages, or in the case of languages, the number of languages required on graduation.

Additional research by Wai Kwen Chan

Database consultant: Judith Pizer of Jeff Head Associates, Amersham, UK.

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