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The new Financial Times Global MBA rankings are out and guess what? 

February 6, 2014

The new Financial Times Global MBA rankings are out and guess what? 

Not much has changed from last year. Looking at the Top 20, U.S. schools account for 57%, European schools account for 29%, and Asian schools hold the remaining 14% of spots on the list.  All of these percentages are the same as 2013 and vary only slightly from 2012, and the schools in the Top 20 for 2014 are the exact same schools in the Top 20 in 2013.

It was a good ranking year for Boston area schools, too. According to the 2014 FT rankings: “Boston, Massachusetts, confirms its position as education capital of the world, with six schools in the top 100, including Harvard (1st) and MIT: Sloan (8th).  Hult International Business School, the Carroll school at Boston College, the Olin school at Babson College and Boston University School of Management complete the set.”

However, there has been quite a bit of change in the FT rankings since they began in 1999.  According to a Fortune Magazine article in 2011, “In the Financial Times’ inaugural ranking in 1999, 20 of the top 25 schools were based in the U.S.  This year [2010] only 11 of the top 25 business schools are located in the U.S.”

A 2012 article by Francois Collet and Luis Vives, “From Preeminence to Prominence: The Fall of U.S. Business Schools and the Rise of European and Asian Business Schools in the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings”, went further in investigating this trend and concludes:

 “Our analysis shows that the average salary of U.S. schools’ MBA graduates increased at a slower pace than those of their European and Asian counterparts.  This difference has led to a decline of U.S. schools in the Financial Times Global MBA rankings and an ascent of European and Asian Schools. . . .On average, MBA graduates enjoyed a salary increase of more than 100% 3 years after graduation.  At the beginning of the decade, the salary increase seen by graduates from U.S. business schools was approximately 50% greater than the increase seen by their counterparts from European business schools.  However, after a decade, the differential had been reduced to almost zero. . . Our analysis of the Financial Times Global MBA Rankings yielded the following insights.  First, regional shifts have been taking place since the end of the 1990s.  The rankings of U.S. business schools have dropped, in favor of higher rankings for European and Asian business schools.  Second, MBA salary variables, which carry considerable weight in the rankings formula of the Financial Times, are a good predictor of this change over a 10-year period.  Third, the closure of the salary gap between MBA graduates from European schools cannot be explained by the pull of aggregate demand.”

But I suspect there may be more to it than salary.  As Dave Wilson, former CEO of the Graduate Management Admission Council says in the Fortune article: ”If I were a young person again, I would go to a school outside North America and learn more about other cultures. As we go forward, that is going to be mission critical.”  Well said.


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