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Financial Times

A Preview of the Financial Times’ Survey Results

The Financial Times’ rankings won’t be released until January 26th. But that hasn’t stopped the publication from giving us a peak at some intriguing data. Collected in conjunction with their rankings, the Times’ results cover everything from schools’ social scene to graduates’ entrepreneurial prowess.

Let’s start with the lighter fare. In a survey targeting 2011 graduates – and encompassing 1,860 respondents – here are the top schools in these categories:

Social Life: According to the Financial Times, New York University ‘s Stern School of Business and the University of Wisconsin led in social life, with Insead considered the best “party school.” Overall, 74% of graduates were pleased with their school’s social life.

Cuisine and Culture: Here’s a shocker: European schools dominated the food rankings, headed by Switzerland’s IMD, Germany’s European School of Management and Technology, and Italy’s SDA Bocconi. However, over half of the best restaurants near campus were found in North America. When it comes to refined pursuits like galleries and museums, schools in New York City and London stood above all others.

Networking: This category was owned by American schools. In fact, no European or Asian schools even cracked the top 10. Overall, Columbia Business School ranked #1, with Kellogg and Mendoza rounding out the top three (That’s right, no Harvard, Wharton, Booth, or Stanford here).

Accommodations and Travel: As you’d expect, money pits like New York City, London, and Sydney scored low for lodging. Overall, Portugal’s Lisbon MBA ranked highest for housing, though only half of 2011 graduates considered housing a good value for the money. Travel-wise, respondents listed the University of Hong Kong and George Washington University as the top destinations.

Extracurricular Activities: Want to practice what you learn? You won’t find a better channel than clubs. Here, Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School of Business and the UK’s University of Strathclyde earned the top spot among graduates.


In popular culture, entrepreneurship is often reserved for dreamers and delinquents. In recent years, it has become an avenue for MBAs to test their mettle. By and large, graduates are becoming increasingly successful in forging long-term, profitable enterprises. Those were the findings of another Financial Times survey, which was comprised of “7,800 MBA graduates from the world’s top 100 business schools.”

How successful? Take the Class of 2011, for example. Here, 84% of MBAs who started a company during or after graduation were still running it three years later. Compare that to the United States, where 60% of startups last for three years according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. And those numbers are even better at entrepreneurship programs like Babson and MIT, where the success rate after three years is 93% and 86% respectively.

At IESE, the survival rate is 80% after five years. Pedro Nueno, an entrepreneurship professor at the school, attributes this success to graduates mastery of fundamentals and exposure to models and metrics used by thriving firms. “If someone is prepared they are more likely to be willing to take a lower salary or cut back to maintain cashflow,” he tells the Financial Times. “They tend to manage better than somebody who just sees an idea and launches without too much analysis.”

And MBA entrepreneurs aren’t exactly living out of their cars and dining on ramen noodles. With an average income of $134,000, they actually earn $2,000 more than their peers within three years of graduation. At the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the #1 overall program in Poets&Quants’ annual business school rankings, MBA entrepreneurs earned $190,506 within three years of graduation. That’s over $20,000 more than their peers who chose to work for someone else.

But don’t assume entrepreneurship is the fastest way to weatlh. Less than half – 42% – of entrepreneurs in the study earned the majority of their income from their startup. Among 2011 grads, only 8% of the class had started a company. In fact, business schools themselves have a ways to go in preparing students for entrepreneurship. The Financial Times found that 30% of the sample didn’t feel the school helped with “the actual process of starting their venture.” When it comes to securing financing, 55%-60% of respondents didn’t feel the school or alumni helped them secure financing.

To read the full survey results, click on the links below.


Sources:  Financial Times, Financial Times

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