Stanford GSB | Ms. Civil Servant
GMAT 730, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. MacGruber
GRE 313, GPA 3.7
Duke Fuqua | Mr. National Security Advisor
GMAT 670, GPA 3.3
McCombs School of Business | Mr. Military 2.0
GRE 310, GPA 2.3
Berkeley Haas | Mr. Navy Electronics
GRE 316, GPA 3.24
Wharton | Mr. Naval Submariner
GMAT 760, GPA 3.83
Kellogg | Mr. 770 Dreamer
GMAT 770, GPA 8.77/10
Wharton | Ms. Future CEO
GMAT 710, GPA 3.0
Stanford GSB | Mr. Techie Teacher
GMAT 760, GPA 3.80
Ross | Mr. NCAA to MBB
GMAT 710, GPA 3.2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Inclusive Consultant
GMAT 650, GPA 6.7
London Business School | Mr. Indian Electric Tech
GMAT 620, GPA 3.5
Marshall School of Business | Mr. Strategy Consultant
GMAT 730, GPA 4.0
Jones Graduate School of Business | Mr. Late Bloomer
GRE 325, GPA 7.7
Stanford GSB | Mr. MS From MSU
GRE 326, GPA 3.5
Wharton | Ms. Healthcare Visionary
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Ms. Media Entertainment
GMAT 740, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Healthcare VC
GMAT 700, GPA 3.7
Kellogg | Mr. Engineer Volunteer
GMAT 710, GPA 3.8
Tuck | Mr. S&P Global
GMAT 680, GPA 3.3
London Business School | Mr. Investment Finance
GMAT 750, GPA 2.2
Harvard | Mr. British Tech 2+2
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Kellogg | Ms. Kellogg Bound Ideator
GMAT 710, GPA 2.4
IESE | Mr. Future Brand Manager
GMAT 720, GPA 2.8
IU Kelley | Mr. Tech Dreams
GMAT 770, GPA 3
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Brazilian Black Engineer
GMAT 705, GPA 3.1
Harvard | Mr. Research 2+2
GMAT 740, GPA 3.96

2012 Financial Times Ranking of the Best B-Schools

The 2012 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking

Rank & School2011 RankChangeWeighted SalaryPay Increase*
1. Stanford GSB4+3$192,179129%
2. Harvard Business School3+1$178,249122%
3. Pennsylvania (Wharton)1-2$172,353120%
4. London Business School4-3$152,981134%
5. Columbia Business School7+2$166,497131%
6. INSEAD4-2$144,35597%
7. MIT (Sloan)9+2$157,337120%
8. IE Business School8$156,658139%
9. IESE Business School9$133,888148%
10. Hong Kong UST6-4$127,600144%
11. Indian Institute of Mgt.11$175,076140%
12. Chicago (Booth)12$152,585109%
13. IMD14+1$144,04578%
14. UC-Berkeley (Haas)25+11$146,81191%
15. Duke (Fuqua)20+5$139,405108%
16. Northwestern (Kellogg)21+5$145,83496%
17. New York (Stern)15-2$134,093115%
18. HEC Paris18$121,061107%
19. Dartmouth (Tuck)18-1$151,182107%
20. Yale School of Management15-5$142,455124%
20. Oxford (Said)27+7$134,805108%
20. Indian School of Business13-7$129,512177%
23. National Univ. of Singapore23$97,625185%
24. Cornell (Johnson)30+6$141,727116%
24. CEIBS17-7$123,058150%

Source: The Financial Times 2012 global MBA ranking

No ranking of MBA programs is without flaws, but the Financial Times methodology is especially peculiar among the most popular rankings of business schools. The FT uses a mix of 20 different criteria, including many that what could be considered “politically correct” metrics that have little to do with the actual quality of an MBA program. For example, the FT ranks schools on such factors as the percentage of women students and faculty, the number of women on a school’s advisory board, the percentage of international students and faculty, the number of extra languages required to be spoken at graduation, and the percentage of international directors on a school’s board. It also includes such things as the percentage of faculty with PhDs as well as the number of doctoral graduates from a school and how many take up jobs with the school that awarded their degree. What any of this has to do with the quality of the MBA or the MBA experience is open to question.

The single most important metric in the Financial Times methodology is pay. Just two out of the 20 criteria measured, “weighted average salary” of alums three years out as well as the “salary increase” for those same alums above their pre-MBA salaries, accounts for 40% of the weight of the methodology. This information, moreover, is voluntarily reported by alums in a survey to the FT that every respondent knows will be used for ranking purposes. The result: it’s possible that these numbers are exaggerated by respondents to help their alma maters.

Another worrisome matter is how the FT manipulates the actual salary numbers in an effort to create a level playing field from one country to another by adjusting them using the World Bank’s purchasing parity power index. The result: all of this pay data, accounting for the largest single weight in the ranking, is significantly inflated in poor countries that lead to many distortions. Indeed, it’s not uncommon for relatively inexperienced candidates whose salaries are well below U.S. and European standards to enter most of the Asian schools on the Financial Times list. So their “adjusted” increases in pay three years after graduation are often inflated when compared to the increases of U.S. graduates who have three to five years of work experience and are often paid four to five times what Chinese and Indians are paid before business school.

(The next 25 best schools are on the following page)

About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.