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

IIM-Bangalore climbed 13 places to rank 49th this year

  • Black Helicopters

    Dear Necromancer:

    You have a lot of great points. Unfortunately, you chose to cloak them in attacks that reeks of insecurity, immaturity, and/or a fundamental laziness, which doesn’t strengthen them, only detracts from them.

    I’ve worked and started businesses in a number of countries, I’m sure the number isn’t 15, but I don’t count travel. It’s also my observation that Germany isn’t one of the countries that highly values the specific type of talent that a typical MBA candidate represents. Despite the fact that companies such as Bosch, BASF, and Siemens, contrary to your statements, actually do regularly hire MBA candidates, there is definitely a sense that they choose to be more “frugal” in terms of compensation assigned to an MBA degree rather than, say, a comparable period of successful industry experience. Consulting in Germany, from what I’ve observed on the sidelines, also tend to be less “big customer focused”, which drives a lot of the associates into the countryside and doesn’t place a great deal of emphasis on MBA related communication, visualization, and presentation skills. Given the high investment in both time and money in a prestigious and reputable MBA school, it’s simply a bad match between most MBA candidates coming out of school and these German companies.

    That said, let’s get to some of your less salient points: I’ve met many Spanish/Portugese divers who can also lay claim to the “variety” of women they’ve bedded, I’m not certain how this was terribly relevant, except perhaps you originally expected MBA to be the ultimate pheromone for you? They really don’t put in 40 hour work weeks either: I’d hesitate to put their hours of work per week at anything over 25. Some of them are, in fact, incredible cooks, but again relevance to the comparison you’re trying to make is lacking. Perhaps you’re trying to associate time invested in making yourself a great cook with individual development – as a contrast to the “hollow people with no substance” you’ve categorically judged? In that case, I reassure you, many business school applicants I’ve already met will very much surprise you, but it’s up to you to reach out to them and find out for yourself – or you can sit behind your computer and continue to castigate them based on what you think of their “hollow” profiles. I’m also not quite certain why you raised a GMAT score as a point: assuming it’s true, maybe you thought it would bolster confidence in your own intellectual prowess more than your own arguments could? But how productive is it to take the GMAT, an exam that’s exclusively used to measure candidacy qualifications for graduate business programs, when you say you think the MBA is a useless degree? Putting a Harvard acceptance in your argument is a similarly interesting choice.

    It’s a good question where the responsibilities for a lot of your points on the social inequities and injustices lie: given that you’ve chosen to deride the MBA degree, I can only assume that you think the responsibility falls on the private sector – it’s either that or you believe the necessary qualifications for public office should include an MBA degree? Social responsibility is an area where the traditional MBA degree is seriously lacking, which is why many of the top business schools have made very public efforts to rectify with initiatives and programs designed to attract a new generation that has a greater interest in getting their hands dirty. Their success is debatable, as are most programs in the public domain, but they are, for the most part, trying. Incidentally, FYI, Obama was a Harvard Law School graduate, and Trump was a UPenn undergraduate. The only U.S. president with a business school degree was George W. Bush, which is probably the best for both MBAs and the United States.

    Your scattershot approach really only proves one thing: you aren’t very familiar with what an MBA degree produces, or who really hires an MBA, which, again, puts your claims of choosing not to go to Harvard into question. Let’s take your “original research” on your masters thesis as an example: Let’s say your paper beats out the tens of thousands of me-too blockchain related smart-grid papers and becomes a commercially-viable product with financial backing and you at the helm. At which point do you need mba-related talent? To go to regulators and negotiate on-grid applications and curtailment optimization? To engineer and develop your product to go to mass market? To market and present your product to investors? To scale and grow your infrastructure and supply chain? If you can’t answer these questions, you need to do more due diligence, not waste your time and effort casting your disdain on a degree which isn’t likely to be very relevant to your own life.

    Best Regards

  • Dont_be_paranoid

    The long term median ROI even on Harvard MBA is just $3 million. I dunno what networking you talk about. Steve jobs, Steve Wožniak, Elon Musk, Nikola Tesla, Karl Benz, satoshi nakamoto, Albert Einstein, and so on never needed an MBA.

