Winners & Losers In 2014 FT MBA Ranking

University of Washington Foster School climbed 20 places in the Financial Times' 2014 ranking

University of Washington Foster School climbed 20 places in the Financial Times’ 2014 ranking

U.S. business schools did exceptionally well in the 2014 Financial Times global ranking of the best full-time MBA programs published today (Jan. 26). Of the 12 programs that gained the most ground in the survey, ten were at business schools in the U.S.

They were led by the University of Washington’s Foster School of Business and Boston University’s business school, which both jumped 20 places in a single year to finish at 58 and 75th, respectively. The University of Southern California’s Marshall School gained 17 spots to rank 65th, a vast improvement from its 82nd place finish in 2013.

And the big losers in this year’s FT ranking? University College Dublin’s Smurfit School plummeted 27 places in the survey to a rank of 91 this year, from 64 in 2013, the single biggest drop of any school. Vlerick Business School suffered the second biggest fall, plunging 16 places to barely cling onto the Top 100 list at the very last numerical rank: 100 from a rank of 84 only a year earlier.

Ultimately, the biggest losers are the schools that completely disappeared off the list. The highest ranked school that did a disappearing act in 2014? CUHK Business School in China which had been ranked 27th in 2013. The Financial Times does not explain why a school might not make the list in any given year, but it could because the newspaper failed to get a minimum sample of surveys back from alumni or a school chose not to participate.

A spokesperson for CUHK told Poets&Quants that the school “did not take part in the Global MBA Rankings due to a technicality.  Our absence from this year’s Financial Times Global MBA Rankings is not a reflection of the academic standing of CUHK’s MBA programs. Upon having close communication with FT, the school fully expects to participate in the next ranking, and will make every effort to ensure that its MBA programs are well placed in the future.”

Other disappearing schools, for whatever reason: The University of Iowa’s Tippie School, which had been ranked 74th in 2013; No. 86 Korea University Business School, No. 90 Incae Business School in Costa Rica; No. 94 Case Western University Weatherhead School; No. 97 College of William & Mary; No. 98 Southern Methodist University Cox School; No. 99 the University of South Carolina’s Moore School, and No. 100 University of Alberta.

On the other hand, many of these schools were replaced by a slew of newcomers. They included No. 98 UC-Davis, No. 97 Durham University Business School, No. 94 Wake Forest University, No. 93 Brigham Young University’s Marriott School, and Germany’s ESMT European School of Management and Technology, which came in at a rank of 89.

The Biggest Winners On The 2014 FT Ranking


SchoolGain2014 Rank2013 Rank
University of Washington (Foster)+205878
Boston University+207595
Southern California (Marshall)+176582
University of Cape Town+155974
Penn State (Smeal)+156277
University of Strathclyde+147387
North Carolina (Kenan-Flagler)+123345
Boston College (Carroll)+118293
UC-San Diego (Rady)+118495
Michigan State (Broad)+105262
Purdue (Krannert)+105868

Source: P&Q analysis of the 2014 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking

(See following page for the schools that lost the most ground this year) 

  • tintin

    The post MBA salary is carries the heaviest weighting, so I am sure if you get into a top ranked school your chances of getting a job is significantly higher. For example take a look at the employment report from these top ranked schools and compare them with a school ranked beyond 30 you will see the difference.
    There is definitely a correlation between ranking and employment prospects. And many consulting firms and IB/PE/AM firms clearly state that they prefer candidates from the top tier schools.

  • JohnAByrne


    Totally agree with you. When I do the list after each major ranking, I always wonder how deep I should go. I tend to focus on double-digit rises and falls, but it may, in fact, be a better service to the reader to go another level. I do think a six-place move is generally meaningful, even though the FT doesn’t provide the underlying index numbers to let us know for sure. From my BusinessWeek days, however, moving six spots is definitely significant.

  • Gary Lindblad

    John, while the Paul Merage School of Business at UC Irvine didn’t make your Biggest Winners list, we are pleased to have made two moves up into what I would call the next bracket. That is, our move this year from #54 to #48 globally moves us into the Top 50 global business schools, and our move from #26 to #25 among U.S.-based business schools moves us into the Top 25 U.S. schools. These differences among closely ranked schools while likely not statistically significant, moving up into the next brackets is symbolically worth noting.

  • KHK

    Some times things have been improving at school but really take time to show up, and when they do, it could be in such swings…

  • Jake Smith

    Good question – and for your info, job placement ranking weighs in with 2% influence on overall rank, and ‘value for money’ at 3%. Published rankings like this one essentially decide the weighting for what makes up a good MBA program leaving schools with two, often diverging options – compete for students based on what students want, or chase the rankings for better exposure. Too bad really.

  • Robert

    agreed w/the comments below. you will get a great education at any of the schools listed here. but will you get a job?

  • MikeDH

    Imagine getting into a top ranked program, and by the time you graduate, it’s the worst ranked program. Those 20 point swings seem really fishy.

  • Socrates

    How reliable is a ranking system that allows for swings of +/- 20? I would guess schools *slowly* improve or regress instead of jump around.