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A reader passing even the most cursory of glances over the Financial Times EMBA 2006 ranking would be struck by one fact: the year-on-year rise in average salaries reported by EMBA graduates has been dramatic.

Although this year’s respondents, who completed their EMBAs in 2003, report that they are working in comparable sectors to the graduates surveyed last year, and are working in companies of similar size to those who completed their degree in 2002, they are earning considerably more than graduates in the previous three surveys.

In the 2005 survey, there were only four programmes where alumni were earning more than $200,000. This year there are 11 of them. As might be expected, eight of the top 10 programmes feature in the roll-call of very well paid alumni. The two top 10 European programmes, those offered by Instituto de Empresa and London Business School, do not.

Moreover, all the salary data collected for the EMBA 2006 survey point to the same conclusion. EMBA alumni working in Europe are unable to command the pay that their North American and Asian counterparts can. Conversely, it should be noted that alumni working in Europe experienced, on average, a larger salary percentage increase than those who work elsewhere.

For those working in North America, the salary percentage increase between before the EMBA and today, typically a period of five years, was 55 per cent, compared with 64 per cent for those working in Asia and 66 per cent for those working in Europe.

The ranking also shows that wherever they work, alumni of programmes in Europe experience greater increases in salaries. Instituto de Empresa is the runaway winner in this category, with a percentage increase of 138 per cent. Eight of the top 10 programmes for salary increase are wholly or partially based in Europe.

Last year, the Financial Times EMBA report presented analysis of trends in the data according to the age of the respondent. This year, data was analysed according to the continent that alumni are currently work in, or from which they hail.

This continental breakdown shows that, although average salaries for all sectors are considerably higher in Asia than in Europe and North America, for respondents from Asia, networking was a markedly more important outcome than increased earnings and was second only to management development. This bucks the trend seen in other continents and the sample as a whole.

Another notable feature of the 2006 ranking is the degree of stability seen at the top of the ranking. Among the 15 best programmes, three have not been ranked before (the Columbia/LBS, Trium and Washington EMBAs). None of the remaining 12 has moved more than four places since last year.

There has, however, been more movement in the ranking positions of some of the programmes further down the table.

In some cases this is because schools have improved their scores across the board, Cranfield School of Management is a case in point. For other schools, such as the Cox School of Business at Southern Methodist University, a big improvement in salary percentage increase, from 39 per cent in 2005 to 62 per cent this year was an important factor.

Schools that have experienced a large drop in their overall ranking have generally seen falls in their positions across all categories and not only in the more heavily weighted criteria such as salaries and research.

The schools that run the 85 ranked programmes are based in 18 different countries. Fifty of the schools are primarily based in North America, 29 in Europe and one each in South America and Australia.

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