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London is rapidly becoming the hot city for executive degrees, according to the latest annual Financial Times ranking of Executive MBA programmes - MBAs for working managers.

In the ranking, EMBA 2005, four of the top eleven programmes are taught in London. Ranked number three in the world is London Business School, followed in sixth place by the University of Chicago, which relocated its European campus to the City of London from Barcelona earlier this year. The Cass Business School at City University and Imperial College’s Tanaka school are ranked tenth and eleventh.

Because participants study for an EMBA without giving up their jobs, the biggest indicator for the success of an EMBA programme is its location. Those in big cities have a larger pool of applicants from which to draw. As a result nine of the top 10 schools in the ranking draw their students from London, New York, Chicago, Hong Kong or Madrid.

The Wharton school at the University of Pennsylvania has topped the ranking for the fifth year in a row. Its students earn the highest salaries three years after graduation ($229,728). However, in common with many of the top EMBA programmes, specially in the US, the Wharton course fees are well in excess of $100,000.

Alumni from only three other business schools break the $200,000 salary barrier three years after graduation, the Kellogg school at Northwestern University, Duke University’s Fuqua school of business and the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Hong Kong UST ranks second in the world this year, the highest a Chinese school has ranked in any Financial Times business school ranking. The China European International Business School (Ceibs), in Shanghai, has also moved up from 20 to 13 this year, underscoring the increasing credibility of Chinese business schools on the international stage.

The extraordinary appetite for these senior manager degrees in China means that Ceibs runs the largest EMBA operation in the world, with 550 executives enrolling on its programmes in Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzen every year. The programme will be expanded in 2006.

The ranking of the top 75 global EMBA programmes includes 42 schools in the US and 22 in Europe, of which 11 are in the UK. There are four schools from Canada and three from China.

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