As the Financial Times updates the Global MBA Ranking methodology to put greater emphasis on environmental concerns, data specialists look at business schools’ net zero targets and teaching on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Plus favoured sectors for graduates and career progress.
Business schools’ carbon footprints are a new MBA ranking criterion in 2023. Two-thirds of schools that participated in the ranking process have set net zero targets within the next 20 years, with more than half of those in mainland Europe planning to be carbon neutral within a decade. But 40 per cent of schools in the US and Canada have no target before 2050.
Core MBA teaching hours including carbon reduction are a small proportion of those focused on wider environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. The UK and mainland Europe spend most time on both subject areas.
The percentage of core teaching hours including ESG-related topics has risen markedly over the past five years — although it dipped slightly in the US and Canada last year. On average, more than a quarter of core hours in Europe and the UK are on ESG subjects.
Of the top employment sectors for MBA alumni, banking/finance has fallen off significantly in the past 10 years, while the number working in IT and telecoms after their degree has risen sharply in the pandemic era (dates are for publication of the ranking, with data gathered beforehand). The proportion working in the combined retail and ecommerce category has fallen in the same period, as have those in the consumer products sector.
More than half of alumni were at a “professional” level before their degree but this fell to under 15 per cent three years after completing it, as the cohort shifted into more senior roles. There was a 30 percentage point increase in those employed in a “senior manager/executive” capacity over the same period.
Improving career opportunities, personal development and increasing salary were the top reasons for doing an MBA. Only 15 per cent rated starting their own company as a very high priority.
The proportion of alumni likely to recommend study for an MBA increased significantly in 2023.
Graphics by Chris Campbell