FT’s global MBA ranking 2018 – an analysis

MBA Market Rankings


Asian business schools are gaining more and more importance. And ten years after the world financial crisis two-year programmes are getting more attention than ever. These are some of the conclusions drawn from the Financial Times's (FT) 2018 MBA ranking. 

Generally speaking, the FT’s full-time MBA ranking this year has been a validation of the two-year programme. With the Stanford Graduate School of Business leading the table, nine out of the top ten programmes span over the course of 24 months. Only Insead’s one-year MBA still scores one of the top spots, by placing second after Stanford. In the past two years, Insead had been at the very top.

Stanford’s success, the second time since the start of the ranking, can be attributed to the impressive salary boost by its graduates, up nearly 20,000 US-dollar to 214,000 US-dollar. This is the highest average salary (not adjusted for inflation) since the inaugural ranking in 1999 according to the FT.

On third place ranks a steady contender – the University of Pennsylvania’ Wharton, while London Business School’s two-year programme has again climbed back to fourth place. Harvard Business School drops to fifth place, according to the FT its lowest rank since 2008.

Analyzing the ranking, it seems to show that one-year MBA programmes struggle more to maintain the same quality of teaching and to deliver the same career outcomes and salaries that two-year programmes achieve. As the trend had been going towards one-year programmes – particularly after the financial crisis, this might be a return to a more traditional approach again: Giving education more time for reflection.

Another interesting outcome of the ranking is the success of Asian schools. Shanghai based Ceibs is back in the top 10 in eighth place. The National University of Singapore Business School is up eight places to 18 and the Renmin University of China School of Business is back at 39, up four places from 2015. Lee Kong Chian School of Business has grown into the third ranked school from Singapore and the highest new entrant at 49. This again shows that the U.S. is getting more and more international competition and this competition is now not only coming from the UK, France, Spain or Switzerland but also from China, Singapore and India.

Financial Times Ranking of Full-Time MBA Programmes

1 Stanford Graduate School of Business, US

2 Insead, France / Singapore

3 University of Pennsylvania: Wharton, US

4 London Business School, UK

5 Harvard Business School, US

6 University of Chicago: Booth, US

7 Columbia Business School, US

8 Ceibs, China

9 MIT: Sloan, US

10 University of California at Berkeley: Haas, US

11 Iese Business School, Spain

12 Northwestern University: Kellogg, US

13 University of Cambridge: Judge, UK

14 HKUST Business School, China

15 Yale School of Management, US

16 Dartmouth College: Tuck, US

17 Cornell University: Johnson, US

18 National University of Singapore Business School, Singapore

19 Duke University: Fuqua, US

20 Esade Business School, Spain

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