The FT’s Historical MBA Rankings

Chicago's Booth School of Business

Chicago’s Booth School of Business

You’d be hardpressed to find a business school that can match the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business’ gains in both excellence and prestige over the past dozen years.

The quality and diversity of Booth’s students has seen singificant improvement, with average GMAT scores for the latest entering class now 719, up from 687 in 2001. Women now represent nearly 36% of the class, up from just 27% some 12 years ago, and international students total a third of the class. Last year’s average starting salary for graduating Booth MBAs hit $113,220, up 33% from the $85,000 average in 2001.

No less impressive, over the past 12 years Booth has tripled student scholarships and doubled its endowed chairs, allowing the school to hire and to retain more senior faculty than ever before. The school’s endowment–perhaps the best single metric of its health–has never been higher: $511 million, more than double the $197 million it had in 2001. And the endowment, no less, doesn’t even include a $300 million gift the school received in 2008 from alumnus David Booth. It is the largest gift ever made to a business school.

Few schools can boast as distinguished or as rewarded a business faculty than Chicago which lays claim to six Nobel Prize Winners. Eugene Fama, widely recognized as the “father of modern finance,” became the first recipient of three major prices for finance research in the past seven years. Booth professor Christopher Yenkey and Ronald Burt captured major awards from the Academy of Management last year for their cutting-edge work on networks. Earlier this year, Booth professors Erik Hurst and Tobias Moskowitz won the prestigious Kauffman Prize Medal for distinguished research in entrepreneurship.


Yet, when you consult The Financial Times’ rankings of the best global MBA programs, you would think Chicago is in a deeply troubled freefall. Booth went from being ranked fourth in 2001, behind only Wharton, Harvard and Stanford, to 12th place this year, its worst showing in the past dozen years. Against the school’s dramatic improvement during this same time span, the eight-place drop defies rational explanation or reason.

That’s especially true when viewed against The Financial Times ranking for the school that has placed ahead of Chicago both this year and last: the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Ahmedabad, India. The differences between these two institutions are stark and dramatic, yet they sit next to each other in The Financial Times’ rankings. IIM debuted at a ranking of 11th in 2011 after never having been ranked among the top 100 MBA programs by the British newspaper in the previous ten years. Yet, its graduates reported average starting salaries last year of only $29,181–more than $84,000 less than Chicago’s MBAs. IIM’s graduates who stayed in India made even less: just $25,679, not even as much as the average signing bonus of $27,680 for a Chicago MBA last year.

What’s more, IIM’s student diversity is among the weakest of any business school in the world: only 6% of its students are female and only 7% are from outside India. Its endowment is virtually non-existent. A campaign launched in 2008 to raise $50 million in an alumni endowment fund has reportedly raised less than $2 million in three years. Chicago has 38 MBA alumni clubs scattered all over the world, a testament to its truly global reach, while IIM has a half dozen alumni chapters outside of India. And IIM’s faculty, however good by Indian standards, is no match whatsoever for Chicago with its half dozen Nobel laureates. Even the Financial Times’ own analysis ranks IIM 94th out of 100 schools in faculty research published in the 45 top scholarly journals, compared to Chicago’s research rank of sixth place.


So how can The Financial Times justify ranking the Indian Institute of Management in the same league with Chicago Booth? Never mind giving IMM a better ranking than Chicago.

It is one of the confounding puzzles of the rankings game. No matter who does the survey or how the ranking is put together, peculiar findings are common. They occur because of methodologies that are rife with metrics that often have little if any relationship to the true quality of a business school or are based on highly flawed surveys that can lead people to very odd assumptions.

Related Stories:

U.S. News & World Report’s Historical MBA Rankings — 2012 to 2001
BusinessWeek’s Historical MBA Rankings — 2010 to 1988
Ranking The Rankings

  • Mehul Mishra

    You are confusing diversity on the basis of race and diversity based on work experience. They are two separate things . Diversity based on work experience is okay. If i start a multi-million dollar company then i should be able to get in with a 670 GMAT. Diversity on the basis of skin color is ridiculous. Then we should have diversity on the basis of weight and height too. That makes no sense.

  • Mehul Mishra

    Okay . I take into account leadership and impact on the real world along with scores. I don’t have a problem with that . Don’t take into account race , citizenship , legacy , money or contacts . IIM-A is still a lot closer to this than H/SW . A holistic admissions process is fine a diverse class is not . Even if you take into account leadership and extracurricular activities Asians will still dominate the class . Everyone wants to go to H/S/W because they happen to be in a highly developed country and hence the average pay package is more .
    Merit will always produce a racially uneven class. This is why the NBA is full of black folks and the spelling bee is full of Indians. H/S/W won’t accept this and artificially limit meritorious students for the sake of diversity . If a private institute wants to do this as a policy then fine but the rankings should take this into account and rank them lower and IIM-A higher .

  • JohnAByrne

    That’s an interesting but misinformed perspective because you equate a score on a standardized test with brains. Getting a high score on a test is no proof that a person is smart. It’s only proof that a person can take a test. True intelligence is a confluence of many factors, including one’s ability to lead others, having an impact in the real world, passing through a tight screen for a highly selective job, doing demonstrably well in that job, gaining the respect of others who are willing to recommend you, and yes, a test score. Harvard and Stanford are diverse not because of affirmative action but because the world’s best students want to go to these places of higher learning. The world is diverse. A holistic admissions process finds the most intelligent students. Study after study has shown that a high test score is not correlated to success in life.

  • Mehul Mishra

    Personally i think that IIM-A should be ranked ahead of Harvard and Stanford. Harvard and Stanford sacrifice Merit for the sake of diversity , race, legacy and money and that is an extremely stupid decision. Where is the study that shows diversity trumps merit ? IIM is a purely meritorious institute where brains trump where you were born , what color your skin is , who your parents are and how much money they have .

