Trium Tops New FT Ranking Of EMBAs

TriumTrium, an elite Executive MBA program put on by New York University’s Stern School of Business, HEC Paris and the London School of Economics, today (Oct. 20) won a No. 1 ranking from The Financial Times. It was the first time in six years that the joint program by Northwestern’s Kellogg School of Management and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, failed to claim the top spot. The Kellogg/HKUST program slipped to second place.

Like most EMBA programs, the 17-month Trium experience is relatively small, enrolling just 85 students who take courses in New York, Paris, and London. The average age of students in the program is 40 and the FT said the average salaries of Trium alums was up 52% to $175,000 from $114,000 five years earlier before joining the program.

“Although this is the first time the program has taken top spot in the FT EMBA rankings, it has never been placed outside the top four in the nine years it has been assessed,” the newspaper said. Trium jumped three places from fourth to claim the top spot this year.


As usual, joint programs dominate the top of the list which provides numerical ranks to 100 Executive MBA programs for working professionals. After Trium and Kellogg/HKUST, No. 3 was the EMBA program at China’s Tsinghua University with INSEAD, No. 4 UCLA Anderson and National University of Singapore, and No. 5 EMBA Global Americas and Europe run by Columbia Business School and London Business School.

The Financial Times’ ranking tends to favor international EMBA partnerships over standalone programs where a single school would have greater control over the quality and delivery of the program. That’s largely because the methodology is biased toward programs that are more international in nature.

The highest ranked standalone EMBA was the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, which offers its program in both Philadelphia and San Francisco. The Wharton EMBA came in sixth place this year, up from seventh in 2013. Wharton exchanged places with Washington University’s EMBA program at Fudan University in China.

Though Kellogg lost its first place status with HKUST, its standalone EMBA program in Chicago jumped an impressive 11 places to finish 13th best in the world, up from a rank of 24 last year. That was the largest rise of any U.S. school in the Top 25. The Top 25 programs that lost the most ground this year was Duke University’s Fuqua School and China University of Hong Kong (CUHK) which both fell 11 places. Duke was ranked 19th, down from 8th last year, while CUHK placed 24th, down from 13th in 2013.


The British newspaper said that the ranking includes schools from 26 countries, including 35 in the US, 10 in the UK and nine in China. The FT said that Renmin University of China School of Business in Beijing rose furthest, climbing 18 places to 43rd. Four schools made the FT’s ranking for the first time: Cambridge Judge Business School at 36th. France’s Grenoble Business School is ranked 70th, Turkey’s Sabanci University School of Management is at 99th, and Brazil’s Coppead is at 100th.

The FT’s ranking is based on surveys of self-reported data by the schools as well as opinion surveys of alumni who graduated in 2011. A total of 4,983 alumni completed the survey, a response rate of 51%.

The methodology heavily weights compensation and career outcomes, with five metrics—“salary today”, “salary increase”, “career progress”, “work experience” and “aims achieved”—accounting for 55% of the weight. Alumni salary information alone represents 40% of the overall methodology. The FT throws a wrench into this information by adjusting the actual pay using purchasing power parity rates that tend to make students in emerging economies appear that they earn far more than they do.


Alumni reporting the highest compensation were Kellogg/HKUST at $403,560, a 33% increase from pre-MBA pay; Trium at $307.003, a 60% rise; Tsingua/INSEAD at $304,843, a 65% increase; CEIBS global EMBA in China at $283,503, up 47%, and UCLA/NUS at $279,284, a 78% increase. According to the FT, the average salary for responding Wharton alums was $223,809, an increase of 60% from pre-MBA pay.

The highest ranked U.S. EMBA programs after Wharton are No. 11 Chicago Booth, No. 13 Kellogg, No. 19 Duke Fuqua, No. 25 Columbia Business School, No. 29 Arizona State University’s Carey School, No. 31 Rice University’s Jones School, No. 34 New York University’s Stern School, and No. 35 University of Michigan’s Ross School. The salary adjustment applied to the numbers for the U.S. schools would all be the same so the reported figures are more comparable across the U.S. sample.

Kellogg EMBA alums lead the pay stakes with $241,096, followed by Duke with $236,118, Wharton with $223,809, Chicago Booth with $221,584, and Rice University with $218,340. Michigan also rated highly with $215,183 along with Cornell University at $213,513 and Boston University with $208,011

(See following page for table of top programs and year-over-year changes in rank)

  • Dazed&Confused

    I never understood ranking EMBA programs??? MBA rankings already exist in over-abundance. Why delineate between an EMBA and an MBA with a new ranking? For example, why does the world need to rank Columbia’s MBA and EMBA programs? The school views them as the same degree. Oh is it because publications just make more money creating a little controversy…

    • JohnAByrne

      I definitely hear what you are saying but think there is still some value in a publication doing a separate ranking of EMBA programs. Though it’s true that the halo effect of the full-time ranking is probably more important when determining the brand value of a degree, there are considerable differences between the full-time and executive offerings of MBA degrees. For example, only 28% of EMBA programs require the GMAT or GRE for admission. Separate rankings are especially helpful when they are based on surveys of alumni of the programs because they are giving you valuable information on how people experienced the program and how their views contrast with others at different schools. All this said, you still have to take any ranking with a very large grain of salt due to the flawed methodology and silly metrics many publications are using to measure “quality.”

      • Dazed&Confused

        Thanks for the reply John. And I hear you, but the issue that irks me, is when I see two Kellogg MBA diplomas on the wall in two respective co-workers offices, and they are identical diplomas. No difference in the paper at all or their wording. And yet, one went to the full time program and one to the eMBA program – and Northwestern University (or Wharton or Duke or MIT or Darden as the case may be) views them identically. The schools do not delineate any discernible difference or denote anything different on the actual diplomas and prove that by granting the exact same diploma – degree equivalency they call it. And yet publications decide to delineate a difference on the exact same degree that they already rank and the schools themselves view as the same? And in my example, the individual with the eMBA happens to be the very senior manager to the worker with the full time MBA from Northwestern, which is obviously circumstantial, but nevertheless indicates the relative value of the GMAT or GRE as true barometers for quality, since Kellogg does not require those scores for admission to the eMBA.
        Bottom line to me is to focus on the full-time rankings and watch the eMBA rankings for entertainment purposes…

  • Bernard

    Very interesting read!

    The salary figures you mention sound contradictory, don’t they?

    On page 1, you mention that the FT said the average salaries of Trium alums was up 52% to $175,000 from $114,000 five years earlier before joining the program. But the table on page 2 displays $307,000 as the average three years after graduation.


  • Ankur

    Any inputs about the Booth EMBA programme would be welcome, and how does it compare with Trium and Kellogg EMBA. Also which EMBA programmes are better – The ones managed and owned completely by one institute like Booth or the ones having partnerships with multiple B schools.

    • Replied

      I do not believe that one format is better or worse than the other. Trium and other partnership programs have a great “global” feel that may enhance/enrich the experience for participants, which can be attractive. And go-it-alone programs are great as well for their own reasons. I think it depends on the student and their desires. My only concern with partnerships relates to earning one joint diploma from the all the schools. I would favor a program that allows graduates to earn an individual diploma from each participating school. Seems more genuine to me rather than one diploma that lists each school.
      Booth, Kellogg, Trium – you cannot go wrong with any? How much travel do you like to do is the biggest question because the reputation and education gained from those three are equal in my mind. Cheers!

  • anon

    Gmat and gre are not relevant when you can look at a candiates’ career growth over 10+ years in actual real life environment.
    I would much rather have a classmate that accomplished great success in business than a good test taker.