    I know CEOs of leading Blockchain companies at personal level (some of them Forbes under 30) like Fran, partners at leading consulting companies at personal level, speak 5 languages, have travelled to 15 countries, worked in all kinds of jobs, have friends from all over the world, convinced the stingiest lot in the world – the Germans to put millions in certain ideas/concepts, know how to cook Italian, Thai, German, Indian, and Chinese food, aced the GMAT with 780, GRE with perfect score on Math, and overall 330, slept with women all around the world – Czech, German, Polish, Romanian, Spanish, Italian, Russian, and what not, and I’m under 30. And when I see the profiles at top MBA, even at Harvard, they are basically hollow people with no substance. This is why no German company hires any MBAs, and Germany is the second largest exporter in the world, had the strongest currency in the world – DM, and US has been screwed by Obama (Harvard graduate and a war criminal), and a clown – Donald Trump (Wharton graduate). US ironically has the best B schools in the world, and those mba guys still couldn’t solve the issue of universal healthcare, huge inequality, poverty, crime, broken infrastructure, huge budget deficits, crazy laws, lack of privacy, lack of net neutrality, and debt in the US.

    I have a published master thesis paper on original research on real time billing of energy, data privacy, energy conservation, including the whole new cryptographic protocol.

    FYI I chose to not go to Harvard, and do an MBA.

    Rest is your own personal decision. It’s your own money. All I’ll say is the b schools are basically selling you and brainwashing you into thinking that you need MBA. If it helped you, I’m glad. If you still wanna do an MBA, best of luck.

  • tam

    what about other benefits of the top mba such as network and long term ROI. you judged the degree by a short period of the 3 or 5 years out of the school. What about the sense of personal achievement? and more…

  • Dont_be_paranoid

    Don’t get me wrong, but I have a feeling MBA is a useless degree. I am Tech graduate in Germany, with 3 years of experience, zero debt, for free education in Germany in Computer Science, salary at almost same level as an MBA graduate (cost of living in Germany is much lower than any big city in US), and have more money than an MBA even from Harvard has after 5 years of graduating (over $300k).

    Let me do the Math for you. First you loose 2 years of wage (almost $100k for many people, especially in Tech) – which is $200k, then you get $200k of debt (let’s just live under the illusion that somehow miraculously you keep it at $100k), then 3 months of job search (which is again 3 months of lost earnings), then the interest rate on $100k debt. You are basically – $350k. By that time, I would be a multi millionaire.

    And oh right, even if you get your coveted job of $150k, I would already be at that salary, taking zero debt, and working only 40 hours a week, health insurance, pension, etc etc. versus 80 hours in US and a pile of $100k debt.

    Get out of this illusion of MBA making a better life for you. It is you who make your life better. MBA is nothing more an worthless piece of paper paid for in hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt – the same thing that you could get from real life experience. Too sad so many people think that they need the approval of the society by getting an MBA.

  • 123456

    Now it’s DEFINITELY clear you didn’t go to INSEAD. What I don’t understand is why do you use your time to trash talk a program you didn’t even attend. Again, what Tom says about Peter speaks more about Tom than what it does about Peter.

  • avivalasvegas

    And who says that’s a bad thing? I don’t see the Europeans sobbing over the loss of Americans mucking up their continent. If anything, the response to the launch of the NFL “across the pond” should be a great indicator of the EU’s appetite for all things American.

  • avivalasvegas

    I don’t share additional details about what I do for the Fortune 30 company I work for. I’ve had guesses ranging from Amazon to Apple in the past – I must come across like a Tech person. Sorry, but I couldn’t care less how vernacular you think my diction is or how extraordinary you believe my claims are. Always happy to accept a challenge on my degree though, so if you’d like to test my MBA claim, fire away!

    I didn’t say I couldn’t get a Visa for US grads. I said I struggle to get a US Visa (H1B specifically) for my LBS/ INSEAD hires in the US. We face a 1 in 3 odds of a lottery “win” currently. I won’t suggest that you find something other than linguistics to spend your time on because I didn’t put enough effort into my previous post to ensure it read correctly.

    I can see that you’ve made an effort to analyze my posts. You’ve been incorrect about absolutely everything other than the emotion involved when I add my thoughts on this forum. I like to lace the facts I share with all the emotion I can summon – its my way of trying to lift the veil of ignorance from this place – the headline of this article is a great example!

  • Bhaji

    There are two groups of future MBAs; one from the north america and europe who mostly want to move to the developing world, this group is better for them to go to INSEAD, LBS, IE, and other international focus schools. The other group is the one from developing world, mainly, southeast asia, india, and china, middle east, and africa, people in this group is already international and have great deal of exposure into globalization and wanted to learn skills from the developed world, so, it is better for them to go to the best schools in US, M7 schools. It will serve them either ways, to migrate to US or to go back to their countries with better skills learnt from the homeland of business and industry, the US. I see no reason for an international student to study in international class! it will add no value. That is why top US schools of Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Wharton, and Columbia, etc.. carry much more prestige than the european ones in the developing world.

  • C. Taylor

    I would say there are two related matters here.

