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Financial Times Releases 2020 Executive Education Rankings

Besides degree programs like MBAs and EMBAs, top business schools frequently offer executive education courses in specific topics, either tailored to corporate clients or open to anyone who wants to participate.

For both types of categories, Financial Times draws up global rankings every year. This week, FT released its 2020 executive education rankings. 

According to FT’s latest batch of rankings, the top five B-schools for open-enrollment executive education are:

  1. IMD
  2. University of Oxford Saïd Business School
  4. University of Michigan Ross School of Business
  5. Stanford Graduate School of Business

Meanwhile, for customized executive education programs provided to corporate clients, FT’s top five schools are:

  1. IESE Business School
  2. HEC Paris
  3. ESSEC Business School
  4. Duke Corporate Education
  5. SDA Bocconi School of Management

In any business school ranking, the methodology behind the ranking is always the deciding factor, and a ranking of executive education programs presents special methodological challenges. 

The methodology FT uses is slightly different for open and customized programs.

For open-enrollment programs, schools select a few executive education courses that they want to be considered in the ranking, and FT then surveys at least 20 percent of participants in those courses. 

Courses are ranked on a range of factors such as design, teaching methods, relevance of skills taught, and quality of faculty.

When it comes to customized executive education programs, each school nominates at least 20 of their corporate clients, at least five of whom must complete FT’s survey. 

Customized programs are ranked on many of the same factors as open programs, as well as some unique ones like the likelihood a given corporate client would use other customized programs from the school in the future.

According to FT, changes were underway in how executive education is offered even before COVID-19 hit, but an accelerated move toward online executive education programs now seems to be in the cards.

It’s interesting to compare FT’s executive education rankings with their global MBA ranking. There is definite overlap between schools with first-tier MBA programs and those with first-tier executive education offerings, but there are notable differences as well. 

Those differences highlight an important point about top business schools: which school is “best” depends on your specific educational goals and areas of focus. 

We can help you evaluate what schools are a good fit to your unique profile and career interests, as well as give you feedback on how to effectively communicate the strengths of your personal brand to adcoms. Contact us to ask for a free application assessment!