Harvard Business School claimed the top spot, followed by London Business School and Wharton School, which both edged upwards one place in the rankings.
This is the sixth time in a row Harvard has topped the list, despite falling down to eighth place in Bloomberg’s list of the best US business schools in November.
Its alumni have the highest average salary three years after graduation – $179,910. Harvard is also among the top schools for career progression, and its MBA was the most highly recommended by graduates of other business schools.
The FT rankings are based on surveys of business schools and nearly 10,000 of their 2011 graduates. MBA programs are assessed according to three factors: the career progression of alumni; the business school’s idea generation; and the diversity of students and faculty.
Despite US dominance of the top spots, there were promising signs for Europe, with both INSEAD and IESE Business School ranked among the top-10 globally, along with LBS.
In a year in which a record 159 business schools took part, the rankings show signs of the growing appeal of Asia’s MBA programs.
Shanghai’s China Europe International Business School climbed to 11th place, now among the highest ranking in Asia along with INSEAD which has a campus in Singapore.
China’s Fudan University School of Management recorded the strongest progress, climbing 28 places to 55 in the ranking, along with the UK’s Lancaster University Management School which climbed 27 places to 50.
Hong Kong’s CUHK Business School and Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai entered the rankings at 30th and 55th places, having both missed out last year.
Fudan University School of Management in Shanghai climbed from 83rd to 55th place.
The Indian Institute of Management – Ahmedabad rose to 26th in the rankings, although its sister school IIM Bangalore fell several places.
Nonetheless, with Singapore’s University of Hong Kong, Nanyang Business School and National University of Singapore Business School, and Sungkyunkwan University GSB in South Korea, this year’s rankings show a strong grouping of leading Asian business schools.
Europe’s schools too had a strong showing, some better than in 2014. Spain’s IE Business School moved from 13th to 12th place in the rankings. HEC Paris of France climbed from 21st to 16th spot, and ESADE Business School in Spain rose from 22nd to 19th place.
The Lisbon MBA in Portugal climbed an impressive 16 places to claim spot 36 in 2015, and Germany’s Mannheim Business School rose 11 spots to claim 55th place in the rankings.
Average alumni salary three years after graduation is $133,000, an increase of 93% on pre-MBA pay.
MBA students’ main motivations are to increase their earnings, to learn about general management and to network. About 95% achieved their aims.
The University of San Diego School of Business Administration is the highest new entrant, at 66th place.
Nine other business schools that did not feature in 2014’s rankings feature in 2015, including Queen’s School of Business in Ontario, which last made the list in 2006.
Queen’s joins the Sauder School of Business as among the group of Canadian schools ranked the best in the world.
Other schools that did not feature last year include the Macquarie Graduate School of Management in Australia.
It joins Melbourne Business School and AGSM at UNSW Business School as the country’s top MBA providers.
The University of Cape Town in South Africa was rated as the best value for money.
Wharton is considered the best business school for research, according to the rankings. GWU Business School, also based in the US, rose nine places to take 90th spot in the 2015 rankings.
Elsewhere, the UK’s Imperial College Business School rose 15 places to 34th in the table.
Imperial joins Cass Business School and Durham University Business School, as well as Lancaster, as some of Britain’s best.