    First, getting a B1 certificate means a person is willing to put a couple months of decent effort into learning more about the world (and that can be completed post-application). Someone who says attaining B1 certification is too much effort likely has the same approach to other aspects of foreign cultures–or possibly even his work. And that isn’t a person INSEAD wants.

    Second, someone who obtains a B1 certification is solidly on the path to native-level fluency, given effort. With that additional effort (six to eight months of dedicated study) to attain native-level fluency, job prospects in a new linguistic sphere solidify. If attained before entering the program, native-level fluency can provide a great advantage in the targeted linguistic sphere.

    I don’t see the point in attempting to ‘get around’ INSEAD’s language requirements. If you aren’t curious about the wider world, just don’t bother applying. INSEAD incentivizes this with its language requirements. Case in point, BB was appropriately incentivized to not apply.


    It might be worth adding a European perspective here. I work for one the top strategy consultancies, In Europe. The business schools that receive most applications from our company on a global level (including US consultants) are Harvard, Stanford, Wharton and INSEAD. For a European, if you want to go to the US, you typically try to get into Harvard, Stanford or Wharton. If you want to stay in Europe, you go for INSEAD or LBS. If you consider all programs (and usually wish to stay in Europe post graduation) the number one choice currently is INSEAD. Harvard and Stanford are options with a probably even higher prestige, and a great choice if you’re willing to put in additional time and money. Other US schools are usually not regarded as highly, maybe with the exception of Wharton if you’re into finance, but most of my colleagues choose INSEAD over Wharton. I believe this is the common perception here. Obviously, if you’re American and want to stay in the US then M7 might work best for you. In Europe, the percentage of INSEAD and LBS grads in senior consultant roles is incomparably higher though. So overall, I believe FT came up with a solid ranking and identified the right top 4 schools overall. How you rank them for yourself really depends on your own preferences.

  • krnch

    Lets be real guys. INSEAD’s language requirement, no matter how they put it, is actually a joke. Saw plenty of folks who got in who barely speaks the language(s) that they claimed to be proficient in. There are ways around it.

  • C. Taylor

    Rather, INSEAD is taking a pass on you. 😉

    Good luck on the GMAT! 760 is doable.

  • BB

    Trying to go from 720 to 760. I will pass on INSEAD.

  • C. Taylor

    If you don’t already have your GMAT in by September, you really weren’t prepared. I suspect that’s another trait INSEAD prefers to avoid. You should have gotten the GMAT out of the way a year ago.

    “I won’t be applying to INSEAD and worry about language issue.”

    Which underscores my point that INSEAD only wants people genuinely interested in the international–not people lacking the requisite drive for two months of dedicated study.

  • BB

    I prefer to spend months upping my GMAT score, not 1 year studying my high school German to get up to a “practical” proficiency to meet the 2nd language requirement at Entry, much less the 3rd language to graduate.
    I don’t know about you, but on top of my current 60 hour/week job,I barely have enough time to write good essays for the M7 and improving my GMAT scores. If anyone wants to also study a language to meet INSEADs entry requirement, be my guest.
    Nope, I won’t be applying to INSEAD and worry about language issue.
    INSEAD will never have the best and brightest Americans in its student body with its language requirement.
    There is nothing wrong with INSEAD’s policy as long as it is content with its niche of attracting only strong Europeans and Asians.

  • C. Taylor

    You’re underscoring my point again. If you use a few vacation days, it takes three weeks at Berlitz to get you from basic to B1. Or you can just learn on the side for two months, as I suggested.

  • BB

    INSEAD will never have in its student body, the best and brightest Americans. Only the bright Europeans and Asians. But the best Europeans and Asians will continue to apply to the U.S. M7 schools whereas the best Americans will not apply to INSEAD due to the 3 language requirement

  • BB

    Probably true for Asians and Europeans. But INSEAD will never be a realistic choice for most Americans with the 3 language requirement

  • Asian-banker

    in Asia, INSEAD is great choice if you couldn’t make it into the M7 schools.

  • BB

    As long as INSEAD technically requires “practical proficiency” in a 2nd language at Entry, and “basic” proficiency in a 3rd language in order to graduate, applicants from the U.S. will be dissuaded from considering INSEAD. INSEAD will forever remain basically a school considered only by Europeans and Asians.

  • Yaniv

    hahaha… thats very funny.. and idiotic as usual..

  • Inseadsux

    In my experience insead was a complete joke. Total waste of time.

  • Yaniv

    In my opinion, Non US schools are jokes.

  • Inseadsux

    In my opinion native English speakers are not best served by the insead MBA. Recruiters go to insead to recruit for non English speakers. I know a native English speaking polyglot that could not get a job post insead.

