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

MBA graduates at Cambridge University Judge Business School


Women in INSEAD’s MBA program represent 30% of the students vs. 44% at Wharton, 43% at Harvard, and 41% at Stanford.But even when INSEAD wasn’t near the very top of a given ranking metric, it wasn’t too far down, either. INSEAD’s weighted salary metric was eighth best at $167,657 (after Stanford, Wharton, Harvard, Columbia, IE, Chicago Booth and UC-Berkeley Haas), and the school did slightly better than Stanford and Wharton with its alums reporting a 95% increase over pre-MBA salaries.

Unlike the U.S.-centric U.S. News & World Report ranking, the FT does not include a single metric that measures the quality of the incoming students, such as average GMAT and GPA scores or the acceptance rate for a school’s MBA program that would show how selective it is. Whether a graduate is employed three months after graduation is only given a 2% weight by the FT despite its obvious importance to an MBA student.

And also unlike U.S. News, the FT also relies on self-reported data from alumni for its compensation analysis which accounts for 40% of the methodology’s weight. Most graduates will be honest in reporting such data and the FT can check it for major aberrations but it would not be a major surprise if some alums inflated their salary numbers to help their schools look a bit better in the newspaper’s ranking.


At the upper end of this year’s ranking, perhaps the biggest surprise is the five-place rise by Cambridge Judge. “The school’s one-year program has delivered great post-MBA salary results,” observes Symonds. “This helped the school to push LBS outside the top five for the first time since 2003. As with many shorter MBA programs, Judge scores well on value for money but is also delivering on strong career services support.”

The school’s average “weighted salary” of $164,462 for alums three years out was up 5.2% over last year and 11th best overall. The 107% average salary increase was an improvement on the 95% advance a year earlier. Judge also ranked first in “value for money”–a return-on-investment calculation based on the costs of the degree versus one’s compensation–and that was up from fourth last year. Some 89% of its surveyed alumni said they had achieved their career aims as a result of the program, the highest approval rate of any school this year and up from 86% in 2016. Alumni views of the school’s career services function ranked it seventh, up from 24th.

But U.S. schools can find much good news toward the end of the ranking. “It is the new U.S. entrants that have much to celebrate,” points out Symonds. “Arizona State returns at #57, and with an aggressive free tuition policy could continue to make ground in the years ahead. Other new faces include Purdue at #69 and Rutgers at #70, and USC Darla Moore’s entry at #77 shows that when a US school delivers a truly international curriculum they will be rewarded in the FT. They are the only US school to make the top 40 for international mobility rank.”