“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times […]”
This famous Dickens’ quote from A Tale of Two Cities still sounds up-to-date and appropriate to various aspects of our lives more than a century after it was written.Similar is the situation of many prospective Master’s students who have decided to embark on the graduate education journey but haven’t found the right programme for their profile, needs and expectations yet.
There are thousands of accredited and respected Master’s programmes today that candidates can choose from all over the world. There are more universities, more programmes, more specialisations and more scholarships today than there ever were. Prospective Master’s students have the best choice they've ever had. But as great as this myriad of opportunities sounds, professionals at the beginning of their careers who are contemplating a Master’s degree have so much to choose from that they can easily get confused and overwhelmed.
The next lines will give you some basic tips on what you should know about the rankings for Master’s degree programmes as well as some of the most popular rankings’ sources.
The rule of thumb for choosing a Master’s programme that is most appropriate for you is to always do your homework and conduct extensive research on whether what the school of your choice offers matches what you are expecting from your prospective graduate education and Master’s degree. Often, one of the elements of your research is looking into rankings. However, ranking are limited to only the top programmes, leaving the majority aside.
If you already have your eye on several schools and programmes for your prospective Master’s education, then the rankings for Master’s, just like those for MBA, are a great way to see where the schools and programmes of your choice stand in comparison to each other. The rankings evaluate the programmes against various criteria, which can help you decide whether they are what you are looking for.
However, objectively speaking, the rankings for Master’s programmes are not as popular as those for MBA. Hence, many prospective candidates are not exactly sure which rankings are the most respected and, as a result, which ones to look at.
The rankings for Master’s degrees are numerous, depending on what specialisation the candidate has chosen. When researching rankings, you will come across many different types and dozens of sources. For instance, there are rankings about the top Master’s programmes in Communications in different continents, the top programmes in Finance in the United States, the best Master’s in European Studies in Europe and so on. That is why it is practically impossible to say which are the best rankings. However, narrowing your criteria can certainly help you look into the rankings that will be most informative and will help you make an educated decision about your prospective graduate education programme.
If you have decided to pursue a Master’s degree in Management, one of the most prominent sources to check out is The Financial Times. The MIM FT rankings are published in September annually and evaluate the participating schools against a wide range of over 20 criteria, such as diversity of both student and faculty body, where each programme was ranked during each of the last three years, alumni career progress, degree value, alumni weighted salary and so on. The ranking includes the top 70 Master’s in Management programmes in the world and puts each programme in context via a complex evaluating system and ranking formation. More information could be found on FT MIM rankings webpage.
If Finance is the sphere you want to get a Master’s degree in, the Financial Times is again a source which prepares detailed and extremely informative rankings. Each June, the FT publishes two rankings dedicated to the Master’s in Finance programmes globally – Pre-Experience and Post-Experience. Both rankings essentially evaluate the participating schools against the same criteria. The only fundamental difference between the two is that the pre-experience rankings contain a list of 45 ranked programmes for which candidates can apply straight after getting their Bachelor’s degree, whereas the post-experience rankings contain 5 programmes which require candidates to have work experience in order to be eligible for admission. The criteria used by the FT to rank the Master’s in Finance programmes include current alumni salary, value for money, career progress, placement success, employment three months after graduation and so on. Detailed explanation of what each criterion means can be found in the pre-experience and post-experience rankings’ key section.