The FT European Business School Rankings are useful for candidates who are looking around for MBA, Master’s in Management, and EMBA programs in Europe.
Not only that, the rankings can be of use to those who are searching for non-degree executive education programs.
The European Business School Rankings by the Financial Times, and business school rankings in general, can be of great help, but only if you know how to use them properly. They are an important source of comparative information. Different rankings are based on different methodologies. No single ranking is definitive, so aspirants need to understand the methodology behind each one before deciding whether the aspects that it measures are relevant to their plans and ambitions.
How is the FT European Business School Ranking compiled?
The Financial Times compiles its ranking of European business schools by using its other rankings. The newspaper calculates the combined performance of Europe’s leading schools across its five main rankings of programs: MBA, Executive MBA, Master’s in Management (MiM), and the two rankings of non-degree executive education programs. The European Business School Ranking, however, does not take into account the Financial Times’ online MBA and Master’s in Finance rankings.
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So what is the formula the Financial Times uses? First, the MBA, EMBA, and MiM rankings are reduced to European participants only. These lists make up 25% of each school’s total performance. The two rankings of non-degree executive education programs are subjected to the same method, but the scores obtained in each case account for just 12.5%.
The European Business School Ranking is designed to measure the schools’ quality and breadth of programs, which basically means that the more programs a certain school has across the different rankings the higher its score. It also means that schools can get a full score only if they participate in all five rankings. Schools that take part in only one ranking are eligible for a quarter of the total score.
After that it gets a little more complicated. Each school receives a total score based on its performance in each of the rankings. Then, schools get an additional average score—a derived measure of quality—which results from the overall score being divided by the number of rankings in which a school participates. In a next step, the average score is added to the combined total score to generate the final score, by which the schools are ranked.
It should also be pointed out that scores are not simply based on a collection of ranking positions. They are calculated using Z-scores—formulas that reflect the range between the top and bottom schools—for the individual criteria that make up each component ranking.
The ranking is particularly useful because it allows users to sort the table depending on whether they are interested in full-time MBA, Executive MBA, or Master’s in Management programs. They can also add additional fields to the table such as EMBA salary, three-year rank, and female faculty.
Findings from the 2018 ranking
London Business School (LBS) (UK), retained its number one spot in the 2018 European Business School Ranking by the Financial Times, with the newspaper noting that the school “plays in a different league to many British business education providers.” The Financial Times also notes that the UK has kept its strong position in the top 25, despite fears about the impact of Brexit. British schools have been supported by the drop in the value of the pound; concerns about US policies towards foreign students, which made the UK a more attractive destination; and by the UK government’s imposition of an apprenticeship levy, which forces certain companies to put aside an equivalent of 0.5% of their wage bill for staff training. France remains the country with the most representatives in the ranking—25, followed by the UK with 22.
International applicants drive growth
The resilience of UK schools is also boosted by an overall positive trend in Europe. Applications to European business school programs grew by 3.2% in 2018, largely thanks to international candidates, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), which owns the GMAT exam. European schools traditionally rely more on international students than institutions in Asia and the US, with about 77% of applications to European schools that took part in the GMAC survey being from foreign students, compared with 41% for Asian schools and 39% for US schools. About 63% of European schools reported an increase in international applications.
Look beyond rankings
It is evident that the FT European Business School Rankings can be of great service to aspirants who are predominantly looking for European programs. But we at PrepAdviser would like to remind our readers that, for all the talk about data-driven decision-making, choosing the course that suits you best is ultimately a very personal endeavor that cannot be completely entrusted to algorithms. Visit school campuses, talk to alumni, and attend one-to-one events. Delve deeper into programs and try to understand if they would help you reach your goals and realize your full potential. Choose wisely, because the decision where to study will define your path ahead.
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