FT European business schools 2021: Methodology and key

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This is the 18th annual Financial Times ranking of European business schools. It is a composite ranking based on the combined performance of Europe’s leading schools across the five main rankings of programmes published by the FT in 2021: MBA, Executive MBA, Masters in Management (MiM) and in 2020 for the two rankings of non-degree executive education programmes as we did not run the Custom and Open rankings this year. The Online MBA and Masters in Finance rankings are not included.

The European school rank is calculated after removing non-European schools for each of these main rankings. MBA, EMBA and MiM account for 25 per cent each of each school’s total performance. For Executive Education, the scores obtained for customised and open programmes each account for 12.5 per cent. Schools must have a minimum total weight of 25 out of a possible 100 for all five rankings to be eligible.

Schools ranked with a joint programme receive a proportional share of the programme’s indexed score. For example, Essec gets 50 per cent of the score achieved by its joint EMBA programme with Mannheim — worth 12.5 per cent of the possible 100 total weight.

The ranking measures the schools’ quality and breadth of programmes. Quality is given a greater emphasis so that schools offering high-quality training but not providing all the different courses considered can still perform strongly overall.

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An indexed score is created for each ranking. These scores are then added together, according to the weighting above, creating a combined total for each school, which comprises one third of the final score. The remaining two-thirds is an average score, derived by dividing the total score for each school by the number of rankings in which it features.

Scores are not simply based on aggregation of published ranking positions. They are calculated using Z-scores — formulas that reflect the range between the top and bottom school — for the individual criteria that make up each component ranking. 

The following rules are specific to the FT composite European ranking: 

  • Programmes ranked outside the published tables for MBA, Executive Education, Masters in Management and EMBA are taken into consideration. They are shown with an asterisk.

  • If a school has more than one programme in the same ranking, a combined weighted score is awarded. HEC Paris receives 33 per cent of the score achieved by the Trium Global EMBA and the remaining 67 per cent from its own single programme.

 Judith Pizer of Pizer-MacMillan acted as the FT’s database consultant. 

Key to the 2021 ranking

Weights for ranking criteria are shown in brackets as a percentage.

The European Business Schools ranking is based on the overall scores that each school has achieved for each ranking in which it features, such as MBA, Executive Education, Masters in Management and EMBA. The composite ranking is not solely based on the data displayed in the European schools table.

MBA

European rank (25): position among European schools that took part in the 2021 FT global MBA ranking.

Salary today $: average alumni salary three years after completion, US$ by purchasing power parity (PPP). Includes weighted data from the current and two previous years, where available.

Salary increase (%): average difference in alumni salary between pre-MBA and now, three years after completion.

EMBA

European rank (25): position among European schools that took part in the 2021 EMBA ranking.

Salary today $: average alumni salary three years after completion, US$ PPP. Includes weighted data from the current and two previous years, where available.

Salary increase (%): average difference in alumni salary between pre-EMBA and now, three years after completion.

Masters in Management

European rank (25): position among European schools that participated in the 2021 FT MiM ranking.

Salary today $: average alumni salary three years after completion, US$ PPP. Includes weighted data from the current and two previous years, where available.

Salary increase (%): average difference in alumni salary between completion and now, three years after completion.

Executive Education*

Open programmes (12.5): position among European schools that participated in the FT ranking of open-enrolment programmes in 2020.

Custom programmes (12.5): position among European schools that participated in the FT ranking of customised programmes in 2020.

* We did not run the Custom and Open rankings in 2021.

Faculty

Female faculty: percentage of female full-time faculty.

International faculty: percentage of full-time faculty whose citizenship differs from country of employment.

Faculty with doctorates: percentage of full-time faculty with a doctoral degree.

# Figure in brackets refers to data from separate joint programme for schools with more than one degree ranked.

† Salary increase in three years from completion to now for Masters in Management. For MBA and EMBA, the average difference in alumni salary is between before the degree and now, three years after completion.

‡ Faculty data are provided for information — taken from surveys for the 2021 tables. Schools that only feature in Executive Education have provided faculty data, as of September 2021. 

* School was ranked outside the final table in 2021 for MBA, EMBA or Masters in Management, or for Custom and Open in 2020. 

** School participated in this ranking on the basis of a joint programme only. Underlying score based on proportion of total score. 

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