If you’re also on the search for a top-performing, accredited MBA programme, you might have heard the news of the latest edition of the MBA Financial Times Ranking. This renowned business publication has been releasing its annual ranking of the top 100 global business schools for decades now. The annual results are always a long-awaited piece of news in the MBA world, but what do they look like in 2024 and can they be useful to you? Keep reading to discover what the latest trends in business education are according to the Financial Times (FT) and how to make your MBA search more personalised.

Which countries make it to the global ranking?

A total of 132 schools took part in the ranking process for the 2024 edition before 100 of them ended up in the final list of top institutions. The country with the biggest representation is the US with 43 business schools. The UK features 10 schools, while France boasts 8 top performers, followed by India with 6. Spain, Canada, and China each have 4 schools in the top 100.

What do the FT results show in 2024?

The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania (US) has claimed the #1 spot in the 2024 Financial Times MBA Ranking among the leading providers of MBAs globally. The renowned publication has also placed INSEAD (France), Columbia Business School (US), SDA Bocconi School of Management (Italy), and IESE Business School (Spain) in the top five, taking into account factors such as value for money, alumni achievements, diversity, and environmental policies.

Is the MBA job market tougher?

One of the significant criteria in the methodology is the employment rate within three months of graduation. Compared to the previous year’s 93%, the employment rate has dropped to 89% on average across ranked schools, indicating a potentially tougher job market for MBA graduates. Additionally, the FT reports a 5% decrease in MBA applications, with a shift towards more flexible and online alternatives.

What’s the level of alumni satisfaction?

It’s important to remember that rankings can reveal much more nuanced information than just a general list of top programmes. For example, the school that excels in research this year is Wharton, while the alumni who report the highest weighted salaries three years post-MBA are from Stanford Graduate School of Business (US). The top schools for alumni satisfaction with aims achieved, value for money, alumni networks, and career services include Stanford, Dartmouth, the University of Georgia, and Georgia Tech, all hailing from the US.

How well do business schools achieve diversity?

In terms of diversity, ESCP Business School, Audencia Business School (France), and Wharton lead in achieving gender parity, while ESCP also exhibits the greatest diversity of employment sectors pre-MBA. The Indian Institute of Management Calcutta is recognised for international exchanges and internships.

How to know if this MBA ranking is the right one for you

The FT relies on alumni feedback collected three years post-MBA, with a minimum response rate requirement of 20% and 20 fully completed surveys. The ranking methodology comprises 21 criteria, with alumni responses contributing 56% and school data – 34% to the final score.

Alumni input specifically focuses on income, career progression, aims achieved, and network effectiveness. School data, on the other hand, includes faculty diversity, student sector distribution, and international exposure. Each of these factors has a different weight in the final list of results.

The FT Global MBA Ranking is one of the most rigorous and well-known such publications. However, its methodology can never be fully objective – it still has to collect external insights and prioritise some ranking criteria over others to compile the final results. This means that while useful, the results may not match exactly what you’re looking for in an MBA programme.

For example, the career progress rank of alumni (“changes in the level of seniority and the size of the organisation alumni work in now, compared with before their MBA”) is weighted at only 3%. So if you are on the lookout for a business programme that will help you climb the career ladder in your own company, the ranking may not give you a complete picture on this topic.

Yet if you are interested in learning about the average income and salary increase of MBA alumni, this ranking could be a good place to start – each of these two factors is weighted at 16%.

Make your MBA search more personalised

One way to gain more control over MBA rankings is to use a smart tool such as the new 360° MBA Ranking by Unimy. This feature compiles the latest data from the Financial Times and US News rankings and enables you to personalise the results according to the criteria that matter most to you.

The tool, launched in December 2023, gives you the best of both worlds. It ensures that you’re seeing the most up-to-date insights about globally accredited business schools, but at the same times encourages you to filter and rearrange the results to suit your own needs. Are you most interested in programmes that rank high but also have a high acceptance rate? You can easily generate your 360° MBA Ranking based on this specific requirement.

This tool is also the first of its kind to include cultural fit among its ranking criteria. Cultural fit considers the organisational character of business schools and how they compare – a unique aspect which hasn’t been measured by the Financial Times or other MBA publications so far.

When looking for the perfect business school programme, rankings can be an excellent starting point. Just make sure you consult them with attention to detail and always in addition to other sources of information. Then, you can make your final decision with peace of mind.