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Executive Education Rankings 2020 | Financial Times

We break down the latest Executive Education Rankings by the Financial Times, covering the best business schools for open enrolment courses and customized executive programs

Mon May 11 2020



It’s good news for IESE Business School in 2020's Financial Times Executive Education Rankings. The Spanish school tops the combined ranking of the best business schools for executive education for the sixth year in a row. 

Success in a crisis: IESE Tops FT Ranking

The release of the FT’s Executive Education ranking comes less than three weeks after top industry bodies—including the Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC), AACSB, and EFMD—suggested publishers suspend b-school rankings this year.

They argued coronavirus would alter key metrics that rankings institutions rely on to produce their respective data sets.

According to Unicon, a global consortium of business school-based organizations, the value of the global university-based executive education market was hovering at around $2 billion in 2019. That figure, which was on an upward trajectory, will be impacted by the coronavirus pandemic.

However, according to Mireia Rius, associate dean for executive education at IESE, the school’s success in the FT ranking is partly down to its ability to be agile and respond to the changing needs of its students. “[Knowing how to adapt] is going to be even more important during and after this crisis,” she says.

IESE has recently launched Project Safeguard, for example, a new online program designed to give participants and their companies the tools they need to survive the impact of COVID-19.

The FT's combined ranking considers both open enrolment and customized executive education programs. Customized programs are tailor-made for specific companies. Open enrolment courses are focused on specific topics—leadership, for example—open to experienced professionals and executives from any company. 

IESE tops the customized program ranking in 2020 and comes 10th for open enrolment courses.

Best business schools for Executive Education

Ranking results: European schools dominate

IESE Business School sits atop a top-10 dominated by Europe. HEC Paris—after seeing its full-time MBA break the top 10 in the FT’s Global MBA Ranking released in January year—sits in second place. IMD Business School of Switzerland is in third, followed by INSEAD and Essec Business School in fourth and fifth place, respectively. 

The UK’s University of Oxford Saïd Business School is in eighth place, and ESMT Berlin sits in 10th.

The rest of the top-10 is completed by Stanford Graduate School of Business in sixth place, The University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business in seventh, and Brazil’s Fundação Dom Cabral in ninth. 

Europe has seven schools ranked between 10th and 20th place in the ranking. Esade Business School (11th), SDA Bocconi School of Management (12th), London Business School (14th), Hult Ashridge Executive Education (16th), Edhec Business School (17th), The University of Cambridge Judge Business School (18th), and Stockholm School of Economics (19th) all performed strongly. 

IESE Business School, ranked top for customized executive education programs, is followed by France’s HEC Paris and Essec Business School in second and third, respectively. 

Switzerland’s IMD Business School is ranked best for open enrolment executive education programs in 2020. IMD is followed by Oxford Saïd Business School in second place, and INSEAD in third.

FT Executive Education Rankings: Methodology

Business schools included in the FT's Executive Education Rankings must be internationally accredited by industry bodies Equis or AACSB, and have revenues of at least $2 million in 2019 from either their open enrolment or customized non-degree programs.

Customized programs are primarily ranked based on data provided by the school's client companies. Companies rate the school's performance across criteria like preparation, program design, teaching methods and materials, faculty, new skills and learning, follow-up, aims achieved, facilities, value for money, and future use.

Open enrolment courses are ranked based on a survey of program participants, asking them to rate their courses across criteria including course design, teaching methods and material, faculty, quality of participants, new skills and learning, follow-up, aims achieved, food and accommodation, and facilities.

Financial Times Executive Education Rankings: 20192018