The Financial Times (FT) has released its 2022 global MBA ranking amid persistently strong demand for full-time MBA programmes and growing alumni salaries.  

This year’s ranking was marked by the return of some top US schools, including Harvard Business School, Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Wharton School, which were unable to participate in the 2021 edition.

Salaries go up

Wharton topped the 2022 list, followed by Columbia Business School (US) and INSEAD (France). All in all, there are seven US business school in the top 10, with the strong presence largely attributable to the high overall average annual income of US schools’ alumni three years after graduation.

Wharton alumni reported the highest salary at USD 238,000, followed by Harvard and Columbia, both at nearly USD 219,000. INSEAD’s alumni reported average annual income of around USD 187,000. Overall, average alumni salaries rose over the period (2019-21) from USD 130,875 to USD 141,949.

Demand for MBA programmes recovered after taking a hit in 2020. “We beat our expectations on intake. Demand has been very strong for our full-time programmes,” Francois Ortalo-Magné, dean of London Business School, told the Financial Times. The newspaper said the total MBA intake among ranking participants rose to 14,566 in 2021 from 13,534 in 2020.

Diverse classes and networking opportunities

It is interesting to note a few other features of the ranked programmes – percentage of female participants and international students. Both are essential because networking is a major focus for MBA prospects.

In terms of female participation, Tongji University School of Economics and Management (China) ranked first with 77% of the class composed of women, followed by Fudan University School of Management (China) (64%) and Sungkyunkwan University GSB (South Korea) (58%). Among western business schools, the highest share of female students was at George Washington University (US) at 57%.

The MBA is an international degree. Nowhere is this more visible than at ESCP Business School (France/UK/Germany/Spain/Italy), where 100% of the student base is international. Rotterdam School of Management (the Netherlands) is second with 99%. The third place is shared by five schools, each with a 97% share of international students – IMD Business School (Switzerland), University of Oxford: Saïd (UK), ESSEC Business School (France), EDHEC Business School, and Lancaster University Management School (UK).

How is the ranking created?

The Financial Times Global MBA Ranking is published at the beginning of every year and features the world’s best 100 full-time MBA programmes. To be eligible for inclusion in the ranking, schools must be accredited by EQUIS or the AACSB. A total of 151 institutions took part in the 2022 edition.

The ranking is based on data provided by participating schools and alumni. Salary and salary increase three years after completion are the major factors. Components such as academic research output and student and faculty diversity measured by gender mix and citizenship are also taken into account but are given a lower weighting. Read more about the ranking’s methodology.

Access MBA advises business school aspirants to gain an in-depth understanding of the methodology behind each ranking. In that way professionals can best decide whether what it measures should actually impact their MBA selection.