2014 Financial Times’s Global MBA Ranking

by John A. Byrne on

A case study professor in action at Harvard Business School

A case study professor in action at Harvard Business School

Harvard Business School topped The Financial Times2014 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.


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.


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.

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  • poline

    Just advise: when you engage in a worthy discussion, do not personalize the dialogue! discuss the idea with facts and evidences as a professional. I AM NOT A STUDENT AT OWEN.

  • poline


  • poline

    I am not an english man, however, there is one fact, the world speak english and the anglo model is the model of the modern civilization. Sorry but francophonic schools adapted the english models of b schools and started offering MBAs! do you know that in fifties and sixties, european schools were looking down to MBA because its product of the new world! and still today, seniors in france regard Master of Management from grande ecole (HEC, ESCP,…) schools much prestigous than insead?! do you know in Fontainebleau (the mother village for insead campus) , most people do not know much about insead except it is just business school, But try to ask them about sorbonne?! … This is fact my friend. and please do not drive the discussion for the whole french culture NO, we are talking merely about business education and MBAs in particular!

  • poline

    name JUST ONE billionaire who is an alumnus of insead mba?! just one!!

  • poline

    It is indicator that the school would do the best to secure you as its grad a good job! It is an indicator that your school is very well respected and it has very strong alumni who help when needed! and it is will never let you suffer! this reality known by the other schools recent grads! but often, it too late…

  • poline

    I can see facts hurt someone’s pride 😉

  • poline

    “First of all, I’m not your friend”!!..you will have a great chance to be admitted at INSEAD.

  • FocusedMBA

    Despite being clearly very well versed in many things MBA-related, you are not being a strong ambassador to which-ever school you attended or hope to attend, which is unfortunate on many levels. That aside, you are far more apt to find meaningful numbers of supporters amongst the largely HS audience on College Confifdential. You should give it a try, as many on that site also enjoy bashing others’ schools, opinions, and aspirations – just as you do…
    Well good luck to you!

  • MBAstudent

    Maybe 200 years ago, definitely would be Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard… Today, it’s more like: Harvard, MIT, Yale.

  • DukeDuck

    Duke sucks. Period. Whether it’s against Berkeley, Yale, Harvard, you name it.

  • Really

    Duke beats Dartmouth? Really?

  • Sensible

    Adam Goldstein, Sir William Hague, Lord Simon of Highbury are some of the immediate, prominent names that come to people’s minds when they hear INSEAD, at least in the UK.

    I don’t go to INSEAD but I applied and got in. I only applied to HBS, Stanford and INSEAD, the best in my opinion. I graduated from Cambridge and am completing my MBA here at Stanford GSB. So I know very well about the caliber of INSEAD’s students, faculty and program.

    Poline, whatever you ramble here doesn’t make any sense. You sound like a truly bitter person who goes to a 60th school in the US, trying to badmouth the top European schools or globally top schools for no other reason than potentially that you couldn’t get into these schools, despite your claim of ridiculous 50-60% admission rates, employment stats, career options etc., while trying to promote some low ranked school out of nowhere in the US to which nobody will even think of applying!

    # of Nobel prizes, endowment size and alumni donation only affect a little when it comes to the rankings of the school or quality of the school. If you were to rank schools by # of Nobel prizes in the field of business education, endowment size and alumni donation, you would see a different table of business schools.

  • Francais

    INSEAD is considered globally and domestically within France as one of the very best business schools. Grande Ecole system is for undergrads. I can tell you this as a French woman.

  • OwenStudent

    I am a student at Owen and I am sorry about my classmate’s behavior. It’s embarrassing completely and I know that my school is nowhere close to the top 10 schools in the US, let alone globally. Sorry again. “poline” is a complete disgrace and a lunatic. Please ignore him. I am sorry on behalf of Owen bschool and our class.

  • Martin

    Duke sucks? That’s the best you can do? Hey imbecile, you’re not in grade school anymore.

  • El Meerr

    Oh please…70% of the students in US top schools are US citizens – do you want say that worlds most “high caliber” students are Americans?”High caliber” in this case means only rich parents(to get to and afford Ivy League college) and connections(to get some good internships and jobs post-college)…Entry stats mean very little to me – in US MBA and all that stuff is a huge market and there are a lot of possibilities for funding = which means more people applying and more demand and that’s called “higher selectivity”. At the end you just open YouTube and watch that video where Harvard students do not know the capital of Canada.

