Berkeley Haas | Mr. Low GPA High GRE
GRE 325, GPA 3.2
Wharton | Mr. Ambitious
GRE 323, GPA 3.01
Harvard | Mr. Merchant Of Debt
GMAT 760, GPA 3.5 / 4.0 in Master 1 / 4.0 in Master 2
Tuck | Ms. Nigerian Footwear
GRE None, GPA 4.5
NYU Stern | Mr. Hail Mary 740
GMAT 740, GPA 2.94
Darden | Mr. Senior Energy Engineer
GMAT 710, GPA 2.5
Duke Fuqua | Ms. Health Care Executive
GMAT 690, GPA 3.3
Harvard | Mr. Professional Boy Scout
GMAT 660, GPA 3.83
SDA Bocconi | Mr. Pharma Manager
GMAT 650, GPA 3,2
Chicago Booth | Mr. Finance Musician
GRE 330, GPA 3.6
Harvard | Mr. London Artist
GMAT 730, GPA First Class Honours (4.0 equivalent)
N U Singapore | Ms. Biomanager
GMAT 520, GPA 2.8
Berkeley Haas | Mr. 360 Consultant
GMAT 720, GPA 3.4
Kellogg | Mr. Young PM
GMAT 710, GPA 9.64/10
Wharton | Mr. Indian VC
GRE 333, GPA 3.61
MIT Sloan | Mr. Tech Enthusiast
GRE 325, GPA 6.61/10
Stanford GSB | Mr. Low GPA To Stanford
GMAT 770, GPA 2.7
Harvard | Mr. Midwest Dreamer
GMAT 760, GPA 3.3
Foster School of Business | Ms. Diamond Dealer
GRE 308, GPA Merit
NYU Stern | Mr. Low Undergraduate GPA
GMAT 720 (Expected), GPA 2.49
Stanford GSB | Ms. Try Something New
GMAT 740, GPA 3.86
Darden | Mr. Military Missile Defense
GRE 317, GPA 3.26
Wharton | Mr. Army Bahasa
GRE 312, GPA 3.57
Harvard | Mr. Consulting To Public Service
GMAT 750, GPA 3.7
Wharton | Mr. Strategy To Real Estate
GMAT 750, GPA 3.9
Stanford GSB | Ms. Standard Consultant
GMAT 750, GPA 3.46
Harvard | Mr. 1st Gen Brazilian LGBT
GMAT 720, GPA 3.2

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.