European schools, which pioneered the degree, still have a stranglehold on the market: they account for 29 of 40 schools included in The Economist’s latest ranking of MiMs published today.
HEC Paris retains the number one spot it had in the Economist’s last league table in 2017. The University of St Gallen in Switzerland and SKEMA Business School of France displaced the University of Virginia in the US and Germany’s WHU to claim second and third place, respectively.
The growth in the market for MiMs is reflected in the ranking with the arrival of Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, at number 24 on the list. Duke Fuqua has been one of the pioneers of the MiM in the US, and its program was launched as recently as 2014.
However, the school’s relatively low rank may reflect how new the MiM is in the US. Duke Fuqua scored second lowest on career opportunities among all ranked schools, which chimes with concerns among US schools that recruiters in the country have been slow to warm to MiMs.
The Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) latest employer survey found that 39% of US companies planned to hire MiM graduates last year. This compares poorly with Asia Pacific and Europe, where nearly three-quarters of companies planned to hire MiM graduates. This apparent reluctance to hire MiM alumni may slow the progress of US schools in the ranking.
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The key factor that decides the top 40 MiM programs is the career opportunities they provide. The ranking is also compiled based on schools’ educational experience, network and graduate salaries.
HEC Paris came up trumps because of its top ranking for educational experience and for career opportunities. All of its job-seeking graduates get job offers three months after graduation and they rated the school’s career services highly. HEC Paris was also top for its alumni network, student diversity and faculty quality, or the proportion of faculty who have a PhD.
Elite French schools like HEC Paris, known as the Grande Ecoles, established the MiM decades ago, as a pathway to the boardrooms of Europe’s largest listed companies. More recently, several US and Asian schools have launched MiMs, so as to capitalize on a growing demand for the courses. INSEAD, for example, announced this year it would launch a new master's in management in France and Singapore.
But European schools still dominate the market, led by French institutions, which took four of the top 10 spots.
Etienne Grimonprez, director of masters programs at IÉSEG School of Management in Lille and Paris, says: “The Grandes Ecoles were created more than a century ago to meet the needs of growing industries and often at the initiative of employers.
"They have a long tradition of proximity to companies and strong adaptability to market developments. Internships or projects related to real business problems are still elements that make France’s Grandes Ecoles [good].”
This year’s highest new entrant is SKEMA, a business school with roots in France but which has campuses around the world. It placed third overall. SKEMA came top for career opportunities, for example for having graduates that go on to work in a diverse range of sectors.
ESCP Europe, another French-made school that has expanded in Europe, entered the ranking in fourth place. The school scored highly for networking, with 70 overseas alumni chapters. The post-MiM salary was also high: $65,606, compared with tuition fees of €19,070 per year.
The European stranglehold on the ranking seems unlikely to change in the immediate future. The overall market is growing, with applications up by 2.6% globally between 2017 and 2018, according to a GMAC survey. But the growth is not equal. Two-thirds of European MiM programs reported application growth in 2018, while in the US 71% recorded declines.
That may mean US schools accept relatively lower calibre candidates, which may be reflected in their career outcomes, which account for much in the ranking.