The Financial Times has released its annual MBA ranking for the year 2018. This was an especially volatile year for the FT ranking with 12 schools dropping off the ranking entirely.  The volatility of this year’s ranking can be further demonstrated by the fact that 23 schools that retained a place in the top 100 from last year experienced double digit increases or falls. The ranking also featured 13 new entrants, notably from Asia. U.S. schools saw resurgence with 12 U.S. schools featuring in the top 20 worldwide.

The top 20 business schools in the world according to the FT 2018 MBA ranking include:

2018 Rank School Name Country
1 Stanford GSB USA
2 INSEAD France/Singapore
3 University of Pennsylvania: Wharton USA
4 London Business School UK
5 Harvard Business School USA
6 University of Chicago: Booth USA
7 Columbia Business School USA
8 CEIBS China
9 Masachusetts Institute of Technology: Sloan School of Management USA
10 University of California at Berkeley: Haas USA
11 University of Navarra: IESE Spain
12 Northwestern University: Kellogg USA
13 University of Cambridge: Judge UK
14 HKUST China
15 Yale University: Yale School of Management USA
16 Dartmouth College: Tuck USA
17 Cornell University: Johnson USA
18 National University of Singapore Singapore
19 Duke University: Fuqua USA
20 ESADE Spain



Highlights of the ranking

  • Stanford Graduate School of Business is back at the top of the FT Global MBA ranking for the second time in 23 years
  • Insead’s one-year MBA, top for the past two years, falls to second place. Stanford was able to nudge aside INSEAD, which had been ranked first by the FT for two consecutive years in 2017 and 2016, by performing better on the three most important metrics used by the British newspaper to compile its annual global MBA ranking. Stanford handily beat INSEAD on “weighted salary” and “salary increase” over pre-MBA pay, two factors that alone account for 40% of the ranking.
  • University of Pennsylvania: Wharton remains third, while London Business School’s two-year programme, up to fourth place after a rare drop outside the top five, is the top British MBA. Harvard Business School drops to fifth, its lowest rank since 2008.
  • The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business climbed three places to rank sixth from ninth in 2017, Columbia Business School maintained its seventh place finish, CEIBS was eighth, and improvements in rank for No. 9 MIT Sloan and No. 10 UC-Berkeley Haas School of Business brought those two American favorites into the top ten. Sloan and Haas had been tied for a rank of 13th last year.
  • Asian schools shone in the 2018 ranking. Ceibs, based in Shanghai, is back in the top 10 in eighth place. The National University of Singapore Business School is up eight places to 18, its best performance.
  • Indian schools have had a mixed performance with ISB – the highest ranked Indian school in the 2018 ranking falling one place to twenty eight. The PGPX offered by IIM Ahmedabad fell two places to thirty one. On the other hand the EPGP offered by IIM Bangalore rose 13 places to thirty five while the PGPEX offered by IIM Calcutta rose 18 places to seventy five.
  • Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School Business jumped 10 spots to rank 17th from 27th a year earlier. UCLA’s Anderson School of Management rose seven places to rank 25th from 32, and Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business improved by six positions to earn a rank of 19th from 24th. The biggest fall for a top ten MBA program was at Cambridge University’s Judge Business School which tumbled five places to a rank of 13th this year from eighth place in 2017.
  • Rice University’s Jones Graduate School of Business which climbed 19 places to rank 45th in the world, from 64th a year ago. Washington University’s Olin Business School, under a new dean from Britain, zoomed up 18 spots to rank 50th, from 68th. The University of Edinburgh Business School also rose 18 places to achive a rank of 73rd, much better than last year’s 91st place finish.
  • Lancaster Business School in the United Kingdom plunged 28 spots to rank 70th this year, from 42nd in 2017. University College Dublin’s Smurfit Graduate Business School lost 24 places to end up at 94th, from 70th a year earlier. And the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management plummeted 21 positions to rank 86th, from 65th
  • IE dropped out of the ranking completely because FT could not gather a representative sample of the school’s alumni. Besides IE Business School in Spain, non-U.S. schools that disappeared this year include Incae, which had been ranked 89th last year; Grenoble, ranked 92nd; Spade, ranked 97th; Birmingham, ranked 98th, Vlerick, ranked 99th, and Queen’s University’s Smith School of Business in Ontario, Canada,, ranked 100th last year.
  • Among the U.S. business schools to completely drop off the list this year were the University of South Carolina, which ranked 77th last year; the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, which was ranked 83rd; the University of Iowa’s Tippie School of Business, ranked 84th in 2017; George Washington University, ranked 86th a year ago, and Temple University’s Fox School of Business, which weighed in at a rank of 95 in 2017.

Financial Times Ranking: Methodology

  • FT surveys alumni three years after graduation so the programs need to be at least four years old.
  • To qualify for the ranking, FT also requires that a minimum of 20% of a school’s alumni reply to the Financial Times Ranking survey, with at least 20 fully completed responses.
  • Participating programs must have a minimum of 30 graduates each year to be considered.
  • Alumni responses inform eight criteria that together contribute 59% of the ranking’s weight. The first two reflect alumni incomes three years after graduation. The salaries of non-profit and public sector workers and full-time students are removed. Remaining salaries are converted to US dollars using October 2015 International Monetary Fund purchasing power parity rates.
  • An average is calculated for each school and this figure, “weighted salary”, carries 20% of the ranking’s marks.
  • FT data from the past three years is used for alumni-informed criteria. Responses from the 2016 survey carry 50% of total weight and those from 2015 and 2014, 25% each. Excluding salary criteria, if only two years of data are available, the weighting is split 60:40 if data are from 2016 and 2015, or 70:30 if they are from 2016 and 2014. For salary figures, the weighting is 50:50 for two years’ data.
  • Eleven criteria are calculated from school data, accounting for 31% of the final ranking. These measure the diversity of staff, board members, students by gender, nationality and the MBA’s international reach. For gender criteria, schools with a 50:50 composition score highest.


The detailed ranking and methodology can be found on



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