New participants burst in this year into the ranking of best business schools for Latin American students in regions other than Latin America. Among the new arrivals, two Asian schools: Shanghai University and Singapore’s NUS.

Daniela Jara, Ph.D., AméricaEconomía Intelligence


It’s no news that global trade increasingly tends toward the Asia-Pacific region in terms of volume and intensity, but it is not always so clear that this also opens wide the doors of culture, education and cooperation. However, business has the power to go further, and this is confirmed in our ranking that includes for the first time two Asian schools: Shanghai University (from China, 13th place) and NUS Business School (from Singapore, 34th).

The background for their participation in the ranking is interesting. Every year the AméricaEconomía Intelligence team calls on the best schools ranked in global listings to participate in a survey oriented towards an exclusively Latin American audience. The participation of each business school is voluntary and requires the delivery of key information on their part, with the result that the ranking does not include every possible school. However, this year for the first time we have the participation of these Asian schools that are interested in being part of the ranking, in spite of its Latin American focus. They have done so in the knowledge that this could imply a certain disadvantage for them. The presence of these schools in the region is less customary, for example, than that of the schools in Spain, the USA, France and England, whose links are historical. However, Shanghai and NUS accepted the challenge of participating this year. This will help draw attention to them amongst those who are thinking of the future and looking towards Asia.


Nationality of MBA students (1.057)
Source: AméricaEconomía Intelligence


In the 2014 edition of the survey, the IESE won first place, displacing Harvard (2nd) from the podium. Fourth in 2013, this year the IESE gave a remarkable performance in all indicators and demonstrated the consolidation of a trend that had already been last year: the profiling of Spanish schools as an indisputable point of reference for Latin Americans. Their presence in the ranking has been the product of various activities, visits, public relationships and institutional brand-building, that these schools in the region have undertaken. Clearly, having a shared language helps explain this presence, a fact that has been exploited well. However, it is important to note that schools like the IESE, the IE (4th) and the ESADE (10th) stand out not only in terms of the possibility of networking with Latin Americans, but in academic quality. We see that, according to the data reported, the IESE has a high rate of output in terms of ISI papers (the highest number of papers reported by a school in the last academic year) and that 100 percent of its full time staff has a Ph.D., something that indicates a policy of commitment to academic excellence and research. However, the academic programs available in Spain are varied and heterogeneous, and it is therefore important to differentiate between the different offers, something that this ranking does. This is something that also applies to the Lusophone world, in relation to Portuguese schools that form part of this ranking: Porto Business School (37th), Católica Lisbon School of Business and Economics (40th) and Nova School of Business and Economics. The latter two are schools that jointly develop a program and are new participants in the ranking.


Business schools with the highest number of Latin American students and academics
Source: AméricaEconomía Intelligence


Also new is the entry of several new schools into the highest places in the survey. Following the logic of nationalities, the French INSEAD comes 9th, something that, together with the HEC Paris (5th), positions France with two schools in the Top 10. Fuqua de Duke (8th) also adds a U.S. school in that segment of honor, somehow making up for the absence of Stanford, which declined to participate this year. We see in the third place after the neighboring Haas, Berkeley School of Business, which this year showed significant increases in scores in the categories of Strength and Selectivity. Kellogg, meanwhile, rose to seventh place this year (having won 10th place in 2013), and thus we observe the strengthening of the leadership of U.S. schools in business training. This year, there are four U.S. schools in the Top 10, consolidating North American leadership, which has years of tradition and quality in training business men and women in Latin America. In fact, 19 of the 41 schools in our list are from the United States. And while Harvard no longer holds the first place, its fall is explained in part because the most prestigious school in the world (something that is replicated strongly in Latin America, according to results in the category of Prestige in this ranking) did not provide the research team with all the relevant information, particularly with respect to its networking power in Latin America. It is for this same reason that we saw the prestigious London Business School fall in our ranking this year from the 3rd place to 6th.

Spain’s Deusto (17th), U.S. West Coast UCLA-Anderson (24th) and East Coast Hult (38th), as well as Portugal’s Católica and Nova (40th and 41st) were also among the new schools in this year’s reanking.


Number of ISI papers during the last academic year
Source: AméricaEconomía Intelligence

Note: Published and forthcoming papers. The graphic does not include Harvard, because their paper productions was estimated from third party sources.


