INSEAD Repeats As No. 1 In New 2017 Financial Times Ranking

MBA students graduating from Stanford University landed all-time record pay packages in 2016


That is possible because the FT claims that IIM graduates have a weighted salary three years after graduation that is $181,863, second best in the world after only Stanford’s $195,322. But IIM’s placement report for last year shows that the median total compensation of its graduates was only $27,898 in U.S. dollars, a sum that compares with the $158,080 median package landed by Harvard grads in 2016.

Besides “weighted salary” for alumni, which accounts for 20% of the methodology, the other highly rated metric in the ranking is the percentage increase over an alumni’s pre-MBA salaries, also worth 20% of the ranking. Not surprisingly, the top of the list is dominated by schools in Mexico, China, India, and Costa Rico. Ipade in Mexico boosted a person’s annual salary by a chart-topping 180%, while an MBA from Shanghai Jiam Tung University in China lifted base salaries by 172%. Third on this metric was the Indian School of Business whose alums saw a 160% rise in salary over pre-MBA levels.

For most highly ranked U.S. and European schools, the increases are in the 92%-to-97% range, though the best performance for a U.S. MBA on this measure was 130% for graduates of both Rutgers Business School and the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management. The worst among all 100-ranked schools? The Australian Graduate School of Management whose alums saw only a 61% increase in pay, followed by the 66% rise for graduates of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.


What also didn’t change was the ranking’s year-over-year volatility. Over the past five years, 49 of the 100 ranked schools saw double-digit climbs or falls, excluding a number of MBA programs that have fallen completely off the list. This year, one in every four schools among the 100 ranked this year experienced a double-digit increase or decrease in their positions. Yet, at virtually every ranked school, there were no significant changes that could have foretold such a rankings move.

In some cases, the roller-coaster effects were unexplainably dizzying. The Lisbon School in Portugal plunged 30 places in a single year to rank 70th from 40th in 2016. Notre Dame University’s Mendoza School gained 16 places to rank 60th this year from 76th a year earlier.

But the largest single year gains were achieved by schools which failed to make the FT’s list last year. Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, for example, was ranked 57th this year, a standing that implies at least a jump of 44 places from a year ago. Purdue University’s Krannert School would have had to leap at least 32 places to achieve its 2017 rank of 69th place.


INSEAD managed its repeat-performance by scoring well across most of the Financial Times‘ key metrics, especially those that tend to hurt U.S. schools. On so-called “international mobility,” INSEAD ranked third best vs. Stanford’s 66th and Harvard’s 55th rank. Some 94% of INSEAD’s faculty is deemed “international” versus Stanford’s 38% and Harvard’s 37%, while 96% of INSEAD’s students are considered “international” compared to 40% at Stanford and 35% at Harvard.

INSEAD also killed it when it came to “international course experience,” a metric that rewards MBA programs in which students do exchange programs, study tours, and research projects. INSEAD ranked sixth on this measure, against Harvard’s 46th place finish, despite the fact that HBS has a global immersion requirement for all of its students.

“INSEAD’s achievement in maintaining the #1 position shows that 2016 was no fluke, with competitive salary and a salary increase that is all the more impressive for a one-year program,” explains Symonds of Fortuna. “The school will always out perform top U.S. schools when it comes to international mobility, but alumni clearly love the school and they are shoulder to shoulder with top U.S. schools when it comes to research. One area for improvement at INSEAD is the percentage of women in the MBA program.”

  • 123456

    Now it’s DEFINITELY clear you didn’t go to INSEAD. What I don’t understand is why do you use your time to trash talk a program you didn’t even attend. Again, what Tom says about Peter speaks more about Tom than what it does about Peter.

  • avivalasvegas

    And who says that’s a bad thing? I don’t see the Europeans sobbing over the loss of Americans mucking up their continent. If anything, the response to the launch of the NFL “across the pond” should be a great indicator of the EU’s appetite for all things American.

