Tepper | Mr. Insurance Dude
GMAT 660, GPA 3.6
Kellogg | Ms. Indian Marketer
GMAT 680, GPA 8.9/10
NYU Stern | Mr. Middle Eastern Warrior
GMAT 720 (Estimated), GPA 3.0
Chicago Booth | Mr. Chile Real Estate
GMAT 740, GPA 3.02
Yale | Mr. Sustainability Manager
GRE 319, GPA 3.52
NYU Stern | Mr. Beer Guy
GRE 306, GPA 4.0
Wharton | Mr. Finance to MBB
GMAT 760, GPA 4.0
NYU Stern | Ms. Legal Officer
GMAT 700, GPA 4
Harvard | Mr. Cricket From Kashmir
GMAT 730, GPA 8.5/10
Stanford GSB | Ms. Education Non-profit
GRE 330, GPA 3.0
Harvard | Mr. Tech Start-Up
GMAT 720, GPA 3.52
Cornell Johnson | Mr. Social To Tech
GMAT 700, GPA 2.7
Wharton | Mr. Mobility Entrepreneur
GMAT 760, GPA 1st Division
HEC Paris | Mr. Business Man
GMAT 720, GPA 3.89
Harvard | Mr. Football Author
GMAT 760, GPA 3.4
Harvard | Mr. Deferred Admission
GRE 329, GPA 3.99
Chicago Booth | Mr. Plantain & Salami
GMAT 580, GPA 4.0
Tuck | Mr. Running To The Future
GMAT 720, GPA 3.5
Kellogg | Mr. Digital Finance
GRE 327, GPA 3.47
Stanford GSB | Mr. Filling In The Gaps
GRE 330, GPA 3.21
Tuck | Mr. Tech PM
GMAT 710, GPA 3.3
Wharton | Mr. Data Dude
GMAT 750, GPA 4.0
Harvard | Ms. Tech Impact
GMAT 730, GPA 3.8
Columbia | Mr. MD/MBA
GMAT 670, GPA 3.77
Chicago Booth | Mr. Community Uplift
GMAT 780, GPA 2.6
Rice Jones | Mr. Simple Manufacturer
GRE 320, GPA 3.95
London Business School | Ms. Social Impact Consulting
GRE 330, GPA 3.28

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.