IMD of Switzerland and France's HEC Paris took second and third places respectively.
European schools dominate the top places, coming ahead of Harvard Business School and Duke Corporate Education of the US. The rankings also come as Europe’s schools gain ground on their US peers across the board. The MBA at INSEAD, established in France, this year became the number-one program in the world.
IESE not only took first place for customized courses sold to companies, but came second for its open enrolment programs. That means it tops the combined ranking of the world’s top 50 business schools for executive education — the best performance of any school since the ranking was established in 1999.
Executive education is typically a set of non-degree programs that are tailored to corporations or open to all. The FT compiles separate rankings for both the customized programs, the open programs, and a third which combines them both. The FT’s rankings are based on criteria such as students’ and clients’ satisfaction, internationality of the schools and diversity of participants and faculty.
IESE’s success can be put down to two factors: its set of global clients and the academic expertise of its faculty — it scored highly on both metrics.
Meanwhile, HEC Paris is in second place in the customized ranking for the seventh year in a row, behind IESE. Duke Corporate Education of the US is ranked third.
IMD claimed the top spot in the open-enrolment ranking for the fifth year running. IESE and Harvard Business School are second and third respectively.
The FT data show North American schools overall tend to have better open-enrolment programs, while European institutions have the edge with customized programs. Seven of the top-10 schools for custom programs are in Europe, including London Business School, Italy’s SDA Bocconi, and Cranfield School of Management in the UK.
Asia is the third best region overall, followed by South America, Oceania and Africa. Shanghai’s Antai College of Economics & Management will earn plaudits for making the top-10 customized course list. It is also ranked first for value for money.
Also in the custom ranking, Alliance Manchester Business School of the UK rose 12 places to no 36. Five schools were ranked for the first time, including the University of Tennessee at Knoxville at no 45.
For the open-enrolment programs, Boston’s Questrom School of Business shot up 27 places to no 35. Cambridge Judge Business School of the UK rose 18 spots to no 32. Three schools made their debuts, the highest of which, at no 69, is Ireland’s Smurfit Graduate Business School.