MBA blog

FT Attempts To Rank Best MBAs For Women

While many MBA programs fight for gender equality, a new and very interesting ranking has appeared in the Financial Times. This March 5, the newspaper has published information from its recent global MBA ranking, which shows which business schools are best suited for female MBAs.

Asian business schools take the lead

The overall ‘winner’ of the rankings is Shanghai Jiao Tong University. The second place went to Stanford Graduate School of Business, the third to Berkeley Haas, followed by Olin School of Business (Washington University) and Harvard Business School, Poets&Quants reports.

More than 10 American schools landed spots in the top-20 ranking, while Asian schools got four out of the top 10. As has already been mentioned, Jiao Tong University got the overall 1st place, with the University of Hong Kong (6th), Renmin University of China of Business (8th place) and Singapore Nanyang Business School (10th) closely following.

The highest-positioned European business school in the new ranking was the Spanish ESADE Business School (11th place), with London Business School coming in 16th and INSEAD on the 23rd place.

Asian schools got half of the top ten places due to the FT methodology, where salaries for female MBA graduates play a significant role. Asian female alumni showed the largest increases in salary among all rated schools.

Highest average salaries shown by American schools

Female alumni’s highest average salaries are all reported by US full-time MBA programs: Stanford ($197,791), Berkeley Haas ($179,930), Wharton ($172,489), and Harvard ($171,587).

20 out of 50 schools’ female alumni more than doubled their pre-MBA remuneration after obtaining their degrees. Still, Asian schools showed even better results: Jiao Tong University reported that their women alumni’s salaries grew by 224% compared to pre-MBA earnings; Renmin reported a 180% increase, and Indian School of Business reported a 177% raise.

American business schools with largest increases in earnings for female MBAs were as follows: Olin Business School (153%), Rochester Simon (141%), Indiana Kelley (133%), Cornel Johnson (125%), UNC Kenan-Flagler (117%), Dartmouth Tuck (116%), Chicago Booth (114%), Washington Foster (113%), USC Marshall (113%), Rice Jones (112%) and Berkeley Haas (110%).

Does the ranking truly reflect how MBA programs fit women?

Measuring business schools as the best cultural fit for female students and graduates is a difficult feat, as a survey doesn’t reflect the ‘soft’ qualities, only numbers. The most weight (45%) is put on female graduates’ salaries: 15% is allocated to the average women MBA salary 3 years after getting the degree, 15% more to increases in earnings compared to the pre-MBA ones, and the last 15% go to the ‘gender pay gap’, the comparison of females’ salaries to males’.

However, these numbers don’t let you know about how encouraging, friendly and supportive the business school culture actually is for women. Salaries are formed by several factors, not the least of them being the school’s prestige, the business industry chosen by the graduate, the city and state where they work etc.

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