FT Global MBA Ranking 2022: methodology and key
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
This Financial Times MBA ranking features the world’s best 100 full-time MBA programmes. A total of 151 schools took part in the 2022 edition. All participating schools meet the FT’s entry criteria and are accredited by Equis or the AACSB.
The FT surveys alumni three years after completing their MBA. For schools to enter the ranking calculations, the FT requires that a minimum of 20 per cent of alumni reply to the survey, with at least 20 fully completed surveys.
This year, because of disruption from the Covid-19 crisis, the FT considered schools with a lower response rate. A total of 7,138 alumni from the class of 2018 completed our survey — a response rate of 34 per cent.
The ranking has 20 criteria. Alumni responses inform eight criteria that together contribute 61 per cent of its weight. Eleven criteria are calculated from school data, accounting for 29 per cent of the ranking. KPMG audits a number of schools every year. The remaining criterion, the research rank, counts for 10 per cent.
Alumni-informed criteria are based on the data collected over three years. Responses from the 2022 survey carry 50 per cent of total weight and those from 2021 and 2020, 25 per cent each. If only two years of data are available, the weighting is split 60:40 if data are from 2022 and 2021, or 70:30 if they are from 2022 and 2020. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data.
The first two alumni criteria are average income three years after completion and salary increase compared with pre-MBA salary, each weighted at 20 per cent. For the latter, half of the weight applies to the absolute increase and half to the percentage rise (published). Current salaries are converted to US dollars using IMF purchasing power parity rates.
The salaries of non-profit and public-sector workers and full-time students are removed, as are the highest and lowest salaries from each school, to calculate a normalised average. Finally, salaries are weighted to reflect differences between different sectors.
“Value for money” for each school is calculated by dividing their average alumni salary three years after completion by their MBA’s total cost, including tuition, lost salary, opportunity cost and other expenses. Any scholarship assistance given to alumni is subtracted from the total.
The FT also collects information from schools on their current faculty, newly enrolled students and the latest completing class. School criteria include the diversity of staff, board members and students by gender, citizenship and the MBA’s international reach. For gender criteria, schools with a 50:50 composition score highest.
The research rank is based on the number of articles by full-time faculty in 50 internationally recognised academic and practitioner journals. The rank combines the number of publications from January 2019 to July 2021, with the number weighted relative to faculty size.
The environmental, social and governance rank is based on the proportion of teaching hours from core courses dedicated to ESG topics. It carries a weight of 3 per cent.
The MBA ranking is a relative listing. Schools are ranked against each other by calculating a Z-score for each criterion. The Z-score is a statistic that shows where a score lies in relation to the mean. These scores are then weighted as outlined in the ranking key and added together for a final score.
After removing schools that did not meet the response rate threshold from the alumni survey, a first version is calculated. The school at the bottom is removed and a second version is calculated and so on until we reach the top 100. The top 100 schools are ranked accordingly to produce the 2022 list.
Key (weights for ranking criteria are shown in brackets as a percentage)
Salary today**: average alumni salary three years after completion, US$ PPP equivalent. This figure is not used in the ranking.#
Weighted salary (20): average alumni salary three years after completion, US$ PPP equivalent (see methodology above), with adjustment for variations between sectors.#
Salary increase (20): average difference in alumni salary from before the MBA to now. Half of this figure is calculated according to the absolute salary increase and half according to the percentage increase relative to pre-MBA salary.#
Value for money (3): calculated using salary today, course length, tuition and other costs, including lost income during the MBA.#
Career progress (3): calculated according to changes in the level of seniority and the size of the organisation alumni work in now, compared with before their MBA.#
Aims achieved (3): the extent to which alumni fulfilled their stated goals or reasons for doing an MBA.#
Careers service (3): effectiveness of the school careers service for career counselling, personal development, networking events, internship search and recruitment, as rated by their alumni.#
Employed at three months (2): percentage of the most recent completing class which found employment or accepted a job offer within three months of completing their studies. The figure in brackets is the percentage of the class for which the school was able to provide employment data and is used to calculate the school’s final score.§
Alumni recommend (3): calculated according to selection by alumni of three schools from which they would recruit MBA graduates.#
Female faculty (2): percentage of female faculty.
Female students (2): percentage of female students on the full-time MBA.
Women on board (1): percentage of female members on the school’s advisory board.
International faculty (4): calculated according to the diversity of faculty by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from their location of employment — the figure published in the table.
International students (4): calculated according to the diversity of current MBA students by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from the location in which they study — the figure in the table.
International board (2): percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the location in which the school is based.
International mobility (6): based on alumni citizenship and the locations where they worked before their MBA, on completion and three years after.#
International course experience (3): calculated according to whether the most recent completing MBA class carried out exchanges and internships, lasting at least a month, in locations other than where the school is based. The calculation was based on the average across the past three years of international course experience data, taken from the 2022, 2021 and 2020 surveys. Virtual experiences are excluded. Covid has limited travel.
Extra languages (1): number of languages required on graduation, excluding English.§
Faculty with doctorates (5): percentage of full-time faculty with a doctoral degree.
