Financial Times Master in Management Ranking 2021

According to the Financial Times, these business schools offer the top 10 Masters in Management (MiM) programs in the world:

  1. University of St.Gallen
  2. HEC Paris
  3. University College Dublin: Smurfit
  4. London Business School
  5. Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
  6. Essec Business School
  7. ESCP Business School
  8. Stockholm School of Economics
  9. Imperial College Business School
  10. Edhec Business School

In this article, we’re going to take a closer look at the FT Masters in Management Ranking 2021 and the criteria used to arrive at the final ranking. If you would prefer to read our analysis of the 2021 list and how to use it to find your ideal MiM, you can scroll straight to the bottom of the article.

What is the FT Masters in Management Ranking?

The FT Masters in Management Ranking is an annual list of the best MiM programs in the world. A MiM is an MBA alternative that requires applicants to have little or no work experience. The ranking was launched in 2004, making the 2021 list the 17th edition. To be eligible for the ranking, the program must be full-time and accredited by either AACSB or EQUIS.

In the 2021 list, the Master in Strategy and International Management (SIM) at the University of St.Gallen is number one for the 11th consecutive year. We spoke to Omid Aschari, the Program Director, to understand why it continues to top the list.

“Our philosophy is that you are never done as a human being,” he says. “You’re always searching, exploring, building your potential, and that continues lifelong…I can only speak for the program and the people I know at the school, but the fact that such a program gets to prevail for so long is a compliment to the institution.” (01:04)

Omid adds, “I think as a SIMmie, the students feel that here is a place where they can learn more about themselves, and I think this is something which most of the students share.” (01:50)

What are the criteria of the ranking?

The Financial Times Masters in Management Ranking has a total of 17 criteria. Seven of these come from an alumni survey taken three years after graduation, while the other 10 are calculated using data from the business school. The criteria can be loosely divided into these areas:

Financial (35%)
This section covers the weighted salary of students three years after graduation (20%), their post-MiM salary increase (10%), and value for money of the course (5%).

Diversity (22%)
The diversity of a school is measured by looking at the percentage of female faculty (5%), female students (5%), women on board (1%), international faculty (5%), international students (5%), and international board (1%).

Career (20%)
This covers two quantitative measures – career progress (5%), which is calculated by looking at the change in a graduate’s seniority and size of company since graduating, and graduate employment rate after three months (5%). Alumni are also asked to rate their school’s careers service (5%) and the extent to which they achieved their aims after graduating (5%).

International Travel (13%)
The FT rates programs based on their international mobility (8%), international course experience (4%), and extra languages (1%). These criteria look at whether alumni secure employment in a new country, international travel opportunities during the program, and the number of extra languages (besides English) required to graduate.

Other (6%)
The final measure is the percentage of faculty members that hold a doctorate (6%).

Of these criteria, Omid highlights aims achieved as a key indicator for St. Gallen. He explains, “Aims achieved is actually a very important indicator, because it’s more general but it’s the most important indicator in my view because it basically signals how alumni evaluate what the program was able to do for them.” (15:26)

“So once they are three years in the job market and have gone through a lot of sophisticated training…and they have seen all the spectrum of things in those three years. Then they look back and they say: ‘How did this program help me to get where I am right now?’ And that is actually the meaning of this indicator (aims achieved),” he concludes. (15:54)

Analysis of the FT Masters in Management Ranking 2021

The 2021 ranking is once again dominated by European schools. Of the top 20 schools, only two are from outside Europe: the Tsinghua University School of Economics and Management (20th) and a triple degree program from McIntire, Lingnan, and Esade business schools (11th). 

The biggest movers in the top 20 include ESMT Berlin (+14 to 12th), IE University (+12 to 13th), and EDHEC Business School (+7 to 9th). There was a notable jump for University College Dublin Smurfit, whose MSc in International Management went from 8th to 3rd.

The top program at St.Gallen also ranked number one for career service, aims achieved, and overall satisfaction. They also ranked highly for weighted salary and international student percentage. With such consistency across so many different indicators, it’s easy to see why they finished at the top of the ranking once again.

But what’s most notable about this ranking is the lack of U.S. business schools – Hult International Business School is the only standalone U.S. school on this list. There are a few reasons for that. Firstly, a lot of the top American schools simply don’t offer a program that meets the FT’s eligibility criteria (which we outlined above). But even some programs which seem to meet the criteria – such as those offered by Kellogg School of Management (Northwestern University) and the Stephen M. Ross School of Business (University of Michigan) – don’t appear in the ranking. This could be down to the fact that not enough alumni answer the FT survey, or perhaps because the school doesn’t engage with the ranking.

Regardless of why more U.S. schools don’t appear on the list, it’s difficult to say this is a truly global ranking without them. However, if you’re looking for a MiM program in Europe or Asia, then the FT list is still a very useful guide.

How to use the FT ranking to find your ideal program

As with any ranking, the key to getting the most out of it is to firstly think about your own aims. 

Why do you want to do a MiM? Where will it help you get to in your career? How will a MiM help you get there? Once you know the answers to these questions, you can start looking for a program that meets your needs.

To do this, try sorting the list by the different ranking indicators. If a salary increase is your priority, look at the schools which give their graduates the biggest salary boost. If you want to expand your horizons in an international environment, sort the list by international students %, international faculty %, or international course experience.

Whatever your priorities are, remember that there are more than 100 schools in this ranking, all with their own unique features. Take the time to explore the list in detail to find the school that’s right for you. After all, it might just be the most important decision you ever make.