By Peter Walker for CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- There are a number of rankings produced each year for business schools and MBAs, but the one seen as perhaps the most authoritative in global terms is that produced each year by the Financial Times.
The London-based newspaper has just produced its 2007 MBA rankings, and there is one simple message to be seen from glancing at the top 10 -- the big hitters of the MBA world are here to stay.
All but one of this year's top 10 were also there in 2006, with only a few minor moves.
The second message is this -- the United States still dominates. Only two non-US schools broke up the American dominance of the top 10, London Business School at fifth and the French-Singaporean Insead two spots lower
First place, as in the previous two years, went to the University of Pennsylvania's understandably-revered Wharton school.
In fact, Wharton topped all the other main rankings -- graduate salaries, alumni satisfaction, future careers, gender diversity, international diversity and idea generation.
In the main chart, the next three were fellow giants of the US business school scene, Columbia, Harvard and Stanford. Next came London Business School, followed by Chicago University's graduate business school, Insead, and then a trio of other U.S. big names, Stern, Tuck and Yale.
A series of other leading schools are in the top 20, for example Northwestern University's Kellogg school.
Apart from Insead's Singapore joint base, the two-continent hegemony is first broken up by Shanghai's Ceibs school in joint 11th.
Apart from these, only six other schools in the top 100 listing are based outside of North America or Europe; two more in Singapore, a pair in Australia and one each from Brazil and South Africa.
Overall, the FT found, the MBA market is booming, with a combination of both an increase in applications for MBAs and a healthy job market for those graduating, the first time this has happened since the early 1990s.
"There's a good sense of assurance in the degree... that's become more recognized by the applicant pool," Rose Martinelli, associate dean of student recruitment and admissions at the University of Chicago's school told the paper.
Other data from the survey shows that an MBA is, indeed, a good investment.
Figures from graduates of the current top 10 schools showed that three years after graduating, alumni earned an average salary of $148,609 a year, an increase of 127% over the period.
However, the study warns that the boom might not be all it seems. While many schools are receiving more applications, this might not necessarily translate into more would-be MBAs.
"There is not a lot of statistical data to show that there are more applicants," Ms Martinelli told the paper. "The competition for the top schools is increasing, so applicants are applying to four or 4.5 schools. Last year it was three."
The survey also pointed out another trend -- the sheer amount of business schools.
The number of US schools grew 10% between 1999 and 2006, giving the country 927. But India increased even faster, and now has 953 business schools.
Even this growth is beaten by Europe, where from 1999 to 2006 the number leapt from 181 in 1999 to 658, with 150 MBA programs now offered in Germany alone.
Packing a punch: the well-known schools dominate the rankings.
FACT BOXFT's Executive MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. Hong Kong UST, China
3. London Business School, UK
4. Instituto de Empresa, Spain
5. Fuqua, Duke, U.S.
6. Chicago GSB, U.S.
7. Columbia, U.S.
8. Kellogg, U.S.
9. Stern, NY, U.S.
10. Cass, City University, UK
Source: Financial Times 2006
FACT BOXEMBA SNAPSHOT
Executives taking the top EMBA courses in the U.S., Europe and Asia have average salaries of around $130,000 to $200,000.
A typical EMBA student is likely to be aged in the early 30s, with 6-10 years of working experience.
A top EMBA course can cost $100,000. Customized courses start at a few thousand dollars.