  • Know-INSEAD

    INSEAD language requirement is a myth. You can graduate from the program and will be given a year long to proof you understand the language. That year could be extended to another year. Employers know this, and explicitly say they don’t need the diploma for employment. Further, INSEAD electronic diploma can be obtained even without meeting the requirement of the language. It is for marketing requirement..

  • BB

    It takes years, not months to achieve the “practical level of knowledge of a 2nd language” required for the 2 language requirement at Entry. Then there is the lesser standard for the Exit graduation requirement for a 3rd language.
    This is a major impediment for Americans to apply to INSEAD versus other B-Schools.

  • C. Taylor

    Each time you protest this, you simply underscore my point: INSEAD doesn’t want people who lack the requisite drive to spend two or three months increasing their understanding of the world through the dedicated study of a language. B-school for the world, and all that.

  • BB

    I spent 3 years in high school studying German and don’t remember a word of it.
    Ain’t going to happen.
    INSEAD will never increase applications from Americans as a result of its 3 language requirement. Besides the US schools, LBS and other Euro schools with looser language requirements will benefit at the expense of INSEAD.

  • RRK850

    Thank you. But what is this ?!

  • C. Taylor

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  • RRK850

    what is IMD?!

  • C. Taylor

    C1/C2 English, B1 second language on entry, A2 third language on exit.

    It’s two or three months of dedication for a graduate of a US university prior to matriculation at INSEAD. Pretty darn easy. LBS and IMD have a second language requirement.

  • BB

    INSEAD is effectively favoring Europeans, Asians, Indians who already speak a 2nd language, and have only to achieve a basic level of a 3rd language.
    INSEAD is effectively screening out most Americans who do not speak a 2nd language with the 3 language requirement. Americans are those motivated to apply only to US schools, or if looking overseas, to London Business School

  • C. Taylor

    That’s the difference. Balls; of the international variety.

    INSEAD is effectively screening out people who aren’t willing to dedicate a mere two or three months to expand their horizon.

  • BB

    US B-Schools do not require any language proficiency beyond English.
    In contrast, INSEAD requires a “practical” mastery of a 2nd language upon entry, and to “certify an ability to speak a third, commercially useful, language at a basic level
    in order to graduate from the programme ”
    This 3 language requirement of INSEAD is a huge inhibitor to apply, especially given that INSEAD is a one-year program, not the 2 year program of US B-Schools

  • C. Taylor

    US universities mostly require basic knowledge of a foreign language. Basic to B1 is two months of dedication. Make that three if you don’t remember anything. I think the third language only requires basic mastery.

    I suggest attaining native-level fluency, rather than B1. So add on another six to eight months.

  • BB

    For better or worse, a major inhibitor to US applicants to INSEAD is the school’s requirement to display proficiency in 3 languages by the time of graduation. 2 languages at entry and a 3rd language to graduate.

  • Inseadsux

    I did indeed attend insead. Here is something only an attendee would know: During the first week, there is a hazing process, this is organized through a student body called the ‘student government’. Should I use the word promotion to describe my batch? Or would you find something else to trigger you?

  • Michael Lee

    Look – if this is your really your explanation, we all know you didn’t attend INSEAD. It’s not the vernacular that people that attended INSEAD use. The way you reference year and campus is incredibly relevant in ascertaining the validity of your claim that you attended INSEAD. I know for absolute certainty that you didn’t attend INSEAD now. Prove me wrong – there are plenty of ways to clearly show you attended INSEAD, but if you can’t – we will know you did not attend.

  • Inseadsux

    Explain why the year or campus is relevant? You don’t like the word batch?! Really that’s your deduction Holmes?

  • Michael Lee

    “July batch.” “campus cannot make a difference.”

    Year is not relevant.

    Recruiters go to INSEAD for language skills.

    I’m willing to put money on this – and if your’e willing to come out – I won’t welch. I will bet you $50 payable by paypal or venmo that you didn’t attend INSEAD.

  • Michael Lee

    They’re not the EXACT same roles and certainly not EXACT same pay and EXACT same career trajectory.

  • 123456

    I’m really sorry for your experience, but am pretty sure there is someone like you in any Business School. I have the best memories from INSEAD, and I can assure you EVERYONE in my cohort will say the same.
    Job wise, a ton of companies came, networked a lot through INSEAD and personally, and thankfully I could choose between offers.
    As I don’t know you, I cannot be assertive but Can you think of anything you could have done better?

  • Inseadsux

    Tell me, how did you come to this conclusion? I most certainly attended insead.

