Another Wacky Ranking From The FT

The FT’s methodology puts most of the emphasis (20%) on the reported salary of EMBA grads three years after graduation and (20%) the increase in the average alumni salary from before a student entered the program until three years after graduation.

Many other factors, however, make this ranking as much about how politically correct or “international” a program is rather than the true quality of the program. Among other things, It uses such factors as a school’s diversity–in female faculty, staff and board members–to judge the “quality” of a program.

Other measured factors are the percentage of faculty whose citizenship differs from their country of employment, the percentage of the school’s board members whose citizenship differs from the country in which the school is based, and the percentage of classroom teaching hours conducted outside the country. Then there is the percentage of faculty with doctorates, the number of PhD graduates from each school in the past three years, and the number of scholarly publications that publish research from each school’s faculty. These last three factors account for 20%.

As a result, the methodology tends to favor programs that are partnerships among international schools. But the bigger and even more substantial issue is that a school ranked higher or lower than another often has an ranking that is not statistically significant than a school with which it may be compared.

In a tiny footnote to the ranking, the FT acknowledges that “the pattern of clustering among the schools is…significant.” The closest the newspaper goes to explaining these raw scores is to say that there are “about 290 points” between the first ranked and the 100th ranked schools. “The first 10 business schools up to London Business School form the top group of schools,” the FT says is an incredibly vague explanation. “The second group is headed by CEIBS, which would need to increase its score by five points in order to move up a group. Top of the third group is the joint program from Cornell University Johnson and Queen’s School of business–about 40 points separate the top and bottom schools in this third group. The fourth group is slightly closer together, separated by 33 points.”

Translation: The difference between CEIBS being in the first group as opposed to the second is a function of 1.7%–five points out of the 290-point spread that separates the top school from the 100th ranked school. That’s precious little difference to hang a ranking on, and it gets worse from there as the top and bottom of each group is separated by fewer and fewer points.


2011 Rank & School2010 RankRanking Change
1. Kellogg/Hong Kong UST1
2. Trium: NYU Stern/HEC Paris/LSE3+1
3. Columbia/London Business School2-1
5. University of Chicago (Booth)5
6. Duke University (Fuqua)9+3
7. Pennsylvania (Wharton)8+1
8. IE Business School7-1
10. London Business School6-4
11. CEIBS18+7
11. Northwestern (Kellogg)/York (Schulich)23+12
13. IESE Business School26+13
14. Chine University of Hong Kong10-4
15. Washington (Olin)/Fudan University18+3
16. IMD12-4
17. Northwestern (Kellogg)/WHU-Otto Beisheim14-3
17. Northwestern (Kellogg)20+3
19. National University of Singapore27+8
20. Arizona State (Carey)28+8
21. New York University (Stern)17-4
22. UC Berkeley (Haas)/Columbia13-9
23. Korea University Business SchoolNR+78*
23. Imperial College Business School34+11
25. Columbia Business School15-10
26. Cornell University (Johnson)24-2
28. University of Toronto (Rotman)29+1
29. University of Oxford (Said)32+3
29. City University (Cass)10-19
31. ESCP Europe15-16
32. Michigan (Ross)31-1
33. Essec/Mannheim32-1
34. Warwick Business School35+1
35. Georgetown (McDonough)46+11
36. Western Ontario (Ivey)29-7
37. UCLA (Anderson)38+1
38. WU (Vienna University)/Minnesota (Carlson)NR+63*
39. Rotterdam School of Management (Erasmus)24-15
40. Rice University (Jones)41+1
41. Emory (Goizueta)41
41. University of Pittsburgh (Katz)44+3
43. Purdue/TiasNimbas/CEU/GISMA21-22
44. Cornell (Johnson)/Queen’s School of Business55+11
45. National Taiwan University37-8
45. University of Texas-Austin (McCombs)52+7
47. Cranfield School of Management44-3
48. University of Maryland (Smith)36-12
49. Vanderbilt University (Owen)72+23
50. Henley Business SchoolNR+51*

Source: The Financial Times 2011 EMBA Ranking. * indicates that the school, not listed in the 2010 top 100, would have had to climb at least by this number of places to make its rank.


About The Author

John A. Byrne is the founder and editor-in-chief of C-Change Media, publishers of Poets&Quants and four other higher education websites. He has authored or co-authored more than ten books, including two New York Times bestsellers. John is the former executive editor of Businessweek, editor-in-chief of Businessweek. com, editor-in-chief of Fast Company, and the creator of the first regularly published rankings of business schools. As the co-founder of CentreCourt MBA Festivals, he hopes to meet you at the next MBA event in-person or online.