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Harvard Business School Reins Supreme in Financial Times Global MBA Rankings

300px-Harvard_business_school_baker_library_2009a1For the third consecutive year and the sixth since the rankings debuted in 1999, Harvard Business School (HBS) appears at the top of the Financial Times Global MBA annual rankings, released yesterday. London Business School continued its upward climb, ascending into the number two spot from number three last year. The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania moved up a spot as well, to third. Stanford Graduate School of Business, meanwhile, fell from the number two spot last year to share fourth this year with INSEAD.

The FT compiles its annual global MBA rankings based on two surveys of the business schools and their alumni. (For this year rankings, alumni who graduated in 2011 were surveyed.) Based on the responses to these surveys, the MBA programs are ranked according to the career progression of their alumni, the school’s idea generation and the diversity of students and faculty.

HBS’ alumni reported the highest average salary three years after graduation ($179,910), representing a 96 percent increase over pre-MBA salaries. Stanford slipped in this arena, contributing to its slip in the overall rankings. Its alumni reported an average salary of $177,089, which while close to HBS’s and above other schools, represented just an 80 percent increase over pre-MBA salaries for that school’s students.

Across all schools, MBAs who graduated in 2011 earned an average of 92 percent more than they did before starting their programs, which—while it does mean they can expect to nearly double their income—still represents a significant decrease from years past. “At the MBA’s zenith in 2002 and 2003, the increase was 153 per cent, and as recently as 2012 it provided an average 110 per cent step-up to earnings,” the FT wrote in its analysis of this year’s rankings.

As in past years, U.S. schools dominated the rankings, making up 50 of the top 100 schools in the global list. That said, the top 20 is home to schools from around the globe, with LBS and INSEAD joined by Spain’s IESE, IE and ESADE, as well as China’s CIEBS and HKUST, the U.K.’s Judge School of Business and France’s HEC Paris.

As always, those of us here at Clear Admit encourage prospective applicants to use a school’s performance in these and other rankings as just one of many measurements to determine the MBA program that will best fit your individual needs.

View the complete Financial Times 2015 Global MBA Rankings.