INSEAD Repeats As No. 1 In New 2017 Financial Times Ranking

MBA students graduating from Stanford University landed all-time record pay packages in 2016


That is possible because the FT claims that IIM graduates have a weighted salary three years after graduation that is $181,863, second best in the world after only Stanford’s $195,322. But IIM’s placement report for last year shows that the median total compensation of its graduates was only $27,898 in U.S. dollars, a sum that compares with the $158,080 median package landed by Harvard grads in 2016.

Besides “weighted salary” for alumni, which accounts for 20% of the methodology, the other highly rated metric in the ranking is the percentage increase over an alumni’s pre-MBA salaries, also worth 20% of the ranking. Not surprisingly, the top of the list is dominated by schools in Mexico, China, India, and Costa Rico. Ipade in Mexico boosted a person’s annual salary by a chart-topping 180%, while an MBA from Shanghai Jiam Tung University in China lifted base salaries by 172%. Third on this metric was the Indian School of Business whose alums saw a 160% rise in salary over pre-MBA levels.

For most highly ranked U.S. and European schools, the increases are in the 92%-to-97% range, though the best performance for a U.S. MBA on this measure was 130% for graduates of both Rutgers Business School and the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Management. The worst among all 100-ranked schools? The Australian Graduate School of Management whose alums saw only a 61% increase in pay, followed by the 66% rise for graduates of the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland.


What also didn’t change was the ranking’s year-over-year volatility. Over the past five years, 49 of the 100 ranked schools saw double-digit climbs or falls, excluding a number of MBA programs that have fallen completely off the list. This year, one in every four schools among the 100 ranked this year experienced a double-digit increase or decrease in their positions. Yet, at virtually every ranked school, there were no significant changes that could have foretold such a rankings move.

In some cases, the roller-coaster effects were unexplainably dizzying. The Lisbon School in Portugal plunged 30 places in a single year to rank 70th from 40th in 2016. Notre Dame University’s Mendoza School gained 16 places to rank 60th this year from 76th a year earlier.

But the largest single year gains were achieved by schools which failed to make the FT’s list last year. Arizona State University’s W. P. Carey School of Business, for example, was ranked 57th this year, a standing that implies at least a jump of 44 places from a year ago. Purdue University’s Krannert School would have had to leap at least 32 places to achieve its 2017 rank of 69th place.


INSEAD managed its repeat-performance by scoring well across most of the Financial Times‘ key metrics, especially those that tend to hurt U.S. schools. On so-called “international mobility,” INSEAD ranked third best vs. Stanford’s 66th and Harvard’s 55th rank. Some 94% of INSEAD’s faculty is deemed “international” versus Stanford’s 38% and Harvard’s 37%, while 96% of INSEAD’s students are considered “international” compared to 40% at Stanford and 35% at Harvard.

INSEAD also killed it when it came to “international course experience,” a metric that rewards MBA programs in which students do exchange programs, study tours, and research projects. INSEAD ranked sixth on this measure, against Harvard’s 46th place finish, despite the fact that HBS has a global immersion requirement for all of its students.

“INSEAD’s achievement in maintaining the #1 position shows that 2016 was no fluke, with competitive salary and a salary increase that is all the more impressive for a one-year program,” explains Symonds of Fortuna. “The school will always out perform top U.S. schools when it comes to international mobility, but alumni clearly love the school and they are shoulder to shoulder with top U.S. schools when it comes to research. One area for improvement at INSEAD is the percentage of women in the MBA program.”