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FT names China's Ceibs top business school in Asia

School serves as talent factory for country's corporate titans

Ceibs in Shanghai counts Alibaba and Tencent executives among its alumni. (Courtesy of CEIBS)

TOKYO China's biggest companies need not look far for top-tier management talent, the Financial Times' latest MBA ranking shows. The China Europe International Business School in Shanghai, which counts executives of Alibaba Group Holding and Tencent Holdings among its alumni, is the No. 1 school in Asia for 2017, after placing second last year.

A total of 12 Asian institutions made the global top 100 list, released on Jan. 30: five from China, including three Hong Kong schools; four from India; two from Singapore; and one from South Korea. Eight improved their positions.

Globally, Ceibs ranks 11th, up from 17th last year. It surpassed the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, last year's leader in Asia, which now stands at 15th in the world.

Ceibs was co-founded by the Chinese government and the European Union in 1994. Over 60% of its faculty hails from abroad, but the program focuses on China, including case studies of domestic companies, consulting projects with businesses in China, and a "localization internship program" for international students. Roughly 190 MBA students -- about 60% of them from mainland China -- graduate each year.

A school spokesman told the Nikkei Asian Review that about 85% of students stay in mainland China after graduation. He added that alumni hold executive posts at a range of well-known companies, including China's online Big Three -- Alibaba, Tencent and Baidu.

MONEY TALKS The FT ranking places 40% of the total weight on alumni salaries three years after graduation, along with the average increase in pay after obtaining the degree. Ceibs' position is attributable to a salary surge of 155%. The spokesman said the increase has been driven by China's transition from a low- to high-value-added economy, and from a manufacturing base to a more service-oriented economy.

"In a big, emerging economy like China, there is extremely high demand for sophisticated talent, and they are highly valued because they are hard to find," he said.

HKUST Business School is ranked second among Asian schools. (Courtesy of HKUST)

The salary increases at other schools in emerging countries seem to bear this out: Alumni of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, which ranks 34th globally and seventh in Asia, posted an average salary increase of 172%. The Indian School of Business, which ranks 27th globally and fifth in Asia, logged a 160% rise. Their increases are the second- and third-highest among the global top 100.

As for actual salaries, the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, which ranks 29th globally and sixth in Asia, recorded an average of $181,863 -- the second-highest in the global top 100, following the Stanford Graduate School of Business' $195,322.

A total of four schools from India and Singapore are in the top 30, though the makeups of their student bodies are poles apart. At Singapore's two schools, Nanyang Business School and the National University of Singapore, about 90% of the students are from overseas. The ratios for the Indian School of Business and the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad, in contrast, stand at about 1%.

Insead, which has campuses in France and Singapore, is the world's No. 1 place to get an MBA for the second straight year. Stanford is next, followed by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

For more information on the latest FT MBA ranking, visit:www.ft.com/mba

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