Masters in Finance 2023 ranking: methodology and key
Roula Khalaf, Editor of the FT, selects her favourite stories in this weekly newsletter.
This is the 12th edition of the FT Masters in Finance ranking, which lists the pre-experience programmes aimed at students with little or no professional experience.
This year, we are not publishing a table of post-experience programmes, which require participants to have worked in finance, due to an insufficient number of graduate survey responses.
Programmes must meet strict criteria to be eligible for the ranking. For example, they must be full-time, cohort-based and have a minimum of 30 graduates who completed the course three years ago. Also, schools must be accredited by either AACSB (the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) or Equis (EFMD Quality Improvement System).
A total of 82 schools took part in the pre-experience ranking. The assessment is based on information collected in two separate surveys. The first is of business schools and the second of alumni who finished their degrees in 2020.
For a school to be eligible for the ranking, at least 20 per cent of its alumni must respond to the FT survey, with a minimum of 20 completed surveys. A total of 2,294 alumni completed our survey — an overall response rate of 36 per cent.
There are 18 categories in the pre-experience ranking, and alumni responses inform eight categories that together constitute 58 per cent of the total weight. The other 10 categories are calculated from the school data and account for the remaining 42 per cent.
The current average salary of alumni has the highest weighting: 16 per cent. Local salaries are converted to US dollars using purchasing power parity rates supplied by the IMF. Salaries are normalised by removing the highest and lowest salaries reported.
The pre-experience ranking measures average salary increase between the first post-masters job on completion and today — a timespan of about three years. Salary increase has a weight of 10 per cent. Half of this figure is calculated according to the absolute increase and half according to the relative percentage increase (the figure published in the table).
Data provided by schools is used to measure the diversity of teaching staff, board members and students by gender and citizenship, plus the international reach of the programme. For the gender criteria, schools with a 50:50 (male to female) composition receive the highest score. When calculating international diversity, in addition to the percentage of international students and faculty at a school — the figures published — the FT also considers the proportion of international students and faculty by citizenship.
All alumni criteria use information collected in 2023 and, if available, 2022 and 2021. Responses from 2023 carry 50 per cent of the total weight and those from 2022 and 2021 each account for 25 per cent. If only two years of data is available, the weighting is split 60:40 if data is from 2023 and 2022, or 70:30 if from 2023 and 2021, except for salary data which is 50 per cent for each year.
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.
After removing schools that did not meet the minimum survey response rate from their alumni, a first version is calculated using all remaining schools. The school at the bottom is removed and a second version is calculated. This action is repeated to find the final ranked schools.
Judith Pizer of Pizer-MacMillan acted as the FT’s database consultant.
Key to the rankings
Weights for the ranking criteria are shown below in brackets, as a percentage of the overall ranking.
Salary today US$ (16): average alumni salary three years after completion, US$ purchasing power parity (PPP) equivalent. †
Salary percentage increase (10): average difference in alumni salary between completion and today. †
Value for money (6): calculated according to alumni salaries today, course length, tuition fees and other costs. †
Career progress (6): calculated according to changes in the level of seniority and the size of the company/organisation alumni are working for between completion and now. †
Aims achieved (5): the extent to which alumni considered they fulfilled their study goals. †
Alumni network (3): effectiveness of the alumni network for career opportunities, starting companies, gaining new ideas, recruiting staff and giving event information (such as career-related talks), as rated by alumni.
Careers service (5): effectiveness of the school careers service for career counselling, personal development, networking events, internship search and recruitment, as rated by alumni. †
Employed at three months (%) (5): percentage of the most recent completing class that found employment within three months of finishing their degree. Not all schools have employment data for their entire cohort. *
Female faculty (%) (5): percentage of full-time female faculty in the business school.
Female students (%) (5): percentage of female students on the masters.
Women on board (%) (1): percentage of women on the school advisory board.
International faculty (%) (5): calculated according to full-time faculty diversity by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from their country of employment (published figure).
International students (%) (5): calculated according to the diversity of current students by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from their country of study.
International board (%) (1): percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the school’s home country.
International work mobility (7): based on alumni citizenship and the countries where they worked before their masters, on completion and three years after completion. †
International course experience (6): calculated according to whether the most recent completing masters class carried out exchanges and internships, lasting at least a month, in countries other than where the school is based.
Faculty with doctorates (%) (5): percentage of full-time faculty with doctoral degrees.
Carbon footprint (4): calculated using the net zero target year for carbon emissions set by the university or school, and a publicly available carbon emissions audit report within the last three years, approximately.
The following are for information only and are not used in the rankings:
Average course length: average completion time of the programme for the latest graduating class.
Internships (%): this column only appears in the online version of the table, which shows the percentage of the most recent completing class that completed an internship, with a company or organisation as part of the masters programme.
Overall satisfaction: average evaluation by alumni of the masters course, scored out of 10. After alumni answered various questions about their masters experience, including the quality of the school’s careers service, they were asked to rate their overall satisfaction, on a 10-point scale.
For gender-related criteria, schools with 50:50 male/female composition receive the highest possible score.
† Includes data from current and two previous rankings where available.
* Class that completed masters between April 2022 and March 2023
Criteria for taking part in our ranking
Updated on Feb 5, 2024
The Masters in Finance (MiF) rankings consist of two tables: pre-experience and post-experience. A ranking will be based on two surveys: one for the business school and one sent to your alumni who completed your nominated finance degree three years ago.
Each school can enter up to two different programmes: the first one in the pre-experience ranking and the second in the post-experience. Please view point 5 for information about the pre-experience MiF and point 6 for the post-experience MiF below.
The ranking of Masters in Finance programmes will not be included in the European business schools ranking (published in December).
Masters in Management programmes with a specialisation in finance, or MBAs in Finance, are not eligible for this ranking – graduates of your nominated programme(s) must be awarded a masters in finance degree upon graduation. If you have any queries, please contact us at email@example.com.
Schools wishing to participate in the ranking must ensure their nominated programme meets all the following requirements:
The programme should be full-time and should have graduated its first class at least three years before the survey date.
For the 2024 ranking, we ask for at least 25 alumni to complete in 2021, the cohort we will be surveying this year. We also ask for at least 30 alumni to complete the programme FOR EACH YEAR in 2022 AND 2023.
In future rankings, we will revert back to our usual criterion, which is that we ask for at least 30 full-time graduates to have completed the programme, per year, three years ago and in each subsequent year.
Your programme must be a generalist programme in finance. We will not consider specialised programmes (such as a Masters in Trading).
The pre-experience ranking is directed at students with very little or no prior work experience only.
The post-experience ranking is directed at students with about three years relevant work experience in finance.
The business school must have a minimum of 20 full-time permanent faculty.
Students must matriculate and graduate in cohort(s).
The MiF programme can be delivered in several languages but it must be fully available 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 of graduate emails you can 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 January if you have questions or wish to take part as the ranking process starts in early February. 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: February
Schools to confirm participation: February
Survey open: March
Survey close: April
Data checks with schools: April – June