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London Business School, Wharton School Top Financial Times 2011 Global MBA Rankings

The Financial Times this week released its 13th annual MBA rankings, and the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania returned to the top spot, sharing it this year with London Business School (LBS). Harvard Business School (HBS) completed the top three.

Last year, LBS beat out Wharton to hold the number one spot by itself, breaking the Philadelphia school’s nine-year reign as number one, either jointly or on its own. According to the FT report, Wharton’s return to number one this year was aided by the fact that alumni earnings data showed a strong rebound from the year before, when salaries dropped following the economic downturn. Last year’s graduates also had an easier time finding jobs than graduates from the year before.

LBS, for its part, celebrates its third year in the top position with the latest rankings. According to the FT, the London school’s strong showing can be credited in great part to the jump in pay graduates enjoy after completing the MBA program. On average, LBS alumni are earning 132 percent more three years after graduation than before they started, according to data collected by the FT.

Rounding out the top ten in the FT’s 2011 rankings are INSEAD (4, tied), Stanford Graduate School of Business (4, tied), Hong Kong UST Business School (6), Columbia Business School (7), IE Business School (8), MIT Sloan School of Management (9, tied) and IESE Business School (9, tied). Barcelona’s IESE broke into the top ten for the first time this year, and Hong Kong UST continued an impressive ascent after entering the ranking at number 17 in 2008 and breaking into the top 10 last year.

The methodology employed by the FT to compile its rankings involves 20 different criteria, 11 drawn from business schools, eight from alumni reports and the last derived from data compiled by the FT regarding research conducted by the faculty of each school. Within these criteria, pay constitutes the single most important metric. Two of the criteria voluntarily self-reported by alumni – “weighted average salary” of alums three years out and “salary increase” three years after graduation – account for 40 percent of the overall score.

Critics of the FT ranking argue that some of the criteria used to rank the schools have little to do with the quality of the MBA or the MBA experience. Calling the FT’s methodology “especially peculiar,” PoetsandQuants editor John Byrne writes that the FT’s 20 criteria include many “what could be considered ‘politically correct’ metrics that have little to do with the actual quality of an MBA program.” Among these, continues Byrne, are such factors as “the percentage of women students and faculty, the number of women on a school’s advisory board, the percentage of international students and faculty, the number of extra languages required to be spoken at graduation, and the percentage of international directors on a school’s board.”

Byrne argues that the FT’s methodology results in “an often highly quirky list with a bias toward non-U.S. schools.” He notes that the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, ranked number one by both BusinessWeek and the Economist, doesn’t even break the top ten in the FT ranking.

As always, those of us here at Clear Admit urge prospective applicants to use rankings as just one factor in a thorough personal investigation to determine which business school promises the best experience for you.

For the complete Financial Times 2011 Global MBA Rankings, click here. For a detailed explanation of the FT methodology, click here. For PoetsandQuants’ critique of the FT rankings and methodology, click here.

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Posted in: Rankings News

One Comment

  1. Please provide some feedback on London School of Business and Finance. I do not see them featuring in the anywhere in the top 100 schools. Can you share where they appear or whether it is an accredited school or not.

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