Stanford Tops 2018 Financial Times MBA Ranking

The Harvard Business School campus

ALUMNI SALARIES GENERALLY UP

Overall, it was a good year for MBA graduates. Alumni salaries at many schools advanced higher. In fact, reported salaries were above last year’s levels at 11 of the 12 schools where alums report the highest pay. The biggest year-over-year increase was at Stanford, up 9.9%, but alumni salaries were was also up 7.9% at Harvard Business School where they rose to $192,133, from $178,113 a year earlier (see table below).

And despite some worries about the future of two-year MBA programs, they more than held their own against the one-year options in the Financial Times ranking this year. The FT noted that a majority of two-year programs went up or maintained their year-earlier ranks (31 up and 21 down) while their one-year rivals lost ground (14 up and 21 down). The newspaper also published data from its alumni survey which showed that students of two-year programs are far more likely to receive scholarship support than those from one-year programs (52% at two-year programs vs. 39% at one year options. The increase in salaries over pre-MBA levels also was slightly highly for graduates of two-year programs, 110% versus 101%.

Fears that anti-immigration rhetoric in the U.S. along with Trump’s election would have a big impact on the percentage of international MBA students was not borne out by the FT’s data, even though some individual schools have reported declines in non-U.S. applicants and students. A majority of US schools have recruited fewer international students, but the average proportion for ranked institutions is down by only one percentage point to 38%, according to the FT. While there are some variations, the overall number of enrolled students at FT-ranked schools in the U.S. in 2017 remained stable at roughly 12,000. A little more than half of schools enrolled more students last year than in 2016.

ASIAN SCHOOLS ON THE RISE IN THE FT RANKING

Asian schools did especially well this year. Besides the eighth place finish by CEIBS, the National University of Singapore Business School is up eight places to 18, its best performance. Renmin University of China School of Business is back at 39, up four places from 2015. Finally, Lee Kong Chian School of Business became the third ranked school from Singapore and the highest completely new entrant at 49.

“The real story this year is Asia, and China in particular,” adds Symonds of Fortuna Admissions. “CEIBS breaking into the top 10 is the sign of things to come, and I can’t wait to see the FT Global MBA Ranking of 2023. Renmin, Fudan and Singapore Management University have made startlingly high entries into the FT’s top 50, and 2018 has a record number of Asian schools that made the list. The U.S. and Europe cannot afford to rest on their laurels.”

Among the U.S. business schools to completely drop off the list this year were the University of South Carolina, which ranked 77th last year; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which was ranked 83rd; the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Business, ranked 84th in 2017; George Washington University, ranked 86th a year ago, and Temple University’s Fox School of Business, which weighed in at a rank of 95 in 2017.

Besides IE Business School in Spain, non-U.S. schools that disappeared this year include Incae, which had been ranked 89th last year; Grenoble, ranked 92nd; Spade, ranked 97th; Birmingham, ranked 98th, Vlerick, ranked 99th, and Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business in Ontario, Canada,, ranked 100th last year.