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HEC Paris heads the 2023 Financial Times Masters in Management Ranking of global business schools, just ahead of St Gallen of Switzerland, with four other French schools among the top tier of 12 of the 100 ranked institutions.

With 21 entries, French business schools comprise a fifth of all ranked institutions, ahead of 10 from the UK, led by London Business School, which is in third place overall.

However, in a sign of the growing internationalisation of the historically European-based qualification targeted at students with little or no professional work experience, there were also 11 ranked Indian schools, three from mainland China and two from Hong Kong, among many other countries represented.

There are currently just two US schools in the FT MiM rankings — Hult International Business School and the University of South Carolina: Moore — but others are increasingly offering the programme, including the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, which recruits its first cohort this year.

FT Masters in Management Ranking

View the 2023 ranking and report

Starr Marcello, deputy dean for MBA programmes at Chicago Booth, says: “We’ve seen a very big increase in demand from younger students, and the MBA is not the right programme if they do not have full-time work experience. This is the best entry point to the business world for them.”

The fresh US interest partly reflects stagnation in domestic demand for the country’s traditional two-year MBA, offering instead a shorter and cheaper way for students to learn about business, and for employers to recruit them younger and at lower salaries.

The FT ranking is not comprehensive, with business schools deciding whether to participate and share data for the assessment. To be eligible, schools must all be accredited with either the US-based AACSB or the European EFMD Equis agency.

The ranking is based on relative performance on a range of factors provided by schools and their alumni three years after they completed their studies, including graduate salaries, whether they achieved their study aims, and diversity.

In line with other business qualifications ranked by the FT, the methodology has been modified this year to reduce the overall weight given to salaries and to increase the importance of other factors, including new assessments of the value of alumni networks. (Alumni salary and salary increase remain the two most weighted criteria, at 16 per cent and 10 per cent respectively.) The ranking also takes account of commitments by schools to set a net zero emissions target, publish a carbon audit report and teach sustainability-related topics in their core courses.

London Business School scores highest for the value of its alumni network as judged by alumni three years after they completed their studies, followed by HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management in Germany.

Top school: HEC Paris

A man walks through a door with a HEC Paris sign on it

HEC Paris is top after a decade of being ranked second, writes Leo Cremonezi. The school is in the top five for average alumni salary, at $129,806, and for aims achieved, measuring fulfilment of study goals. It is also fifth for the proportion of teaching hours dedicated to ESG and solutions for how organisations can reach net zero. “HEC is a true centre of excellence, attracting the best talent from all over the world,” said one surveyed graduate.

Indian schools occupy the top four positions for salary outcomes three years after completion, adjusted for international purchasing power parity, led by the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad at $137,919. In Europe, HEC Paris leads at $129,806.

The highest salary increase is reported by Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management in Beijing, with remuneration nearly doubled three years after graduates finished their masters. Luiss, in Rome, ranks in second place for the rise in pay among alumni.

Across ranked MiM programmes, average salaries after adjusting for inflation have risen by $5,000 since 2017, although the gender pay gap has remained strong, with female alumni earning on average 19 per cent less than their male counterparts.

Reported salaries rose in the past year after a lull during the pandemic, although alumni across all schools which participated in both years earned on average $78,325 in 2023 compared to $79,026 in 2019, after adjusting for inflation.

Biggest riser: Rabat Business School

Students studying together

Rabat is the highest riser, up 32 places to joint 54th, writes Eleanor Myers. The Moroccan school is top for international work mobility based on employment locations since course completion and today. Rabat is also second for career progress, based on changes in seniority and the size of organisation. “It’s a good opportunity to stay in Africa and to study in an international environment,” said one alumnus.

There was a significant increase over the past four years in the salaries of alumni working in Asia-Pacific, from an average of $80,659 to $92,142. Mainland European salaries fell from $77.637 to $73,029 over the period, while those in the UK rose from $92,758 to $96,387.

A dozen business schools reported gender parity among their students, with half of the 100 ranked masters courses teaching more men than women, falling as low as 14 per cent female at HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management in Germany.

More than 90 per cent of schools still had more male than female faculty, with parity only at France’s ESC Clermont and Institut Mines-Télécom, along with India’s Institute of Management Technology, Ghaziabad. XLRI — Xavier School of Management in India had just nine per cent female faculty. About a quarter of business schools reported gender parity on their advisory boards, although more than two-thirds still had more male than female members.

Lund University School of Economics and Management (Lusem) in Sweden is placed top for the teaching of environmental, social and governance topics, including lessons about carbon reduction, followed in second place by Iese of Spain.

SDA Bocconi/Università Bocconi in Italy is ranked top for its combined score on the publication of a carbon emissions audit and a net zero emissions target, ahead of IE Business School in Spain and BI Norwegian Business School in joint second place.

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