What Can We Learn From The FT Global MBA Ranking 2018?

Discover the major talking points from the FT Global MBA Ranking 2018

The Financial Times has now released its 2018 global MBA rankings. These release dates always have me reflecting on the QS Global MBA Rankings 2018 and how we stack up.


QS data sets are rich, and we often mine them for trends and information that helps us better serve applicants, business schools, and employers. At the same time, these groups find our rankings useful for helping them make more well-informed decisions about where to apply or enroll, improve, and recruit respectively. (You can read my blog about “Why Rankings Matter.”)

Different outlets produce different business school rankings, with varying metrics, so the lists are never quite the same. Many skeptics say this is a means of selling magazines and content. If my list is the same as yours, why would people buy both? That might be at least somewhat true.

Sure, having schools place higher or lower from one year to the next produces anticipation and drama. But that’s not a fair assessment. While no ranking is comprehensive, it does provide a more in-depth picture of the available programs and a means for comparison. We often say that our rankings help further the conversation about the future of business education and the careers it produces. It certainly gives us something to talk about.

The key to understanding the nuanced differences between the QS and FT rankings, is knowing the methodology of each. We put an emphasis on employability. Applicants to business school consistently tell us that a desire to catapult up the career ladder drives them to pursue business degrees. Thus, a business school’s ability to help them make those career moves drives us as we rank programs.

Employer opinion accounts for 35% of the QS Global MBA Ranking 2018. The other big chunk of the pie goes to return on investment (ROI), which accounts for 20%. We round out our scores by considering academic opinion (10%), alumni outcomes (10%), employment rate (5%), entrepreneurship (5%), gender parity (5%), internationalization (5%), and research (5%).

On the other hand, FT focuses on salary, which accounts for 40% of its ranking score. With 20% each of the score going to faculty quality and “internationalization” or diversity, FT rankings highlight different aspects of business schools than QS does. Its rankings also include career progress (6%), career services ratings (2%), employment rate (2%), gender parity (5%), and ROI (3%).

Another difference is the number of schools considered when determining the rankings. QS assessed more than 250 programs and ranked 232 for its 2018 list, whereas the FT considered 155 business schools and ranked 100.

Our data sets take into consideration an overwhelming number of opinions and voices. The business schools on the QS list represent 49 different countries, making our list truly global in nature. Ours is also the first ranking to consider entrepreneurship as a key indicator. We don’t just pay lip service to employability. Between 2012-2017, we collected 158,000 responses from global employers to the QS Global Employer Survey. More recent responses are given the greatest weight in the QS Global MBA Rankings 2018.

To discover more about the differences between the two set of rankings, and which business schools make the top 10 of both, take a look at our QS v FT comparison piece.

Although obviously biased, I believe QS provides a window into the information that really matters to applicants, employers, and business schools. After all, higher education is all about the path to which it leads. Where will this degree take you after graduation? Salary is definitely a part of that. But building a career you love – regardless of how much money you earn – can offer fulfillment.

Still, getting hung up on rankings – which school is No. 1 across the board – is a mistake. Using the rankings wisely – to help find a school that is a good fit for you – is what’s important. Whether you look at the FT or QS rankings, or both, you should look inside your heart to discover your passion and pursue it through your choice of business school.


*This article was originally published on LinkedIn. Please feel free to follow me to share your thoughts and comments. 

Nunzio Quacquarelli

Nunzio is the founder and CEO of QS. Following completion of his own MBA from the Wharton School, he has gone on to become a leader in education management with over 25 years of experience in the industry. He is truly passionate about education and firmly believes in the QS mission to help young people to fulfill their potential through educational achievement, international mobility and career development. 

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