These are the top business schools in the world – where an MBA could double your salary
These are the top business schools in the world – where an MBA could double your salary

The Financial Times has published its annual ranking of the world’s top business schools.

FT’s Global MBA index for 2020 received submissions from 150 business schools around the world, which was then narrowed to a list of the top 100 schools.

According to the FT, there are troubled times afoot for full-time MBAs, with some 52% of MBA courses covered in the survey reporting declining applications compared with 40% for whom numbers increased.

“This has produced fragmentation, or…regional islands of education. Applicants are picking just one or two schools rather than three or four and are staying closer to home in these choices,” it reported.

Despite this, the established elite schools which have ranked in the upper reaches of the ranking have managed to maintain their solid hold on the global MBA market.

In the 2020 ranking, Harvard Business School has overtaken the Stanford Graduate School of Business to be ranked the top full-time MBA in the world (with the latter dropping to third position), followed by the University of Pennsylvania: Wharton, up from fourth position previously.

A key part of the FT’s analysis of MBAs is including the weighted average salary graduates have earned over the last three years, and the percentage increase this represents on their salaries from before the MBA.

Salary increases among the MBA graduates range from $90,000 (R1.3 million) a year to $222,000 (R3.2 million), with increases ranging between 58% and 216%.

These are the top 15 business schools in the world:

#SchoolSalary% increase
1Harvard Business School$210 110110%
2University of Pennsylvania: Wharton$211 543107%
3Stanford Graduate School of Business$222 625117%
4Insead$181 277101%
5Ceibs$185 103187%
6MIT: Sloan$197 177119%
7London Business School$171 492105%
8Columbia Business School$202 238115%
9HEC: PAris$164 529133%
10University of Chicago: Booth$191 679123%
11Northwestern University: Kellogg$186 438109%
12University of California at Berkley: Haas$193 630110%
13Iese Business School$151 347119%
14Yale School of Management$178 829128%
15National University of Singapore Business School$167 070148%

South Africa

No South African schools were ranked among the top 100 in 2019, with the country’s last appearance on the list back in 2016, when the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) was the 76th best business school in the world. In 2017, it no longer featured.

However, the FT pointed to high growth in executive education, which has become one of the fastest-growing business courses.

In the 2019 Executive MBA, published in November, the UCT Graduate School of Business (GSB) ranked 47th in the world, and the best in Africa, for its MBA specialising in Executive Management (EMBA) according to the Financial Times.

The UCT GSB EMBA has now been ranked by three separate organisations (including Eduniversal and Quacquarelli Symonds) as the best EMBA in Africa and is the first African programme to be ranked in the top 50 worldwide, the institution said.

“This is a big deal,” said interim director of the UCT GSB Associate Professor Kosheek Sewchurran. “This ranking is a significant endorsement for the innovative work we are doing here in Africa to find better ways to produce ethical, aware and empathetic leaders capable of leading with impact in the 21st Century.”

The Gordon Institute of Business Science at the University of Pretoria ranked 82nd in 2019, and according to the FT is the most gender-balanced school in the ranking, with women making up half of the faculty and 51% of the student body.

The school performed well in other categories, ranking 16th for coverage of corporate social responsibility in its EMBA’s core curriculum. However, it dropped 15 places overall, “partly due to a large drop in the increase in salary for graduates,” the FT said.