The Vertigo In The Financial Times 2015 MBA Ranking


Even so, a big advance for a school is worth the popping of a few champagne corks and the publication of a news release touting your progress. A big decline is typically greeted by silence. So who’s crowing from the rooftops and who is as quiet as a church mouse?

The champagne is certainly flowing at Fudan University School of Management in Shanghai which jumped 28 places in the rankings to a tie in 55th place with neighbouring Shanghai Jiao Tong University’s Antai school of business which rose 22 places itself. Lancaster School of Management in the U.K. soared 27 spots to rank 50th, while ESMT (European School of Management and Technology) in Germany gained 26 positions to place 63rd. Among the U.S. schools, the biggest gain was recorded by Babson College, up 22 places to a rank of 73rd from No. 95 last year.

Besides those free falls by Rochester, Minnesota and Illinois, Penn State’s Smeal School of Business plunged 24 spots to a rank of 86 from 62 a year ago. The Melbourne Business School fell 22 positions to 90th from 68th in 2014. And of course, a number of MBA programs fell entirely off the list, having experienced double-digit drops to miss the top 100 entirely.


Among the ten schools that did a disappearing act this year was last year’s No. 57 Peking University-Guanghua, No. 61 Hult International Business School, No. 66 York University’s Schulich School, No. 75 Texas A&M, and No. 79 Coppead in Brazil. All those schools would have had to fall by double digits to slip off the top 100 entirely. In Peking’s case, the drop suggests a fall of at least 44 places. For York’s Schulich School, the disappearance means the school’s MBA program had to plunge at least 35 spots in a single year.

Also missing from this year’s list were five other MBA programs that all had ranks in the 90s in 2014. They are Tulane University’s Freeman School, which had been ranked 92nd last year, Brigham Young University’s Marriott School, which was ranked 93rd, Wake Forest University, which announced last October that it was exiting the full-time MBA market and had been ranked 94th. Also off the list were EMLyon in France and UC-Davis in the U.S., respectively ranked 95th and 98th a year ago by the FT.

And the newcomers who replaced those schools? Most incredibly, the Chinese University of Hong Kong emerged from nowhere–at it wasn’t even on the FT list last year–and was ranked 30th, above such elite schools as the University of Virginia’s Darden School and Carnegie Mellon’s Tepper School. The University of Iowa’s Tippie School made the list this year with a rank of 63.

The University of San Diego’s tiny MBA program made its debut on the FT list at a rank of 66, quite an oddity given the fact that the school only enrolls 40 full-time MBA students a year. Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Australia came back at a rank of 68th, while Southern Methodist University’s Cox School landed in the 76th spot. Queen’s University School of Business of Canada and the University of Alberta both tied for 86th place. And Notre Dame University’s Mendoza School placed 89th. Finally, Birmingham Business School and the University of South Carolina’s Moore School came in at 95 and 96, respectively.

Fudan University School of Management

Fudan University School of Management

The Biggest Winners In The 2015 Financial Times Global MBA Ranking

School Gain 2015 Rank 2014 Rank
Fudan University +28 55 83
Lancaster School of Management +27 50 77
ESMT European School of Management & Technology +26 63 89
Shanghai Jiao Tong +22 55 77
Babson College (Olin) +22 73 95
St. Gallen +21 67 88
University College Dublin (Smurfit) +18 73 91
Durham Business School +18 79 97
The Lisbon MBA +16 36 52
Imperial Business +15 34 49
Mannheim +11 55 66
Arizona State (Carey) +11 76 87
Wisconsin Business School +11 70 81

Source: P&Q analysis of the 2015 Financial Times Global MBA ranking

Questions about this article? Email us or leave a comment below.