Harvard Business School topped The Financial Times‘ 2014 global MBA ranking for the second year in a row and for the fifth time since the FT began ranking full-time MBA programs in 1999. Stanford Graduate School of Business held on to its second place finish of last year, but Wharton slipped from its third-place perch to fourth, replaced by London Business School. Columbia Business School and INSEAD shared fifth place.
The bigger news in the new ranking, published today (Jan. 26), had to do with other prominent U.S. schools. Yale University’s School of Management jumped four places to tenth in the world, its first appearance among the top 10 in seven years. Only two years ago, The Financial Times had ranked Yale 20th in the world. Yet, curiously, the school’s weighted salaries for alumni fell to $150,880 from $159,370 a year earlier and the average increase over pre-MBA pay also dropped to 114% from 118% in 2013.
The University of Michigan’s Ross School rose seven places to finish 23rd. The University of Virginia’s Darden School rose eight places to finish 27th, while the Kenan-Flagler Business School at the University of North Carolina soared a dozen places to finish 32nd.
U.S. SCHOOLS HAD A STRONG YEAR ON THIS YEAR’S LIST
The FT said that the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School, removed from its ranking last year when the school declined to share data on students due to state privacy laws, was back in the ranking, finishing 54th. When Carlson was last included in 2012, the school ranked 72nd. The newspaper added that the highest new entrant on the list is the Indian Institute of Management in Bangalore at a rank of 68. IMD also gained seven places to finish 12th from 19th a year earlier.
In general, U.S. schools seem to do especially well this year on the global list. Many U.S. full-time MBA programs gained two or three places, with the University of Washington’s Foster School and Boston University’s leaping 20 places each–the largest single gains among the Top 100 ranked schools (see Winners & Losers in the 2014 Financial Times MBA Ranking). On the other hand, many U.K. schools seemed to suffer setbacks. Manchester Business School plunged 14 places to a rank of 43, while Cranfield fell eight places to 46 and Imperial slipped seven spots to 49th.
All five Canadian business schools on the FT list fared less well, declining on average ten places each from their previous perches in the ranking. York University’s Schulich School plunged 14 places to a rank of 66th, while the University of British Columbia’s Sauder School fell 15 spots to finish 72nd. The University of Alberta School of Business, in 100th place last year, fell completely out of the list this year. The highest ranked Canadian school, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School, finished just outside the Top 50 with a rank of 51, down five places, effectively outperforming all its Canadian rivals. A statistician for the newspaper attributed the decline to comparatively lower salaries reported by alumni.
MBAs FROM FIVE U.S. SCHOOLS DOMINATED WORLD’S HIGHEST ALUMNI SALARIES
The world’s highest alumni salaries–three years after graduation and calculated by the FT based on alumni surveys–belonged to Stanford MBAs: $184,566. Harvard Business School and Wharton grads followed with $178,300 and $170,472, respectively. Two other U.S. schools, Columbia and Kellogg, rounded out the top five, with Columbia alumni three years out earning an average $164,180 and Kellogg MBAs at $157,719.
But it was the MBA programs in Asia that delivered the largest increases over pre-MBA salary levels. China’s Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s three-year-out alumni reported chart-topping increases that averaged 166% over what they had earned before getting their degrees. They were followed by Fudan University (163%), CEIBs (156%), and Peking University (151%).
The U.S. school delivering the biggest salary boost? The University of Pittsburgh’s Katz School where alums said they received a 132% rise. Stanford alumni doubled their pre-MBA pay (100%), while Harvard alumni did slightly better at 113%. Still, the surveyed alumni began and ended their MBA studies during one of the worst recessions in history. Yet, as a whole they were able to double their pre-MBA salaries within three years of graduation and at many schools do even better than 100%. Roughly 85% of the respondents left annual salaries averaging $64,000 when they entered an MBA program five years ago. Three years after graduation, the FT said, the average alumnus is a 33-year-old senior manager or higher on a salary of $127,000.
The Financial Times ranking is arguably the most consulted global list of full-time MBA programs, largely because U.S. News does not rank schools outside the U.S. and BusinessWeek separates U.S. and non-U.S. schools in different rankings. But there are significant flaws in the methodology the FT uses to rank programs, including the use of far too many metrics–20 in all–that include measures that have nothing to do with the quality of a school’s MBA offering. It’s also widely acknowledged to favor non-U.S. business schools.