  • Mhier

    Must be a great start of the year for France.
    Just a couple of days ago, Miss France won the Miss Universe which was held in Manila, Philippines.
    Now, FT has been ranked first in the world, for the second straight year running now.
    I wonder what other surprises has France stored for the world to witness this year…

  • Dan

    I think you don’t understand. You know that Google has offices basically everywhere, right? Of course, they hire from European schools for European offices – everyone does that, including the big consultancies. In that case, no one needs a sponsorship, it would be the American who needed need one – a hassle that companies obviously would like to avoid since it is simply unnecessary.

    Read some career reports from European schools. That will open your eyes.

  • Michael Lee

    based on this comment, I don’t think you attended INSEAD. Liar.

  • INSEAD-Grad

    I’m an INSEAD grad and this is the sanest comment on the thread. Thanks Michael Lee for a level headed comment that, I believe, accurately reflects the relative quality of elite MBA programs.

  • Inseadsux

    I graduated in the July batch, campus cannot make a difference, one of insead’s selling points is that it is the same product globally. Year is not relevant. Recruiters go to insead for language skills, if you speak English as your native language why would anyone hire you? There are hundreds of native English speakers from 2 year programs competing for the same job.

  • Michael Lee

    Can you be more specific as why it’s a useless ranking? Because you said so or what?

  • Michael Lee

    Can you share what it is that you do or which company you represent. I understand this is the internet, but extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I find it hard to believe that you hire MBAs and you’re using the term M7. As a linguist, your diction seems a little too vernacular to be someone older. The fact that you’re mentioning that you can’t get a Visa for your US grads in EU means you know little about Europe. Which locations in Europe can Americans not get Visas?

    Your statements seem very emotional driven – I question if you attended MBA at all but definitely don’t think you’re a hiring manager.

    If you’re lying, don’t respond and we will consider your statement as just bullshit. If you’re truthful, then you’ll come forward and have a factual conversation, not one predicated upon feelings.

  • Michael Lee

    I don’t really believe this. Can you provide details. Which batch were you and which campus? Don’t need to reveal name.

  • Michael Lee

    This is not a true statement. You think Google is gonna hire a British guy that needs sponsorship from Judge? Who are you kidding. BTW – American – where do you work now and how much do you make?

  • Mike

    The insead I went to doesn’t sound like the same insead you attended. No job offers, very immature students. Complete waste of a year of my life.

  • avivalasvegas

    So you applied to HBS and GSB despite not wanting to live or have a career in the US, somehow got into not one but two of the topmost competitive programs in the world and then turned them down for……… INSEAD!
    That’s quite the story. You’ll understand if no one believes you, I hope.

    I’ll tell you what I know about INSEAD – I hire grads from LBS and INSEAD for my EU locations and rarely some US too (if I can get a Visa for them). Smart kids, no doubt. A bit too Euro trance party for my liking but still very smart. Is there a perceptible difference in the caliber of student compared to the HBS/ GSB grads – absolutely. I believe INSEAD’s biggest limitation is the duration of the program, which is the sole reason why I prefer to hire 2 year M7 grads.

  • 123456

    Sad to see such a poor discussion over this. I am an INSEAD grad, happy to be one and have landed several job offers in the US and Europe. I can only thank the program for the great preparation and toolset it gave me. I chose it over some of the schools you’re mentioning (Kellogg, MIT and Stern) and would gladly do it again.

    Also happy to see that the guys who went to US schools are happy with their decisions, but honestly don’t see the reason why one should speak badly about a program they don’t even know.

    And why one would choose INSEAD other than being high according to some stellar commentators? You’ll want to have a career with a lot of international mobility, you’ll enjoy the conversations and discussions that older, more experienced candidates can give and enjoy busier schedules.

    Anyway my 2 cents, and a little reminder that trying to trash talk one competitor doesn’t make your product better, just makes you look stupid.


  • JohnAByrne

    I think Trump and Brexit are very good developments for the Canadian schools. Canada has a pro-immigration stance and is an extremely attractive option for international students. MBA apps so far are up 22% at Rotman and I think Trump and Brexit have something to do with it. Rotman also has the resources to build further momentum. Bottom line: The Canadian schools are going to get more than their traditional share of the best applicants.

  • Utsav Pathak

    Will any Canadian 2-year program ever make it to this list, since it focuses on PPP data? Except for Rotman(which is also showing a downward trend for the past 5 years). I believe due to the current scenario in the US, people will prefer to go to Canadian b-schools too and that may change things. What do you think @poetsandquants-c81e728d9d4c2f636f067f89cc14862c:disqus Does it make a difference if the International students are not actually the ones getting the high paid jobs from top tier schools?

  • Dan,

    Those are all very good and thoughtful points. Thanks for weighing in and making them. I think it adds a lot to the discussion here.