  • avivalasvegas

    I don’t share additional details about what I do for the Fortune 30 company I work for. I’ve had guesses ranging from Amazon to Apple in the past – I must come across like a Tech person. Sorry, but I couldn’t care less how vernacular you think my diction is or how extraordinary you believe my claims are. Always happy to accept a challenge on my degree though, so if you’d like to test my MBA claim, fire away!

    I didn’t say I couldn’t get a Visa for US grads. I said I struggle to get a US Visa (H1B specifically) for my LBS/ INSEAD hires in the US. We face a 1 in 3 odds of a lottery “win” currently. I won’t suggest that you find something other than linguistics to spend your time on because I didn’t put enough effort into my previous post to ensure it read correctly.

    I can see that you’ve made an effort to analyze my posts. You’ve been incorrect about absolutely everything other than the emotion involved when I add my thoughts on this forum. I like to lace the facts I share with all the emotion I can summon – its my way of trying to lift the veil of ignorance from this place – the headline of this article is a great example!

  • Bhaji

    There are two groups of future MBAs; one from the north america and europe who mostly want to move to the developing world, this group is better for them to go to INSEAD, LBS, IE, and other international focus schools. The other group is the one from developing world, mainly, southeast asia, india, and china, middle east, and africa, people in this group is already international and have great deal of exposure into globalization and wanted to learn skills from the developed world, so, it is better for them to go to the best schools in US, M7 schools. It will serve them either ways, to migrate to US or to go back to their countries with better skills learnt from the homeland of business and industry, the US. I see no reason for an international student to study in international class! it will add no value. That is why top US schools of Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Wharton, and Columbia, etc.. carry much more prestige than the european ones in the developing world.

  • C. Taylor

    I would say there are two related matters here.

    First, getting a B1 certificate means a person is willing to put a couple months of decent effort into learning more about the world (and that can be completed post-application). Someone who says attaining B1 certification is too much effort likely has the same approach to other aspects of foreign cultures–or possibly even his work. And that isn’t a person INSEAD wants.

    Second, someone who obtains a B1 certification is solidly on the path to native-level fluency, given effort. With that additional effort (six to eight months of dedicated study) to attain native-level fluency, job prospects in a new linguistic sphere solidify. If attained before entering the program, native-level fluency can provide a great advantage in the targeted linguistic sphere.

    I don’t see the point in attempting to ‘get around’ INSEAD’s language requirements. If you aren’t curious about the wider world, just don’t bother applying. INSEAD incentivizes this with its language requirements. Case in point, BB was appropriately incentivized to not apply.

  • alex.masten.sen@gmail.com

    It might be worth adding a European perspective here. I work for one the top strategy consultancies, In Europe. The business schools that receive most applications from our company on a global level (including US consultants) are Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and INSEAD. For a European, if you want to go to the US, you typically try to get into Harvard, Stanford or Wharton. If you want to stay in Europe, you go for INSEAD or LBS. If you consider all programs (and usually wish to stay in Europe post graduation) the number one choice currently is INSEAD. Harvard and Stanford are options with a probably even higher prestige, and a great choice if you’re willing to put in additional time and money. Other US schools are usually not regarded as highly, maybe with the exception of Wharton if you’re into finance, but most of my colleagues choose INSEAD over Wharton. I believe this is the common perception here. Obviously, if you’re American and want to stay in the US then M7 might work best for you. In Europe, the percentage of INSEAD and LBS grads in senior consultant roles is incomparably higher though. So overall, I believe FT came up with a solid ranking and identified the right top 4 schools overall. How you rank them for yourself really depends on your own preferences.

  • krnch

    Lets be real guys. INSEAD’s language requirement, no matter how they put it, is actually a joke. Saw plenty of folks who got in who barely speaks the language(s) that they claimed to be proficient in. There are ways around it.

  • C. Taylor

    Rather, INSEAD is taking a pass on you. 😉

    Good luck on the GMAT! 760 is doable.

  • BB

    Trying to go from 720 to 760. I will pass on INSEAD.