Harvard claims #1 position in the FT’s 2013 Full-Time MBA ranking for first time in 8 years

Harvard Business School ranks #1

The Harvard Business School celebrates 2013 with the top position in the Financial Times full-time MBA ranking published on 28 January. It is the first time that the school has crowned the FT ranking since 2005, when it shared the top position with The Wharton School. The school was ranked #1 by the FT in the first two years of their ranking, in 1999 and 2000.

Click here for full analysis of the winners and losers in the FT MBA Ranking 2013.

Harvard replaces the Stanford Graduate School of Business at #1, adding to its table topping performance in Forbes and US News, and it’s #2 position in BusinessWeek. As the MBA50 Premiership ranking of rankings shows, the school holds a dominant position among the world’s top business schools.

Under the leadership of Dean Nitin Nohria, who became dean in July 2010, the school set five priorities for the road ahead – innovation, intellectual ambition, internationalization, inclusion, and integration. This includes overhauling many aspects of the MBA program, adding experiential learning to the case study method of teaching for which the school is renowned.

First year students now take part in an ambitious 8-day global immersion experience called Field Immersion Experiences for Leadership Development (FIELD), and are also required to come up with a micro-business using seed capital from the school itself. Harvard is by no means the first business school to include an international study experience, but the scale of the project and involvement of faculty has impressed many, including the students themselves.

The school is raising up to $1 billion to add to its already impressive endowment of $2.8 billion, with the goal of gaining more alumni support for innovations in the MBA program, and the school’s global ambitions. With seven research centers spread across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and the US west coast, around 50% of the school’s annual case studies have been globally focused.

Alumni have also been involved in surveys to better understand issues of US competitiveness, with research on women and leadership underway to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Harvard’s first women MBA students. Further, the school has committed to study why men receive disproportionally more academic honors at Harvard, including analysis of faculty culture and grading bias.

Ironically it is greater gender balance that contributes to Harvard’s #1 position in the FT. Among the top ten schools in the 2013 MBA ranking, the school has the highest % of women on the board, shares the highest % of women faculty with the London Business School, and is second only to Wharton for the % of women students.

Faculty research, worth 10% of the overall ranking, has also helped to push the scales in Harvard’s favour this year, where they rank #1 versus #6 for Stanford.

Stanford ranked higher for career progress, aims achieved and placement success. But because the FT allocates 40% of its ranking to the weighted salary and salary increase 3 years after graduation, the fact that salaries reported by Harvard graduates 3 years after their MBA ($190,000) are higher than those reported by Stanford alumni for the first time in 3 years has also made a difference.

It is likely the schools are separated by only the narrowest of margins, but for next 12 months at least, it will be Harvard that holds the #1 spot.


Also on MBA50.com

Full analysis of the winners and losers in the FT MBA Ranking 2013

Fifteen years of influence: The FT MBA Ranking 1999 – 2013

See the results of the ranking of MBA rankings, combining the last 12 months of media tables

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