The Financial Times does a complex ranking list of business schools every year. They do some research, send plenty of questionnaires to graduated students, and talk to faculty members. They also check up on the details randomly, etc.
The school I got my Executive MBA degree from; Helsinki School of Economics, has scored its highest ranking yet: 67, globally. They were 77 last year, and 80 a year before that. Good progress and pace. HSE used to be the only Finnish business school with a full international accreditation; which means that it is the only one certified for its academic quality and content. Nowdays the Hanken School of Economics (a swedish language school) has earned an accreditation as well (but only for their EMBA programme, not for other stuff). Number 1 in FT's ranking was Columbia/London Business School, the full list is here.
Some interesting remarks from the list:
- HSE graduated executives seem to earn over 27,000 USD more annually (in average) than their colleagues from Stockholm School of Economics. Why do the Swedes get paid less? Also Stockholm's rank in 2006 was number 38, and they have now dropped to 50, are they not doing that well?
- Kellogg's business school in Hong Kong boasts a bloated salary of 345,159 USD annually, which is a few hundred thousand more than the Finns or the Swedes ;-) and this is average salary so somebody in the upper median is earning millions there.
- Graduates from the IE Business School in Spain have had their salary increased by 157% in average after graduating. Impressive. Not so impressive for Brazil's FIA - Fundação Instituto de Administração, whose students only see a 12% increase. is Brazil's job market for qualified executives really that non-lucrative? Or could it be that their average salary (at 220,589 USD) is already as high as it can get?
- Almost every graduate from ESCP-EAP European School of Management has had a promotion, where as just a few from Florida International University: Chapman have had it. Weird stuff. Perhaps the later gets very senior people as students, and there's isn't anything left to promote them to? Except that the data should also include employer changes.. hmm
- Wharton wins over the research ladder, where as Ipade in Mexico is at the bottom, with Pepperdine Graziadio from the USA.
Pic: me on my graduation day, receiving my 2 diplomas (one for the EMBA degree, and a second one for graduating first in academic standing).
You have probably been wondering why is this topic relevant to startups?
It is somewhat relevant for two reasons:
1) There's plenty to benefit from a top-notch academic degree even in startups. Strategic thinking and understanding of the "big picture of business" will help you along many steps of the way. Not to mention that these kinds of degrees also teach you leadership and communication skills, and you get to network with other brilliant students.
2) Jason Calacanis has named this time "the startup depression", and one of the best things to do during such a time is to get your degree done, if you haven't already. If things don't look so bright in your startup career: to back to school for a few years and come back with a vengeance when things are looking up again.
There's a downside: good degrees cost money. Mine cost about 40.000 EUR total, and it all came out of my own pocket. Still 40K is less than a typical angel investment; which is asking, is it worth it? almost certainly it is. Go for it.