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Asian schools scale new heights

  • Story Highlights
  • The Financial Times has published its latest global MBA rankings
  • Top 100 dominated by U.S. and Europe, but Asian schools made an impact
  • China's Ceibs school, HKUST and the Indian School of Business made top 20
  • Next Article in World Business »
By Peter Walker for CNN
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Asian business schools are getting better than ever -- that's the message from the latest Financial Times ranking of global MBAs, which lists three Asia-based programs in the top 20.

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Schools based in China and India are new entries into the top 20 of the Financial Times's MBA rankings.

The annual league table by the London-based business newspaper, now in its 10th year, is traditionally seen as perhaps the most authoritative global ranking, assessing worldwide MBAs on a series of criteria ranging from alumni salaries and experiences to course diversity and academic research.

This year's top 100 remains, as ever, dominated by U.S. and European schools. 61 of the 100 are based in the U.S. or Canada, while 27 are European.

The top five schools are the same as last year, although not all in the same order, with the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton school leading the rankings again. Next comes London Business School -- up from fifth in 2007 and the highest-rated European school ever -- and then Columbia, Stanford and Harvard.

The remainder of the top 10 is also made up of traditional big hitters, comprising French/Singaporean school Insead, MIT's Sloan, Spain's Instituto de Empresa, Chicago University's Graduate Business School and Cambridge University's Judge, the last of which has shot to 10th from 35th place in only two years.

It is, however, elsewhere in the top 20 that the changes really begin.

While China's Ceibs school, based in Shanghai, remains at 11, it is now joined by two other Asian MBAs, both new not only to the top 20 but to the entire top 100 ranking.

At 17 comes the business school at Hong Kong's University of Science and Technology (HKUST), which gained particular credit for the huge international diversity of students taking its MBA.

HKUST's program "aspires to be a leader in the development of international business talent," said a delighted Professor Steven DeKrey, director of the MBA program.

Fact Box

FT MBA Rankings
1. Wharton, U.S.
2. London Business School, UK
3. Columbia, U.S.
4. Stanford GSB, U.S.
5. Harvard, U.S.
6. Insead, France/Singapore
7. MIT: Sloan, U.S.
8. IE Business School, Spain
9. University of Chicago GSB, U.S.
10. University of Cambridge: Judge, UK
Source: Financial Times 2008

"As reflected in the latest FT rankings, 84 percent of the participants in the HKUST full-time MBA program are international students and it is one of the most international programs in the world in terms of student diversity," he said.

At 20, the second new entrant comes from Asia's other mega-economy in the making, with the Indian School of Business, based in the southern city of Hyderabad.

Taking such a lofty debut spot in the FT ranking was, said the school's dean, M. Rammohan Rao, "a vision come true for all of us at the ISB."

In total, there are six schools in the top 50 based wholly or party in Asia.

The rapid rise of such high-quality programs is, one expert believes, a factor of the desire in Asian countries such as China and India for rapid economic modernization.

"How do you manage in fast-moving economies with limited infrastructure?" Professor Arnoud De Meyer, director of Cambridge University's Judge school, told the survey authors.

"People have to be extremely creative in managing when infrastructure is under-developed." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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