Masters in Management

For those with little or no work experience, Masters in Management is the MBA alternative, and the Financial Times has already ranked them for your selection convenience.

Masters in management programs are intended for those who have recently graduated from undergraduate degrees — unlike the MBA degree which usually requires years of work experience. Not surprisingly, the average age of those studying for a pre-experience masters degree was 22, according to our survey.

The Financial Times has conducted its first-ever Masters in Management ranking, evaluating the pre-experience masters programs from Europe’s premier business schools. It is intended to give a thorough assessment of this masters qualification and an insight into the business schools and their alumni.

The ranking is truly Europe-wide. As well as the seven French and five British schools, it includes two from the Netherlands and four from the Nordic region. There was one in each of Austria, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Ireland and Spain.

The rankings were compiled with data from two sets of surveys — one completed by the business schools and the other completed by the alumni who graduated from the respective programs three years ago, in 2002.

Initially, 29 schools participated in the survey. Four of the 29 schools did not make it on to the final table, as there was an inadequate response from the alumni.

The Financial Times contacted 5,430 alumni and 2,065 of them fully completed the on-line questionnaire — a response rate overall of 38 percent. This has provided a substantial overview of the alumni’s careers.

The salary data and weighted salary figures are standardized by conversion to euros using Purchasing Power Parity (PPP) rates estimated by the World Bank.

The PPP rates are rates of currency conversion, which when applied, place different currencies in equilibrium so all of these currencies accurately reflect the cost of standard goods in each country.

Salaries from each school are then weighted to reflect the variation in salaries between different sectors. The weights are derived by calculating the breakdown of sectors in which the alumni are working today, among all the alumni in the survey. This weighting is only applied to data from schools where more than 50 alumni completed the survey.

The “employment at three months (%)” field displays the percentage of alumni employed at three months and the figure within the brackets is the proportion of the class the school actually had employment data for.

Seven of the top 16 slots have been won by French schools and in the top 10, four of the schools are French. The two Parisian schools, HEC Paris and ESCPEAP scoop the top two places in the ranking.

France’s dominance is not surprising, as management studies have always attracted the brightest and the best through the country’s elite Grande Ecole system. However, not all the French schools submitted their Grande Ecole program for the ranking.

Both Essec, in Paris, and Grenoble Graduate School of Business decided to submit stand-alone masters degrees for the ranking — the Grande Ecole schools run three-year degree programs, but students with an appropriate undergraduate degree can enter at the beginning of the second year to work towards the masters degree.

Five British schools have made it into the ranking of the top 25 European programs, headed by the London School of Economics and the University of Bradford.

The hallmark of the British schools was their ability to attract overseas students. Along with Grenoble, the five UK schools topped this category in the ranking. For those alumni who studied in Europe, but did not hold European nationality, the program was often a means of getting a job in Europe after graduation. Of those non-European alumni who responded, 57.9 percent took up work in Europe on graduation. The biggest motivation for a masters degree in management is the career prospects according to the 2,000 who responded to our survey.

Most of those who graduate with the degree found jobs in blue chip companies — 54 percent of respondents said they worked for companies with more than 5,000 employees, and nearly a third (31 percent), work for companies with more than 50,000 employees. Ten percent of the alumni who responded set up their own company during or after their masters.