FT research rank (10): calculated according to the number of articles published by current full-time faculty members in 50 selected academic and practitioner journals between January 2019 and July 2021. The FT50 rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.
ESG rank (3): proportion of teaching hours from core courses dedicated to environmental, social and governance issues.
Overall satisfaction**: average evaluation by alumni of the course, scored out of 10. After alumni answered various questions about their MBA experience, they were asked to rate their overall satisfaction, on a 10-point scale. This figure is not used in the ranking.
Schools with a 50:50 (male/female) composition receive the highest possible score in the three gender-related criteria.
§ Alumni who completed MBA between July 2020 and June 2021.
# Includes data for the class of 2018 and one or two preceding classes where available.
** Category not used in the ranking.
Judith Pizer of Pizer-MacMillan acted as the FT’s database consultant. The FT research rank was calculated using Clarivate data covering 50 journals selected by FT from the Web of Science, an abstract and citation database of research literature.
Criteria for taking part in our ranking
Updated on 7/12/2022 — NOTE: We review the criteria on a regular basis. The pandemic has affected business schools and our ranking process, but we have done our best to accommodate feedback from schools. Please note, we are unable to include requests from every school.
This year we are surveying graduates who completed your nominated programme 3 years ago. This means we require at least 30 alumni from 2019 to be surveyed this year.
Due to the pandemic, we understand that your school may not meet criterion number 6 below. In this case, we ask for at least 25 alumni to complete the programme for each year in 2020 and 2021. Your school may take part in this year’s ranking as long as your school meets the rest of the criteria.
The FT MBA ranking is based on two surveys: one for the business school and one sent to your alumni who completed their MBA three years ago.
Each school can only submit one standalone programme. However, more than one programme can be submitted if the additional programme is a joint degree. Joint programmes can be separately entered, on condition they are structured so that participating students take classes from all partner institutions in the programme.
The following are the criteria schools must meet in order to participate in the annual MBA ranking:
The school must be accredited by AACSB or Equis.
Your full-time MBA must have been in operation for the past four or five years and must have graduated its first class in the calendar year three years before the survey date.
The full-time MBA must be a generalist programme. We do not consider specialised programmes.
Your MBA must be a post-experience degree. The vast majority of students will have at least three years of work experience.
Students must matriculate and graduate in cohort(s).
At least 30 full-time students must have completed the programme, per year, three years ago and in each subsequent year.
The business school must have a minimum of 20 full-time permanent faculty.
The MBA programme must be delivered in English. Graduates need to complete the survey in English.
We need a response rate of at least 20 per cent from alumni with a minimum of 20 completed surveys from any school wishing to be considered for the ranking. E.g., a class size of 100 graduates will require 20 completed surveys and a class size of 200 alumni will require 40 completed surveys. This response rate is based on the total size of the cohort we are surveying, not the number graduate emails you will be able to supply, as we are aware that some alumni will opt out of the survey.
Meeting these criteria does not guarantee automatic participation in the ranking. The final decision rests with the Financial Times.
Please note, the table is finalised about eight weeks before the publication date. It is too late for schools to withdraw from the ranking after the eight-week mark.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org by the start of July if you have questions or wish to take part as the ranking process starts in early August. By this time, the onus is on schools to get in contact with us if they wish to take part in the ranking, as we are unable to email every single school to check if they wish to be considered.
Invitation to participate: August
Schools to confirm participation: August
Schools to upload alumni list: September
Schools to upload faculty list: October
Survey open: September
Survey close: October
Data checks with schools: October – December
Facts about the top 25 schools
Rank 1: Perfect 10
It has been a long wait, but Wharton is back at the top — and for the 10th time, a record for this ranking. Wharton last took the number one spot in 2011.
Rank 3=: Recommended
Alumni were asked from which three schools they would recruit MBA graduates and Harvard in the US came top.
Rank 3=: Worldly wise
France’s Insead is third for international course experience, with many alumni spending at least a month overseas on exchange programmes or internships.
Rank 6: High achievers
Stanford has the highest proportion of graduates (93 per cent) achieving their goals for studying for an MBA, including a change of career.
Rank 11=: On the move
HEC Paris performed best in the international mobility category in the top 25. This is based on work locations of alumni before and after their MBA.
Rank 13: Happy customers
Alumni gave the highest overall satisfaction score of 9.89 out of 10 for the MBA at Italy’s SDA Bocconi.
Rank 16: Top in Asia
For the sixth year in a row, Shanghai’s Ceibs is the highest-ranked MBA school in Asia.
Rank 18: Just the job
Dartmouth: Tuck recorded the best employment results in the top 25. Most graduates found a job within three months of completing their MBA.
Rank 21: Reaping the rewards
National University of Singapore alumni have the highest salary increase of any school in the top 25, at 149 per cent, based on the average difference pre-MBA to now.
Rank 23: Fast mover
Among schools that took part in last year’s ranking, Carnegie Mellon: Tepper is the highest riser in the top 25, with a jump of four places.
Rank 25: Careering ahead
Marshall in the US offers the best careers service in the top 25, alumni say, ranking fifth in the category.
By Wai Kwen Chan