Financial Times – FT Global MBA Ranking 2020 : Comparison of last decade (2010 v/s 2020)

The last ten years have brought us many iconic moments in technology, sports, business, politics and economics – with some having an impact that will last well beyond this decade. While many like to predict the future, it’s also prudent to look back to understand patterns, learn from mistakes, and take a moment to understand how far business schools and MBA programs have come. For business schools, the last ten years have seen many ups and downs. The gradual decline in demand of traditional MBA programs led to fierce competition among B-Schools for top talent. Business schools responded through multiple offerings along the lines of online MBA programs, part time MBA programs, executive MBA programs, lock-step programs, self-paced programs, MOOCs, to maintain their position among the candidates. The increase in focus on entrepreneurship, innovation and sustainability in MBA programs has changed the way how business schools think about admissions, curriculum, students and faculty.

To give you a glimpse of the last decade in terms of business schools and MBA programs, we analysed Financial Times – FT Global MBA Rankings from 2010 and 2020. The FT Global MBA ranking holds high reputation among business schools, recruiters and candidate. Indeed we were curious to understand the “big picture” story of the last decade across MBA programs through FT Global MBA rankings. We analysed the parameters that matter the most to both students and B-Schools. You would be surprised with some of the findings we present here!

1. Majority of top-10 business schools have maintained their place in top 10

In the last decade, 8 out of 10 B-Schools have maintained their position in top 10. While many B-Schools entered and made an exit in the top 10 ranking in the last decade, the majority of the “Top 10 bunch” has remained unchanged.

These 8 business schools saw an average increase of 30% in weighted average salary in the last 10 years. HEC Paris has seen the largest increase in weighted average salary in the last 10 years both in dollar terms and per cent terms among the top-10 global B-Schools that featured in 2010 and 2020.

2. 27 Business Schools that were part of 2010 rankings are missing in 2020

Every year, the Financial Times Global MBA ranking publishes the list containing 100 best business schools in the world. When we compared the MBA rankings from 2010 to 2020, we found that 27 business schools that were present in 2010 MBA rankings were missing in 2020. These business schools were the leaders in their time in MBA education but somehow they were overtaken by other B-Schools in the last decade. This shows how difficult it is to maintain a spot in the FT Global MBA rankings. The competitiveness of these rankings requires business schools to stay on top of their game year after year. MBA programs that were able to break down the silos and take an interdisciplinary approach to understand the needs of the market have found their spot even after a decade in the rankings.

3. US and China dominate new B-School entrants in the list

While 27 B-Schools missed out from 2010, there were another 27 B-Schools that entered into the list in 2020. Among the new 27 B-schools that found their place in the FT Global MBA rankings, US dominates the list with 8 B-Schools while China closely follows with 6 new entrants. India and Germany both added 3 business schools in 2020 over 2010. Notably, Germany had no B-School in the top-100 in the beginning of the decade in 2010, but it made tremendous improvements to make headway into the rankings by the end of the decade. As we know it is not easy to enter this coveted list, institutions that made deliberate efforts in the last 10 years found their place on the list. It also shows that management education is still in high demand in these regions and they’re gradually emerging as hubs for high quality management education.

4. UK lost its stronghold while China and India gained share in rankings

In the beginning of the decade, while US led the rankings with 55 B-Schools in top-100, UK had 15 business schools while China had 3. During the next 10 years, the number of business schools from UK in top 100 rankings dropped from 15 to 9, while China increased its presence from 3 to 9 business schools in top 100. Even the share of US business schools dropped from 55 in 2010 to 51 in 2020.

The dynamics of MBA programs are changing and regional hubs for higher education are emerging in Europe, India and China. Business schools are partnering across continents to stay relevant in local markets and register their presence in regions outside their own territory.

5. Alumni Recommended Ranking for Top-10 B-Schools has largely been consistent

Alumni network of a business school can be considered as one of its strongest assets as alumni serve as a brand ambassador of the MBA program. Often times, these alumni recommend programs to prospective students, connect current students to job opportunities, and contribute significantly to building a school’s legacy. On top of that, they are more than willing to mentor current students in their career. Most of the alumni are willing to work with the career center of their business schools to recruit current students into their companies. Alumni recommended rank is also a reflection of the image of business school in the corporate community at large.

