BEST

BUSINESS

SCHOOLS

2017

#BESTBSCHOOLS

BEST

BUSINESS

SCHOOLS

2017

#BESTBSCHOOLS

#BESTBSCHOOLS

2017

BEST

BUSINESS

SCHOOLS

#BESTBSCHOOLS

2017

BEST

BUSINESS

SCHOOLS

INSEAD Takes Top Spot Among MBA Programs Outside the U.S.

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INSEAD Business School offers the world’s best international MBA program, besting London Business School for the top spot in Bloomberg Businessweek’s annual ranking of foreign MBA programs.

The London-based school fell to the second spot, followed by IESE Business School of Spain’s University of Navarra, at No. 3. Saïd Business School of the University of Oxford and Switzerland-based International Institute for Management Development (IMD) round out the top five, marking the second straight year these schools achieved top-five rankings.

Each school’s ranking is based on surveys of recruiters, alumni, and students, as well as recent graduates’ success at landing jobs and securing high starting wages.

INSEAD, which has campuses in France, Asia, and the Middle East, snagged the No. 1 spot, thanks to its top ranking in surveys of employers and alumni, as well as a boost in its recent students’ ability to obtain jobs shortly after graduation.

Recent graduates of Germany-based Mannheim Business School are the most likely to get hired quickly, the rankings show, while graduates of Lausanne, Switzerland-based IMD are the highest-paid.

Here’s how the 31 best international MBA programs stack up this year.

Overall rank change since 2016
Positive change
Negative change
No change
New in 2017
Rank
School
Overall rank change since 2016
Employer survey rank (35%)
Alumni survey rank (30%)
Student survey rank (15%)
Salary rank (10%)
Job placement rank (10%)
Ranking index score
+11
INSEAD
+1
1
1
3
7
18
100.0
−12
London Business School
−1
2
6
6
4
5
93.6
+23
IESE Business School
+2
4
10
1
11
4
88.1
−14
Oxford (Saïd)
−1
3
3
11
15
24
81.0
+25
IMD
+2
15
8
5
1
19
76.3
−26
Cambridge (Judge)
−2
7
5
14
14
12
75.3
+17
SDA Bocconi
+1
17
11
4
8
14
72.9
−28
IE
−2
16
2
20
10
13
72.1
+39
ESADE
+3
8
4
8
31
17
71.8
+110
HEC Paris
+1
14
12
9
9
8
70.5
−111
Western (Ivey)
−1
6
13
17
18
20
69.0
−312
Melbourne
−3
10
28
2
13
2
65.3
+213
Imperial College London
+2
13
19
10
20
10
61.9
+614
Mannheim
+6
24
18
16
6
1
58.9
−215
ESMT Berlin
−2
5
22
23
22
22
57.9
+216
Queen's (Smith)
+2
18
20
7
16
25
57.9
−117
St. Gallen
−1
25
7
25
2
26
56.9
+118
Manchester
+1
19
14
15
30
27
55.6
+219
National University of Singapore
+2
30
9
18
24
3
55.6
−620
Cranfield
−6
12
15
27
17
28
53.9
−421
Hult
−4
11
27
19
23
9
52.9
+122
Toronto (Rotman)
+1
9
21
30
21
23
52.4
−123
Warwick
−1
23
16
13
28
16
51.6
Newly ranked24
Ryerson (Rogers)
Newly ranked
28
26
12
3
7
51.3
+425
HKUST
+4
22
24
28
12
10
46.0
−226
CEIBS
−2
20
23
26
29
6
45.5
+127
ESIC
+1
26
17
31
5
29
41.3
−328
McGill (Desautels)
−3
29
25
21
19
21
39.5
−329
Erasmus (Rotterdam)
−3
21
31
29
27
15
38.7
−330
Copenhagen
−3
27
30
24
25
30
32.6
31
HEC Montréal
31
29
22
26
31
27.9
Show all

Type a school name into the search box to dive into an individual MBA program and see where graduates typically find jobs and how their pay compares to that of graduates from other schools.

