FT Executive MBA Ranking 2022: methodology
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This is the 22nd edition of the FT’s annual ranking of the world’s top 100 executive MBA programmes for senior working managers.
Participation in the ranking is voluntary and at the business school’s request. EMBA programmes must meet certain criteria to be eligible. First, the school must be accredited by either the US’s Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, or Europe’s Equis. The EMBA must also be cohort-based, with students enrolling and completing their studies together.
A total of 138 programmes took part in the 2022 ranking process, including 13 joint programmes delivered by more than one school. One new school features in our table — Monash Business School, in 67th place.
Data for the ranking are collected using two online surveys, the first completed by participating schools and the second by alumni who completed programmes in 2019. Usually, for a school to be eligible for the rankings, at least 20 per cent of its alumni must respond to the FT survey, with a minimum of 20 responses. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the FT considered schools with a lower response rate. About 4,117 alumni completed the survey — an overall response rate of around 42 per cent.
Alumni responses inform five ranking criteria: salary today, salary increase, career progress, work experience and aims achieved. Together, they account for 56 per cent of the ranking’s weight. The first two criteria related to alumni salary each count for 20 per cent.
Salaries are converted to US dollars using the latest purchasing power parity (PPP) rates supplied by the International Monetary Fund. The highest and lowest salaries are then removed and the mean average “current salary” is calculated for each school. Salary increase is calculated according to the difference in average salary before the EMBA to three years after completion. Half of the ranking weight is applied to the absolute increase and the other half to the percentage increase relative to pre-EMBA pay.
When available, alumni criteria are informed by the past three surveys. Responses from the 2022 survey carry 50 per cent of the total weight and those from 2021 and 2020 each account for 25 per cent. Excluding salary-related criteria, if only two years of data are available, the weighting is split 60:40 if data are from 2022 and 2021, or 70:30 if from 2022 and 2020. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ worth of data, to avoid inflation-related distortions.
Information provided by the business schools informs nine criteria that collectively account for 34 per cent of the final ranking. Among these, the ESG category is based on the proportion of core courses dedicated to environmental, social and governance issues. It carries a weight of 3 per cent.
The weight given to both faculty and student gender diversity is 4 per cent each. For these gender diversity criteria, schools with a 50:50 (male: female) composition receive the highest score.
The international diversity calculation is based on the overall percentage of students and faculty from abroad as well as the spread of these individuals by citizenship based on the Herfindahl index, a measure of concentration.
The final criterion, the FT research rank, accounts for 10 per cent of the ranking. It is calculated according to the number of articles published by schools’ full-time faculty in 50 internationally recognised academic and practitioner journals.
The rank combines the absolute number of publications from January 2019 to May 2022, with the number of publications weighted relative to the faculty’s size.
The FT rankings are relative. Schools are ranked against each other rather than against set standards. The FT calculates the Z-scores for each criterion. (Z-scores show how far a school’s data is from the mean and are unitless, so they allow the ranking to be based on very different criteria — salary, percentages and points.) These scores are then weighted as outlined in the ranking key and added together for a final score.
After removing the schools that did not meet the minimum response rate from their alumni, a first version is calculated using all remaining schools.
The school at the bottom is removed and a second version is calculated. This action is repeated to find the top 100.
Judith Pizer of Pizer-MacMillan acted as the FT’s database consultant. The FT research rank was calculated using Clarivate data covering 50 journals selected by the FT from the Web of Science, an abstract and citation database of research literature.
Weights for ranking criteria are shown in brackets as a percentage.
Salary today US$ (20): average alumnus salary three years after completion, US$ PPP equivalent.†
Salary increase (20): average difference in alumni salaries between before the EMBA and now. Half of this figure is calculated according to the absolute salary increase, and half according to the percentage increase relative to the pre-EMBA salary – the figure published in the table. †
Career progress (6): calculated according to changes in the level of seniority and the size of company alumni work in now, versus before their EMBA.†
Work experience (5): a measure of the pre-EMBA experience of alumni according to the seniority of positions held, number of years in each position, organisation size and overseas work experience.†
Aims achieved (5): the extent to which alumni fulfilled their goals or reasons for doing an EMBA.†
Female faculty (4): percentage of female faculty. ††
Female students (4): percentage of female students on the programme. ††
Women on board (1): percentage of female members of the advisory board. ††
International faculty (5): calculated according to the diversity of faculty by citizenship and the percentage whose citizenship differs from their location of employment – the published figure.
International students (5): the percentage of current EMBA students whose citizenship differs from the location in which they study, or where the school’s main campus is located, as well as their diversity by citizenship.
International board (2): percentage of the board whose citizenship differs from the location in which the business school is situated.
International course experience rank (5): based on percentage of classroom teaching hours that were conducted outside the location in which the business school is situated. In-person and virtual experiences are included. Due to travel restrictions caused by the pandemic, this means the ranks for this category may not be a true reflection of the overseas opportunities that schools can offer. If you are a prospective student, please contact the school to check what overseas study options are available.
