Financial Times Rankings

The annual Financial Times MBA/EMBA/MFE rankings are generally viewed by prospective students as the most authoritative ranking of global programmes. Unlike other rankings, data provided directly by participating Schools it is periodically checked by external auditors from KPMG to eradicate inflationary or inaccurate statistical submissions. The largest area of the ranking by methodological weighting is a survey of alumni three years after graduation which is not officially audited.

As a prospective student when you were doing your research into the best offered by top-tier business schools, the FT rankings no doubt played a part in your deliberations. The significance of the rankings to prospective students does not change – whether the criteria by which the results are measured are analysed in minute detail, or simply whether the school’s position in the rankings is noted – everyone who wants to do an MBA/EMBA/MFE at a top business school looks at the FT rankings.

In line with the significance of the rankings, the Alumni Relations Office is meticulous in its constant search for the current contact details and profiles of its alumni. To ensure the maximum response from alumni to the FT survey, we must be able to contact as many people from each class as possible.

Alumni participation in the survey is the key success driver so if you need to update any of your details please do so by clicking here.

Current Financial Times Rankings

How it Works (MBA Rankings)

  • The alumni survey (of alumni three years after graduation (i.e. for 2010 ranking the survey will be based on the class of 2006-7)) contributes 57% of the overall ranking to assess the effect of the MBA on their subsequent career progression and salary growth.
  • 43% (Weighted Salary + Salary Percentage Increase + Value for Money) of the overall ranking is determined by just two statistics provided by alumni – the weighted average salary on entry to the MBA programme and the weighted average salary three years after graduation.
  • In the simplest possible terms – the lower the salary upon entry and the higher the salary three years after graduation, the better a school will perform.

The FT however adds extra layers of complexity by adjusting raw salary measures in three main ways:

  • To account for different salary levels across countries, salaries are adjusted using standard of living (purchasing parity) indices. In practice this means that salaries quoted on the alumni survey in a certain currency are adjusted into US$. Nominal salaries in poorer countries (by average GDP) are adjusted by a multiple, for example a salary in Indian Rupees or Chinese Yuan is currently multiplied by a factor of 5.
  • To account for different salary levels across industry sectors and the different placement focuses of different business schools, average salaries for each sector three years out (e.g. finance, consulting) are calculated and then reweighted equally. In practice this slightly rewards schools with a broad recruitment focus.
  • Salary levels are discounted (ignored) for those working in the public or non-profit sectors.

Ranking memory and measurement lags

  • In order to create a more credible ranking the FT smoothes out year-by-year fluctuations through an in-built memory where the current year’s (x) survey results count for 50% of the overall, the year before (x-1) for 25%, and two years before (x-2) for 25%.
  • It is important to remember that given the alumni being surveyed for each ranking are three years post-graduation effectively the School is being judged in large part upon classes recruited 4-6 years ago.

Itemised methodology by area:

Weighted salary ($) 20%  
Salary percentage increase 20% From the beginning of MBA to three years post-graduation
International mobility 6% Based upon employment movements of alumni
Value for money 3% How long would it take an MBA graduate on average to recoup the total costs of studying an MBA (course & opportunity costs of not working) based upon their salary three years out. 
Career progress 3% Degree to which alumni moved up the career ladder
Aims achieved 3% Extent to which MBA goals were achieved
Alumni recommendation 2% Three business schools which alumni would recruit from
Research rating 10% Based upon Faculty publications in 40 international academic and practitioner journals, publications only valid for 3 year period
Faculty with doctorates  5% As a percentage
International faculty 4% As a percentage
Female faculty 2% As a percentage
International students 4% as a percentage
Female students 2% as a percentage
Doctoral rating 5% Number of doctoral graduates from the last 3 years, extra weighting for graduates taking up faculty positions at top 50 FT Business Schools
Placement success 2% Proportion of alumni who gained employment with Careers Service help
Employed at three months 2% Percentage of most recent graduating class employed within three months
International experience 2% Weighted average of four measures of international exposure: overseas exchanges, study tours, project work, and internship - favours 2 year courses
Languages 2% Number of additional languages required on course completion
International board 2% As a percentage (of advisory board, e.g. Business Advisory Forum)
Female board 1% As a percentage


Business Week Rankings


After the Financial Times, the bi-annual Business Week MBA ranking is the next most important ranking for prospective students, particularly in the US market. The ranking relies upon data from three sources: a recruiter survey, current student survey, and a survey of faculty research in key journals and book reviews.

The ranking splits into US and non-US lists. The non-US list then has a “Top 10” (Oxford is currently 10th), an unranked group of “Second Tier” schools (currently numbering 5), and an “Also Considered” group.

The ranking in general is weighted in favour of large North American courses.

How it works

Business Week website

Careers: 45%

How is data collected?

A recruiter survey is conducted online via email list of top 30 (on MBAs numbers recruited) recruiter contacts provided by the School. BW creates an overall list of companies recruiting MBAs and identifies a single high-level recruiting contact (usually North American) at each.

Companies are then surveyed:

  • How many MBAs it hired in the previous two years
  • Which school's it actively recruits from
  • Rank their top 20 schools

How are scores calculated?

Rankings determine each school's recruiter points, 1st = 20, 2nd = 19, etc.

These are summed then weighted according to number of MBAs recruited and total number of mentions by recruiters

Course  (Course, Careers, Alumni Office): 45%

How is data collected?

A student survey is conducted online by current students via email lists provided by the School.

The survey asks students to rate their programs on:

  • Teaching quality
  • Career services and recruitment efforts
  • Alumni network

How are scores calculated?

These scores are then averaged for each question along with an average standard deviation from which an overall score is calculated

Faculty (Research rating) 10%

How is data collected?

An intellectual capital score is calculated for the business school using journal articles published in 20 top academic journals:

The Harvard Business Review, Journal of Marketing, Operations Research, Information Systems Research, Journal of Finance, American Economic Review, California Management Review, Journal of Accounting Research, Journal of Financial Economics, Management Science, Academy of Management Review, Sloan Management Journal, Journal of Marketing Research, Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Business Logistics, Accounting Review, Academy of Management Journal, Personal Psychology, Production & Operations Management, and Journal of Business Ethics.

3 points are received for extended articles, 1 point for short ones

Book reviews of Faculty books published by The New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Business Week are also scored receiving 5 points per review

How are scores calculated?

Scores for journal articles and book reviews are summed and then divided by the number of full-time faculty at the School.