Methodology

Employer Survey (35%)

Job Placement Rate (10%)

Alumni Survey (30%)

Starting Salary (10%)

Student Survey (15%)

Employer Survey (35%)

Job Placement Rate (10%)

Alumni Survey (30%)

Starting Salary (10%)

Student Survey (15%)

Bloomberg Businessweek has ranked full-time MBA programs in the U.S. since 1988. Over time, we have shifted our methodology to focus on how well the programs prepare graduates for job success. Our Employer Survey, which measures recruiter opinions on how well MBA programs equip their graduates with relevant skills, and our Student Survey, which records feedback from students as to how thoroughly they’ve been prepared for the workforce, have always been cornerstones of our rankings.

We lost one school this year and added one international MBA program that wasn’t ranked last year. Our ranking of the top U.S. MBA programs was published last month.

Employer Survey (35 percent of score)

To assess how well MBA programs prepare graduates to get the jobs they want, we surveyed recruiters from companies that hire MBAs.

We asked schools to identify people recently involved in recruiting their MBAs. We invited 11,801 recruiters to take our survey; 686 recruiters at more than 400 companies completed it. We partnered with Cambria Consulting Inc. of Boston to run the survey, along with our full-time and part-time alumni and student surveys.

We asked recruiters to identify up to 10 schools at which they had significant recruiting experience in the past five years. We then asked the recruiters to assess how well these schools’ graduates rate with regard to specific qualities they deem important when they recruit MBAs.

To ensure that employers that hired only a few MBAs would not have outsize weight in our analysis, we gave each company an index score representing the total number of MBAs it hired in 2015 and 2016 (estimated using a combination of data provided by schools, recruiters, and students in our 2016 and 2017 employer surveys). We then weighted recruiters’ raw scores by their index scores for employer size. Ratings from employers that hired many MBAs had a greater impact than ratings from those that hired just a few. We also included data from our 2016 Employer Survey to diversify the recruiter feedback that contributes to this portion of the rankings.

Because the best MBA programs are well-regarded by a wide array of recruiters, the employer score was based on two components: average rating by employers (a measure of the school’s quality in the eyes of recruiters) and the sum of ratings the school received (a measure of its reach).

It’s common for B-school alumni to take up the task of recruiting from their alma maters for their employers. Alumni, though, tend to rate their own schools significantly more favorably than do non-alumni who rate the school. Receiving favorable ratings from its alumni says little about a school’s reach among recruiters, so we excluded alumni ratings when measuring reach. Alumni opinions of their own schools remained a factor in the average (quality) rating.

Alumni Survey (30 percent of score)

To examine the impact of the MBA on alumni job outcomes, our Alumni Survey sought responses from alumni who graduated from 2009 to 2011.

We recorded nearly 10,000 survey responses from alumni, excluding surveys from alumni who had previously completed them. We also included data from our 2016 Alumni Survey to diversify the alumni feedback that contributes to this portion of the rankings.

Three types of data contributed to our rankings in equal measure:

  • (1) Increase in median compensation

    The increase in compensation is one of the best ways to show the impact of an MBA, because one data point comes from before a person enrolled in the MBA program and the other data point is post-MBA. We defined compensation as current base salary plus guaranteed and discretionary additional income earned in 2016, excluding signing bonuses.

    We calculated each alum’s compensation-increase ratio (most recent annual compensation divided by annual compensation directly before entering the MBA program). We excluded alumni who got MBAs in joint-degree programs (since their career paths may differ substantially from those of regular MBAs) and MBAs whose current jobs are part-time. One-third of each school’s Alumni Survey score was based on the median ratio among its alumni.

  • (2) Job Satisfaction

    You want to make money, but what’s the point if you’re unhappy? MBA programs should set graduates on career paths that will fulfill them in many ways. That’s why we asked alumni how satisfied they are with their current job. The average response from all alumni at each school constituted one-third of the overall Alumni Survey score.

