How to read the MBA rankings

Are you hooked on the MBA rankings, but doesn’t really understand what it means?
Here is a breif description how Financial Times create their MBA ranking and rank the business schools.

To be qualified to be part of the ranking, a business school must be accredited internationally by either AACSB, AMBA or EQUIS. The institution must offer a full-time MBA programme that is older than 5 years, nd it must have graduated its first students at least 3years ago.


The institution must have graduated at least 30 students from the class three years ago.

The FT look at approximately 150 to 200 institutions where a lot of them are excluded due to not enough data from the alumnis. E.g in 2007 155 institutions was reviewd and 113 was qualified for the ranking.

Their questionaire goes out to the alumins and needs to qualitfy for the rankings 20 % of the graqduating class needs to respond to this to qualify the business school and the MBA program for the ranking.

FT use 3 main areas for their ranking
- alumni salaries and career development
- the diversity and international reach of the business school and its MBA programme
- the research capabilities of each school.


Of the 20 criteria used, eight are based on data collected from alumni questionnaires (from “Weighted salary (US$)” to “International mobility rank”).

FT collect data from the alumnis the last 3 years weighted as this: the previous year carries 50 per cent of the total weight, 2 years ago and 3 years ago are given 25 % each.

Weighted salary (US$) and “Salary percentage increase” contribute 40% of the score for each school.

11 other ranking criterias are based on data from a survey which each business school is asked to do. Here employment statistics, data on the gender and nationality of the students, faculty and board of the school and information on doctoral qualifications are rated.

Each institution is given points for the number of papers that faculty members have published. The final score in the research category is also weighted for th esize of the faculty.

The research is one of the most important items in the ranking – it contributes 10 % of the final score.

All the criteria which contribute to the final ranking have underlying Z-scores but in the table the data is presented as US$ equivalents, ranks, percentages, or in the case of languages, the number of additional languages required on completion of the MBA.