  • Inseadsux

    From my experience insead is not a top flight product. I graduated without a job and haven’t been able to land a single interview. In my opinion insead is a very bad deal for native English speakers. It is just like the bad trade deals that President Trump is going to change. At insead native English speakers teach English language and Anglo Saxon culture and receive little in return. I found the education to be poor, the participants international snowflakes and that the alumni network didn’t really exist.

  • Dan


    first, thank you very much for running this platform and providing valuable background information on MBA education – P&Q helped me a great deal when assessing schools and finally taking a decision.

    Having said that, I would only add a couple of points to your post with whose final statement I couldn’t agree more: It is way more important that everyone understands what a ranking measures instead of fiercely discussing individual school ranks.

    In terms of measuring the quality of incoming students, I would like to add one aspect that I consider widely underestimated. If we compare the GMAT scores of US and non-US schools, we see that generally speaking US schools admit students with higher GMAT scores. Most of these students are native speakers while the vast majority of applicants to non-US schools aren’t. If we remember the time when we took the GMAT, we recall two important lessons: First, timing is a great issue. Secondly, a low verbal score destroys the score. Keeping these two aspects in mind, I believe that for non-native speakers (no matter how good their English actually is) it is way harder to reach a GMAT score level that is comparable to the one that native speakers achieve. While this effect is certainly smaller in Quant, it definitely affects the Verbal part. This might not explain the entire difference, but probably a lot of it. I can’t prove it, but would argue that the 708 of INSEAD are comparable to 720/730 at US schools, considering that practically all INSEAD applicants did the GMAT in a foreign language.

    In terms of GPA I totally agree with you. I don’t know why non-US schools hardly publish an average GPA, especially because (from my gut feeling) I would not expect major differences (Cambridge for instance has a hard cut-off at 3.3, suggesting that the average probably hovers around 3.6./3.7.)

    In a broader view, I believe that FT (and every institution that sets up a global ranking) faces a couple of challenges that editors of US-only rankings don’t have. Converting income data is one of them. I can see why you consider PPP as a favoring factor for the non-US side – on the other hand, I don’t see a reasonable alternative to PPP-based conversion. Spot rates are totally volatile (GBP, EUR, CHF were a rollercoaster in the last years) and therefore not an option. PPP provides information as to where graduates are positioned in a local income pyramid, an information that to me is more valuable than a converted USD figure.

    You argue that an international outlook per se does not make a MBA program better than another – I wholeheartedly agree, at least if this measure is used in a global ranking. However, as a European I must say that international business is a great part of everyone’s daily life here, more so than in the US. Certainly Europeans value an international outlook way higher than Americans would do. The set of international outlook criteria are certainly an example of personal flavor. To be fair, FT publishes the rank of each criteria which allows everyone to exclude such criteria in a more tailored, self-computed ranking.

    One last remark concerning editorial strategy: The Economist does not quite follow the FT on this one, considering how much it bashes Oxbridge in every ranking – but the Economist ranking deserves its own discussion.

  • yaniv

    sorry, peer school.

  • yaniv

    very well written and valuable post. many thanks John. Whatevet people or rankings say, it is extremely hard to find peet school for Harvard, Stanford or Wharton ! at the end, almost all cases are produced by HBS and products of HBR.

  • Lone Ranger

    Here comes the smug cloud.

  • Dan,

    That’s a really good question and one that I tried to address in the article. But first a little perspective here: When the FT first created its ranking, 11 years after I helped to create the Businessweek ranking in the U.S., the FT made a significant contribution to the rankings game by making their list global and not U.S.-centric. That was a great call on the part of the FT. Schools outside the U.S. have become much stronger and viable competitors to North American schools. They’ve improved the quality of their students and their faculty. And European schools are, without question, more global given the much higher percentage of students who bring more cultural and geographic diversity into the classroom.

    At the time the FT created its ranking, however, it made several judgment calls that heavily favored non-U.S. schools. First, it decided not to include stats that measure the quality of the incoming class. Those stats are most commonly average GMAT and/or GRE scores, undergraduate grades or acceptance rates. Those measures–especially test scores and undergrad transcripts–are among the most important criteria for admission into an MBA program. In fact, surveys show the single most important metric is a GMAT score. Including them, however, would tend to reinforce the dominance of U.S. schools and make it more difficult for the European schools to place well in the FT which is a European publication with a largely European audience.

    Secondly, the FT decided that the more “international” a program, the better is was. Its definition of international was the percentage of students, faculty and board members who bear a passport from a country outside the school’s locale. It then added metrics on “international mobility”–the percentage of graduates who come from different countries, get jobs in different countries and move to different countries as alums three years after graduation, “international course experience”–the percentage of the most recent graduating class that completed exchanges, research projects, study tours and company internships in countries other than where the school is based–and languages–the number of extra languages required on graduation.

