While big tech has started to attract top MBA talent over the last few years, the finance sector is still holding its own. Although the types of jobs students are gravitating toward within the industry has shifted some. While banking is still a big draw, there are also new opportunities to work for fintech companies or as part of in-house teams developing digital strategies.
And so the question on many prospective applicants’ minds remains: What’s the best MBA program for a finance-minded student? And the second annual Financial Times ranking of Top MBAs for Finance 2018, released last week, sets out to answer it. The latest list is a spinoff of the FT Global MBA ranking published every January. The difference with this ranking is that it only surveys alumni who work in finance, banking, or fintech three years post-graduation.
To arrive at this year’s ranking, alumni responses were weighted (out of 100 possible points) based on 13 specific criteria. The methodology for ranking included a focus on average salary as well as the average difference in salary pre- and post-MBA. Among the other criteria considered are finance research, value for money, and career progress.
Top Finance MBAs — Where Are They Located?
Overall, U.S. schools dominated the top 50, claiming 27 slots total and all of the top five. As for the best location in the United States, California’s Bay Area took top honors, followed closely by New York and Chicago. British and Chinese schools trailed U.S. schools, with six schools from each landing a spot on this year’s list.
Stanford Tops the Finance Charts
For the second year in a row, Stanford Graduate School of Business ranked as the best Finance MBA. It’s well-paid alumni helped it hold onto its top spot, with an average salary of $252,000—$7,000 over the next closest, Harvard Business School. Also, interest in finance among Stanford graduates is on the rebound, growing from 27 percent to 38 percent between 2017 and 2018.
That same rise in interest can’t be claimed by the two runners-up: the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and the University of Chicago Booth School of Business (second and third place respectively). At each of those schools, interest in the finance sector is down, while interest in tech is on the rise.
Top 10 MBAs for Finance 2018
1. Stanford Graduate School of Business
2. University of Pennsylvania, The Wharton School
3. University of Chicago, Booth School of Business
4. Harvard Business School
5. New York University, Stern School of Business
6. MIT Sloan School of Business
8. University of Cambridge, Judge Business School
10. Columbia Business School
CEIBS, Columbia Business School, and MIT Sloan all made it into the top 10 for the first time this year. CEIBS moved up 14 slots (from 23rd to ninth), and Columbia rose five places (from 15th to 10th). MIT Sloan was not ranked last year. Meanwhile, three other schools—Oxford Said, Dartmouth Tuck, and Northwestern Kellogg—all slipped out of the top 10.
To learn more about the latest Financial Times rankings, check out the FT article on how finance and banking are fighting against tech giants for MBA talent.