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MBA Rankings 2024

Analyzing the QS and FT MBA rankings requires a detailed look at the criteria each ranking system considers and the scores attributed to these criteria. These have been analysed here through comparisons of FT Global MBA Ranking 2023 QS Global 2024  Global MBA rankings. Understanding this discussion will be helpful especially for those who are eyeing MBA admissions abroad.


MBA Ranking - Understanding what matters
MBA Ranking - Understanding what matters

Exploring the MBA Ranking Methodology:


FT Global MBA Ranking 2023 Rankings


Financial and Career Outcomes

  • Weighted Salary (16%): This crucial metric in the FT methodology looks at the average alumni salary three years post-MBA, adjusted for sector variations, emphasizing the financial rewards of the MBA.

  • Salary Increase (16%): This evaluates the salary uplift from pre- to post-MBA, taking into account both absolute and percentage increases, showcasing the immediate financial impact of the MBA.

  • Value for Money (5%): Calculated based on the cost of the MBA against post-MBA salary, this metric assesses the financial prudence of the investment in an MBA.


Career Services and Alumni Success

  • Career Progress (3%): This measures the advancement in alumni careers in terms of seniority and organization size, post-MBA.

  • Aims Achieved (4%): Reflects the degree to which alumni have met their personal and professional objectives through the MBA.

  • Alumni Network (4%) and Careers Service (3%): These criteria evaluate the effectiveness of the alumni network and career services provided by the school, underscoring the support system available for career development.


Diversity and Global Exposure

  • Diversity Ranks: Including sector diversity (3%), female faculty (3%), female students (3%), and women on boards (1%), these metrics highlight the program's commitment to fostering a diverse learning environment.

  • International Exposure: Metrics like international faculty, students, and board members (each 3%), along with international mobility (5%) and international course experience (3%), assess the global perspective and opportunities provided by the MBA program.


Academic Excellence and Research

  • Faculty with Doctorates (5%): This indicates the academic rigor and expertise of the faculty.

  • FT Research Rank (10%): Based on publications in selected journals, this metric reflects the research output and its impact, emphasizing the intellectual contributions of the faculty.

Sustainability and Ethical Leadership

  • Carbon Footprint Rank (4%) and ESG Teaching Rank (3%): These criteria evaluate the program's commitment to sustainability and responsible business education, aligning with contemporary global challenges.


QS Ranking Methodology Highlights for Comparison:


  • Employer Reputation (35%): Derived from the QS Global Employer Survey, this reflects the desirability of graduates in the job market, akin to the FT's employment-related metrics but with a heavier weight.

  • Alumni Outcomes (10%): This looks at the success of the school's alumni, similar to FT's career progress and aims achieved but with a specific focus on high-achieving alumni.

  • Entrepreneurship (5%): Unique to QS, this metric evaluates the entrepreneurial success post-MBA, reflecting the growing trend of MBA graduates founding startups.

  • Return on Investment: Including 10-year ROI (15%) and payback period (5%), these metrics assess the long-term financial benefits of the MBA, somewhat akin to FT's value for money but with a longer-term perspective.

  • Thought Leadership: Comprising academic reputation (10%), research impact (2.5%), and percentage of faculty with PhDs (2.5%), these metrics mirror FT's emphasis on academic excellence and research output but with a distinct methodology.


The FT MBA Ranking offers a holistic view of the MBA experience, covering financial rewards, career development, diversity, global exposure, academic rigor, and sustainability. The QS ranking, while sharing some similarities, places a stronger emphasis on employer reputation, long-term ROI, and entrepreneurship, reflecting different priorities and methodologies in evaluating MBA programs. Both rankings provide valuable insights but from distinct perspectives, catering to varied aspects of what prospective students might value in an MBA education.


Comprehending the FT Global MBA Ranking 2023 Rankings


FT MBA ranking measures a variety of factors, which can be broadly classified under career progress, diversity, international exposure, research capability and financials. Important criteria are:


  1. Career Progress: This is measured by FT MBA ranking using career progress rank, employed at three months, and salary percentage increase. The emphasis here lies on the actual career growth and remuneration hike experienced by alumni after graduation.

  2. Diversity and International Exposure: Sector diversity rank, international mobility rank, female faculty (%), international faculty (%) and international students (%) are some of the indicators that reflect how diverse the program is as well as its global nature.

  3. Research & Teaching Excellence: The FT research rank and faculty with doctorates represent how much impact they have had in terms of quality research by the professors involved as well as academic rigour within the programme.

  4. Sustainability and Ethical Leadership: The carbon footprint rank and ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) and net zero teaching rank highlight the program's focus on sustainability and responsible business practices.

Understanding QS Global 2024 Global MBA Ranking


On the other hand, in the QS ranking the following key areas are given more priority:

  1. Employability: This criterion measures how many of the school’s graduates are absorbed into the job market as represented by employment score and rank.

  2. Entrepreneurship and Alumni Outcomes: It looks at how well alumni from a particular institution have been able to succeed in starting businesses and otherwise achieving professionally, as indicated by entrepreneurship & alumni outcomes score and rank.

  3. Return on Investment (ROI): The ROI score and rank compare what graduates earn relative to what they would have paid for their MBAs with a focus on long-run value of education investment.