    All together, these metrics alone account for 20% of the methodology and heavily favor schools in countries that are so small that they essentially could not exist on domestic students and in many cases lack an economy able to easily absorb their graduates. And finally, in determining how to account for compensation, the FT decided to adopt a PPP adjustment that greatly inflates the actual pay of graduates who accept jobs in emerging nations where poverty is common and extreme. MBA grads are privileged professionals who do not live like everyone else in a given country. So adjusting compensation on the basis of high rates of poverty in a nation greatly exaggerates pay and the ranking of schools on the FT list. Also, an MBA degree naturally increases pre-MBA pay at a higher rate when the incoming student was earning less pay. Both the “weighted salary” component and the “increase in pay” metric account for 40% of this ranking.

    As a point of editorial strategy (yes, there is some attention paid to strategy in newsrooms, though not much), it made sense to create an approach that would favor schools where your primary audience resides. For one thing, it helps to serve your readers who would like to know more about local options. For another, it’s a great way to encourage the support and cooperation (both financially and editorially) of the schools you rank. The FT, after all, is a business, and rankings are a product that creates readership, Internet clicks, and advertising revenue.

    It’s important to note that while these decisions help certain schools and hurt others, all rankings have similar issues with their methodologies. What’s crucial is that people who use a ranking understand what is actually being measured and decide if that’s important to them. If these international metrics and adjusted pay measures make sense to you, put more weight on the FT ranking. If not, discount it for your own use. The big takeaway is to treat all of these lists with a very big grain of salt. Each rankings offers readers some value and the FT performs a valuable service to readers and the schools by devoting significant resources to this annual project. At the very least, it heightens the awareness of what metrics should or should not be measured and allows business education consumers to ask more intelligent questions of the schools.

  • Dan

    Let me guess: You went to IE, right? 😉

  • jim

    It is absolutely solid to say that the top European schools are INSEAD, LBS, and IE. those three schools are highly regarded by multiple rankings..

  • Dan

    Just checked. Not true. Trump, is that you? 😉
    Judge reports both PPP-data and spot rate conversions. That said, obviously PPP data is what you should look at when you do international comparisons.

    For those of you who are really interested to see why, read the following Statement from the IMF:

    Advantages of PPP: A main [advantage] is that PPP exchange rates are relatively stable over time. By contrast, market rates are more volatile, and using them could produce quite large swings in aggregate measures of growth even when growth rates in individual countries are stable. Another drawback of market-based rates is that they are relevant only for internationally traded goods. Nontraded goods and services tend to be cheaper in low-income than in high-income countries. A haircut in New York is more expensive than in Lima; the price of a taxi ride of the same distance is higher in Paris than in Tunis; and a ticket to a cricket game costs more in London than in Lahore. Indeed, because wages tend to be lower in poorer countries, and services are often relatively labor intensive, the price of a haircut in Lima is likely to be cheaper than in New York even when the cost of making tradable goods, such as machinery, is the same in both countries. Any analysis that fails to take into account these differences in the prices of nontraded goods across countries will underestimate the purchasing power of consumers in emerging market and developing countries and, consequently, their overall welfare. For this reason, PPP is generally regarded as a better measure of overall well-being.

  • Dan

    Which part of the methodology favours – in your opinion – specifically UK schools?

  • I think you need to re-read the story.

  • Hahaha

    When the Economist comes up with a ranking that comparatively is more stable than FT, P&Q dissed it. BUT if the FT makes up a ranking with such huge moves up and down, its okay? Not only does it have a UK bias (Judge? yuck) it is more unstable than any other ranking out there

    Really? Way to go P&Q. What a biased reporting you have

  • WoWoW

    FT ranking should be discounted by a lot. Come on. Insead as number 1? What a useless ranking. I would believe LBS as a top school but Judge? There is truly a dearth in good European schools that they had to bring up Judge. That used to be Manchester… but that made them a laughing stock so they are trying Judge to see if they can justify by using the Cambridge name. Pft.

  • Nope

    FT ranking is as useful as WSJ ranking. (hint useless)

  • Flash

    Wow, what an incredibly douchey conversation this article prompted. I thought med students were the worst when it came to debating rankings/prestige.

  • You mad

    I am an American that went to Cambridge Judge. I think it is a great program and worthy of being in the top tier for European schools along with LBS and Insead. The fact is that all the EXACT SAME firms recruit at the top EU schools as the US and for the EXACT same roles. The difference between the top tier from US to EU is so small that the decision of which to pursue should just be driven by where you want to work. I work in the top global tech firm, a US firm, (can you guess it?) and I’m surrounded by Insead and LBS grads (less Judge grads since we are smaller and newer) Same with everyone I know in the other top firms. I don’t know what all the Americans think are happening outside of America, but it’s the exact same jobs and, funny enough, far less investment to get there

  • Mike

    Globalization is dead, the world will soon focus on the Anglosphere, hopefully including parts of Western Europe. We’ve supported the rest of the world for long enough, it is over now. #MAGA remember politics is downstream of culture and culture is changing.

