Financial TimesFT Executive Education Ranking 2022: methodology and key

May 22, 20220
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This is the 23rd edition of the Financial Times rankings of the world’s leading providers of customised and open-enrolment executive education programmes.

The custom ranking features the top 70 business schools offering courses tailored to the training needs of the organisations that commission them. The second ranking includes the top 65 schools for open-enrolment programmes — courses on specific topics, such as leadership, that are directed towards professionals regardless of their employer. A third, combined ranking lists the top 50 schools for executive education, calculated from the custom and open tables.

Schools taking part must be internationally accredited by either Equis or the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) and have earned revenues of at least $1mn in 2021 from each of their custom or open-enrolment non-degree programmes, depending on the ranking in which they are taking part. This year, a total of 100 schools took part in either or both tables but not all were ranked.

Custom course provider ranking This is compiled using data from the business schools and their corporate clients in 2021. Each school must have a minimum of 15 clients that commissioned training completed in 2021. At least five of them must complete the FT survey for a school to be eligible for the final ranking.

Financial Times Executive Education rankings 2022

The FT survey was completed by 772 business school clients this year — a response rate of 54 per cent. Each rated their programme on a 10-point scale according to a range of indicators. Their answers directly inform the first nine of the ranking’s criteria, from preparation to future use. In total, client responses account for 80 per cent of the weighting.

Client responses are weighted according to programme type. Clients select one of three options to categorise their programme: strategic (delivered to top management and designed to influence a company’s direction); general (delivered to management on operational aspects of a company); or functional (related to a specific function, such as marketing). Strategic programmes have the largest weighting and therefore the greatest impact on the ranking.

Responses are also weighted according to the seniority of the individual responsible for specifying the course, the size of the client organisation and the number of schools with which that client has commissioned custom courses in the past three years.

The final five criteria are calculated from data provided by schools on international clients, overseas programmes, growth, partner schools and faculty diversity.

Open-enrolment ranking

This is compiled using data from course providers and individuals who completed their nominated management programmes in 2021. Schools submit one or two general courses of at least three days in length and one or two advanced courses of five days or more. At least 20 per cent of these programmes’ participants must complete the FT survey, with a minimum of 20 completed surveys, for a school to be considered for the ranking.

This year’s open programme survey received responses from 3,957 participants — a response rate of 32 per cent — rating elements of their course on a 10-point scale. Responses from advanced and general-level participants are combined to calculate the first eight ranking criteria.

These criteria, which include the quality of the participants, teaching and relevance of the skills they gained, inform 80 per cent of the ranking. School data are used to calculate the remaining criteria on female and international participants, growth, international location, partner schools and faculty diversity.

Both rankings

This year, because of disruption from the Covid-19 crisis, the FT considered schools with a lower response rate.

Information collected in 2020 is used, where available, to calculate criteria informed by client and participant responses. If a school has participated in 2020, the weighting is 60:40, with 2020 data counting for 40 per cent. The FT did not run the rankings in 2021.

The weightings accorded to the first eight criteria in the custom and open rankings are determined by the level of importance clients and participants attach to each in their surveys for the 2022 ranking. Weightings for these criteria vary slightly, therefore, from year to year.

Schools that feature in both rankings are eligible for the combined overall ranking. The top 50 schools are calculated according to an equal weighting of the total scores achieved in both rankings, rather than an average of ranking positions.

Judith Pizer of Pizer-MacMillan acted as the FT’s database consultant


Custom executive education programme ranking tiers l-lll and table notes

All the providers in the ranking are of high quality. Some 337 points separate the top school, HEC Paris, from that ranked 70th. The schools are divided into three groups, indicated by bold lines. The difference in score between schools ranked consecutively is greater within groups I and III than in group II. The first 18 business schools, down to the University of Tennessee: Haslam, form the top group of custom providers. The second group, which is led by Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics, spans schools ranked 19th to 58th. The remaining 12 schools, headed by Tias Business School, at 59, make up the third group. *Data in this column are for information only and are not used in the ranking.

Key (weights for ranking criteria in brackets as a percentage of overall ranking)

The first nine criteria, including “future use” of the same school, are based on data from companies that commissioned courses. The next five are based on data from schools. Schools are ranked for each of these criteria. The final categories, “Total responses” and “Overall satisfaction”, are for information only and do not inform the ranking. Figures in brackets show the weight each criterion contributes to the overall ranking. Client responses account for 80 per cent of the weighting. The points accorded to the first eight criteria, from preparation to value for money, accounts for 72 per cent of the total, determined by the level of importance that clients attach to each category. Future use accounts for 8 per cent.