On the other hand, in the Prestige category we see how in terms of institutional brand – understood as symbolic capital – much remains to be done by several of the schools in the sample. In the survey of the readers of AméricaEconomía, Harvard has an undisputed leadership, something that speaks of its years of presence and leadership in the sector. But this result also shows the opportunity and need for other schools to enhance their networking and their presence in the Latin American imaginary. When we asked our readers “Which business school has most prestige in your country?”, Harvard scored 250 mentions, followed at a distance by Kellogg (42), ESADE (23), IE (20) and IESE (19).

The highest level of selectivity with respect to students entering a program is focused on Anglo-American universities: Haas, Harvard, London School of Business (6th) and Tuck (12th), in that order. With respect to this dimension of analysis, the main proxy ranking is the average GMAT score, a robust indicator and one that is correlated with academic quality and prestige.


Salaries 3 years after graduating in the top ten business schools ranked by salary (US$ without bonus and compensations)
Source: AméricaEconomía Intelligence

Note: U. of Miami, Tuck and Mc Combs reported data upon graduation


However, this does not always coincide with the increase in salaries earned by students after graduation, something that is included in the survey of Cost-Benefit Ratio According to figures provided by the schools themselves, with calculation methods that usually consist in the monitoring carried out by Career Services with respect to their graduates, it is observed that the University of Shanghai is clearly the business school that displays the highest earning power on the part of their MBA: A 306% average increase in salary, excluding bonuses, and taking into account times of entry into and exit from the program. Shanghai is followed by ESIC (246% and 19th in the general classification), IESE (239%) and Mannheim (130%, 11th). However, because of its complexity, the earning power of the program is not an indicator that can lead to easy comparisons: for it is affected by a number of factors, such as behavior in local markets, variations in foreign currencies relative to the local currency, the fact that the measurement methods used by different institutions are not all the same, the amount of salary remaining after deductions for taxes, insurance, etc. and other elements. However, the variation survey is constituted as a relevant indicator that shows that more than a third of schools (16 out of 41) managed to at least double the income of their graduates. This confirms in part the high earning power of students who have studied for the MBA, and that the market does respond to the so-called “program effect”. It also shows that the highest earning power does not have much to do with prestige or selectivity, and in this sense, the programs that add value to their students are not necessarily those that belong to the schools that reach the top positions in the international rankings.

In the dimension of Networking Power for Latin Americans, IE, Mendoza (16th), ESIC and Deusto (in 17th place and a new participant in the ranking) obtained the best four results. It is important to note that the figures show that the networks go beyond language. In this regard, this year we have consolidated the analysis matrix for the category “notable graduates by schools”, that measures the impact and type of posts obtained by MBA graduates. We have seen, for example, the quality of graduates and the high positions obtained by students from the University of Miami Business School (32nd), HEC Paris, McCombs (14th), ESADE, IE and Deusto. All these schools earned the highest scores in terms of the employment status that their graduates have achieved in recent years.


The most common teaching methods
Source: AméricaEconomía Intelligence

Methodological changes

Some shifts that have occurred are explained by the entry and exit of schools into and from the ranking, but also by the simplification of the methodological ranking model and the quality of the reports that schools make. Therefore, it is important to explain the reason for these changes. Aware of the time that schools invest in producing data for this and other surveys, this year the methodology was simplified and those indicators that best define a quality model for Latin Americans were identified.

No new indicators were added, but a process of selection and refinement of the indicators used in our survey was undertaken. For example, several indicators that had limited predictive power with respect to the quality of universities were removed, such as consideration of numbers of agreements with schools and businesses. This was done, partly, because they generated uneven information (in some cases very specific, while in others, very generic), but mostly because, when analyzing the model, we came to the conclusion that a greater number of agreements does not always ensure higher quality in the relationship between schools and the region. Thus, a careful selection was performed with respect to the indicators which will facilitate future joint work with schools and also ensure the relevance of the overall measurement model.

Tell me if I’m Latino

While the ranking does not have the character of a census, it nevertheless delivers interesting information. This year a total of 1,117 Latin Americans in MBA programs in schools outside the region, representing on average about 27 students per school, was reported. This represents a significant increase on the figures for 2013, when 20 students were reported per center. We have also seen that there are five countries that have the greatest number of MBA students. Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Peru and Chile are conspicuous in this respect. If we consider numbers of inhabitants by countries, the Chilean case stands out clearly above the rest. Finally, the total of 1,117 MBA students shows that there are 812 men, while almost less than half of this number are women: 385.