Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Financial Times MBA Rankings Summary (Part 2 of 3)

After a small delay, here is the 2nd part in a 3 part series breaking down the comparative rankings of Canadian Schools in the 2008 Financial Times MBA Rankings. Part 1 looked at the schools overall ranking and the rankings on salary 3 years after graduation. Part 2 looks at Salary Increase, Career Progress, and Value for Money.

Financial Times Salary Increase Rankings

Salary increase is a fairly straightforward measure that simply states the increase in salary from prior to entering the MBA program to 3 years after graduation. Or to extend the idea further, the number is a rough guide to forecasting how much you could expect to be earning above your current salary 3 years after completing your MBA.

A number of years ago, the salary increases being reported were fairly astronomical with most Canadian schools bringing an increase in salary of over 125%. Rotman and Ivey both had increases of over 180%. A lot of the variation amongst Canadian schools has disappeared and today the average salary increase is 93%. This reflects not only the greater importance that schools have placed on admitting students with considerable work experience (and hence a higher entering salary), but also some of the reduction in a premium paid to MBA graduates to a more reasonable level.

Financial Times MBA Career Progress Rankings

The Career Progress ranking takes into account changes in the level of seniority and changes to the size of the firm that graduates are working at. Depending on your current position within an organization and where you want to move in your career, this is a good measure to see what sort of advancement opportunities different schools offer you.

That being said, the career progress rankings are among the hardest to actually compare schools on. The ranking is based on changes in the level of seniority, so if you enter a school from a high level position and leave to a similar level position but with a much higher salary or in a more dynamic field this would not be reflected in the career progress rank. No Canadian school did incredible well overall in career progress, but Schulich probably deserves some mention. In 2003, they ranked 2nd overall in career progress and now in 2008 they are ranked 49th globally. Does that imply that they have become a worse school compared to their peers in the last 5 years? No, I'd actually venture a fairly sound guess that they have been able to attract much more qualified candidates who are higher up on the corporate ladder when they returned to school to pursue their MBA.

Financial Times Value for Money Ranking

A look at the true benefit of completing an MBA wouldn't be complete without examining the cost that goes into completing the degree. The Value for Money measure attempts to incorporate the cost of the program into the program rankings. The measure compares the salary earned 3 years after graduation to not only the cost of the program (tuition) but also the opportunity cost of not working while pursuing the MBA.

Value for Money is interesting to take a look at because you can see how changes to a schools tuition affect their ranking in this category and also how improvements to the program are improving the schools reputation. With low tuition, the University of Alberta has claimed the top spot among Canadian schools in Value for Money. Traditionally among the lowest tuition's at major schools across Canada, an improvement in the other rankings has helped moved Alberta up. Rotman has fallen a fair bit in the last 5 years, although that is likely down to an increase in tuition.

One caveat to focusing solely on Value for Money, this doesn't take account of the potential networks and connections that you can build in a program. If you have your heart set on becoming an Investment Banker in Toronto, considering Alberta (27) or McGill (33) might not be your best choice simply because they won't have the connections that Rotman (69) would have. Similarly, if you want to work on the West Coast, an MBA from Schulich wouldn't have the same effect as an MBA from UBC. Value for Money only takes salary into account and doesn't have a way to differentiate based on other factors.

Updated Link:
2009 Financial Times MBA Rankings

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