  • Schmidt

    It’s funny that you seem to expect school alumni to give you or school something. That is extremely childish. I am a US student, born and raised here and sure, it is unique here and culturally American that alumni tend to donate something, whether it’s $ or not, back to their alma mater.

    Yet, it’s very un-American to expect anything from anyone. As a student, you alone are responsible for jobs, degree, and your life! Therefore, it is just plain wrong to even think about which school to go to, based on the alumni donations. In fact, I would say that’s dangerous and you would be definitely vulnerable to the marketing traps of some US schools.

    Superficially, others may think that you know something they don’t. In fact, the great American horn you think you are blowing should not be even relevant to the ranking or choosing of a school. What truly matters are the caliber of students and faculty and relevance of the MBA program to today’s world of cross-boundary leadership, complexity and globalism in addition to equipping students with solid business foundation.

    If you approach alumni for jobs, surprisingly, most of them would be extremely disengaged. MBA Students generally don’t benefit directly from the donations, other than better facilities. And really, if schools are not ranked by donations of any form, I think you would see Tuck or Yale at the top vs. HBS, Stanford or Wharton.

  • Schmidt

    I also agree that Duke sucks and I think the person just has nothing more to add to the fact.

  • Truth

    My comment above clearly illustrates that INSEAD is considered one of the largest producers of future millionaires (high net worth millionaires) in the world, and your response is to ask for a billionaire? Your logic process is so messed up I don’t even know where to start. One thing is clear whether in Europe or in the USA, you will mostly likely never get into a top business school with your mental processes running as they do now

  • Madison

    Is that maybe because you’re the same person? Some of the commenters on this blog are real nitwits.

  • Schmidt

    Nope. I am not the same person as whoever you were responding to. I think you are actually one of the nitwits.

  • Junzi Wei

    Poline, I like your style.

    Assuming that you are right, 349 MBB sponsored students filled the 1st to 49th percentile part.

    Let me do another quick maths, associates most likely make 120k, BCG and Bain pays slightly more. Then how can you explain the mean average for INSEAD is matching with M7 schools?

    Don’t tell me that actually there is only 348 MBB sponsored students returned to MBB and actually the highest earner joined a PE, getting 7 digit pay, so that it raise INSEAD’s mean average salary to M7 school level. I will be disappointed for this answer. I am looking for more innovation answers from you. :)

  • jojo

    Where you operate from also colors the view of alumns of these schools. On the East Coast (Northeast, mid-Atlantic, etc), Duke is a powerhouse name. Berkeley is seen as a UC system school. On West Coast, Berkeley is powerhouse, and Duke maybe not so much (gets lumped in with all the schools from east coast). HSW bucks all regional notions.

  • Equivocation

    I find it curious how the “best and brightest” on this board all seem to put the buggy before the horse. The value of the MBA is in how it can further your career goals in a cost effective way over your entire career.

    Rankings, GMAT’s and even current salaries are indicators of current brand perception and competition for entry. But brand perception is a backwards looking indicator of the success of alumni. Over the long-run, schools advance by selecting good students (not necessarily the highest GMAT’s), forming them and then projecting them into the business world (hopefully over the long-run). If a school does this successfully and consistently over time it will rise and dominate the rankings.

    If you really wanted to rank schools correctly you will have to look at how they are positioning themselves for the long-run. But understandably, most of the young-uns on this board are only concerned about their career prospects directly after completing the MBA. That is another matter altogether…

  • Equivocation

    You do realize that most of your statements have a tremendous cultural bias?

    What calibre of students are you refering to? I will grant you that US MBA alums are generally regarded as having higher IQ’s as approximated by GMAT’s. But they are also generally seen as having much lower emotional intelligence.

    In Europe, Asia and even Latin America, some US alums have severe problems because they clash with the local culture. These are major issues for business success (if you have not figured out that in business EQ is more important than IQ you learned precious little in your MBA).

    LBS, IESE and INSEAD are all very respected schools within their area of geographic coverage. There is a reason for that; they reflect the best of the local business culture. I would hope that such a smart top 5 US MBA alum would understand this nuance and show a bit of self-awareness.

  • RB

    Why would you live in Chicago over London?

  • Observer

    It is totally a joke….the most absurd part of the criteria is the journal list which is a collection of management journals which are all duplicates of one another.

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