Columbia Business School Leads Financial Times MBA Ranking 2023

Columbia Management School has topped the Financial Times World MBA Ranking for the first time in 25 years, building on its second-place finish in 2022.

While the New York-based university does not rank first in any of the ranking categories, it routinely rates well in a range of indicators. Significant accomplishments include placing second in research and third in alumni compensation three years after graduation.

Columbia is one of seven American institutions that rank within the top ten, among other M7 business schools such as Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Management.

The Wharton School, which ranked first in 2022 and has held the top spot more times than any other university, is dropped from the ranking due to a lack of alumni survey responses.

Despite the US’s sustained dominance, two European business schools, INSEAD and IESE Management School, are ranked second and third, respectively. In total, 14 American schools are among the top 20, with France having two and Spain, the United Kingdom, Italy, and China each having one.

This year, the Financial Times altered its rating process. The proportion for compensation results was reduced from two-fifths to one-third, while diversity and sustainability criteria were given more weight.

Despite the revised criteria, the United States maintains its supremacy, with the same number of slots in the top-20 as in the 2022 ranking.

After ranking 14th in 2022, the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Management advanced to seventh position. Similarly, Cornell University’s Johnson College of Commerce jumped nine spots to seventh overall.

M7 Business School, part of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, slides four spots to ninth place. Yale School of Management is ranked tenth, up from ninth last year.

Three major US business schools tie for 11th place: MIT Sloan and the University of Chicago Booth School of Management, both of which are part of the M7, are joined by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which will rise from 19th in 2022.

UCLA Anderson School of Management moves up from 26th to 14th in 2023, while Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and New York University’s Stern School of Business all finish in the top 20.

Because of their outstanding employment results, US schools tend to fare well. Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia are at the top of the wage rankings, with alumni earning more than $225k on average three years after graduation. Stanford graduates make $253,435, Harvard graduates make $235,177, and Columbia graduates make $228,425 on average. In total, 12 of the 14 highest earners were from colleges in the United States.

Elsewhere US schools rank first in areas such as value for money (headed by Isenberg at the University of Massachusetts Amherst) and the newly added factor of measures to reduce carbon impact (lead by Darden).

Cornell ranks first in terms of the value of its alumni network, while Stanford and Michigan State University Wide College of Business tie for #1 in terms of the number of alumni who claimed they met their goals. Harvard University, the birthplace of the MBA, topped the research rankings.

Rise and fall among leading European schools

Despite American schools’ dominance, a handful of outstanding European institutions have ascended to the top of the ranking in 2023.

INSEAD advances from third place in 2022 to second place this year. When many prominent US institutions boycotted business school rankings in 2021, INSEAD had the world’s top-ranked MBA.

INSEAD excels in multiple areas: alumni average wages after three years are more than $200k, and 89% of students feel the school helped them achieve their goals.

IESE moves up seven spots to third place. The Spanish school was in the top five in 2021, but dropped to tenth in 2022. After three months, 94% of IESE graduates were employed, with a 144% rise in salary between pre and post-MBA.

SDA Bocconi School of Management in Italy advances seven spots to sixth place. Bocconi is ranked second in terms of carbon footprint and has great income prospects, with alumni earning more than $190,000 on average after three years.

Some of Europe’s most famous schools, including France’s HEC Paris and the United Kingdom’s London Management School, have dropped in this year’s rankings. HEC Paris is ranked 17th, up from 11th in 2022. It was ranked in the top ten two years ago. LBS, which was ranked second in 2021 and eighth last year, is now placed 16th.

The FT’s updated 2023 ranking is based on surveys of 142 schools, all of which are Equis or AACSB certified.

The FT uses school data and alumni survey responses to form an overall ranking for each school.

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