  4. Thought Leadership: Through thought leadership score and rank, this criterion gauges how much influence an educational institution has on business practices and academic disciplines through research and innovation.

  5. Diversity: The diversity score and rank take into account various efforts of the program aimed at promoting inclusivity with respect to people from different nationalities, cultures, races, among others.

Comparative Interpretation of MBA Rankings


  1. Focus on Employability and Career Progress: Both rankings prioritize the impact of an MBA on career advancement. FT includes direct career progress metrics, while QS assigns a significant weight to employability, reflecting a shared emphasis on the practical career benefits of the MBA.

  2. Valuing Diversity and International Exposure: Each ranking system acknowledges the importance of diversity and global perspectives in business education, though they use different metrics to capture this aspect.

  3. Emphasizing Thought Leadership and Academic Excellence: The presence of research-related criteria in both rankings highlights the value placed on thought leadership and the generation of new knowledge within MBA programs.

  4. Assessing Financial Outcomes: QS explicitly considers ROI, focusing on the financial gains relative to the cost. FT incorporates salary-related metrics, such as salary today and weighted salary, to reflect financial success post-MBA.


While both rankings share common themes, the specific criteria and their weightings differ, offering varied perspectives on what defines a top MBA program. The FT ranking provides a comprehensive view that includes career outcomes, diversity, and research excellence, with a notable emphasis on sustainability and ethics. The QS ranking, with its clear focus on employability, entrepreneurship, ROI, and thought leadership, presents a more focused analysis on the direct impact of the MBA on graduates' career trajectories and financial success.


Analyzing the top 20 schools from the FT Global MBA Ranking 2023 and the QS Global 2024 Global MBA Ranking reveals a fascinating overlap and some unique entries in each list.


Common Schools in Both Top 20 Lists of QS and FT MBA Rankings:


  1. Harvard Business School: Harvard, well known for being a leader in business education, always takes the lead in this regard because of its tough courses, respected lecturers and influential graduates.

  2. INSEAD MBA: The two rankings also recognize INSEAD as global university with campuses in France, Singapore and Abu Dhabi. As seen from the rankings above, INSEAD is an international institution that believes in diversity and global business.

  3. London Business School: Both lists place LBS near the top which shows how it has balanced its programmes in terms of academic rigour and practical business sense.

  4. Columbia Business School: The location of New York City provides a strategic edge to Columbia University while it’s close working relationships with corporate America buttress its ranking.

  5. IESE MBA; MIT Sloan; UC Berkeley Haas; Chicago Booth; UCLA Anderson; Yale School of Management - these institutions are highly ranked by both sources thereby confirming their consistent performance through years. Comparing ranks secured by select schools in QS Global 2024 Global MBA Ranking vs FT Global MBA Ranking 2023 gives one insights into various assessment criteria as well as strengths per each ranking. 


Here's a comparative analysis of MBA Rankings of top ranked Business Schools:


Columbia Business School

  • FT Rank: 1

  • QS Rank: 7

Columbia's top position in the FT ranking indicates exceptional performance across a broad range of criteria, including career progression and research. Its QS rank, while still in the top 10, suggests other schools may edge out Columbia in QS-specific criteria like employability and thought leadership.


Harvard Business School

  • FT Rank: 4

  • QS Rank: 3

Harvard's consistent top rankings in both FT and QS highlights its unparalleled reputation, academic rigor, and the strength of its alumni network, reflecting well-rounded excellence.


London Business School

  • FT Rank: 16

  • QS Rank: 4

LBS's stronger performance in the QS ranking could be attributed to its high employability score and global alumni network, while the FT ranking reflects its broader performance across various metrics.


  • FT Rank: 17

  • QS Rank: 5

HEC Paris's higher rank in QS than in FT could indicate its strengths in employability and alumni outcomes, which are heavily weighted in the QS methodology.


  • FT Rank: 10

  • QS Rank: 16

Yale's top 10 position in the FT ranking is indicative of its strong career progress and satisfaction scores among alumni. Its QS rank reflects competitive performance, though other schools may surpass it in QS-specific criteria. Yale's strong FT rank indicates high satisfaction and career progress among alumni. Its QS rank, while still in the top tier, suggests it's in a competitive field particularly in QS metrics like employability and thought leadership.


Insead MBA

  • FT Rank: 2

  • QS Rank: 11

Insead's strong FT rank reflects its global orientation and diverse community. Its QS rank indicates competitive performance, particularly in employability and international mobility, though it faces stiff competition in these areas.


The comparison shows that schools excel in different areas as highlighted by their ranks in the two rankings. The FT ranking provides a broad assessment including diversity, international exposure, and research, while QS focuses on employability, ROI, and thought leadership. This analysis highlights the importance for prospective students to consider multiple factors when choosing an MBA program, as rankings provide just one perspective on a school's strengths and offerings.


Author's Bio:


Shruti P is a seasoned MBA admissions consultant at GOALisB, known for her strategic insights and personalized approach to helping candidates navigate the complex landscape of business school admissions. Shruti's expertise extends beyond admissions consulting; she is also a thought leader in the field, contributing valuable knowledge through articles, webinars, and workshops that demystify the admissions process and highlight the latest trends in MBA education.

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