Faculty with doctorates (5): percentage of full-time faculty with a doctoral degree.
FT research rank (10): calculated according to the number of articles published by a school’s current full-time faculty members in 50 academic and practitioner journals between January 2019 and around May 2022. The rank combines the absolute number of publications with the number weighted relative to the faculty’s size.
Environmental, social and governance (ESG) rank (3): proportion of core courses dedicated to ethical, social and environmental issues for the current and recent completing class. Due to the pandemic, some schools do not have a current class, therefore data was taken from their recent completing class only.
Overall satisfaction: average evaluation by alumni of the course, scored out of 10. After alumni answered various questions about their EMBA experience, they were asked to rate their overall satisfaction, on a 10-point scale.
FT ranking tier: schools are divided into four groups. Schools at the top are in tier one and those at the end are in tier four.
† Includes data for the current year and the one or two preceding years where available.
†† For the three gender-related criteria, schools that have 50:50 (male:female) composition receive the highest possible score.
Criteria for taking part in our ranking
Updated on May 10, 2023
We review the criteria on a regular basis. The pandemic has affected business schools and our ranking process, but we have done our best to accommodate feedback from schools. Please note, we are unable to include requests from every school.
The FT EMBA ranking is based on two surveys: one for the business school and one sent to your alumni who completed their EMBA three years ago.
Each school can only submit one standalone programme. However, more than one programme can be submitted if the additional programme is a joint degree. Joint programmes can be separately entered, on condition they are structured so that participating students take classes from all partner institutions in the programme.
The following are the criteria schools must meet in order to participate in the annual EMBA ranking:
The business school must be accredited by AACSB or Equis.
Your programme must have been running continuously for the past four years and the first class should have graduated in the calendar year at least three years prior to the survey date.
Executive MBAs are part-time degrees designed for senior working managers. It is assumed most participants have at least 10 years of work experience and hold managing positions.
The course of study should last no longer than three years. This is the default length. If your EMBA graduates took more than 3 years of study then they cannot take part in the survey, therefore they should be removed from the list of alumni to be surveyed.
Students must matriculate and graduate in cohort(s).
We usually ask for at least 30 students to have completed the programme, per year, three years ago and in each subsequent year. But, if the running of your nominated programme (for this year’s ranking) was disrupted by the pandemic, we understand that your school may not meet criterion number 6. In this case, we ask for at least 25 students to complete the programme in either year 2021 or 2022. Your school can take part in this year’s ranking as long as your school meets the rest of the criteria. This year we are surveying graduates who completed your nominated programme 3 years ago, but we require at least 30 alumni to have completed your programme in the calendar year 2020.
No more than 20 per cent of the class must be from one company. Subsidiary companies of a group are treated as separate companies.
The business school must have a minimum of 20 full-time permanent faculty.
Graduates need to complete the survey in English.
We need a response rate of at least 20 per cent from alumni with a minimum of 20 completed surveys from any school wishing to be considered for the ranking. E.g., a class size of 100 graduates will require 20 completed surveys and a class size of 200 alumni will require 40 completed surveys. This response rate is based on the total size of the cohort we are surveying, not the number graduate emails you will be able to supply, as we are aware that some alumni will opt out of the survey.
Meeting these criteria does not guarantee automatic participation in the ranking. The final decision rests with the Financial Times.
Please note, the table is finalised about eight weeks before the publication date. It is too late for schools to withdraw from the ranking after the eight-week mark.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org by the start of March if you have questions or wish to take part as the ranking process starts in mid-April. By this time, the onus is on schools to get in contact with us if they wish to take part in the ranking, as we are unable to email every single school to check if they wish to be considered.
Invitation to participate: April/May
Schools to confirm participation: May
Schools to upload alumni list: May
Schools to upload faculty list: July
Survey open: June
Survey close: June/July
Data checks with schools: July – September
Facts about the top 25 schools
The Kellogg-HKUST EMBA, based in Hong Kong, retakes the top spot, with alumni receiving the highest average salary, at $584,197.
Ceibs, in Shanghai, is the top-ranked solo EMBA and the only other school where alumni earn more than $500,000 on average.
The joint EMBA at Trium: HEC Paris/LSE/NYU: Stern is the highest ranked programme offered in the US.
After a four-year gap, MIT: Sloan is back in the top 10, thanks to the US school’s high alumni salaries.
Iese Business School, in Spain, has the most internationally diverse students, with 95 per cent from overseas.
UCLA: Anderson/National University of Singapore’s joint EMBA is the biggest riser in the top 25, a move of 18 places.
IE Business School, in Spain, is one of four schools to achieve gender equality in their full-time faculty.
Alumni from Yale topped the table when it came to fulfilling goals or reasons for doing an EMBA.
Alumni from Hong Kong University Business School experienced the highest average salary increase of any alumni at 115 per cent.
The Wharton School tops the research rank for the third consecutive year, based on the volume of articles published, weighted by faculty size.
Alumni from CUHK, in Hong Kong, have the best career progression out of all schools in the top 25.
By Sam Stephens