  • dr.sarkar

    Lot of stupid people with very little knowledge are giving their views here.the top 7 us business schools, lbs,insead, iima are all top class schools.financial times is not managed by fools Like the ones I see here.one may not agree with ft ranking 100 percent but it must be correct to the extent of 90 percent.therefore nobody can call the degrees of any of these Colleges as bullshit.

  • tamal

    yes Fully agree coz IIM A hires freshers and that is actually compared with MMS degrees for freshers all over the world coz US and European BSCHOOLS take only with 3-4 years of Work experience . Even the ISB also is rated for 1 year MBA programme accross the world . So Indians schools can never be compared in Global ranking . Moreover the Selection process is also big difference in IIM CAT coz all are Pre apps ratios of applicants is to Intake .BUT in GMAT 90% are post GMAT application so a person with 600 GMAT score will never apply to Harvard and waste his time and energy.Let me give you another example that out of 13 partners in Mckinsey in Middle East 8 are Pakistanis and 2 are Arabs all passed out from Pakistan and American University of Beirut and Cairo . So Indians please stop beating your IIT AND IIM TRUMPETS

  • tamal

    AM you need to update your basics ..1) In CAT you can tick and apply all the IIM’s before you take the Exam so its a Pre application BUT in GMAT 90% applications are post Exam so a person who has scored 600 in GMAT will never apply to Wharton and waste his money and time .So your ratio Argument of 1:100 is just another Non sense from a naive Indian. 2) The application in US is a very serious affair unlike the IIM. The whole purpose of the exam is NOT to Test your + CBSE Mathematical skills and give undue advantage to Engineers .Its about getting the guys with Managing and Entrepreneurial skills. The B schools are NOT set up with an intention to hire Einstein or people who can represent in Maths Olympiad .And if you talk about Standard of Exam then i can tell you that Tommorow if you give Master Level Maths in CAT it will be much tougher than its today. 3) In US applying to a B SCHOOL is a very serious affair its just not tick in the CAT application form. Its also articulating an SOP within 500 Words which means sense. Then you need to get 3 Referees who will be sent secret Questionnaires to get a feedback about you in your work and academic place .So like in India Software engineers in Support or Testing projects or pure design engineers who make at Least 100 faults while copying designs and gets correction orders from clients every week and still making it to IIM’s , that will never be the case here in USA coz those Referees will reveal the truth of what’s your exact work experience has been and whether you were innovative the best among all. Coz the reference specifically asks about your innovation and how you stand different than your colleagues.4) In USA after short listing that there will be a gruelling interview round where you will face at least 1 Nobel laureate from faculty and at least 2 Global Heads of any MNC and Not merely a simple IIT Alumni who will be there to make a way for his juniors .The interview panel in US is NOT ONLY from Diverse Nationalities but with Diverse Degrees as well . 5) LASTLY I WILL TELL YOU THAT ANYONE WILL AGREE THAT IF EINSTEIN SAYS ANYTHING ABOUT PHYSICS PEOPLE WILL TAKE THINGS SERIOUSLY BUT IF A THIRD WORLD COUNTRY WHICH HAS NOT WON JUST 2 NOBEL PRIZES IN LAST 25 YEARS – RATE OR REJECTS SOMEONE ITS THEIR NAIVENESS AND AGAIN PROVES THAT INDIA IS STILL A CHEAP OUTSOURCING LOCATION OF NON STRATEGICAL JOBS .

    Now coming to your Number logic- Do you know how many students take the Clerkship Exam of Government of India ? 2 Million dude and almost half of them have Masters degree and are applying for a mere clerk Jobs , but just go and check their knowledge in respective subject at international level you will see that they just know what they were taught in syllabus books another KOTA IITian in making . NONE NOT A SINGLE ONE would have ever published a a paper at international level which is very Common in US.All the students in masters at US will have at least 1 OR 2 International publication if Not more . So its the Quality and purpose that matters .. Cricket is played for 7 hours a day with 11 Players and Golf is played for just 3 hours with 1 Person But the standard and the revenue is 100 times more in Golf . Tiger wood earns in 1 Year what Sachin or Lara will earn in 10 years time. So don’t compare CAT standards . Mere checking +2 Level Maths and making life easier for engineering graduates don’t make Managers.IQ’s are definitely needed but those if + Maths check the IQ that means Tommorow if someone comes with with Masters degree level Maths knowledge that person will have more IQ ? That means a guy who has cracked IIT will have more IQ than an NIT or any other Government engineering college graduate . But then why IIT an don’t make it to the toppers in IIM or when they go to Harvard I haven’t heard any Pulmur scholar these days from when Chinese Japanese and Koreans started making it to Harvard.

    Moreover among top 108 Microsoft Top Executives ONLY 3 are Indians and among them ONLY 1 is B TECH from IIT Madras . So what intelligence are you talking about dude ?? My best friend was an Aditya Birla scholar in IIM A with a degree from an NIT Surat. But he couldn’t qualify in IIT JEE.

    There is a BIG DIFFERENCE BETWEEN I WAS AND I AM. And it took 50 years for the Prices and kings in India to realise that there Kingdoms are gone and India is a democratic country with an elected government .They were unable to realise that there KINGDOMS with elephant and horse cavalcades are gone 50 Years back.So we all understand coming in face with reality takes time for Any Indian

  • tamal

    This are all shallow talks when one doesn’t make it to this schools and dont go by hear say ..In Insead majority dont need an internship coz they go back to their parent company or start entrepreneurial ventures and hiring 220 freshers at an Indian Salary and 136 laterals at dollar prices make a hell and heaven difference.