  • (3) MBA Feedback

    We asked alumni 16 questions addressing their MBA experiences, the specific impacts their MBA programs have had on their careers, and whether they would recommend their program to others. These data provided important context to the alumni compensation and job satisfaction numbers, allowing us to analyze the specific assets that alumni gleaned from their MBA programs. Their survey responses made up the final third of the Alumni Survey portion of our scoring methodology.

    In addition to generating data used for rankings, the Alumni Survey included questions about businesses founded by entrepreneurial alumni, more detail about alumni career paths, and demographics.

Student Survey (15 percent of score)

Recent graduates are the best judges of many MBA program features, such as campus climate, effectiveness of career services, and responsiveness of faculty and administrators. That’s why we include the Student Survey in our rankings methodology.

We recorded 9,461 survey responses from graduates in the class of 2017. To be included in our rankings, each school was required to have at least 30 students respond to our survey; larger programs were required to reach a threshold ranging from 15 percent to 40 percent.

We also included data from our 2016 Student Survey to diversify the student feedback that contributes to this portion of the rankings.

In addition to 27 questions that contributed to each school’s rank, the survey generated non-rankings data on student demographics, career paths, personal budgets, debt, and priorities in pursuing an MBA.

Job Placement Rate (10 percent of score)

We define the job placement rate as the percentage of graduates who secured full-time employment within three months of graduation, out of all the graduates who sought it.

Schools provided us with job-placement and salary data for the class of 2016, representing all graduates whose job outcomes they were able to track. (Class of 2017 data were not ready when we collected them.) Entrepreneurs, those continuing their education, those who were already employed prior to graduation, and others who didn’t pursue full-time jobs were excluded from our analysis. To qualify, schools were required to have at least 10 graduates seeking employment after graduation.

Starting Salary (10 percent of score)

A further key measure of a school’s success is how much compensation its newly minted graduates fetch in the labor market. Schools record these data, which they shared with us for our rankings. We looked at compensation within three months of graduation.

To create as level a playing field as possible, we ranked schools only on base salary figures (no other forms of compensation were included in our analysis) and implemented controls to adjust for salary variation across industries and regions. Consulting salaries were compared with other consulting salaries, tech salaries with other tech salaries, European salaries with other European salaries, and so on. Each of six U.S. regions served as its own playing field for our U.S. rankings, while all of North America functioned as a single region for our international rankings.

A school excelled to the extent that its graduates entering each region and industry bested other schools’ graduates entering that region or industry. The overall scores for schools were weighted by the proportion of its graduates entering each industry and region. For example, if a program sent 60 percent of its grads to jobs in Asia, 60 percent of the school’s region-adjusted salary score reflects its performance in that region. Half of the Starting Salary score reflects region-adjusted median salary; half reflects industry-adjusted median salary.

Only graduates who accepted full-time employment (not as a business owner) within three months of graduation were included in our analysis of starting salaries.

Final Rankings

For our Full-Time MBA Rankings, scores for each of the five components were standardized, using each score’s mean and standard deviation. Scores were then weighted and added up to reflect our rankings model of 35 percent for the Employer Survey score, 30 percent for the Alumni Survey score, 15 percent for the Student Survey score, 10 percent for the Job Placement Rate score, and 10 percent for the Starting Salary score.

Each school’s ranking index score was calculated by dividing its weighted sum by the best school’s weighted sum and then multiplying by 100. The top school in each ranking received an index score of 100. Rankings were determined by unrounded index scores, which show the difference in measurement among schools better than rankings do.

For example, the difference between a school with an index number of 91 and a school with an index number of 90 is small. The difference between two programs with index numbers of 91 and 83 is substantial. In either case, though, the schools might be separated by only one ranking place.

This year’s ranking provides a thorough picture of the current landscape of full-time MBA programs, but a suitable program for one person might be an odd fit for another. Don’t let rankings alone make your school decision for you.