Business Schools Rankings – What You Need to Know Part 2 (Financial Times Rankings)

Business Schools Rankings – What You Need to Know Part 2 (Financial Times Rankings)

The only preferred sources are the schools’ websites.

This year’s AIGAC MBA Applicant Survey additionally reveals that 52% of the surveyed applicants globally say they referred to the Financial Times rankings when researching the MBA school/programme of their choice. This percentage is even higher (almost 70%) for candidates outside the United States who are 50% of all respondents. The pool of respondents comprises 54% with a self-reported GMAT score of 700 or higher.

That is why, continuing our series of articles dedicated to the most popular rankings of MBA programmes globally, this time we will be focusing on the Financial Times rankings and some of their peculiarities.

The Financial Times provides some of the most popular and widely used rankings by today’s prospective MBA candidates. The FT ranks the best management programmes available today. In order to participate in some of the FT rankings , a school needs to be accredited by AACSB or EQUIS. Additionally, the school in question must have a programme that has existed for at least four years and also have a class of graduates that finished their programme at least three years before the publication date of the FT rankings.

Furthermore, when making the salary calculations presented in the rankings, the FT uses Purchasing Power Parity rates, published by the International Monetary Fund, rather than normal currency exchange rates. All salary data are converted into USD equivalents. Unlike conventional current rates, PPP conversion factors take into account the cost of living in the country where a currency is used.

The FT releases seven different rankings annually dedicated to MBA, EMBA, Master in Finance, Master in Management and Online MBA programmes. There are also rankings related to non-degree executive education courses and the best European business schools.

The various FT rankings tables are an interactive user-friendly tool, which allows candidates to search for the school of their interest and see it in the context of other business schools. The tables evaluate each school against a wide range of criteria including average salary after graduation, average salary increase and value for money, and additionally indicate how the particular school ranked during the previous years.

The most prominent – the FT Global MBA Rankings – are published in January and include 100 business schools. There are two separate executive education rankings that Financial Times publishes in May annually: customised (including the ranks for 80 business schools) and open (including the ranks for 70 business schools). The FT Online MBA rankings are published in March and provide data and statistics about 15 business schools. The European Business Schools rankings go out in December, including information and statistics about 75 business schools. There is a Master’s in Management ranking that goes out in September and ranks 75 business schools’ programmes and two Master’s in Finance rankings (pre-experience and post-experience) that are published in June. All Financial Times rankings can be accessed on the FT website.

Take a look at the table below for a more systematised schedule of the various rankings’ timelines and release dates.

Ranking Surveys Open Surveys Close Publication
Global MBA September October January
Online MBA January February March
Executive Education February March May
Masters in Finance March April June
Masters in Management April May September
EMBA June July October
European Business Schools N/A N/A December


The Global MBA Rankings are arguably the most exhaustive, detailed and informative of all Financial Times’ rankings. You can see the list of criteria against which the list ranks all participating business schools here.

Stay tuned for the next in this series of articles dedicated to the most popular MBA rankings globally. Next time we will focus on The Economist and the Bloomberg BusinessWeek rankings and we will shed some light on the most important features of those rankings.


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