  • Mike

    Everyone speaks English is well educated and has three apple devices. Currently you are swept up in insead’s CULTure, when you can’t get a job they will be long gone with your money.

  • Tesla

    LePen will get the most votes. She has the silent majority that don’t scream and jump partying fake diversity and they don’t live in bubble or follow the biased liberal media. You will be surprised by how much she will win..and then you will most likely be moving to singapore or abu dhabi or open fifth campus in new Zealand..

  • Georges Doriot

    I know it sounds crazy but in France it’s the candidate with the most votes that gets elected 🙂

  • T Lind

    They are based on facts and you can read all about how the ranking works if they sell FT where you are from. Or do you prefer your Trumpesque alternative facts?

  • T Lind

    See my comment below. What do you know about INSEAD? It may be true that Americans (last I checked about 6% of the world population) prefer the US business schools but, oooops, it seems the rest do not. In my case, not wanting to live or have a career in the US it was an easy decision to turn down HBS and Stanford for INSEAD.

  • T Lind

    You Trump voters have to stop thinking that the US is the world. I went to INSEAD and my wife went to Harvard, even she agrees the caliber of the people from my class outdoes hers. Get a passport!

  • James

    special invite :
    I hope his excellently C. Taylor can say a word or two for the tragic end of IMD

  • Remo

    Stephane : you are really really cute..

  • dergo

    Fake Rankings ..

  • Tesla

    If I were an INSEAD, I won’t exaggerate in celebration until French election results in May 🙂 President Le Pen will clean Fontainebleau palace from those “aliens” globalists..

  • Stephane

    Choosing INSEAD over the likes of “Kellogg, Booth, Sloan” is exactly what I did!

    Did I make this decision because I believe it is the #1 School in the world? Of course not! The idea of a global MBA ranking is absurd to start with, MBAs are not football teams that you can make compete in a tournament.

    But for sure INSEAD was the #1 fit for me 🙂

    And yeah it can seem slightly childish how INSEAD celebrates but it is hard to blame them for making the most out of this golden and free PR opportunity. But what also seem childish is coming on a website such as this one to complain about the rankings and how you find outrageous that the American programs are not #1!

    Please do not try to “Make American MBA Great Again” (#MAMGA) that would probably backfire and they are great already 🙂

  • Georges Doriot

    Soccer was invented by the Brits. This didn’t prevent Brazil from winning 5 World’s Cup. It is maybe time for Americans to look further than their borders and discover that there’s actually a whole World out there. This may appear a challenge however, since American borders are walls construction sites these days…
    Cheers from INSEAD, we had champagne today indeed. But it wasn’t to celebrate a ranking, it was to celebrate our diversity and our values in an increasingly isolationist World.

  • Tesla

    In Judge career report they use the PPP to convert salaries, you would find salaries in southeast asia like $200K or so! they do so to manipulate the ranking. As for INSEAD, it is a good school, but no way it comes close to M7 schools, let alone compete for the top 5 ! It is nearly impossible to find someone to choose it over Wharton, Stanford, or MIT.. We all know rankings are taken with broadly.. The way INSEAD celebrates this rank is childish and immature as they couldn’t believe it.. anyway, at the end, the whole business world knows that an MBA is best done in America, it is an american invention, with much respect there.

  • avivalasvegas

    Whatever the Financial Times team is smoking, needs to be bottled and sold to the entertainment industry. That would end the barrage of unimaginative, derivative Hollywood sequels and kick start a new era of fantasy and creativity.
    Sadly, when it comes to MBA rankings, the Financial Times has given us just that – fantasy, laced with some horror. How else could you explain schools like INSEAD and Judge besting Kellogg, Booth, Sloan etc?

  • InseadAdmit

    Congratulations Insead!!!
    Proud I chose you!

  • MBAStudent

    Such an irony that IIM bill is giving MBA degrees to their 2 year MBA program while 1 year program is getting recognized worldwide. It is time when they break this perception otherwise they will continue to lag compared to their international peers.

  • christudent

    “The FT ranks IIM-Ahmedabad in India 29th, ahead of the business schools at UCLA, Oxford, Virginia, Carnegie Mellon, North Carolina and others.”

    IIM Ahmedabad is indeed one of the best business schools in the world, at least based on the quality of incoming students (using average GMAT score as a proxy).