This pattern has been consistent with Alumni Recommended Rank of FT Global MBA rankings from 2010 and 2020. Nine out of 10 business schools that featured in top-10 for alumni recommended rank in 2010 are still there in the top-10 even after a decade. This shows the power of strong alumni community that helps MBA programs beyond networking and extends even to rankings. The one that missed out, University of California at Berkeley: Haas, was at 12th spot in 2010 and moved to the 10th spot in 2020. Though some business schools might have dropped or gained a couple of places, nine of them have maintained their stronghold in the last decade. Unbelievable!

6.  US Still Dominates Top-10 in Research Rank

In the beginning of the decade, US had 8 out of 10 B-Schools in the top-10 ranking for research, with UK and China taking the other two spots. However, by 2020, US has totally dominated the Research Rankings with all 10 B-Schools in the Top-10 Research Ranking belonging to US. One argument can be that 51% of the business schools in the ranking are from US, but it still shows how much importance US B-Schools pay on research. This also reflects in their rankings.

5 out of 10 B-Schools that featured in the top-10 in 2020 for research were in the top-10 in 2010 as well, clearly showing their strong focus on research in the last decade. Interesting to note that 6 of the top-10 business schools that rank in top-10 for research are also in the overall top 10 ranking for Global MBA program. More power to faculty research!

7. Chinese Business Schools dominate Salary per cent increase in 2020

In 2020, 6 out of the top-10 business schools for highest salary percentage increase are from China. It is interesting to note that Shanghai University of Finance and Economics: College of Business has registered a whopping 216% increase in salary for 2020 rankings! In the beginning of the decade, there were only 3 business schools from China that were in the top-10 for salary increase. Since in FT rankings, half of this figure is calculated according to the absolute salary increase and half according to the percentage increase relative to pre-MBA salary, the Chinese B-Schools are clearly focusing on this aspect to make their entry into FT MBA rankings.

In 2010, the salary increase in B-Schools was distributed between India, Spain and China. Spain’s trio of IE, IESE and ESADE was leading the top-10 charts in 2010 for salary increase. However, Spain doesn’t have a single B-School in top-10 for salary increase in 2020!

The average salary increase considering all 100 B-Schools for FT Global MBA Ranking 2020 is 114% while it was 101% in the FT Global MBA Ranking 2010. This improvement in average salary increase over the last decade is an indicator that there has been growth in post-MBA salaries across major B-Schools.

8. Women representation in Top-10 MBA programs has increased in last decade

Participation of women in full-time MBA programs has increased in the last decade. All of the top-10 MBA programs in 2020 have shown an increase in the per cent of women candidates in their MBA cohort since 2010. Stanford Graduate School of Business registered a 13-point increase from 34% to 47%, while London Business School showed an 11 point increase from 27% in 2010 to 38% in 2020.

The average of women candidates across all 100 b-schools in 2020 is 38% while it was 30% in 2010. Clearly, there has been improvement in gender diversity across business schools across the globe.


 9. B-Schools have increased focus on International Student Diversity

The trend across B-Schools in the FT Global MBA Rankings 2020 has been to improve international student diversity in their classes. HEC Paris and Columbia Business School showed highest improvement while University of Pennsylvania: Wharton & Ceibs, China reduced the diversity in the international students in their cohort over their 2010 statistics.

The average international student diversity in FT Global MBA Ranking 2020 is 53% while the overall average of FT Global MBA Ranking 2010 was 50%.

Rotterdam School of Management, Netherlands has the most diverse MBA cohort with 99% international students in the program! Amazing feat by my Alma Mater, proud of it!

During the last decade, MBA programs have changed tremendously. The focus of business schools has increased on elements like sustainability and innovation. Millennials, geo-politics, digital access and the MBA tuition fees are some of the major forces affecting business education. B-schools are realising the importance of diverse stakeholders and their interests in shaping up MBA programs. We would like to emphasize that while rankings are an important factor, they’re not the ONLY factor you should consider while selecting a B-school. You should always take a holistic view of the business school before committing yourself to an MBA Program.

Get in touch with us today to identify which B-School is the best for you.


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