Preparation (9.1): level of interaction between client and school, the extent to which clients’ ideas were integrated into the programme and the effectiveness of the school in incorporating its latest research into teaching.

Programme design (9.2): flexibility of the course and the willingness of schools to complement their faculty with external experts.

Teaching methods and materials (9): extent to which teaching methods and materials were contemporary and appropriate, and included a suitable mix of academic rigour and practical relevance.

Faculty (9.2): quality of teaching and the extent to which teaching staff worked together to present a coherent programme.

New skills and learning (9.3): relevance of skills gained to the workplace, the ease with which they were implemented and the extent to which the course encouraged new ways of thinking.

Follow-up (8.0): extent and effectiveness of follow-up offered after course participants returned to their workplaces.

Aims achieved (9.4): extent to which academic and business expectations were met and the quality of feedback from individual participants to course commissioners.

Value for money (8.8): clients’ rating of the programme’s design, teaching and materials for value for money.

Future use (8.0): likelihood that clients would reuse the same school for other customised programmes in the future and whether they would recommission the same programme.

International clients (5.0): based on the percentage of clients with headquarters outside the business school’s base country and region.

Overseas programmes (2.0): international reach of the school’s customised programme teaching.

Growth (5.0): based on the overall growth in revenues from customised programmes as well as growth in revenues from repeat business.

Partner schools (3.0): quantity and quality of programmes developed or taught in conjunction with other Equis or AACSB accredited business schools.

Faculty diversity (5.0): diversity of school faculty according to citizenship and gender.

Total responses‡: number of individual surveys completed by the school’s clients. Figures in brackets indicate the number of years of survey data counted towards the ranking.

Overall satisfaction: average evaluation by clients of the course, scored out of 10. After clients answered questions about aspects of their course experience, they were asked to rate their overall satisfaction, on a 10-point scale. This figure is not used in the ranking.

‡The first figure refers to the number of individual surveys completed by clients of the business school. The figure in brackets indicates the total number of years of survey data included in this ranking. Data are retained for schools that participated in the 2020 process but did not make either or both final rankings.


Open enrolment executive education ranking tiers l-lll and table notes

All the schools in the ranking are of high quality. Some 339 points separate the top school from that ranked 65th. The providers are divided into three groups, indicated by bold lines. The difference in scores between schools ranked consecutively is greater within groups I and III than in group II. The top 19 schools, from HEC Paris to ESCP Business School, form the elite group of providers of open-enrolment programmes. The second group spans 25 places from Nova School of Business to Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics. The third group, comprising 21 schools, is headed by Kedge Business School. All categories show rank positions except “Female participants (%)”, which shows the percentage.

Key (weights for ranking criteria in brackets as a percentage of overall ranking)

The first eight criteria are based on data from programme participants; the next six are based on data submitted by the business schools. Ranking positions are shown for each of these criteria, apart from “Female participants (%)”, which shows the percentage.

Figures in brackets show the weight each criterion contributes to the overall ranking. The weighting accorded to the first eight criteria, from preparation to aims achieved, accounts for 80 per cent of the total ranking. It is determined by the level of importance that participants attach to each category.

Preparation (9.6): provision of advance information on programme content and the participant selection process.

Course design (10.3): flexibility of the course and appropriateness of class size, structure and design.

Teaching methods and materials (10): extent to which teaching methods and materials were contemporary and appropriate, and included a suitable mix of academic rigour and practical relevance.

Faculty (10.5): quality of teaching and the extent to which teaching staff worked together to present a coherent programme.

Quality of participants (9.7): the extent to which other programme participants were of the appropriate managerial and academic standard; international diversity of participants; and the quality of interaction among peers.

New skills and learning (10.5): relevance of skills gained to the workplace, the ease with which they were implemented, and the extent to which the course encouraged new ways of thinking.

Follow-up (9.1): level of follow-up offered after participants returned to their workplaces, and networking opportunities with fellow participants.

Aims achieved (10.3): extent to which personal and professional expectations were met, and the likelihood that participants would recommend the programme.

Female participants (2.0): percentage of female course participants.

International participants (3.0): based on the percentage of participants from outside the business school’s base country and region.

International location (2.0): extent to which programmes are run outside the school’s base country and region.

Growth (5.0): based on the overall growth in revenues from open programmes as well as the growth in revenues from repeat business.

Partner schools (3.0): quantity and quality of programmes taught in conjunction with other Equis or AACSB-accredited business schools.

Faculty diversity (5.0): diversity of school faculty according to citizenship and gender.

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