The study, to be published in the Academy of Management Learning and Education, found that the average salary of US schools’ MBA graduates increased at a slower pace than that of their European and Asian counterparts. This difference has led to a decline of US schools in the Financial Times Global MBA rankings and an ascent of European and Asian schools.

This is the first study of its kind to examine the evolution of international business schools rankings over time. Based on data from the Financial Times Global MBA rankings, this paper provides systematic and detailed evidence of long-term shifts in the rankings. It also investigates the mechanisms that explain these shifts using novel data on student migration patterns.

The authors of the report systematically examine macro factors that may have played a role in this process: aggregate economic demand, overall supply of MBA graduates, student migrations, and shifts in visa policies. “We believe our research has important implications for deans, Business School administrators and students planning to pursue an MBA,” said Luis Vives. “Independent debates on the role and building of rankings in the field of business education might be relevant and informative for students and recruiters who have limited time to look into the intricacies of rankings and their dynamics.”

The analysis reveals that, despite slow economic growth in Europe throughout the past decade, the rapid growth of European MBA graduate salaries can be explained by the gradual recognition of the MBA degree as a differentiator in European labour markets and the geographical proximity advantage of European programmes in these markets in contrast with US schools. And also different learning schemes make the point.