MBA graduates are tripling their salaries – these are the top business schools worldwide in 2024

 ·13 Feb 2024

The Financial Times (FT) has published its annual ranking of the world’s top business schools.

FT’s Global MBA index for 2024 received submissions from 132 business schools worldwide and was then narrowed down to the top 100 schools.

The FT surveys alums three years after completing their MBA. For schools to enter the ranking calculations, the FT usually requires that a minimum of 20% of alums reply to the survey, with at least 20 completed surveys.

Outcome measures still account for more than half of the total weighting. As stated by FT, salary levels, three years after completion, and wage increases from before the MBA to now, remain central.

Notably, this year’s ranking also included some essential changes, said FT.

“The environmental, social and governance (ESG) rank is based on the proportion of teaching hours from core courses dedicated to ESG topics and time spent on instructing how organisations can reach net zero. Now, it additionally includes the alumni evaluation of their school’s ESG teaching.

“Additionally, the school’s carbon footprint rank now awards credit to schools with a carbon emissions audit report that includes Scope 3 emissions (those not controlled by the school but which occur externally in its value chain as a result of its activities),” it said.

Business schools in Europe and the United States (US), led for the first time by Wharton (based at the University of Pennsylvania), dominate the top of the FT Global MBA Ranking.

According to the report, of the leading tier of 18 of the 100 business schools ranked in 2024, 12 are in the US, including Harvard and Yale.

Two top-tier schools are in France – Insead (2nd) and HEC Paris (12th) – while fifth-placed Iese is in Spain.

Other top-ranked European schools include SDA Bocconi (3rd) in Italy and London Business School (8th) in the United Kingdom.

No South African schools were ranked among the top 100 in 2024, with the country’s last appearance on the list back in 2016, when the University of Cape Town’s Graduate School of Business (GSB) was the 76th best business school in the world.

The table below shows the top 10 business schools in the world, according to the FT, including the salaries they can expect to earn and the percentage increase in salary they could see.

#SchoolSalary % increase
1University of Pennsylvania: Wharton$245 772 (R4.67 million)121%
2Insead$198 904 (R3.78 million)110%
3Columbia Business School$232 760 (R4.42 million)127%
3SDA Bocconi School of Management$202 534 (R3.85 million)135%
5IESE Business School$186 339 (R3.54 million)139%
6Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management$216 134 (R4.11 million)125%
6MIT: Sloan$229 639 (R4.36 million)130%
8London Business School$192 331 (R3.65 million)108%
9Cornell University: Johnson$194 542 (R3.70 million)150%
10University of Chicago: Booth$228 901 (R4.35 million)126%
Note: When considering all 21 categories used in the ranking process, two schools tied for 43rd place and sixth place. Dollar/Rand conversions are accurate as of 12 February 2024.

Biggest salary increases

Looking at salary increases of graduates from all top 100 schools, the value of an MBA is evident in the large jumps alums see.

Salaries can triple (200% increase) in places like China and India.

The highest salary increases – from when alumni began their MBA to three years after completing it – were reported at the Indian School of Business and two Chinese business schools: Fudan, followed by Shanghai University of Finance and Economics: College of Business.

However, when looking at the highest weighted income, nine of the ten highest-paying MBAs are also from US business schools, led by Stanford, with an average weighted alum salary of $250,650 or R4.76 million p.a., with a salary increase of around 117%.

The top 10 business schools in the world with the highest salary increases, according to the FT, are listed in the table below.

# SchoolSalary% increase
31Indian School of Business$174 421 (R3.31 million)229%
27Fudan University School of Management$169 057 (R3.21 million)194%
24Shanghai University of Finance and Economics$211 973 (R4.02 million)190%
40University of Georgia: Terry$143 382 (R2.72 million)186%
99XLRI – Xavier School of Management$132 534 (R2.52 million)178%
27National University of Singapore Business School$165 973 (R3.15 million)170%
55University of Rochester: Simon Business School$158 563 (R3.01 million)170%
47Indian Institute of Management Bangalore$167 425 (R3.18 million)169%
51Michigan State University: Broad$153 384 (R2.91 million)167%
21Ceibs$189 348 (R3.60 million)163%
Dollar/Rand conversions are accurate as of 12 February 2024.

Read: Germany is tapping skilled South Africans to fill these 20 jobs – with one paying up to R2.5 million

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