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Weights for ranking criteria are shown below in brackets — (pre-experience) [post-experience] — as a percentage of the overall ranking.

Salary today US$ (20) [20]: average alumnus salary three years after graduation, US$ purchasing power parity (PPP) equivalent.†

Salary increase (10) [20]: average difference in alumnus salary between graduation (pre-experience) or before their MSc (post-experience) and today. Half of this figure is calculated according to the absolute salary increase and half according to the percentage increase relative.†

Value for money (5) [3]: calculated according to alumni salaries today, course length, fees and other costs.

Career progress (5) [5]: calculated according to changes in the level of seniority and the size of company alumni are working for between graduation (pre-experience) or before their MSc (post-experience) to today.†

Aims achieved (5) [3]: the extent to which alumni fulfilled their goals.†

Careers service (5) [3]: effectiveness of the school careers service in terms of career counselling, personal development, networking events, internship search and recruitment, as rated by their alumni.†

Employed at three months % (5) [3]: percentage of the most recent graduating class that found employment within three months. The figure in brackets is the percentage of the class for which the school was able to provide data.*

Female faculty % (5) [5]: percentage of female faculty.

Female students % (5) [5]: percentage of female students on the masters.

Women on board % (1) [1]: percentage of female members on the school advisory board.

International faculty % (5) [5]: calculated according to faculty diversity by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from their country of employment (published figure).

International students % (5) [5]: calculated according to diversity of current students by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from country of study.

International board % (1) [1]: percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the school’s home country.

Faculty with doctorates % (6) [5]: percentage of full-time faculty with doctoral degrees.

International mobility (8) [8]: based on alumni citizenship and the countries where they worked before their MSc, on graduation and three years after graduation.†

International course experience (8) [8]: calculated according to whether the most recent graduating MSc class completed exchanges, attended short classes, study tours and company internships in countries other than where the school is based.*

Languages (1) [n/a]: number of extra languages required on graduation.

Course length (months): average length of the masters programme.

For gender-related criteria, schools with 50:50 male/female composition receive the highest possible score.

† Includes data for the class of 2015 and one or two preceding classes where available.

* Graduated April 2017-March 2018.


This is the eighth edition of the FT Global Masters in Finance rankings, which list both pre-experience programmes and post-experience degrees.

The FT defines pre-experience programmes as those aimed at students with little or no professional experience, while post-experience programmes require participants to have worked in finance. Most full-time programmes are aimed at pre-experience students.

Masters in financial engineering degrees are not included in these rankings as they tend to place greater emphasis on quantitative skills.

Programmes must meet strict criteria to be eligible. They must be full-time, cohort-based and have a minimum of 30 graduates each year. Finally, the schools must be accredited by either AACSB or Equis.

A total of 73 schools took part in the 2018 edition of these rankings, 67 in the pre-experience ranking and seven in the post-experience listing. One school, SMU: Lee Kong Chian, took part in both.

The rankings are based on information collected in two separate surveys. The first is from the business schools and the second by alumni who completed their degrees in 2015.

For a school to be eligible for the rankings, at least 20 per cent of its alumni must respond to the FT survey, with a minimum of 20 responses. This year, the FT surveyed about 5,500 graduates from pre-experience programmes and about 500 alumni from post-experience courses. The two surveys achieved a response rate of 39 per cent and 31 per cent, respectively.

The rankings have 17 different criteria. In the pre-experience ranking, alumni responses inform nine criteria that together constitute 66 per cent of the total weight. The other eight criteria are calculated from school data and account for the remaining 34 per cent. For post-experience programmes, the split is 68 per cent and 32 per cent.

In both rankings, the current average salary of alumni has the highest weighting: 20 per cent. Local salaries are converted to US dollars using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. The salaries of non-profit and public service workers, and full-time students, are removed. Salaries are normalised by removing the highest and lowest salaries reported.

The pre-experience ranking measures salary increase three years after graduation compared with the first MSc-level job after graduation. The post-experience ranking compares salaries three years after graduation with students’ jobs before enrolment. Salary increase has a respective weight of 10 per cent and 20 per cent in each ranking.

Data provided by schools are used to measure the diversity of teaching staff, board members and finance students by gender and nationality, and the international reach of the programme. For gender criteria, schools with a 50:50 (male:female) composition receive the highest score. When calculating international diversity, in addition to schools’ percentage of international students and faculty — the figures published — the FT also considers the proportion of international students from each country of origin.

For the post-experience rankings, however, the calculations of value for money differ in that the total cost of the degree also includes the opportunity cost — the cost of not working during the programme.

In both rankings, “salary increase” and “value for money” are based on 2018 alumni data only. All other alumni criteria use information collected over the past three years, where available. Responses from 2018 carry 50 per cent of the total weight and those from 2017 and 2016 each account for 25 per cent. Excluding salary-related criteria, if only two years of data are available, the weighting is split 60:40 if data are from 2018 and 2017, or 70:30 if from 2018 and 2016. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data, to negate inflation-related distortions.

Finally, a relative FT score is calculated for each school. First, Z-scores — formulas that reflect the range of scores between the top and bottom schools — are calculated for each ranking criterion. These scores are then weighted, according to the weights outlined in the key to the 2018 ranking, and added together to give a final score. Schools are ranked accordingly, creating the FT Masters in Finance rankings 2018.

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