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Columbia Business School Leads Financial Times MBA Ranking 2023 As US Schools Continue To Dominate

Columbia Business School is ranked the number one MBA program in the world in 2023, the first time in history the school has led the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking

Mon Feb 13 2023

Columbia Business School leads the Financial Times Global MBA Ranking for the first time in 25 years, continuing its strong performance after ranking second in 2022. 

While the New York-based school doesn't place top in any of the ranking criteria, Columbia consistently ranks well across a variety of metrics. Notable achievements include ranking second in the research category and third for alumni salary three years after graduation. 

Columbia is one of seven US schools to place among the top-10, it’s joined by other M7 business schools including the likes of Harvard Business School and Stanford Graduate School of Business. 

The Wharton School, which ranked first in 2022 and has held the top spot more times than any other institution, drops out of the ranking after failing to gather enough alumni survey responses. 

Despite the continued dominance of the US, it’s two European b-schools, INSEAD and IESE Business School, that place second and third respectively. Overall 14 US schools feature among the top 20, France has two, while Spain, the UK, Italy, and China all have one. 

The Financial Times changed its ranking methodology this year. The weighting for salary outcomes fell from two-fifths to one-third, while more weighting was given to diversity and sustainability metrics. 

US business schools continue dominance of FT MBA ranking

Despite the new methodology, the US continues its dominance taking the same number of spots among the top-20 as in 2022’s ranking. 

University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business rose to seventh place after finishing 14th in 2022. Likewise Cornell University’s Johnson College of Business rose nine places to finish eighth overall. 

M7 Business School, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, drops four places to finish in ninth. Yale School of Management places 10th after finishing ninth last year. 

Three top US schools tie for 11th place: MIT Sloan and University of Chicago Booth School of Business—both part of the M7—are joined by Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, which rises from 19th in 2022. 

UCLA Anderson School of Management rises from 26th to place 14th in 2023, while Dartmouth College’s Tuck School of Business, University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, and New York University’s Stern School of Business also finish among the top-20.

US schools tend to perform well due to their strong career outcomes. Stanford, Harvard, and Columbia lead the salary ranking with alumni from each school earning more than $225k on average, three years after graduation. Stanford grads earn $253,435, Harvard grads take home $235,177, while Columbia grads earn $228,425 on average. Overall 12 of the 14 highest earners were US-based schools.

Elsewhere US schools rank top in areas including value for money—led by University of Massachusetts Amherst: Isenberg—and the newly added criteria of efforts to reduce carbon footprint, which was led by Darden. 

Cornell ranks top for the value of its alumni network, while Stanford and Michigan State University Broad College of Business are tied for first place for the number of alumni who said they achieved their aims. Harvard, the birthplace of the MBA, led the research ranking.

Rise and fall among leading European schools 

Despite the dominance of US schools, a number of top European schools have risen up the ranking in 2023.

INSEAD rises from third place in 2022 to finish second this year. INSEAD had the world’s top-ranked MBA in 2021 when many top US schools boycotted business school rankings.

INSEAD performs well across several categories: alumni average salaries after three years are more than $200k, while 89% of students say the program helped achieve their aims. 

IESE jumps seven spots to place third. The Spanish school ranked among the top-five in 2021 but fell to 10th in 2022. As many as 94% of IESE grads were employed within three months, while the percentage increase between pre and post-MBA salaries was 144%. 

Italy’s SDA Bocconi School of Management rises seven places to finish sixth. Bocconi places second in the carbon footprint rank and also posts strong salary prospects, with alumni earning more than $190k on average after three years. 

Some prestigious European schools including France’s HEC Paris and the UK’s London Business School have fallen in this year’s ranking. HEC Paris ranks 17th after ranking 11th in 2022. It was among the top 10 two years ago. LBS, which ranked second in 2021 and eighth last year, finishes in 16th place. 

The FT’s updated 2023 ranking is based on surveys of 142 schools, all of which are accredited by Equis or the AACSB. The FT uses school data and alumni survey responses to form an overall ranking for each school. 

Check out the full Financial Times 2023 MBA Ranking report