Which Are the Top MBAs for Finance?

The Financial Times (FT) has launched a new ranking, identifying the best MBAs for Finance for candidates hoping to make a career in the finance industry.

The salmon-pink title already publishes seven rankings annually, relating to MBA, EMBA, Master in Finance, Master in Management programmes and Online MBA programmes, as well as non-degree executive education courses. There is also a ranking of top European business schools.

The finance sector is the largest employer of top MBA graduates. Among the top 50 schools in the FT’s overall MBA ranking, more than a quarter (27%) of the class of 2013 work in finance. This is 10 percentage points greater than the proportion of this year’s alumni working in consultancy, the next largest employer, according to FT data. 

The newspaper ranked the 50 best generalist MBA programmes worldwide, based on responses of graduates working in finance three years after completing their MBA courses. The new ranking lists the full-time MBA programme of Stanford (US) as the best one for a career in finance. Harvard Business School (US) and Judge Business School (UK) ranked second and third.

Ranking criteria

FT points out that this is not a ranking of specialised MBAs in finance. The data used was collected in 2016 as part of the FT 2017 Global MBA ranking. The participating schools have more than 10 alumni working in finance. The programmes were assessed using 13 different criteria, including salary and salary increase of alumni, as well as career progression. The analysis also considered research published by the schools’ full-time faculty in five internationally recognised financial journals. The ranking took into account the overall proportion of alumni employed in finance; the proportion of those who worked in finance before their MBA and remain working in finance; and the proportion of those who did not work in finance before their MBA, but who do so now.

Here are the ranking criteria, with weights shown in brackets as a percentage of the overall ranking.

  • Salary (20): average salary three years after graduation, USD PPP equivalent.
  • Salary increase (20): average difference in alumni salary before the MBA to now. 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 “salary percentage increase” figure in the table.
  • Value for money (5): calculated using salary today, course length, fees and other costs, including lost income during the MBA.
  • Career progress (5): calculated according to changes in the level of seniority and the size of company alumni are working in now, compared with before their MBA.
  • Careers service (5): effectiveness of the school careers service interns of career counselling, personal development, networking events, internship search and recruitment, as rated by their alumni.
  • Aims achieved (5): the extent to which alumni fulfilled their stated goals or reasons for doing an MBA.
  • Work in finance (5): proportion of alumni working in finance, three years after graduation.
  • Stayed in finance (5): proportion of students who worked in finance before their MBA and remain in finance.
  • Moved to finance (5): the proportion of those who did not work in finance before but do so now.
  • International students (5): percentage of students in finance from overseas.
  • Female students (5): percentage of female students in finance.
  • International mobility (5): based on alumni citizenship and the countries where they worked before their MBA, on graduation and three years after graduation.
  • FT research rank (10): calculated according to the number of articles published by full-time faculty members between Jan 2014 and Oct 2016 in the five following journals: Journal of Finance, Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, Journal of Financial Economics, Review of Finance, Review of Financial Studies.

Stanford graduates have the highest annual salary among the top 50 schools at USD 266,000 a year, a 104% increase on their pre-MBA salary, on average. The average annual salary of respondents stands at USD 160,000, which also represents a 104% increase. In addition, Stanford’s alumni ranked top for career progress. After graduating, as many alumni leave the finance sector as move into it.

US schools dominate ranking

Darden School of Business (US) ranked 17th overall, but its graduates obtained the highest salary increase, with their annual earnings rising 151% to USD 162,000 on average. Judge Business School is best for value for money while Kelley School of Business (US), ranked 42, is best for career services. Alumni from Ross School of Business (US) have the highest satisfaction rate at 91%. Stern School of Business (US) ranked number one for its research and was fourth overall. Melbourne Business School (Australia) has the most gender-balanced cohort, with 45% of women, while all of the graduates of ESADE (Spain) were from overseas. Alumni from HEC Paris (France) are the most internationally mobile, just ahead of those from INSEAD (France). The 50 ranked schools are from 11 different countries, with more than half (27) in the US. The UK has the second-largest representation with six schools. China, with four schools, has the third-largest group.

Source: The Financial Times

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