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The 50 Best MBA Programs For Finance, According To The Financial Times

US business schools dominate the Financial Times’ Top MBAs for Finance ranking, but fewer women study finance in the US

By  Thomas Nugent

Wed May 9 2018

US Business Schools dominate the Financial Times’ Top MBAs for Finance 2018 Ranking released today. 27 out of the 50 schools on the list are based in the States.

The best MBA for finance is found at Stanford Graduate School of Business, followed by Wharton: University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago Booth School of Business, Harvard Business School, and New York University (NYU) Stern School of Business.

MIT Sloan School of Management and Columbia Business School complete the US’s representation in the top-10.

The Top MBAs for Finance ranking is based on the number of business school alumni who find work in finance, banking, or fintech startups in the three years after graduating. As the world’s largest economy, it’s no surprise that the US is the list’s prevailing global hegemon when it comes to finance.

But, according to the Graduate Management Admission Council’s (GMAC) 2018 Alumni Perspectives Survey, careers in finance have taken a hit since the global financial crisis a decade ago.

Between 2006 and 2010, the percentage of graduates pursuing careers in finance dropped—it now sits at 13% for MBA students who graduated between 2016 and 2017. Interestingly, for the same time period, the percentage of alumni finding employment in tech-related roles began to rise—it now sits at 18% for 2016-to-2017 MBA grads.

As technology has developed, it has overlapped into the financial sector too—blockchain, cryptocurrencies, and the emergence of a wave of fintech startups has seen the re-emergence of finance as 'cool'.

No more so than in Asia. “Shanghai is widely recognized as the most dynamic financial center in Asia, with vast potential for growth on the world stage,” says professor Juan Fernandez, the associate dean and MBA director at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS).

CEIBS is the highest ranked Chinese-based school in the Top MBAs for Finance Ranking—it sits in ninth place, a climb of 14 places on last year. Juan adds that this is representative of not only Shanghai’s economic development, “but also the school’s continuous efforts and its academic rigor.”

Elsewhere in China, the University of Hong Kong (HKU) is ranked 13th, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) is 14th, and the Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) is 31st.

Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai and Renmin University of China School of Business round off the six China-based schools in the ranking.

Women in finance

Three of the China-based schools also feature in the top 10 schools for female representation—breaking the stereotype of finance being a male-only club. HKU is in fourth place, with 36% female representation, while 32% of seventh-placed HKUST’s students are women. Shanghai Jiao Tong University: Antai, in 10th place, completes the list with 30% representation.

Despite global dominance, only two US business schools feature among the top 10 MBA programs for finance with strong female representation—40% of the University of Southern California: Marshall’s cohort, and 30% of Stanford Graduate School of Business’s MBA class are women.

That suggests that in the US the allure of strong financial business schools is one that primarily attracts male MBAs. In contrast, almost half the schools in the top 10 MBAs for finance ranking with strong female representation are from the UK or Europe.

ESADE Business School, Barcelona, leads Europe’s charge, with 38% female MBAs, placing the school globally as the third best option for female MBAs eager to pursue a career in finance. The UK’s Alliance Manchester Business School, Imperial College Business School, and London's Cass Business School—where 32% of MBAs are female—complete the list.