Ten Biggest Surprises In The Financial Times 2022 MBA Ranking

Once ranked 5th by the Financial Times, China Europe International Business School, based in Shanghai, plummeted to 16th this year.

A Wake Up Call In Asia

The Asian Century.

Be it economics and education, it has become fashionable to trumpet the pivot to the East. Last year, China placed eight business schools in the FT ranking, cemented by CEIBS’ Top 10 finish. The National University of Singapore ranked in the Top 15, while India added five schools to the list. Overall, 17 Asian schools made the list, the same as the United Kingdom, France and Spain combined. Just imagine what 2022 might have in store?

How about a steep fall off?

Technically, there were still 17 Asian business schools on the list: China added a new member, while India lost one. However, it was hard to miss that Asian schools lost ground in 2022…and not just because seven Top 25 programs re-joined the FT ranking. 

CEIBS is a case in point. Once ranked 5th in the FT, CEIBS plummeted to 16th this year. One reason: weighted salary slipped from $178,558 to $174,890. That also triggered a drop in the percentage of salary increase, which slid from 156% to 147%. Combined, these variables make up 40% of the ranking weight. On top of that, CEIBS survey rankings dropped in several key categories, including Career Services (49th to 62nd), Alumni Recommendation (26th to 33rd), and ESG (29th to 39th).

The National University of Singapore endured a similar slump, falling from 14th to 21st.  Unlike CEIBS, NUS downfall wasn’t rooted in pay (which only fell by $402) or percentage of salary increase (which actually rose from 138% to 149%). Instead, Faculty Research sunk NUS, with its ranking falling from 35th to 47th in a measure that carries 10% weight. ESG was even more pronounced, where NUS tumbled from 41st to 88th.  At the same time, NUS lost spots in both Career Prospects (-11) and Alumni Recommendations (-8). 

Different Asian schools skidded down the FT ranking for different reasons. In the end, a pattern emerged. In a year when many business schools lost ground, Asian programs absorbed the brunt of the losses:

* CEIBS: 7th to 16th
* National University of Singapore: 14th to 21st
* Hong Kong University of Science and Technology: 22nd to 36th
* Indian School of Business: 23rd to 32nd
* Hong Kong University Business School: 29th to 59th
* IIM Bangalore: 35th to 53rd
* Sungkyunkwan University GSB: 35th to 65th
* Nanyang Business School: 37th to 39th
* IIM Calcutta: 44th to 68th
* Chinese University of Hong Kong: 48th to 50th
* IIM Ahmedabad: 48th to 62nd
* Shanghai Jiao Tong University Antai: 53rd to 58th

Of course, there were exceptions to the rule. The Fudan University School of Management held steady at 32nd, thanks to a 183% pay increase for graduates (plus a Top 10 finish in Career Progress).  In addition, China churned out two impressive debuts.  Peking University: Guanghua entered the FT ranking at #42, ranking it ahead of American powerhouses like Emory Goizueta and Texas McCombs. Tongji University School of Economics and Management followed suit at #65, thanks in part to 100% placement. 

In the end, it was a rough year to be an Asian MBA program. Can the region’s schools recover? That’ll depend heavily on employment. As Asia’s economic recovery remains spotty and uncertain, Asian schools may be strapped in for another bumpy year. 

Show Me The Money!

If it’s earning power you want from an MBA degree, look to the U.S. business schools who are placing MBAs in a super hot economy.

When it comes to base salary, the Financial Times found that all Top Ten schools are in the U.S. In fact, the top non-U.S. school, INSEAD, comes in 12th. And this is after the FT makes purchasing parity adjustments to pay that tend to favor many international business schools. By contrast, five years ago, two non-U.S. MBA programs–the Indian Institute of Management at Ahmedabad and IE Business School–broke up the Top Ten salary party.

And, of course, these numbers are most likely conservative because they do not include bonuses, equity grants or other perks doled out by companies to their MBA hires.

Overall, average alumni salaries rose over the period the past three years from $130,875 in 2019 to $141,949 in 2021, without adjusting for inflation and exchange rates. That is a pretty hefty increase. But at the very top, the numbers are much greater. Based on the FT data, at least, Wharton MBA alums can run a victory lap on salary with a chart-topping average of $237,530. That’s more than $30,000 more than Harvard MBAs (see table below)

Of course, the other heavily weighted FT 'Show-Me-The-Money" metric is the salary increase achieved by alums over their pre-MBA salaries. The biggest salary increases reported by students three years after graduation were at the Indian School of Business, Fudan University in China, and Mexico’s Ipade Business School. In fact, six of the Top Ten MBA programs in this category are in Asia, but there are some surprising hidden gems among U.S. schools high up on the list (see below table).

Among them are No. 4 Rochester's Simon School of Business, where alums were able to increase their salaries by a remarkable 169%, No. 5 Rutgers Business School, where MBAs got a 166% boost, and Ohio State's Fisher College of Business, where grads reported average increases in salary of 160%. Compare those increases to the 104% jump for Harvard Business School alums and you'll see that you don't have to go to HBS, Stanford or Wharton for the MBA degree to payoff.


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