As you struggle to find an appropriate graduate school to go to, one of the first sources of information that you are most likely to consult, are MBA rankings.Just like any competition crowns a winner and a runner-up, MBA Rankings, too,determine who is who in the world of higher business education.

But while the limelight barely ever shines outside the top 3 in most competitions, MBA rankingsplace universitiesin prestigious classifications that span more than a hundred institutions across the entire world.

Here is a list of the three essential MBA rankings that you should keep in mind.

The Financial Times Global MBA Rankings

Being one of the most respected financial and economics publications in the world, it is no surprise that Financial Times (FT) produces the sturdiest MBA rankings out there.

The Financial Times business education guide does not only provide global MBA rankings but also produces articles and expert advice regarding the choice of business school and what it can offer you. The rankings list provides information regarding the school's ranking over a course of three years to give prospective students an idea of where the business school was in the recent past and where it stands now. The table provides information about the weighted salary and the salary increase per year of graduates from that particular business school for students to get a clearer perspective of what types of earning opportunities they may have in the future.

The FT Global MBA 2016 rankings went live in late January. French powerhouse INSEAD tops the charts this year, moving up three positions from fourth in 2015. Harvard loses its first place and ranks second, while London Business School, Wharton and Stanford have also lost a position and are ranked third, fourth and fifth respectively. It seems like INSEAD has finally found its place at the top of the MBA world, all at the expense of the usual heavy-weights. Congratulations!

The Economist's MBA Rankings

Another important source is The Economist. Like Financial Times, The Economist provides a list of the top 100 MBA programmes in the world. However, the Economist's ranking may differ from the ranking of The Financial Times as both sources consider different criteria to rank business schools.

The top MBA for The Economist in 2015 was The University of Chicago-Booth School of Business, followed by the University of Virginia Darden School of Business. Harvard Business School is surprisingly at number four while the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School is listed at number ten.

The Economist's rankings are not as exhaustive as the Financial Times regarding MBA rankings but are nevertheless just as authoritative and authentic. Moreover, the publication's website is a very rich source of MBA-related articles and researches.

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Bloomberg's Business Week MBA Rankings

Bloomberg's Business Week MBA rankings provide a very reliable overview of the best business schools in the world, while also allowing for various filters to be applied for narrower searches. This, by the way is an inherent functionally of all rankings systems, as they allow for more elaborate choices based on country of origin, programme type, and more.

A valuable source of MBA-related information, the Bloomberg Business Week's website states that its rankings are based on a combination of five sources of information. The employer survey is the most important in determining business school ranking followed by the alumni survey, student survey, job placement rate, and starting salary rate. All of the mentioned factors are combined in order to list business schools according to rank.

Ontario's Western University is ranked as the top international business school according to Bloomberg Business Week's 2015 rankings, with London Business School in the UK in second place.

But don't be confused. Remember that rankings use different methodologies leading to (sometimes) different outcomes. What's more, they should never be the sole reason to choose one school over another. While the authenticity of Financial Times, The Economist and Bloomberg is unquestionable, you should definitely consider qualitative factors such as where you think you will have a good academic experience, and where your overall MBA experience will be as fleshed out as possible.

Start your search from these three sources and then go where your heart and mind takes you.

As important as rankings are, there are other factors you should take into account when choosing an MBA programme. Here are some of the most underestimated aspects of MBA Selection:Top 5 Things You Did NOT Consider When Choosing an MBA